For a very long time World of Warcraft was the Rolls Royce of video gaming in any form. If you haven’t heard of the game you must be living in a cave in Afghanistan. For those of you who don’t know Warcraft is about an alternative world in which two opposing factions are constantly at war with each other.
Warcraft practically owned the gaming world but over the last few years their subscription numbers have drastically plummeted. Any other business loosing so many customers (more than half) would think this would be cause for alarm. Well any sane business but not the socialist French who now own the parent company Blizzard. Given the loss of customers and Blizzards reaction to it it could fairly be stated that Blizzard is one of the worst run companies in the world today. Taking an unmatched icon and turning it into dust takes an incredible amount of destructive talent.
So why has WoW (World of Warcraft) declined in a market they owned? There are a lot of Op-eds about the hows and whys about WoWs decline but the simple fact is WoW is just too easy to play and it gets boring because of it.
When I started playing World of Warcraft it was just before the release of their first expansion The Broken Crusade. From the moment I first rezzed my first toon (a Warlock) in world everything I ran across was trying to kill me. If that wasn’t bad enough I had to run everywhere and this place took up an entire planet. They wouldn’t even give you a horse until you hit level 40 and even then you had to complete quests just to have a mount to ride on a little faster than running. And when I say everything was trying to kill me I mean everything even in the starting area where you are supposed to be learning the basics. You don’t see that in gaming anymore. Usually the first 10 or 20 levels are so insanely easy that you wonder why anyone would play anymore.
And that is what killed WoW …. people wanted the game to be easier and the company listened. As the game got progressively easier commerce came to a halt and people became unaddicted to a game that was totally addictive when it seemed almost impossible. What had made WoW such a dominating factor in gaming was the sound, graphics and difficulty to play. It was so hard that customers began to develop web pages to players figure out the quests. But it was too hard. Too hard for the little snowflakes who had gotten accustomed to getting participation trophies. And the game wasn’t fair because some classes of toons had advantages others did not. People used to joke around calling the game World of Warlocks (one of several classes in the game). All that had to be fixed and everything had to be even.
Today World of Warcraft is a grind and not much else. Players take part in simpleton quests while racing to the top level which usually takes about two weeks. It took me 6 months to get to top level in the old game. Instead of one character players master, most players have the maximum allowed characters all at or near top level and haven’t mastered any of them. Large high level battles have so many inexperienced players in them that there can be no strategy and they become simple free for alls. It sounds boring just typing this mess up and trust me it is. I played this game for 10 years so I had a lot invested in it and it wasn’t easy to leave it but i just couldn’t take it anymore. I used to call it World of Retards just before I cut them out of my bank account.
World of Warcraft is a shining example of how not to do business. They have basically traded short term cash for long term success. You see what the people over at Blizzard have not seemed to figure out is that business needs people more than they need money. Give the people what they want or need and you will never go hungry. All businesses are service companies which serve at the pleasure of the public at large. Instead of listening to what their clients think is the right service for that company to provide, Blizzard has made the classic business error of sticking with whatever vision they think they might have. This is a common business misstep but in most cases results will steer a business in the right direction if they can survive their business “vision.” But in Blizzards case even after years of decline they have not changed the path they have taken since the release of Wrath of the Lych King. One my thing this scenario defines the word stupidity.
The lessons learned here encompass so much of life. That mankind needs to constantly be challenged. Hard is good and easy is bad. That no matter how good your drug is, if you water it down too much people will find other sources. How you treat the people you serve determines your level of success.
As it turns out the socialist French took a wildly successful American video game and politically corrected it into the wastecan of broken dreams. Think about that for a minute. Little wonder the French are struggling with their identity …… they can’t even play with a video game without screwing it up.