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  1. #141
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    Pre-Cataclysm wasn't really a baseline, though, as Wrath was in doldrums and pre-xpac lull was set it pretty strongly. Returning back to a lower baseline is quite normal, but I don't think people expected to go back to late-xpac numbers by February. I would have hoped that servers would stay a bit more active than that.

    Don't think anyone is using it to point out a exodus, just using it to point out a very quick content burn and lack of online activity. May not have affected subs much at all, but it's something that has been noticed in the game itself. We'll see how much of a bump 4.1 give them--they are pushing it very hard. It's the first time in a while I've gotten e-mails offering 7 days free gametime to all my inactive accounts. (Have a few old ones from the US and an account I moved the character off of.)

    And yeah, Reev, that certainly contributes. We cut a day off of our raid schedule that we'd maintained since classic without feeling any real negative consequences to our progression.
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  2. #142
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    As a follow-up to the numbers--and with somewhat fortuitous timing--browsing Kotaku a moment ago had this very topic as their lead story.

    Six months after buzz for the Cataclysm expansion drove World of Warcraft numbers to an all-time high, Blizzard reports the lowest subscription figures for the massively multiplayer game since December of 2008.

    During the Activision Blizzard first quarter 2011 financial results conference call today, Blizzard president and co-founder Mike Morhaime told us that as of March of this year, World of Warcraft numbers had "returned to pre-Cataclysm levels in the West," which is a rather nice way of saying dropped considerably.

    In October 2010, two months before the release of the Cataclysm expansion pack, Blizzard reported that World of Warcraft had exceeded 12 million subscribers. Today Morhaime gave a figure of 11.4 million. That's 600,000 subscribers gone.

    Morhaime said that subscriptions had returned to pre-Cataclysm levels. They've nearly dropped to pre-Wrath of the Lich King levels, to be accurate. A month after the second expansion pack's November 2008 release, subscription rates hit 11.5 million. A little over two months' prior they had just hit 11 million.
    So, I guess it's fair to say the WoWCensus figures are a fairly accurate portrayal of the situation--or perhaps even slightly optimistic given a drop of 600k below pre-Cataclysm levels.

    It's not as if WoW will die any time soon--that's nearly impossible--so any such comments would be ridiculous. But it is a clear enough sign that what they are doing right now probably isn't working as well as it could.
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  3. #143
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    Wow is one of the least grind-y MMO's in existence, yes? Ive been playing on-and-off since launch (missed the period between early TBC and 3.3 wrath) and the content has just gotten better and better in terms of removing the mindless grind the game used to require, particularly in the ease of getting dungeon groups together, less mindless repetition involved in earning rep for factions and the improvements made to questlines... I have to conclude that anyone looking back on the grind of classic wow with genuine nostalgia has either pretty severe OCD or a pretty bad memory.

    I dont think a legitimate argument can be made that there is less new content in wrath or cata; it just seems less because there are fewer artificial game-lengthening mechanics than there used to be. That's ALL there is less of : less bullshit to trick you into thinking a repetitive, unbalanced game is 'challenging'.

    The only reasons anyone has for getting bored of WoW is :
    A) Because the hurdles for entry into raiding are lower than theyve ever been (while the raid bosses themselves are arguably more complex and challenging than theyve ever been, not merely obfuscating their simplicity with logicstical requirements like the 40 man raids, or requiring players to gear up through previous tiers of raid content before even setting foot inside). Players can reach the gear requirements for raiding within days of reaching 85 through running heroics via the DFT and they dont need to stuff around with 'attunement' pre-quests either.
    B) Because they focus too much on a single aspect (in this case raiding) while neglecting other major aspects of the game such as : achievements, pvp, economics, alts, RP, leadership/organisation, socialisation, just to name a few. I guarantee you many of the players who flash through raid content then lapse their subscriptions havent actually dedicated much time exploring all the content WoW truly has to offer; their guilds are likely focused on raiding without much of a social aspect so when raid progression slows or stops, they have nothing to log in for.
    C) Burnout. Sometimes its just unavoidable, and a game cannot be considered a failure just because it cant hold the interest of every player for over 6 years running... people grow and evolve over time, there is nothing unnatural about a person desiring a change in scenery and leaving to explore greener pastures, even if they are only chasing a mirage. One game cannot be expected to be the only game you would ever want to play for the rest of your life; yet some players talk about it like it should be.

