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Why WoW has been continually successful - "It's the content stupid!"

RusqueRusque Las Vegas, NVPosts: 2,228Member Uncommon

Mods please pardon the James Carville reference, it's not directed at anyone.

 

For the longest time people have attributed WoW's success on marketing and catering to casuals. With the release of MoP and with so many big games that came out prior that just didn't have staying power, I think the pattern has become much more clear.

It's the content. The amount of content more specifically. WoW doesn't cater to casuals, though it's bar to entry is quite low, that bar has great range for it's highest level of gameplay (many will argue, but that's not this thread). WoW caters to content locusts. When the content locust article came out and pointed to this group of people who run to every new game, hype it, and consume it within days or weeks, it showcased how new games seemed like they didn't have enough content.

But if we really look at WoW, both currently and historically, it's been about longevity of content. Oftentimes there are artificial limiters (like dailies) but Blizzard found a way to cater to the locusts way back in 2004 (probably without knowing it at that time, but has since perfected it).

Content locusts not only consume as quickly as they can, they are determined to consume everything (or most of it). So if you have raid content, they want to finish it. But not just finish it, they also want to do it on hardmode. But then they also want the achievements. But then they also want to gear the legendaries. But then they also want to get rare mounts and pets. And so on.

Blizzard has stuffed WoW with so many different types of content, that the locusts can't just show up, finish everything in 2 weeks and then go on to the next. Much of it may be easy to complete (hence the idea that WoW caters to casuals), but there's just so much of it so as to appease the locusts.

Basically, WoW answers the questions, "So what's next?" In so many other games, people run to the forums and say, "I'm max level, I've done this and this, what else is there to do? So and so failed."  But in WoW, there is almost no end to the available content, which is why there is more burnout. I know, on these forums especially, that many here simply don't like WoW's questing or combat style or some combination of things.

MoP is very close to Burning Crusade level change. WotLK and Cata were simply refinements (or for some, dumbing down) - but BC was essentially modern WoW while Vanilla was Everquest+. BC brought arenas, "welfare" pvp epics, badge gear, heroics. It is one of the most highly praised expansions and most people's favorite.

MoP, while not as drastic, is functioning in a similar manner - again creating more content for the ever hungry locusts.  Pet battles, both pve and pvp are basically an entire game in and of itself. It has much more depth than people are giving it credit for and you will see that people are going to take it quite seriously, and the rarer pets spawn at certain times of day or year or under specific conditions - that's awesome. 

They revamped the talent and glyph system and some classes have completely new resource management. For any casual player, WoW has more entertainment value than any other game, you can play it forever and still have more content to do. But that's why it's also a hit for the locusts, they just can't consume it all in a time frame that would make it look like it's failling.

You really see drops in WoW population after certain mile markers, 3 months, 1 year, 2 years, few months before next expansion. Other games have been showing huge drop offs in 2-4 weeks. Again because people can chew through content like crazy. Now, none of this means that WoW isn't slowly fading, but some of the things which people generally despise (raids, dailies, grinding) are actually what create longevity of content. With nothing to work towards, people just leave.

Da locusts, gotta feed em.
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Comments

  • DraemosDraemos Antartica, AKPosts: 1,469Member

    it's actually the engine.  The modability of the UI, the smoothness of the gameplay, the responsiveness of the combat system, the flexibility and crispness of game AI and design systems, the arts styles way of maintaining a somewhat modern look.  WoW has went through several content droughts.

     

     

  • oreal52oreal52 KøbenhavnPosts: 76Member Uncommon

    You can do the stupid daily quests in every other game as well.You can collect crap loads of useless things,you can farm for better gear until the day you die.But that is what i would NOT call "content". Killing the same raid boss on normal mod 100times,after killing the same boss on hard mode 100 times is the same content.And i'm sorry to say that but all those "no lifer" achievements in wow ( where you have to use half of your life to get a single achivement ) those aren't content.

