What does World of Warcraft have in common with Microsoft? A general inability to do good expansions/OS releases one after the other. Using my rough calculation starting at Windows 95:
Windows 95 - The Burning Crusade
Windows 98 - Wrath of the Lich King
Windows ME - Cataclysm
Windows XP - Mists of Pandaria
Windows Vista - Warlords of Draenor
Windows 7 - Legion ???
Windows 8 - ???
Windows 10 - ???
Before you all complain about my computing timeline, it is the general gist that Warlords of Draenor is the Windows Vista of expansions. I still fix PC's with XP installed, but nobody in their right mind would use Vista.
Part of the problem is Blizzard's in ability to fix a problem with a moderate solution.
- 5 Man dungeons are too easy - lets make them really tough - then make them irrelevant
- Reputation too easy - lets hide the goodies behind another rep grind that will slow them down - make reputation about vanity items not raiding progression
- Raiding sizes vary from raid to another - lets introduce two tiers 10 and 25 man - use variable sizes between 10 and 25 man
- Badges multiple levels for each patch - lets slide it down with each patch - get rid of entire system introduce several new currencies before returning back to Valor
- Bag sizes too small, increases incrementally - lets fill those bags by having hundreds of different ingredients for cooking, give them a huge refrigerator for storing food - allow crafting materials to be used from a massive storage structure held in the bank, and then fill it with 3 tiers of fish small, normal and enormous.
This of course is the tip of the Iceberg. I have not even dared to mention ***Flying***. These decisions are evolved over relatively long periods of time if you consider that the average expansion is around 2 years. The assumption is that Devs make these decisions by committee and they like to swing from one extreme to another. Cataclysm was a complete Flyingfest and Warlords of Draenor was a no fly zone. It is easy to see that we will return to a 3rd way with something in between for the Legion expansion.
Warlords of Draenor, as predicted was "An Orc Too Far". Too much of the same thing is never a good thing. Ask yourself how many Dragon bosses have you killed on the way up to Level 100? Blizzard have used many different techniques over the years, but how many more times can they come up with new and improved Dragon abilities? If the only mobs you ever killed were Murlocs and Naga, I would have been out of here years ago. To be honest I had more than enough of killing Orcs in Pandaria, without another entire expansion devoted to them and with a storyline written on the back of a cigarette packet.
The launch of Warlords of Draenor was an utter disaster in my opinion. I know that many of you have long since forgotten, but just remember there is another launch around the corner. I wonder sometimes how Blizzard did not know how many expansions it had sold, a large percentage would have been conducted electronically, it is not like Game stores were withholding the information. Blizzard pride themselves on their metrics and the ability to analyse how the game is being played.
If Millions of returning players was a shock to the system, it must have been utterly galling for them to discover that they had lost the ability to retain it's player base. The issue is such an unmitigated disaster that Blizzard have since stopped telling us how many people are currently playing. None of us know because we don't actually see anybody's avatar roaming the streets, because we are all cocooned in our little Garrisons, too afraid to venture out, or more likely nothing to venture out for. One by one our cities have fallen silent, with only the metronomic conversation from the Trade Chat alerting us to the fact, that we are not totally alone.