With WoW celebrating their 5th anniversary there has been a lot of talk recently of old game versus new game.
Here are some of my thoughts on their thoughts.
I hear “the game is too easy now” often in podcasts and on blogs. A class I took in university taught me about the bell curve. Roughly stated picture a wave in the ocean (sort of an upside down capital “U” shape). The curve shows on the vertical axis the number of people in our example. Now think of IQ to be assigned to the curve. Most people are of average intelligence and fit at the top of the curve. There are fewer geniuses in the world and so the graph to the right of the peak drops off as the number of people with higher and higher IQs decrease.
Now replace IQ in the above example with WoW players likely to see all content. Few of us finished vanilla WoW having downed Nefarion in Blackwing Lair. Just as true, few of us finished vanilla WoW still in a starting zone. Most players finished vanilla WoW at the top of the bell curve doing Blackrock Spire and the like.
We all pay our $15 per month but less than 25% ever saw previous endgame content. Blizzard has been working to artificially adjust that bell curve to allow more people to see endgame raid content since BC came out; to the point now that we are no longer need attunements and 40 people to work on an instance.
So who cares? Well, the majority of wow players do (or so Blizz probably hopes). If Blizz spends a large chunk of change developing an area to only have 10% of the player base to actually play, they are alienating the majority of players. I’m sure Blizz is less concerned with pissing off the 5% of players on either end of the curve than with the other 90% of their player base.