    So basically, my conclusion is that the game is actually better than ever, its just a small but vocal minority of the players whose discontent is largely the result of their own lack of perspective.

  4. #144
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    Isn't your A) a manifestation of the removal of barriers that you mention, though? Wouldn't B) be as well, when raiding becomes the main remaining content? (Economics don't really matter because of the ease of everything as well, and socialization falls to the wayside because people are online less for similar reasons.)

    One can take grinding too far, but having to 'work' for things isn't always worse than otherwise. You classify it as 'tricking' the player? That's pretty much right, honestly. All video games do this. Games are about illusion. The whole game is a 'trick' from start to finish--and that illusion of progress, need, and rationale for spending time on things is what makes the world go round.

    Although each decision to remove something 'grindy' or 'annoying' may be well-founded or well-recieved in a vacuum, that doesn't mean it's always better for the long-term of the game. At the very least, the void needs to be filled. If you are going to remove the illusionary content, you need to replace it with either different illusions or new content to fill the gap. Otherwise all you are doing is slimming down the game.

    I take a very analytical view when talking about MMOs. I have played pretty much all of them and I'm not being particularly nostalgic. WoW is the only one I've played for this long, but I've played many for rather extended periods of time. WoW has done a lot of things right from start to finish compared to the older MMO model--which is why it's been so successful over the years. WoW Classic certainly had some serious flaws, but it got a lot of things right as well. It's not just about the individual elements, but the whole picture of how an MMO operates. IMO, the last few years of WoW have really taken a step back in how the game operates as an MMO, and the structure of content has largely been the major culprit from my point of view.

    Either way, it's hard to see an argument for not simply providing more content. How could it possibly hurt? People are obviously running out of stuff to do very quickly at all tiers of play, so there has to be an answer to it beyond just revamping old dungeons.
    Last edited by Kojiyama; 05-09-2011 at 05:37 PM.
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  5. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    Either way, it's hard to see an argument for not simply providing more content. How could it possibly hurt? People are obviously running out of stuff to do very quickly at all tiers of play, so there has to be an answer to it beyond just revamping old dungeons.
    Actually, if a lot of the current people haven't done all the new content yet, and even normal modes haven't been cleared by everyone yet, and 4.2 is due before too awful long, then making even more content just to satisfy the small percentage that's bored really isn't cost-effective. 600K out of 12 million is only 5%, after all. Investing in 'new' content for that 5% over and above heroic modes isn't what Blizzard's interested in.

    As mentioned above, the main people unhappy right now are the people who slam through content as fast as they can, and then complain that they're bored. If they, plus the burnouts, make up 5% of the playerbase, and those leave, and Blizzard can change direction to keep more of the rest happy, then they'll accept that cost.

    Again, "People are obviously running out of stuff to do very quickly" is VERY subjective. Maybe it seems that way to you and your friends, but I have a guild that's very happy in Cata, and has yet to run out of things to do, so I and many people I know see it differently. Koji, you are of course very entitled to your opinion, but neither you nor I can claim to speak for everyone, or for what Blizzard is aiming for.
    Last edited by mavfin; 05-09-2011 at 06:16 PM.

  6. #146
    As mentioned above, the main people unhappy right now are the people who slam through content as fast as they can, and then complain that they're bored. If 5% of those leave, and Blizzard can change direction to keep more of the rest happy, then they'll accept that cost.
    The problem is that it's not even those people doing the complaining. At least in this thread there seems to be a lot of, "Well my guild is 12/12 normal now but heroics are just the same thing so we're not bothering." kind of attitude. Because heroic modes are just recycled content.

  7. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    I believe various WoWCensus reports have shown a distinct drop in active players online at any given time. Remember running across some stuff a while back on that.

    http://www.warcraftrealms.com/weekly...hp?serverid=-1
    http://www.warcraftrealms.com/weekly...hp?serverid=-1
    As a note, those numbers don't appear to be very accurate. A cursory glance at a few different servers showed it was missing quite a few guilds and lacking data for some servers as a whole. I'm not sure it's very valid data.
    Last edited by jere; 05-09-2011 at 08:04 PM.