    You can do the same in WoW like in other games ( as you call it "chew through" ) create a character log into the game and 5 days later you are maximum level.Getting the highest grade gear takes time in other games as well ( even more!!! ).Most of us on this forum grew up on WoW,i bet we all have played that game for a while and we all loved it.But time goes on.WoW looks like a pile of wet horse sh*t compared to other games ( like, Rift,Tera,GW2 and so on and so on ).No matter how many more races they put into the game,pvp this and that,pokemons and sh*t,it's still looks crap.Some people can only afford to run WoW on their pc-s and that is one of the reasons why they play WoW instead of something else.And just to keep it in mind , just because Mc Donalds sells a quadrillion hamburgers everyday all around the world, it doesn't mean they are making the "best" food.It's just marketing and hype ain't nothing else. image

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,991Member Uncommon

    For a theme park MMORPG, it does as well as can be expected, and certainly better than its newer rivals when it comes to delivering content, no doubt about that.

    But eventually, sooner rather than later, people realize the content goals they are pursuing are rather pointless, grind more gear to run more dungeons to grind more gear etc etc etc.

    if that's what you are looking for in an end game, great, and most other MMO's these days try to replicate it.

    But if that's not the end game you want, the model fails.

    For all its many subs, I'm willing to bet there's a much larger pool of ex-WOW players who are just done with the game for good.

     

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  • L0C0ManL0C0Man Puerto OrdazPosts: 1,065Member Uncommon

    It's a bit of everything, IMHO.

    Accesibility: the engine might not be as pretty as the newest crops of MMOs, but it can run on almost anything out there (heck, I'd bet with very few modifications it could even run on an average smartphone on the lowest settings), so people don't need to have the latest and greatest in hardware to run it.

    Networking: There's so many people playing that if you have friends playing MMOs, there's a big probability that at least some of them are running WoW, and you're more likely to play an MMO that your friends are already playing.

    Content: There's 8 years worth of content development, and if you level a new char you have to at least visit most of it. Newly released MMOs just can't compete with WoW content wise.

    Options: You have lots of options while leveling up. There are two factions with mostly different quest lines, most races have their own starter areas and at least until you reach the outlands, most level ranges have more than one area you can play in, so replayability is high since you can level two or more alts in different areas. This is something most new MMOs suffer, IMHO, lots of them only have one or two starter areas and also usually one area you can go to for each level range, making alts leveling much more repetitive.

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  • RusqueRusque Las Vegas, NVPosts: 2,228Member Uncommon

    Draemos - A very salient point, the engine is like butter which makes playing it enjoyable, though I'm not sure that people keep returning to it at every expansion because of it alone.

    Oreal - Not all of us grew up on WoW, I grew up during Ultima (well high school days anyway - I grew up on NES). The McDonalds comparison is always brought up and always terrible. McDonald's isn't selling food, they sell convenience.  People love to compare it to Michelin Star restaurants, but they sell consistency and convenience, not food. That's why their model works. You may not like themepark content, and you may think other games have somewhat similar amount of content as WoW, but that just isn't the case. The netherdrake dailies alone take a literal month to finish. That's just for a single mount. The list goes on, but I'm not here to convince you.

    Kyleran - Well, that's a bit of gaming nihilism isn't it? Essentially all video games are pointless if you assess the goals. You can get better use of your time by doing constructive things in the real world, but entertainment reigns supreme - people love it. And yes, there are lots of ex-WoW players, yet here we are again on a new expansion and people who haven't logged in for 1-2 years are back and playing 8 hours a day. Yeah, the model is old, many people don't like it; but that's the beauty of having so many games to choose from, you don't have to play WoW if you don't want to.

  • TorgrimTorgrim GothenburgPosts: 2,088Member
    Repeating the same dungeons 100s of times to get that  full epic set that will be obselete when the next -pack is released is not my idea of content.

    If it's not broken, you are not innovating.

  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance ParisPosts: 1,223Member

    Despite a lot of people griping about Cata, I really liked the areas that shipped with that expac. I wasn't as fond of the changes to the old world as I was of the new areas and the addition of goblins to the Horde.

    If you played AD&D Planescape, the inner planes were part of them, and Blizzard basically added those planes to WoW. The elemental areas were actually pretty creative, especially Deepholm. The storyline with Thrall was cool too.

    The other content released was more contentious, especially the tiny amount of dungeons.

    Now there are even fewer released in this expac, the stupid scenarios, and new areas that I really could care less about. What should have been uber Oriental areas were basically ruined by the whole cutesy panda thing.

    The quests are also rehashed from Cataclysm. The entry into Jade Forest really reminds me of the start of the Vashyr quests: Hellscream asks you to get on ship/airship because a new continent has appeared and of course you have to get there before the Alliance does and of course the ship/airship is attacked and all hell breaks loose...

