Are you like me? Probably not exactly but if your reading this blog than you might have some similarities. I play 3 maybe 5 hours a week at WOW as a parent with young kids, life that isn't college, bills, house maintenance, responsibility. I like playing it, it's my break away from life.
But you know what has starting eating at me? After 4 years of playing, really is starting to bug me? That in this expansive game with tons of things going on, with millions of people, expansive environments I am in a box! Yeah I said it, in a box! Because I can't spend loads of time or even a couple hours every night, the "Look at the new tier 14 set" advertisement in the new MOP really is starting to get on my nerves. It is another example, as are the fancy pants mounts that are shoved in players like me's face as yet another thing unattainable without divorce or being in kids life.
So the argument than presented to me is, "well don't play", but I like playing, I just can't play at that level. So that is part of the box, unattainable assets. You know they or "purists" tell you how bad buying gold or gear is from outside sources, and how it ruins the game. Yet these are the people that financially have the most to lose. They are the mindless farmers and the game itself, that want to make gold as much as they can, so they can afford their unattainable toys. They want the economy on servers to be, well, their economy that servers their purpose. Why doesn't Blizzard sell gold? Why doesn't blizzard sell gear? Simple, to keep the elite's interested in the game, make people spend their time and subscription money to get what the bulk of players don't have. If I was cynical I would say that they enjoy putting it in your face a little bit.
So, 3- 5 hours a week, what can you do then? Well you can level a toon and make some progress if your levels are 1-20, 30-40 a little less, 40-50 a little less, 60-70 barely moving, 80 not even a dent! So box wall #2, you can't really get to the levels to try to raid, so that you can attain the attainable.
3-5 hours, well lets say after 3 years of this time, you have managed to now be top level. Guess what now you have to grind time in battlegrounds low instances to try to gear up enough to no get booted out of heriocs! This is going to take a looooonnnnggg time btw at 3-5 hours per week pace. Wall # 3 gearing up to get to raides to maybe get gear that is unattainable. (I am inlcuding the fancy pants mounts as well)
3-5 hours, hmm well now you got gear to move up the chain, but alas there is another segment of the box and that is the Top. Now the top is defined as game play. You see after taking the 3 years to level, then 3 to gear through heroics, now you are not going to be good enough to stay in a raid, because of the last thing you need to have: you have to max your whatever you are so that they don't blame wiping in a raid on you. Whether your dps, tanking, healing, raiders a ruthless and only care that everyone in the party is holding what they perceive is raid weight. Even your guildies can get this way BTW. You have to study the raids, practice your ouput, read some articles, watch youtube, use ridiculous spreadsheets in order to be able to stay within a group. Yeah it gets to that level. How long is that going to take having only 3-5 hours to get that level. There is very little time given to learning anymore, its like life now, you somehow magically know how to do it or have thick skin and perseverance.
I forgot a side didn't I? Wall #4, well the other flowed together a bit so I skipped this one until now. The thing you can do for a while with 3-5 hours of game time is Professions. Yes create things and level it up so that it gives you something to do and have fun. Really besides the fact I do enjoy leveling a toon, I really do like Professional leveling as well. Its why I am still playing to be honest. So why is this part of the box? well you see outside of miracle recipe drops a lot of the really top cool stuff that can be made and help you reach to higher levels is either reputation built or you can guess this, for top level raiders and herioc runners! Yes so, at the same time it is fun, a profession at 3-5 hours a week is not going to help you with the other walls. And Ooh by the way, you need to spend a considerable amount of time farming for materials to level your prof, so there is that too.
Finally with hit the bottom, OK the bottom of the box is simple, GOLD. You know the stuff that Blizzard and high level earners want you to avoid buying outside of the game. The truth is to level or buy anything in AH these days on every server I have ever seen ( I play on 8 servers) AH prices are not for beginners. It is not tailored to newbies at all. Just to also let you know the things you make leveling a profession don't mean squat on the AH unless you have the unattainable high level recipes that most of us don't have.
I am not saying wow is bad, I like leveling but I am saying that it is not as expansive as they say. It is not built for casual users if one wants to try every facet of the game. Casual players can not raid, anymore casual players can not Battle Ground (another blog post), and there are distinct limits base on your time. The funny thing is there are ways Blizzard can fix this without hurting itself, and I would say might even help itself by bringing in more players:
1. Low level raids and drops- why not gear some raids for low levels to have fun with
2. Start at the top servers- based on the amount of time someone has played on account, why not invite them to have one toon on a server that allows a top level toon to be started at the top level? Sort of like Beta testing and starting with an 85! A casual player can play as a high level toon sooner, and if its on its own server its not mitigating the work that the elitists do to be better than everyone else on their server.
3. Have a buyer driven market where orders are put in and crafters fill the orders. kind of the opposite of the AH. Let it balance out so that people can see what equip can be made? I think most people don't realize all the recipe's that are out there. It makes recipe's more visable, it allow low levels a place to order level appropriate items and prof levelers to actually use or send their good to some body.
I think Blizzard just needs to keep in mind the casual players whjen making changes not jsut the 5 % high levels.