  8. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama
    Economics don't really matter because of the ease of everything as well, and socialization falls to the wayside because people are online less for similar reasons.
    Economics is a game unto itself; have you never heard of 'playing the AH'? some people accumulate gold as an exercise in and of itself, and yes actually you can always find something to spend it on. You might have noticed Blizzard released that remote AH app a while ago; as we speak people are buying and selling, making a profit and enjoying every minute of it.
    As for your disparaging of the social aspects of WoW; I think we've found your problem... you dont get involved in the game beyond a superficial interest in raiding, and as such you cant really claim to be taking proper advantage of all WoW has to offer you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama
    One can take grinding too far, but having to 'work' for things isn't always worse than otherwise. You classify it as 'tricking' the player? That's pretty much right, honestly. All video games do this. Games are about illusion. The whole game is a 'trick' from start to finish--and that illusion of progress, need, and rationale for spending time on things is what makes the world go round.

    Although each decision to remove something 'grindy' or 'annoying' may be well-founded or well-recieved in a vacuum, that doesn't mean it's always better for the long-term of the game. At the very least, the void needs to be filled. If you are going to remove the illusionary content, you need to replace it with either different illusions or new content to fill the gap. Otherwise all you are doing is slimming down the game.

    I take a very analytical view when talking about MMOs. I have played pretty much all of them and I'm not being particularly nostalgic. WoW is the only one I've played for this long, but I've played many for rather extended periods of time. WoW has done a lot of things right from start to finish compared to the older MMO model--which is why it's been so successful over the years. WoW Classic certainly had some serious flaws, but it got a lot of things right as well. It's not just about the individual elements, but the whole picture of how an MMO operates. IMO, the last few years of WoW have really taken a step back in how the game operates as an MMO, and the structure of content has largely been the major culprit from my point of view.
    You seem to be missing one major contributing factor in your analysis; yourself. Why havent you considered that... despite being the best MMO you've played (having sampled quite a few) that it nonetheless fails to hold your interest indefinitely could be a sign that the game is not built solely for your personal amusement? I know it probably comes as quite a shock, but Blizzard has other customers whose time is valuable enough to justify not wasting, grinding away at filler-content to get to the good bits of the game.
    The problem as I see it is this : past MMOs have conditioned you to expect pointless grind. Thats because past MMOs didnt have a fraction of the quality content Blizzard has consistently delivered; they needed grind to balance up a rather lopsided 'quality over quantity' formula... and while classic WoW started out a bit grindy, it seems Blizzard has finally come around to the realisation that they dont need it! their game is good enough without needing to pack it full of sawdust to give it the illusion of fullness. But hey, some people develope a taste for sawdust over the years; have you ever played an asian MMO? grind coming out the wazoo and their millions of subscribers love it, because they dont know any better!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama
    Either way, it's hard to see an argument for not simply providing more content. How could it possibly hurt? People are obviously running out of stuff to do very quickly at all tiers of play, so there has to be an answer to it beyond just revamping old dungeons.
    How about this for an argument: requests for 'more content!' are a moving goal-post. The truly hardcore will always defeat content under a timeframe which leaves them nothing left to do but rest on their laurels for months waiting for the next batch of content to arrive.
    Additionally I see no 'obvious' indicators of mass boredom... maybe its just your personal, limited, subjective experience making you think that?

  9. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefius View Post
    How about this for an argument: requests for 'more content!' are a moving goal-post. The truly hardcore will always defeat content under a timeframe which leaves them nothing left to do but rest on their laurels for months waiting for the next batch of content to arrive.
    Additionally I see no 'obvious' indicators of mass boredom... maybe its just your personal, limited, subjective experience making you think that?
    Or it could be the quoted post above where Blizzard admits they've probably shed upwards of a million subs in the last 4 months is not really subjective?

    Honestly, the people who blaim this on 'QQ' or 'limited experience' just aren't looking around. It's not hard to see the activity levels drop on servers or see people quit.

