I haven’t been around much the last two weeks, mainly because I’ve been busy. And while I did have the time to squeeze in a blog post or two (quite a bit of it in fact), I didn’t. I figured people might not have much time for reading blogs with all the partying going on and the free time they have on their hands (oh yes, I know most of you read blogs at work). Or you were like me and managed to pick up a flu and spent New Year’s eve in bed, feeling sorry for yourself.
The above resulted in me not logging in to WAR until after new year. I saw the RvR action slowing down around twentieth and with a lot of my guildies taking a break over the holidays I thought I’d do the same. Which usually renews my interest for the game. Only that this time, there was a nasty surprise waiting for me.
The majority of my guild was rerolling to WoW. The reasons for doing so are solid. The weeks following the release of 1.4 saw the departure of many already bitter guildies, because they felt the RvR packs bring no new content besides more grind in the race to RR100. The career balance wasn’t getting addressed any time soon and the whole game felt stale. All of which still holds true. The guild warbands haven’t seen any serious opposition in ORvR in a long time (if the aegis bug was fixed it might have made a difference, as it oversimplified the game) and with the guild only really being alive when up against a challenge, there wasn’t much left to do. The RR84 bug didn’t help in keeping people interested either.
The management decided that instead of bleeding members and waiting for Mythic to fix the game, they would swap MMOs as a community. A sensible move.
The part where it went wrong for me, was the MMO they chose.
To put things into perspective: WoW was the first MMO I paid a subscription for, I’ve only played a few F2P MMOs before that. I was immediately drawn to it when it was announced and became quite a fanatic. Looking back at the original game, it seemed perfect. It had a bit of everything with a stereotypical fantasy setting to wrap it all in. I’ve played it with a few breaks from release to a few months after Sunwell Plateau was released in TBC. I can’t really think of a specific reason why I quit, but I suspect I was just tired of the game’s flaws and wanted to try something new. And while a break would usually fix that and have me happily playing again, I guess it didn’t work that time. Despite being asked to come back several times by former guildies, in-game and real-life friends who I’ve gotten into the game, I never did return.
Now a guild I immediately fell in love with in a game I used to love was starting fresh in WoW. I was torn. Whenever I contemplated going back to WoW all I saw were huge time sinks strewn about repetitive PvE content with PvP based on solo play and PvE performance (I’ll steal the expression “merry-go-round class balance”). Despite the promises of open world PvP and rated 15-player battlegrounds in Cataclysm, I know the only thing that can keep me from quitting the game after a month or two is the community. But with neither RL friends or a great guild being able to do so in the past, I doubt Crimson (despite at how awesome they are) could do it.
I decided I won’t risk the time and money investments to find that out. Despite my current relationship with WAR being that of me tolerating the game, I’ll stick with it and wait for some other game to get back together with the wonderful people of Crimson. I wish everyone that rerolled good luck, godspeed and that they have even more fun than they had in WAR.
It’s not all grim, though. A small contingent of us is staying in WAR. I foolishly and unfairly like to think of the group as the “elite” (more like the masochistic lot), just to keep me warm in my half abandoned guild halls, so forgive me guildies. We’re set on rebuilding and reforming the guild for small-scale play ( around two full groups) and waiting for something to happen. Which will either be:
- Mythic pulls the finger out of their asses, fixes WAR, rerollers return and we all play happily ever after,
- Mythic gives up on the game, either by putting it into maintenance mode (not the fake one) or shutting down the servers,
- a new MMO comes along and lures us away.
The most likely thing to happen is the third option, with EA being too greedy to shut down a game they invested so much into, but at the same time not giving Mythic enough resources to properly fix the game. There are a few highly anticipated MMOs coming out this or early next year, namely Dark Millenium Online, Rift and Guild Wars 2 (my favourite), that might steal WAR’s subscribers and force it into stagnation.
I realise most of the above can be seen as exactly the kind of negativity and doomsaying that I’ve been criticising in the past, but it really isn’t from my perspective. I’ve just seen most of a guild reroll from a game they love and are passionate enough about to participate in almost every scheduled content testing as an organised group, because they felt they weren’t having fun anymore and the developers weren’t listening to the community. And they’re not the only ones (have a gander over at WHA server forums).
That WAR is in a hard spot at the moment is an undeniable fact. That it is in this spot because of bad decisions the developers made is an opinion backed by more than two years of observing their work. That it doesn’t have much of a shot at becoming the game we want it to is another opinion based on recent developer (in)activity and some inside information. It may be the best open PvP game on the market, but since it’s also the only one, that isn’t saying much, is it? (Oh look, a ten year old game is making me eat my words.)
We persevere because there isn’t much else to do.
Also, I may be stealing a friends WoW account and returning with a report.