Changes That Crippled WoW
Watching a bunch of DDGuides Youtube videos, mainly the ranking list just reminded me so much of how far WoW has come and how old the game is. That and the videos tend to cover mistakes or simple irreversible changes the changed the game forever.
While WoW is still a great game and I'm probably returning for WoD, I just wanted to get a few things off my chest on what I personally think crippled the game in the long run in each Expansion that Blizzard might be able to avoid in the future. I didn't play MoP so I can't comment on it, nor discuss what might have fixed any of the issues I'm stating. I only condemn Blizzard for a few of these things, because like every company they had to innovate and come up with things to keep us interested. Some great, some good, some meh, while others in my opinion of disastrous.
The Burning Crusade
My personal favorite, though I never got to Black Temple it was clearly the expansion of the hardcore, and for casuals like myself to always have something work up to. The issues I think that stemmed from this expansion are rather minor in comparison to the others however.
Flying mounts - Introduced as an awesome feature, provided amazing amounts of convenience even if you just had the lousy 60% speed one. However it somewhat shrunk the world and pretty much killed world PvP. While saying it made the world smaller is me just being petty. I could never get tired of flying around places like Nagrand and enjoying it's beauty and landing whenever something caught your interest.
However since people no longer had to be on foot, it made erupting sporadic PvP quarrels in flying zones nearly impossible. If anything gankers (who were the catalyst of it) would just prey on those in daily quest hubs which would just be frustrating. Now World PvP was very flawed, no graveyard resser, long death timers, a whole lot of lag, but it kind of bought that MMO feeling in, that there was a world around you. Just as you were ready to log off cause there was nothing to do you hear someone go "Lots of Horde in STV come quick!" and you rush to the challenge. Which leads up to the next thing.
Resilience Gear - I feel this caused a total split in the WoW community, between PvP and PvE. I found in Vanilla and TBC I always had something to do in terms of progressing my character PvE wise, and since I didn't PvP much back then it made entering BGs painful when I ever did. Back in Vanilla I PvP'd far more, but I could also PvP with my more PvE orientated friends, we would just do BGs for fun and have fun. In TBC and Wrath that wasn't so easy due to the gear requirement. Worst part is in quest hubs like Sunwell Isle you could get easily bullied by players decked out in S4 or S3 gear. It was like being level 70 against a level 80. I did a lot of PvPing in WoTLK so I had the needed gear but once again my friends couldn't enjoy themselves just doing BGs at random because they lacked the gear for it. Hell I even remember being decked out as a full Wrathful Warrior feeling like a Dynasty Warrior as I shredded through poor players just trying to gear up.
Wrath of the Lich King
While not my absolute favorite, I definetly had the most fun in this one. It created a great balance for both casuals and hardcore. Considered among the favorites of the expansions and certainly most popular, I think it presented the massive flaws that truely lead up to the disaster in Cataclysm.
Heroic 5 Man AoE fest - This is a change I truely condemn Blizzard for and one I still don't understand to this date. If I recall correctly they stated they wanted 5 man Heroics to take about an hour to clear while promoting Wrath. So all they had to do was reduce the number of trash mobs really. I mean Shattered Halls and Shadow Labs was absurd. But the difficulty of these "Heroics" were nearly non existent. While TBC Heroics were brutal (especially at launch) and could have been tweeked down, they taught you the basic raiding fundamentals. Watching your aggro, tanking multiple mobs, mana management, CCing and re-CCing, then acting on the fly when things got ugly, whether the hunter had to kite like crazy, the warlock had to pull out his succy and start seducng and fear dotting like crazy etc. They also taught you how to innovate due to their challenge. I remember having a Rogue in Blood Furnace who instead of worrying about his DPS on those Fel Guard Destroyers he would simply stun lock one to mitigate damage to the tank.
One could argue that it was this drastic change that truly lead up to the spoiled "Wrath Baby." Having never learned how to truly utilize their abilities and only being challenged so much in Naxx which was just another AoE fest lead to a massive amount of QQ when things actually got tough. Remember how an actually challenging 5 man like the final Icecrown one was received? Where god forbid you might actually need to CC things. Challenging 5-mans also allowed one to find talented players to either friend or recruit to your guild. In Wrath only thing you could go by were damage meters, you couldn't judge any other ability though. This ties in with the next thing.
Looking For Group - Can't condemn Blizzard for this, it was an awesome idea truly. I loved it when it first came out due to it's convenience, but it had some seriously long term affects that we got a preview of in Halls of Reflection. After spoiling the community with jokes for 5-mans it was very hard to just throw 5 randoms into a challenging dungeon and get things done.
Next it kind of turned this game from an MMO into a dungeon crawler. Before at least two people needed to get to the summoning stone, this was also a spot where potential PvP could break out, and once again as an MMO I can appreciate the inconsistency within the world. It was just another way to nearly never have to leave the capital since it simply ported you there.
Finally it kind of butchered the community of a server. No longer was your name important to anyone outside of your guild. You could be a total prick to everyone in your party because chances are you would never see them again. Something you see in a lot of games like League of Legends. Your reputation was important in WoW, during Vanilla and TBC. I actually got kicked from a guild in Vanilla due to apparently having a sour one. WoW is what you make of it at the end of the day, and one can still form their own communities, but it just doesn't come quite as natural as it used to. With all the FTP games out there and WoW losing that MMO feeling to it just makes me think that the sub fee just isn't worth it anymore.
Once again a lot of the heat Cata got in large part in my opinion stemmed from decisions in Wrath, they tried to make Heroic's challenging again, and I thought the tuning was perfect. As a tank as long as I bought one of my friends to carry the DPS and due his part in CC I had no issues. But for others the damage from LFG and easy Heroics of WoTLK was done. You couldn't just throw 5 randoms into something challenging anymore. That tied along with you could just port to any of the Cata quest hubs made it even more so that the world just got smaller. And sure DS sucked, but it's not the first bad raid Blizz came up with, I can still respect the effort of the idea. (unlike ToC...) To be honest the one and only thing that I truly condemn Blizzard for in Cata and probably the worst idea they have ever come up with ever since that Real Name ID crap is...
Looking For Raid - Many of you already know how I feel about this. Not sure how it was changed in MoP but I tell you I think DS might have actually been far better had we not already killed everything in the place already while alt tabbed. I was casual at the time and thought it would a 10 man experience tuned to about Kara/Naxx level and give some 10 man content to those of us that didn't have time to commit to raiding. I was wrong...very wrong.
It was just a loot pinata, for all the casual friendly stuff they implemented since WoTLK this clearly went too far. There were plenty of ways for casuals to experience content. You had GDKP runs, and then Blizzard would inevitably implement the controversial 30% buff all fine. But LFG wasn't experiencing content, I was better off watching a Youtube video. What made raiding so great was the trial and error of getting things right with the right people and the satisfaction of finally seeing that boss drop. I think Blizzard forgot that when they implemented this and should have really just scrapped it. The fact that I had to log on every week and due this thing to keep up in gear with others is pretty much what made me stop logging on at all.
Regardless I will never stop loving this game.