Has the Shattering failed to interest long-time players?

One thing that has struck me as interesting about my boredom with WoW as of late is that it's definitely not caused by lack of content. I've barely touched the revamped old world... but for some reason I don't feel a particular pull to do so either. I wonder how many other long-time players feel that way? I know that I've seen more than one "I'm quitting WoW" post in the past few months that acknowledged that the writer had not even bothered with levelling an alt through the new low-level content before calling it quits. Why is that? I mean, I know that the old world revamp was largely meant to ensure that the game would continue to be appealing to new players, but surely old-timers should be able to enjoy that new content too?

I know that as someone who's been playing WoW for four and a half years now and has had plenty of time to level alts during that time, the first problem I had at the advent of the Shattering was that I simply didn't have any empty character slots left on my home server. This meant that to have a look at the new lowbie zones at the appropriate level, I either had to delete another character that I was already attached to, or reroll on new server, starting over with no funds and no friends. Those things aren't equally problematic for everyone, but I was definitely put off by either prospect, and I still think that Blizzard made a mistake in not adding another two character slots or so per server when they released the Shattering. Lack of character slots might not be an issue that affects a huge number of players (I honestly don't know), but you can bet that people who have bothered to level that many characters have a huge investment in the game. Why alienate some of your biggest fans?

Still, when the Shattering actually happened, I was excited. Excited enough that I rolled up a troll druid on another server, lack of funds or friends be damned, and I had a grand old time. The starter zones were bustling and general chat was alive with chatter about all the changes and how people felt about them. It truly was like being a newbie all over again and I had a blast.

But then... the actual expansion came out. And while I agreed with the voices that found it a bit strange that Blizzard had split the new content like that, in hindsight I'm thinking that they actually should have taken it a step further. They should have made the Shattering a major content patch and then let us chew on it for a couple of months before releasing the 80+ content. Because as a long-time player, the moment the Cataclysm happened, I was suddenly faced with a choice: continue questing on my own on my new troll druid, or go level my eighties to the new endgame with my friends and guildies. If you're a social player like me, that wasn't really much of a choice.

Ever since then I keep meaning to go back to my little funky-coloured troll, but every time I log onto her I immediately miss my friends and find myself thinking about how I'm "wasting" valuable time that could be used to progress my main through the current endgame before it reaches its 4.1 "expiration date", and anyway, the new low-level content is going to be around for a while. It's kind of sad really.

If they had given us more time to play around in the shattered world before restarting the race to the last raid boss, I would have enjoyed it. Maybe some staunch "one character only" supporters would have grown bored during that time, but to be honest I know few people who don't have any alts whatsoever. I'm pretty sure that a lot more players could have been encouraged to give the revamped old world a try if that had truly been the focus of an entire patch cycle, and I'm convinced that most of them would have liked it, based on the bits that I've seen myself so far.

Good things rarely become popular purely on the basis of being good. People also need to hear about how good they are, and preferably have a chance to experience so first hand, especially if the new thing is something so new and strange that a majority might initially be skeptical about it more than anything else. Based on that, I do think that Blizzard kind of failed to direct old players towards the new low-level content, for the aforementioned reasons and then some:

- No additional character slots to allow the creation of new alts while still playing with your friends.

- Little time to focus on the new low-level content before the race for max level was on again.

- Low-level activities contributing hardly anything at all to guild levelling - if you want to help your guild, you've got to play at max level, not level alts.

- New content ending at sixty, leaving a large chunk of levelling content between sixty and eighty that rerollers have seen enough times before and that can cause them to their abandon their alts halfway through.

Of course, this entire argument hinges on me assuming that long-timers really aren't that excited by the Shattering, which is only based on my own observations. Personally I still see very few low-level characters in the cities on my home server, and most of the goblins I run into are obvious race-changes instead of newly levelled characters (as evidenced by them displaying mounts and titles that Blizzard stopped giving out a long time ago). If other people have different experiences (or similar ones for that matter), I'd like to hear about it.


  1. You're making some really good points. I'm personally approaching the 5 year mark (think with a few weeks) and while I do like the idea of the old (new?) world and want to see it all and experience it all I just can't seem to find the time/commitment to actually do it.

    Sure, I could go and do it on my main - but it feels a bit like a cheat and just isn't the same.