    I really should have beta tested the new areas more. I concentrated on testing out the monk since I had a lot of problems with the beta client. Gah could totally kick myself for buying this expac.

     

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  • nsignificnsignific ljPosts: 212Member

    I dunno, maybe the OP is right, WoW has that lingering feeling of "there's still more to do", which never quite leaves your thoughts.

    I remember vanilla when it was neaing it's end (just before BC launched), how pissed I was that I never got to do Naxx, or grding that last faction - I thought "wtf, new content, but I'm not done yet!", not realizing you can never be truly done content-wise.

    As far as MOP, I got the same vibe as I did with BC - something new, not just an upgrade which is how I felt about WOTLK/Cata.

    To me personally, Pandaren starting area was worth the cost of admission alone, and I was done with that in 2 days (play with my GF, slow pace). Already hooked on pet battles, btw.

  • nsignificnsignific ljPosts: 212Member
    Originally posted by Torgrim
    Repeating the same dungeons 100s of times to get that  full epic set that will be obselete when the next -pack is released is not my idea of content.

    Of course not. That would be insanely boring. Now if you did that with Dynamic events, though, well, that's a revolution! /sarcasm

     

    One of the big changes MoP makes is the ability to gather the same gear through different activites - heroics, organized raids or lfr, pvp (currency exchange), and now DAILIES, etc. Isn't that the big, big draw WoWs "competitor" claims to have as an advantage? With the exception that it doesn't, really, since you don't get the same gear? God I love ironic shit like that.

  • smh_alotsmh_alot Area 51Posts: 976Member
    WoW had a great vision behind it when it was developed and at its launch. That's why it'd been so successful. Check up interviews, written and video, from that time and you'll see the thoughts that were behind every modification and change, even worldsize (ie not supermassively large as others were going for) and quest progression.

    I think however that those devs and designers that inherited the WoW legacy from their predecessors have been going on cruise control for years on that vision, not really expanding upon it with the same quality of inspiration and vision. Like how an X-Men 3 movie under a different director just isn't really on the same level as an X-Men 1 and 2, or how many high fantasy books with elves etc after Tolkien wrote his masterpiece just isn't on the same level of quality as what Tolkien wrote. Or how season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer after Whedon gave the reigns to Marti Noxon just was less than when Whedon was hands-on.


    They got 1-1.5 billion dollar revenues from WoW every year. I'd be surprised if they wouldn't have at least something to show for it in its content additions. I'm more surprised however that they don't have far more to show for it.

    But realising that that first inspired generation of devs and designers have mostly left WoW behind now, on to other projects or companies, and realising that WoW has become nothing more than a money generation machine to the upper management and little more, I'm on the other hand not that surprised. A shame it is, though.
  • VicodinTacoVicodinTaco Erie, PAPosts: 735Member Uncommon

    Well written OP!

     

     

  • DAS1337DAS1337 Parma, OHPosts: 2,404Member

    I couldn't disagree more.  It has everything to do with marketing.  Who do you think the Panda's are for?  The largest growing player community in WoW?  No, couldn't possibly be!  Yes, that was sarcasm.

     

    I guess it depends on your perception of what content actually is.  If you believe content is introducing another dungeon, more bosses, more armor and weapons and a new zone, then sure.  How many times have they done that now?  Every time?  Have they at all, in any expansion, dramatically changed or added anything?  No.

     

    People play because it is very accessable to all types of computers.  They play because it has become a house hold name.  But the biggest reason people play is because their friends play.  You would not believe how many people I know or have known who play only because they have a group of friends that play.  That group of friends play because they have another group of friends who play.  So Blizzard designs their game through their marketing to bring back old players, give existing players ways to bring their friends back, and focus their attention on where WoW is becoming, or has become huge.  Which by the way, is not the US anymore.

     

    The content has always been the same.  

     

    Not to mention, your last point is just utter garbage.  Saying that without content, people leave. Sandbox games are designed for players to create their own content.  True sandbox gamers generally stick to their game like glue, no matter what.  And that's even when their beloved game isn't even good.

     

    Someone told me this once, and I didn't believe him at first.  He told me, "Kid, you think you know, but you don't know jack".  With plenty of time to reflect on it, I accept that he was right.  I didn't know jack.  Just something to think about.

  • nsignificnsignific ljPosts: 212Member

    I just realized something right now.

