There has been much talk, lately, of the recent sharp decline in WoW subscription numbers and the related idea of content, or lack thereof. Now on the one hand, I feel sort of… not qualified to talk about this because honestly I’m pretty satisfied with this expansion (I wouldn’t be playing and blogging if I wasn’t!) and I’m also enjoying what I’ve seen of Blackrock Foundry so far. However, I started to think a little, and it hit me that something has, indeed, been missing from the game – for me, anyway.
Long ago, when I was new to this game, the prevailing feeling was that there was always something up ahead. Something to aspire to. Something to claw my way towards. First it was a mount. Then it was Ice Barbed Spear from Alterac Valley. Then it was an epic mount. Then it was max level. Then it was instances, and heroics. Then it was Karazhan, glorious Karazhan. By that point there was about a year left in the lifespan of Burning Crusade, and I felt that the impending new expansion was moving towards me much, much too quickly. I still had TONS of raids left to do! Heck, I still had Heroics I hadn’t done! (Shattered Halls, I’m looking at you.) How could I finish it all in just one year?
You see, raids back then were not terribly accessible. It was normal for an average guild to languish in tier four raids for months or even years. Was it frustrating? A little. But what it did do was give me a big ol’ carrot on a stick. And I loved it.
Wrath of the Lich King hit – I never did finish all the TBC raids – and I loved the new expac. I even got in with a progression guild and did all sorts of content when it was new. It was pretty neat. But then I quit. Why? Well, partially because I wanted to play other video games. But also partially, I think, because it was the last raid of the expansion and there was nothing left to chase. There was still a ton of content that I hadn’t touched at the end of TBC. Not so much at the end of WotLK.
This isn’t to say that I don’t like accessible content. I love it, I think they it’s a great idea, and LFR gives someone like me – with a really weird work schedule – a way to see the raids.
But I do sort of wonder if maybe there’s something to be said for a goal that’s just out of reach…
Something that we can continue to aspire to, even eight years later.