    It's also not hard to see the completion rate for raids and dungeons right now is signifcantly higher than any time in the past, and given the limited time-frame that it's happened it's not rocket science to come to the conclusion that there are going to be a lot more people bored than any time in the past.

    Adding up the available content and seeing that it, in and of itself, is not as big as other times in the past is also completely objective.

    To me, I think those of you who dismiss these points out of hand are in a little bit of denial. They are completely backed up by numbers.
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  10. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by jere View Post
    As a note, those numbers don't appear to be very accurate. A cursory glance at a few different servers showed it was missing quite a few guilds and lacking data for some servers as a whole. I'm not sure it's very valid data.
    I've looked through them a few times and I'm pretty sure they are statistically accurate in a broad sense. The display pages don't display all the data they harvest and they seem to have a high enough cross-section of the population (not all servers have equal data, that's true--since it's opt-in) that it seems resonably accurate.

    The fact that the activity graph almost perfectly matches the official numbers quoted by Blizzard in terms of the drop-off gives me more confidence in the numbers than I had the other day when I looked at it.
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  11. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    It's not as if WoW will die any time soon--that's nearly impossible--so any such comments would be ridiculous. But it is a clear enough sign that what they are doing right now probably isn't working as well as it could.
    To jump into it in the middle - I'm a wrath baby - born and raised on my first MMO in WotLK, started maybe 3-5 months after Wrath dropped. My impression as a newish player is there is almost TOO much to do and almost TOO much to be done before raiding.

    There's what, 12000 achievement points out there, if you're into doing that. 10 classes, 8 crafting professions and 3 gathering professions and 5 secondary professions.

    There are currently dozens of dungeons and what, 25 raids? Then add in PvP.

    As a new player, it's almost overwhelming if you stop and think about it. I still find myself, even nearly 2 years in now, feeling like I'm being pulled in many directions in what I want to see... For anyone interested, there is a nearly paralzying amount of stuff to do.

    And juxtaposed against this is the player who has been playing from beta (as so many claim), who had multiple level 60 toons at TBC dropped and more level 70 toons at Wrath's Drop and had maxed every profession and toon out by the time Cata dropped.

    These two populations I think point to an inherent issue in MMOs. They grow too big to keep new players interested because of the sheer volume of time investment required to reach 'raid ready' and you have another group of players who are bored of grabbing easter eggs for the 5th year in a row, for whom raids are the only reason to play because, they've done it all before.

    As time goes on, these two groups grow farther apart.

    So newer players like myself appreciate things becoming less grinding, so we can catch up with the old guard and the veterans lose interest because it doesn't take the same effort it took before to stay progression oriented.

    Eventually the gap becomes so large the pendulum just can't swing between the two sides anymore. In a way, every MMO would seem to be destined for this big rip where the game just isn't appealing to the new player base because the time investment is so daunting and is not appelling to the old guard because the time investment is so minimal.


    There will always be players in between for whom the game feels right, but as the gap grows larger, there are fewer and fewer of them.

    WoW hasn't hit it yet, but I wonder what that point is where the two sides become too far from the target middle Blizz is trying for... And really, what, if anything, can be done to prevent that from being the fate of any MMO.
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  12. #152
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    You make some perfectly fair points, indeed. I'd say the fact that WoW's subscription base hasn't really changed since a few months before Wrath launched (which is, what, a good 3 years now?) despite lots of sales and marketing pushes clearly illustrates the issue you describe.

    Only Blizzard knows if their lack of growth is due to failure to capture the new players or a loss of older players as they alter the game. Realistically it could be either (or a mix of both, as compromise doesn't always work as a retainment strategy) and we don't really have any data to show which is which. The end of TBC was also the end of their large growth in subs--and it seems clear that with the Wrath+ model they reached a saturation point where efforts to tailor the game to different players became mutually exclusive.

    I feel a bit differently about this argument having seen Blizzard come forward with actual figures yesterday. It's very rare that they ever admit an actual number in the reduction of subscribers in the game. In fact, I think it may be the first time they've ever given an actual figure that was a decrease. (Not because they've never dropped before--but just because they never spoke about it.)

