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.