World of Warcraft and Blizzard are getting *pummeled* by a fed-up community

Even though World of Warcraft is pumping out Patch 9.1 this week, it’s hard to ignore the tone surrounding the MMO right now. What should be an easy victory lap for Blizzard here is almost a self-condemnation, a finger that the studio is pointing to itself saying, “Look how obscenely, terribly, comically late we’ve been with our first post-expansion content update!”

And that is, of course, not all. Blizz has been absorbing some hard body blows as of late as notable World of Warcraft YouTubers (no, you guys don’t “create” “content,” so you’re YouTubers now and forever) have publicly defected to FFXIV. Then there was this emotion-drenched video:

which tapped into a whole lot of what people are feeling about a game that they used to love a whole bunch and have seen decline in both quality and population. And let’s not overlook this somewhat amusing survey question that Blizzard sent out asking players if, y’know, they’re also going to be defecting to FFXIV.

This isn’t really a piece about how one game is better than the other; FFXIV is pulled up a lot because it and WoW have been jockeying for first place in the MMO sphere and now FFXIV seems to be winning. The latter’s ascent is contrasted sharply against the former’s descent.

I have no idea what’s going on over at Blizzard these days — other than incompetent leadership and a brain drain of notable developers — but if giant klaxons aren’t going off in the hallways, I’d be surprised. The game that’s stood up to so many “WoW killers” is now… getting killed.

Of course, that’s a metaphor to an extent. WoW has a huge population even so and can absorb a whole bunch of body blows (not an infinite amount, mind you) before it ever fades completely. WoW Classic is doing just fine for itself and serving as another refugee harbor for retail players (myself included).

But one thing is clearly obvious: Things can’t go on as they have been if Blizzard wants World of Warcraft to retain its numbers and position. There needs to be a change of leadership, of direction, and of focus. Ideas like borrowed power systems need to be ejected into the sun. Content needs to be delivered more quickly. And Blizz needs to wake up and actually start paying attention to its competition and MMO players at large.

2 thoughts on “World of Warcraft and Blizzard are getting *pummeled* by a fed-up community

  1. I’ve been reading your blog for 10 years since my days playing LOTRO and always appreciated your perspective. Especially your thoughts on balancing family life, health and gaming. The audible disdain in the comment that World of Warcraft Youtubers don’t ‘create’ ‘content’ threw me off though. Maybe there is some drama I am out of the loop on with WoW Youtubers, I don’t watch anything on Youtube in that genre.

    By the nature of making and publishing videos on the internet, aren’t you assuredly…creating content? The comment seemed out of character for the typical tone of this blog which is usually super supportive to others trying to put content, especially content about games, onto the internet for an audience.

  2. Well, bloggers and podcasters create content too, under this definition, it’s just that this term is used by YouTubers to elevate themselves to a position of prominence and vocally separate themselves from fans, writers, and podcasters (all of whom “create content” in various forms). I’m all supportive of them making videos, it’s just the term and the usage of that term that drives me up a wall, kind of a self-appointed status that makes them more desirable for studios to pander to.

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