WoW team ‘lost its way’ for a while, back on track with 5.2

Tuesday, 12th March 2013 05:21 GMT By Brenna Hillier

World of Warcraft’s lead systems designer believes the latest update brings back the classic gameplay that made the MMORPG so compelling in the first place, after too many years focusing on secondary concerns.

Blizzard’s Greg Street told IGN that World of Warcraft went downhill with its third expansion, Cataclysm.

“We felt like since then, we’d lost our way a little bit. We had some really epic quests and we’ve told some great stories, but the second-to-second combat out in the field wasn’t as interesting,” he said.

“So we made an effort with the launch of Pandaria and we redoubled it with this most recent patch to make a lot of cool stuff for players to do out in the world. We still have great dungeons and other instance content, but we also just have fun things to do out in the world with your friends.”

That’s one of the reasons why the new areas added in patch 5.2 don’t allow flying.

“Somewhere along the way, we’d lost the sense that being outdoors in the world was kind of a dangerous thing,” Street said.

“Walking around and fighting mobs is basically the heart of World of Warcraft, and we had lost a little bit of that and wanted to make it fun again.”

World of Warcraft has been active for eight years, and Street said that along the way its lost “a lot of players” for various reasons.

“It’s great to give those players a reason to come back and try it again, and appealing to their nostalgia is a good way of doing that,” he added.

Update 5.2, The Thunder King, released last week.



  1. Badumtsss

    Looks like the proper “way” is to add millions of daily quests everywhere.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Vice

    They’re not back on any track, they lost it once and for all and if the game could have still been saved after WOTLK, cataclysm and, especially, pandas made sure the damage done is irreparable. I hate to live in a world where a game like this is still so popular… It’s pathetic.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Strabo

    Well, not only do still play WoW, adding to the world Vice hates to live in, but I even like Daily Quests, because it gives me something to hop in for 15-30 minutes when I want to do some playing without having to deal with instance groups. I’m him. The worst human being.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Hybridpsycho

    @2 Whoa, really? Well good thing no one forces you to live then is it?

    WoW still is a great game, even if I don’t play it anymore. I’m amazed it had it’s “epic” run as long as it had (til WOTLK). But even without that epic feel it’s still a really good game, still the best MMO out there.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. OlderGamer

    The problem I have the toon builds. Cookie cutter is too kind of a word. I like games that have more freedom to pick and chose and build the toons the way you want. But in truth even where as Rift is a better game, imo, I still can’t get excited about MMOs anymore.

    They just feel boring.

    I have spent my thousands of hours playing wow. MoP was the only expac I didn’t preorder, didn’t even buy it. The whole idea just feels Meh at this point.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    I think Lich King steered them the wrong way. They should’ve taken a year and a half and made sure they had time to actually craft the content.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. GwynbleiddiuM

    @DSB, on the contrary Wrath of the Lich King was the last best content Blizzard ever made. It was epic, all class specs were diverse enough to have multiple builds for PVE and PVP, we had hybrid builds which were viable, and Naxx, ICC and Ulduar were just pure epic content. The whole content was legendary during that time, afterwards Blizzard’s sloppiness stroke a critical hit to the game, I honestly can’t see them recovering from it.

    Cataclysm was the poorest piece of content Blizzard came up with they butchered the talent system to make it optimized for a single build for each spec, and it wasn’t satisfying enough that they had to butcher it further into this ridiculous state. Now what we have is an illusion of choices in class builds, tons of dailies to grind, broken realm populations which was the main cause of me quitting, and X-Realm Zones which has done more harm than good and didn’t really address any issues, it created a lot more though, griefing, gathering nods, etc.

    We still have realms like Skullcrusher (EU) that can’t have any meaningful progression, and member recruitment is nonexistent. Auchindoun (EU) was a great realm prior to MoP, and it’s almost like what Skullcrusher was at the start of Cataclysm, a dying realm.

    Blizzard has truly lost it’s way with WoW, they kept on pandering to brainless newcomers, they kept chopping off the game and in order to make up all that mistake they came up with MoP, which IMO was a whole a lot better than Cataclysm, at the same time it felt a lot smaller, even though it was filled with a lot of new items and little features, but the grinding was just not worth the effort. To me it felt they tried to mask the size of the content with dailies and grindings. It failed to leave a lasting impression in the end.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. DSB

    It would’ve been decent enough if it wasn’t for Naxx, and the notion that you were suddenly supposed to play through content twice.

    Naxx took all the fun out of raiding for me. It was too easily beaten, it was already known, and the content couldn’t hope to compete with what we had just finished in Burning Crusade. The two dragons weren’t nearly enough to make it interesting.

    It was like taking a banana out of the trash and having to eat it. Over and over again.

    Heroic raids was just the last straw. Why should raiders waste their time on a watered down version of a boss just to get to the real deal?

    In my eyes they changed the whole focus of the game, from catering to the core players first and foremost, by tuning the content, and making everything worthwhile, to catering to the casual crowd, dumbing everything down, changing encounters into busywork rather than actual challenges, and forgetting about the players who arguably put the biggest effort into the game.

    I know it became better once the later raids were released, but by then I had lost all interest in WoW. That killed it for me.

    I also don’t think the builds were very good. Playing a rogue it was daggers or nothing. In Burning Crusade I made a name for myself by going fist when all the major theory crafters were saying swords/daggers, and most of the time I was the best melee DPS we had.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. GwynbleiddiuM

    Well, we pretty much said the same thing, granted a little difference here and there :P

    That was the cool part of pre-cata talent system, you could come up with something that would go against what the bible said, but it was still viable, maybe not the most optimal, but still viable. The hard mode raiding, the bringing the content to everyone mentality pretty much damaged the whole notion of raiding. It reduced it’s value. And to top that PVE players always had to be on the receiving end of imbalanced that was going on mostly in PVP. That’s the main reason that PVP in WoW wasn’t fun for me, at all, well that and latency.

    But still I had the most fun during LK, mainly because I was born to be a DK :D and WoW was the only game who gave me that, a Death Knight, hated and feared on a path to redemption and vengeance. That my friend couldn’t get any more epic.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DSB

    Yeah definitely.

    They just never seemed to be able to balance death knights though. When I came back for a peek at Cataclysm, I really wanted to start tanking with my pally, but I got the same message from all the guilds I applied to.

    They were completely full, they had to say goodbye to tanks for Cataclysm, and they would much rather have death knights than pallies.

    It was just terrible.

    In the beginning DKs were overpowered, then they got turned into cripples, and then back to overpowered. I don’t think I ever got to see a properly balanced DK.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. GwynbleiddiuM

    Yeah, you should’ve seen the Blood DK upon the release of 5.0 (pre-mop) Any goon in blood spec with decent mastery stats could tank and top DPS, but at that point the game wasn’t balanced around 85 anymore.

    Prot Pally just didn’t work in cata. Every team had a DK+Druid. Even Prot Warriors seemed to have trouble at many encounters. + DK with T13 was just unstoppable. While Frost DKs dominated the whole cataclysm (I mean in DK talent trees), at release of 4.3 Unholy got back on top, I always loved playing unholy, since it was more challenging than frost, and now in MoP every simulcraft charts shows that DK’s are way down the dps line again. Ghostcrawler does not like DKs, at all.

    Although Paladins were great in Holy and I enjoyed my retri spec a lot.

    #11 2 years ago

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