    I had all character slots taken on my home realm and I ended up deleting a 71 druid to make a new one to level in the revamped world. I kind of regret it though, because I really did like my 71 druid and now I can't quite look at the new worgen druid and enjoy her like I possibly could have, had she not come at the expense of another character.

    A lot of people don't seem to understand the attachment to characters. I read a big discussion about more character slots on MMO-Champion forums before Cataclysm was released and quite a few people didn't seem to understand the issue and just said to delete characters. Sure, I can.. but I do really like my characters even if I don't actively play them.

    Starting over on a new server is painful. I miss my friends, and even if I could get one or two to come along I'd miss my heirlooms and gold. Maybe if they made heirlooms truly Bind on Account so you could start a new toon on another server, but with heirlooms - it'd be an easier/more fun thing to do.

  2. Very good post. I agree, the time between the shattering and Cataclysm was one of the best time of WoW for me. It was like the good old time where WoW was a game and not a job. There were no important raids, no daily quests, no daily random, no gear or reputation farming treadmill. You could just play the game and enjoy it. Now every low level quest you do is a lost opportunity to dig up some shit or do some daily quest.


    Related to that, I think the reason that a lot of players are bored is that after 6 years of WoW we've learned that the only thing that counts in the game is the endgame. And the endgame is severely lacking at the moment.

    We only got 6 heroics and they are to easy (or to hard) for most people. TBC had many many heroics more and they had different difficulties. Only very few people were able to run Shattered Halls heroic in the beginning but Ramparts was easy doable.

    The normals dungeons are way to easy, their gear is irrelevant as you get the same from quests and don't need it for heroics anyway.

    That leaves raids which are to hard at the moment for most people and especially for alts. There is no easy raid. There are no 6 easy farm bosses. There is no raid that's trade-puggable. There is no "snack raid" like OS/0.

    People are bored because there is no content in the game for most people.

  3. Well i have played this game almost sins the beginning. To me Cataclysm really is a kick back tp the TBC era and i for one enjoy cata more than i enjoyed wrath. I kind of see where your comming from Shinny, but i think maybe what you and many other feels are just that we have seen it all before in some form or another.

    I am a raider and that is what i enjoy en the game. That is also the main reason why i think this expansion is a hell of a lot better than Wrath ever was.

    Sure the raid bosses are generally harder but its also a hell of a lot more fun, challenging and rewarding to get these bosses down.

    And yes alts can do these bosses to. I know of many people who are running these 10 man raids on alts now and are clearing 4, 5 or even 6 bosses.

  4. I'm not sure I agree completely, though you do make some excellent points. The Shattering and Cataclysm being two separate, yet really linked events has always felt strange, no doubt about it. But why can't you level your lowbies while still hanging out with your guildies? I don't think I've ever quested alongside guildmates from 80-85, so whether I'm 83 and leveling through Deepholm or 20 and leveling through Hillsbrad, it'd be the same social experience for me.

    (Of course, if you can't hang out with your guildmates because you had no empty slots and had to roll a character on another server, that makes sense. If that's the case I can definitely understand your point. More slots would have been nice.)

    Also, while it's true that low level characters don't help level the guild, they help out in other ways! A Copper Ore node gathered is just as valuable as a Pyrite node, when it comes to the 100,000 (or whatever the amount is) guild mining achievement. Same goes for fishing, herbing, etc. And if you're leveling a race/class combination that the guild doesn't yet have, it will be a nice benefit when you do eventually hit 85 for that achievement.

  5. @Saga: I can understand how you feel. I've only ever deleted two or three characters, and none of them were above level ten. I also think it's highly annoying when people dismiss the concerns of players who care about their alts just because they don't share the same preferences. That's akin to telling a raider who has issues with the the raid content that they should just go run five-mans instead.

    @Kring & petraeus: I'm actually not making a judgement about the Cataclysm (80+) content at all here. For the most part I find it very well done, and where I do have issues they are mostly due to Blizzard trying to merge TBC and WOTLK design principles in what I consider an awkward manner.

