While I was away, Stubborn of Sheep the Diamond, wrote a great post discussing his feelings about whether to resub to World of Warcraft. I have to say I empathise a lot with this post and the powerful, lingering effect this monolithic MMO has on me as a player.
WoW feels like an MMO home to me, a place to leave but to return to, and that’s not changed at all.
Like Stubborn I am considering resubbing again at some point in the future. The new flexi-raiding model that Blizzard has announced might be enough to tempt me back as it would offer a much more palatable way for me to progress the legendary quest line (which currently involves a good many Raid Finder or Raid runs). Personally I find Raid Finder to be an abhorrent experience and I find normal mode raiding too stressful (at least 10 man). There are also friends and members of my family who want to still play with me and that’s the biggest draw of all I guess. Like Stubborn though going back won’t be the same as it was in the past – my old friends & family guild is mostly defunct now. I played through Mists earlier in the year as a member of a larger more active guild but somehow it’s not the same.
Also at the back of my mind is my fundamental dislike with the direction the game has taken. The overemphasis on dailies and achievements, on grinding gear over exploring a world saddens me no end every time I play.
There’s also the problem that I simply find Everquest 2 and Guild Wars 2 to be better games (for me personally). Everquest 2 has a vast amount of content (like WoW) but it also has more engaging crafting, a superlative housing system and a lot less of the rabid simplifications that WoW has undergone in recent years.
Guild Wars 2 in contrast offers a beautiful, explorable world with the easiest “random play session with friends” experience of any MMO I’ve played. It doesn’t matter what anyone’s level is; there’ll be something you can do together with minimal preparation and regardless of actual group size. It also feels very different to play than most contemporary MMOs.
So I may at some point be tempted back to WoW, for the longer winter nights perhaps or the Christmas holidays when I’ll be with said family members, but I’m not seeing anywhere near enough creative effort from Blizzard to really tempt me back as a longer term customer.