    The fact that they are coming out and mentioning these sub drops means they are likely to take it seriously and try to sort out why people dropped Cataclysm so fast. My feeling is they will come to the conclusion that some of their game mechanic models are simply not adaquate for retaining and keeping players engaged in the game, but who knows. It will be interesting to see what effort they make to reclaim the numbers.
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  13. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    Or it could be the quoted post above where Blizzard admits they've probably shed upwards of a million subs in the last 4 months is not really subjective?

    Honestly, the people who blaim this on 'QQ' or 'limited experience' just aren't looking around. It's not hard to see the activity levels drop on servers or see people quit.

    It's also not hard to see the completion rate for raids and dungeons right now is signifcantly higher than any time in the past, and given the limited time-frame that it's happened it's not rocket science to come to the conclusion that there are going to be a lot more people bored than any time in the past.

    Adding up the available content and seeing that it, in and of itself, is not as big as other times in the past is also completely objective.

    To me, I think those of you who dismiss these points out of hand are in a little bit of denial. They are completely backed up by numbers.
    Correlation does not equal causation. Thats some pretty basic science right there; yay for learning!

    What that means is, you are connecting two unrelated facts; a drop in subscriptions and QQing on the forums over a specific issue without any supporting evidence to link them.

    Thus, your conclusion is invalid. Sorry, also science!

    Looking at those graphs, I find a few problems involved in using them to draw any conclusions: firstly, they are for player activity and not active subscriptions. Some of the activity drops can be attributed to satisfied players like myself who simply found themselves spending less time active in wow once they had completed the new questing content and attained raid readiness from their gear. Im an active raider, and my activity would have dropped sharply since the holiday period ended; because I had to go back to work/study, not for lack of things to do in WoW.
    There is no way to tell how much of the activity drop can be attributed to dissatisfied raiders, let alone raiders who have completed the current tier of raid content.

    http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/05/09/wo...ers/#continued

    Okay so that is the article which states WoW has lost 600,000 subscribers, from its peak of 12mil, NOT lost 'upwards of a million subs', way to misrepresent statistics there. The same article also offers explanations, most prominent being that the poll was taken in March, around the time RIFT launched so there were bound to be some wow subscribers who jumped ship, only to eventually make their way back to us clinging to a bit of RIFT wreckage no doubt.

    Lastly, you provide no evidence to suggest that hardcore raiders are leaving the game; sure we get the odd one like you who is all "I havent renewed my subscription! Im still playing and QQing on the forums and will continue to do so up until the last minute and I will probably resubscribe but I may not!!!", but I think by and large the hardcores are anticipating 4.2, in fact most of them are probably on the PTR testing it right now, not looking for a new game to play.
    Last edited by Beefius; 05-10-2011 at 03:09 AM.

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    Thats just not true. You people keep criticizing and questioning all indicators, which is okay. But there are no facts to support the opposite side. Player activity, personal experience, Blizzard statements (or lack thereof), subscription numbers - all these things have indicated that in fact not all was great since WotLK launched, no, quite the opposite. And all the other side of the argument comes up with is "but you donīt know for sure, eh?". Well, no we donīt. But at some point it becomes a question of probability.

    Every data we have suggested for years, basically since 2-3 months into WotLK, that the either a) less players played the game and/or b) the players played significantly less. I think it is clear that these effects donīt happen to a game that is (supposedly) getting much better overall. The overall subscription numbers kept looking okay (=stagnating) only because WoW in China (which is basically 2 years behind the rest of the world) was booming, so in reality weīre talking probably something in the range of ~4 million subscriptions in EUrope and the US (instead of 6 million two years ago). Which absolutely correlates with the approximate drop of 30-40% of player acitvity compared to the start of WotLK.

    But yeah, its all a mere coincidence! /facepalm

    To say that design choices donīt have anything to do with how a game fares in terms of customer happiness, player activity and, ultimately, subscriptions is just stipid, sorry.

    There is no way to tell how much of the activity drop can be attributed to dissatisfied raiders, let alone raiders who have completed the current tier of raid content.
    Thats the point that people like you donīt seem to get, no matter how often one tries to bring it across. This is not about "raiders". This is about the overall developement and state of the game.