    This post was mostly meant to be about the Shattering aka the new low-level content, which I also think is very well done but which seems to receive very little attention. How many times have I seen comments about Cataclysm being an expansion "thin" on content because it only added five new levels? When in fact Blizzard has probably put more effort into it than into any other expansion before, except that anything not at the max level somehow doesn't seem to count. And worse yet, the developers themselves are encouraging this kind of thinking by letting all the new low-level content fall by the wayside instead of adding incentives for people to roll an alt.

    @Rades: You were one of the few people I could think of who play at the level cap but who have also blogged extensively about questing in low-level areas, the associated lore and so on, even after the actual Cataclysm launch.

    And yes, for me levelling alts equals loneliness because I have to do it on another server. Though even if I could do it with my guild, I think it would still be "lonelier" than max-level play, because even though I do a lot of soloing either way, at 85 I can jump into a guild heroic or whatever whenever it comes up. While levelling an alt it's unlikely that you'll have enough mates at just the right level to group up repeatedly, unless you're making a dedicated effort to level together or are in a levelling guild.

  6. Do long time players want low level content? No matter how fun it is? For raiders who walked to Molten Core? Across the lava? Both ways? Probably not. Even for people aren't raiders, the world is similar enough that it doesn't seem to offer enough newness. I loved the new Thousand Needles. A great mix of nostalgia and novelty. Dustwallow Marsh? Not so much. Un'goro? Same and different and fun all in one. What it should have been. Silithus? Seemed more boring than before. Maybe because I was in a rush to get that last level before jetting off to the unchanged Outland and Northrend.

    For people with so many alts they have to start on another server to try out the new worgen and goblin areas, I'm guessing the Shattering needs to have been bigger.

    For those who only vaguely remember all of the details of the old content, the change will be welcome and enjoyed more.

  7. Low-level activities contributing hardly anything at all to guild levelling - if you want to help your guild, you've got to play at max level, not level alts.

    This annoys me to no end. It's like Blizz being two-faced about wanting to you to experience the Shattered areas. They say they do, and they reworked the content, but you never actively contribute to a guild that way. Ever since Cata dropped, I think I got more Guild XP in my first Cata zone than through all of Outland and Northrend on my two alts.

    Something I've thought about that would have made things more interesting would be to delay the raid content until the 4.1 patch. That way, you've got people who leveled their mains and got them raid ready, but there's no pressure to show up and raid all the time. "Go ahead, check out the lowbie areas, we'll wait for you."

  8. 12 races in the game should mean 12 character slots per server, *minimum*. It seems pretty simple to me, and hardly something they wouldn't have seen coming.

  9. I think the greatest take-away from this very good, well-thought out post, is that you don't need to increase the level cap to add new and fun content.

    In fact, increase in level cap just kills the game faster: stat mudflation is already a humongous problem. They attempt to ignore "the race" aspect of the leveling scheme, falling on the argument that it is player choice and can't design around it. You must design around it; will players be reluctant to level fresh characters with the new races because they are afraid they will fall behind on your game? Why not let players finally be heroes--meaning if you reached level cap, you are still at level cap. The only change would be the addition of new and refreshing content.

    There's no need to add new levels at all. It just ages your game faster and makes balance even more impossible.

  10. Doone i couldn't agree less even if i tried. Jumping to a conclusion like that says more about what you want out of the game than what Blizzard have accomplished with Cataclysm.
    perspective is everything and of all the people i know in the game very very very few qould agree with you in this.

    When it comes to the original post by Shintar she might agree with some of your conclusions but i dont belive she will agree with you on your final comments.

  11. @Bill: I'm not sure whether I'm reading you correctly, but I would have thought that long-time players in particular would enjoy new low-level content. I mean, if you've only ever levelled through the old world once and can hardly even remember it, it shouldn't make much of a difference for you whether anything's been changed because it would feel new either way. It's those of us who already knew all the old quests by heart who can really appreciate everything that's changed.

    @Doone: I don't think I would go as far as saying that increasing the level cap doesn't matter at all. I just think that the way Blizzard split their own and the players' attentions in this case didn't work out so well, because for many it resulted in an either-or choice in terms of which content to tackle, and whichever half they picked probably felt like it was missing something.

  12. I've been playing for 6 years and you just precisely formulated my own thoughts about WoW. Does this herald the end? I wouldn't want that. But I've been turning these same questions over and over in my mind for weeks, no closer to the answer.