    It's astonishing.

    A lot of you actually believe that ASIANS care about shit like Pandas and asian settings enough to make them buy into things :) HONESTLY, I only now realized how incredibly insane some of you are (I'm sorry if that's offensive, but the racist bullshit I just witnessed is far more so).

    Do you people really believe they made Kung Fu panda for the Chinese? I mean, can you swear to God and claim that you believe that? Really? REALLY??

     

    P.S.: sidenote, Kung Fu Panda made only 2% of it's box office in China. Bottom line, Pandaren are not in there to cater to the asian playerbase, get it into your thick heads already.

  • IchmenIchmen Winnipeg, MBPosts: 1,228Member

    wait... backup... wow has content??? i thought it only had overly repeated raids and really stupid capture the flag pvp O-o

    wow is only successful because of the players who play it.  im sorry the stuff they include in the packs really isnt anything new or fancy. they just built it off their wc lore which alot of the gamers of wow want to play.  everything else is just sugar coating. 

    just like every other mmo that tries to clone wow. 

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  • odinsrathodinsrath louisville, KYPosts: 814Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Draemos

    it's actually the engine.  The modability of the UI, the smoothness of the gameplay, the responsiveness of the combat system, the flexibility and crispness of game AI and design systems, the arts styles way of maintaining a somewhat modern look.  WoW has went through several content droughts.

     

     

    i agree with the UI and smoothness part..they make it pretty simple but yet affective..this is good..but the droughts i disagree..its just ppl found it rly RLY easy to breeze thru them as the game also got simpler and simpler as years went on at a rly fast rate..this is the downfall

     

  • nsignificnsignific ljPosts: 212Member
    Originally posted by Ichmen

    wait... backup... wow has content??? i thought it only had overly repeated raids and really stupid capture the flag pvp O-o

    wow is only successful because of the players who play it.  im sorry the stuff they include in the packs really isnt anything new or fancy. they just built it off their wc lore which alot of the gamers of wow want to play.  everything else is just sugar coating. 

    just like every other mmo that tries to clone wow. 

    It has more content than all the other MMOs put together and that's probably not an exageration.

  • odinsrathodinsrath louisville, KYPosts: 814Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nsignific
    Originally posted by Ichmen

    wait... backup... wow has content??? i thought it only had overly repeated raids and really stupid capture the flag pvp O-o

    wow is only successful because of the players who play it.  im sorry the stuff they include in the packs really isnt anything new or fancy. they just built it off their wc lore which alot of the gamers of wow want to play.  everything else is just sugar coating. 

    just like every other mmo that tries to clone wow. 

    It has more content than all the other MMOs put together and that's probably not an exageration.

    i belive EQ has more..but dont quote me on that..just sayin

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Depends what sort of content you like

    There's a ton of raid content in wow, but that irrelevant to me as I loathe raiding.

    So gw2 has more content for me because it has WvW
  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by nsignific

    It has more content than all the other MMOs put together and that's probably not an exageration.

    for PVE, thats not true at all

     

    compare WOW to EQ and its 18 expansions or EQ2 and its 8 expansions

     

    give RIFT 3 more years and i bet RIFT will overtake WOW for more content too

    WOW is sloooow for new content

  • lotapartylotaparty taxila canttPosts: 514Member
    the compatibility of the game with literally every computer  in the market .you can play the game on 40 fps ultra settings with ease on a core i3 laptop . this is the most basic reason for success of the game . people income are getting thin . so people are reluctant to upgrade their computers and waste money just for the sake of  a game . i think this factor is the biggest hurdle in guild wars 2 . 

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  • AcidonAcidon Salem, ORPosts: 797Member
    Originally posted by odinsrath
    Originally posted by nsignific
    Originally posted by Ichmen

    wait... backup... wow has content??? i thought it only had overly repeated raids and really stupid capture the flag pvp O-o

    wow is only successful because of the players who play it.  im sorry the stuff they include in the packs really isnt anything new or fancy. they just built it off their wc lore which alot of the gamers of wow want to play.  everything else is just sugar coating. 

    just like every other mmo that tries to clone wow. 

    It has more content than all the other MMOs put together and that's probably not an exageration.

    i belive EQ has more..but dont quote me on that..just sayin

    Was thinking the exact same thing.

    Not even getting into "end-game", you could level 10 chars and never touch the same zones.

