Monday, January 16, 2006

Nerfing the hand that feeds.

WoW has enjoyed a great run of success. Millions of people play this game across the globe. WoW has shown the MMO market to be much larger in the US than previously believed. The question discussed on countless websites over the last several months has been, why?

One of the key elements that many believe have contributed to this success is the appeal to casual gamers. I don't want to talk about defining "casual gamer". Instead I'm just going to assume you have a couple of brain cells to smack together and can therefore figure out that playing 3+ hours a day, while not hardcore, is not really casual.

So pretend for a moment you are Joe Casual. You pay a monthly subscription of $15 a month to play WoW. You could go buy yourself a different used console game every month for the same price. You would be quite entertained with a new experience on your console each month. Or you could almost buy the latest DVD each month. There are a number of other mildly entertaining options you could choose to spend your dough on. Would these other options entertain you for the same amount of time you spend in WoW? You Betcha. You're a busy guy you only get to watch one movie a weekend anyway, or play video games for abour 30 minutes to an hour each night. Maybe you save up that time to play 4 hours just one night a week.

Instead of all of the other things you could be doing with your time and money you have chosen to play WoW. Not a bad choice considering you can actually accomplish something meaningful in the span of an hour each night. That is until the "Queue".

Now it takes you 10-30 minutes just to log on to your server anymore. You could start a new character of a different class or faction on a less populated server. I think many of you Mr. Casuals might go for that...for at least a while. You will want to get through the rest of your main characters "story" at some point. Dismayed by the log in times, your just get frustrated instead.

Last time I checked, it was bad business to make your product unusable to the majority of your customers.

Are the horribly long "Queue" times the beginning of the end for Blizzards WoW? I don't want to sound like I'm preaching doom and gloom and the final days for WoW, it's not like AC2 or something. It won't come skidding to a halt. The effects I'm talking about will take months before it's noticed really, and then it would take years before servers started closing. The great juggernaut that is World of Warcraft has found an enemy, that enemy is Blizzard. Luckily they're the antidote as well eh?


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