    Most of the players donīt raid and never will, they donīt care. For these players there hasnīt been any meaningful content for years, just more and more changes to make them raid. The whole concept of "one (form of) content for all players" is destined to fail. What you have to do is provide "content for all (form of) players".

    This is about providing content for every player, no matter what specific interests he has. This is about a working and consinstent progression path from leveling to dungeons, to heroic dungeons to raids and, ultimately, hardmodes that actually puts players in the position to really progress themselves - personally (getting better, learning, getting more knowledgeable, get to know other palyers etc.) and in terms of the game (leveling, experiencing new stuff, progressing interms of bosses/dungeons/raids).

    Lastly, you provide no evidence to suggest that hardcore raiders are leaving the game; sure we get the odd one like you who is all "I havent renewed my subscription!
    I donīt know how you could apart from personal experience. I can just say that out of the original 15 people I wanted to raid with, 6 have quit Catalysm as of now - and the reason is the content respectively the lack of content.

    There is not a single player in one of our two 10-man groups that hasnīt played since befor WotLK, we donīt get applications, nothing. So acutally I donīt think there a coming new people to "hardcore" raiding, either. Mind you, this is for a well-known and respected guild with a fantastic atmosphere, a light raiding schedule with relatively good progression (raid1: 1-2 days, 9/13 and raid2: 2-3 days, 5/13). We canīt get any new players.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    I've looked through them a few times and I'm pretty sure they are statistically accurate in a broad sense. The display pages don't display all the data they harvest and they seem to have a high enough cross-section of the population (not all servers have equal data, that's true--since it's opt-in) that it seems resonably accurate.

    The fact that the activity graph almost perfectly matches the official numbers quoted by Blizzard in terms of the drop-off gives me more confidence in the numbers than I had the other day when I looked at it.
    It only really shows data on those who raid (and report), which leaves out a pretty important target base for this discussion (those people who don't raid much and whose end game is 5mans).

    I never have seen those numbers from blizzard though, what was the link for those?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    I think it's a bit unfair to try to lump everyone together and brush it aside as 'QQ'. Recycling of content has been far more of an issue in Cataclysm compared to previous expansions so it is not too surprising that some will seriously question its relative value in the game.

    Between the heroic model, the two old 5-mans, ZA, and ZG, it's safe to say that almost half of the entire endgame content in the game right now is 'recycled' to some degree. This is quite a far way away from, for instance, TBC where basically everything was unique. I don't think it's too shocking that there are a number of people that preferred that model.
    Like I said before you are one of those people that "Has to have" a new continent or portal to another world in order for you to see something as new.
    Then when you get that complain that "the old stuff was better" and say they should have done that again.

    Clearly you are complaining for the sake of complaining!
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    It only really shows data on those who raid (and report), which leaves out a pretty important target base for this discussion (those people who don't raid much and whose end game is 5mans).
    Thats not true. What you refer to is wowprogress.com, not warcraftrealms.com. The latter, and were are talking about thos numbers here, needs only one player per faction and server and scans all active characters from level 10-85 on that server and faction.

    Another thing to keep in mind is this: this 600,000 drop-off is from the end of march. Does anyone believe this trend stopped during the last weeks?

    @ Uranos7

    Like I said before you are one of those people that "Has to have" a new continent or portal to another world in order for you to see something as new.
    Then when you get that complain that "the old stuff was better" and say they should have done that again.

    Clearly you are complaining for the sake of complaining!
    Cleary you are not able to read and/or understand what other people write.

    Whats your definiton of new content? Retuning a dungeon from 10 players to 5 players is brand-new content? Revamping - even with more or less severe changes - something is brand-new content? Adding a counter for how many pets/mounts you collect is brand-new content?

    We all agree that there is new content and thats it is really good and we like it. Weīre just saying there is not enough of it and a lot of people agree. How can you belittle that?

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    K, this thread has done it's course. There are two camps that do not seem to agree with each other and in the end, it's starting to turn into a mess. I've already had to moderate this thread once. This ends now.

    Thread closed.

    Tankspot Moderator
    Twitter: Follow me on Twitter! @Krenian

    "Damnit!" - Jack Bauer, 24


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