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  • LissylLissyl Peru, INPosts: 271Member Common
    Originally posted by nsignific

    I just realized something right now.

    It's astonishing.

    A lot of you actually believe that ASIANS care about shit like Pandas and asian settings enough to make them buy into things :) HONESTLY, I only now realized how incredibly insane some of you are (I'm sorry if that's offensive, but the racist bullshit I just witnessed is far more so).

    Do you people really believe they made Kung Fu panda for the Chinese? I mean, can you swear to God and claim that you believe that? Really? REALLY??

     

    P.S.: sidenote, Kung Fu Panda made only 2% of it's box office in China. Bottom line, Pandaren are not in there to cater to the asian playerbase, get it into your thick heads already.

    I always find this thought funny.  As if a westernized version of a conglomeration of the entire Eastern culture was made to -target- that culture.  Imagine some Chinese company trying to mix all the elements of what it perceives as 'American Culture' into one big gigantic game, then claim it was marketed to us.  Sure, some of us would buy it for giggles but we wouldn't take it seriously as a game.  Every Texan would have 45 shotguns in a Ford F-150 and an oil derrick in their backyard, every Midwesterner would eat nothing but corn and be a dumb hillbilly stereotype, every Californian would be a gay vegetarian surfer, and everyone from the South would hunt other races and burn crosses at a fiddle-contest hoedown.  If someone presented that game to you then claimed they were doing it to cater to you, you'd laugh them out of the city. 

     

    I can just see it now.  I'm Sue Ellen Buckwheat, Midwestern corngrower redneck mage.  My special power is cornhusk voodoo dolls based on fundamentalist Christianity.

  • VicodinTacoVicodinTaco Erie, PAPosts: 735Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Acidon
    Originally posted by odinsrath
    Originally posted by nsignific
    Originally posted by Ichmen

    wait... backup... wow has content??? i thought it only had overly repeated raids and really stupid capture the flag pvp O-o

    wow is only successful because of the players who play it.  im sorry the stuff they include in the packs really isnt anything new or fancy. they just built it off their wc lore which alot of the gamers of wow want to play.  everything else is just sugar coating. 

    just like every other mmo that tries to clone wow. 

    It has more content than all the other MMOs put together and that's probably not an exageration.

    i belive EQ has more..but dont quote me on that..just sayin

    Was thinking the exact same thing.

    Not even getting into "end-game", you could level 10 chars and never touch the same zones.

    But seriously... What are the % of those zones that are even touched by players these days?  %20?

     

     

  • battleaxe22battleaxe22 Cluj-NapocaPosts: 303Member
    Originally posted by Draemos

    it's actually the engine.  The modability of the UI, the smoothness of the gameplay, the responsiveness of the combat system, the flexibility and crispness of game AI and design systems, the arts styles way of maintaining a somewhat modern look.  WoW has went through several content droughts.

     

     

    Seems like someone said it before me.Sir,You are absolutely right  image

  • FaelanFaelan CopenhagenPosts: 826Member Uncommon

    I'm not sure if I agree with the OP. On the other hand, I'm not sure that I disagree either. The thing is, I can only speak for myself. Anything else is pure speculation on my behalf about how other people might feel.

    Where myself is concerned, no - killing a boss over and over for loot, achievements or enabling a higher degree of difficulty is not content to me. Doing the same quests every day is not content to me. Collecting all of something is not content to me. Completing all of something is not content to me either unless each piece or segment of completion is unique, such as doing all quests in a zone.

    Despite all that, I always find myself returning to Azeroth even though I might have done most of what I *do* consider content. Sure, I take breaks - sometimes very long breaks, but I've never felt that there was a point where I was sure that I would never return to WoW.

    So why do I return? It's the grim yet cheerful and funny world, the timeless colorful artstyle (helps a lot during those overcast rainy days where I live), the good times I've had with people, the bond I have to my character and the class (druid - nothing comes close to matching the awesomeness in other MMOs). It's the smoothness and consistency of the gameplay and the fact that if there's something that bugs me about the UI, I can most likely find a mod for it. So at the end of the day, even if there's not much of what I consider content for me to do, WoW still feels good in many ways... grinding 100 mobs for whatever reason feels like less of a grind in WoW than say LotRO... and if it ever gets boring, I can always take a break and come back later because I know it's not going anywhere.

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