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Finally, huge positive changes are coming to World of Warcraft

Last week, Microsoft announced its mega-blockbuster acquisition of WoW parent company Activision-Blizzard for over $70 billion dollars, which has given the community a glimmer of hope for a future with game design led by fun, shielded from Activision's quarterly shareholder reports. The deal won't close for several months, but there are already signs that under newly-appointed Blizzard head Mike Ybarra, positive changes are already coming to WoW.
First, Blizzard announced that it is finally banning organized in-game paid services and their advertisements. WoW has been plagued for years by teams of players selling in-game services, ranging from dungeon boosting to PvP cheating. This allows played with more money to effectively "pay to win," by trading real money for in-game gold, and then circumventing the need to actually play the game to achieve the gear curve. Furthermore, WoW's chat channels became a plague of spam from these "services," which made it impossible to simply communicate with the rest of the community. Blizzard was biased against repairing these systems in the short term, since they encouraged gold buying and thus increased revenue. The long-term impact has been devastating to the game, casting a negative effect on the gear curve and the community in general.
Blizzard is also addressing another major issue with the game's structure. At the height of WoW's popularity, the game's dual-faction design philosophy occasionally presented server balance issues, where Alliance players would outnumber Horde players and vice versa, but there were so many players that it rarely became too much of a problem.

In 2022, however, with many players fleeing the game en masse, it's almost impossible to find a decent community without playing a specific faction, as players opt to switch factions to whichever community is larger. This has led to servers with 9:1 faction imbalance ratios, which is also odd for new players, who may sign into a server only to find there's literally nobody to play with. In patch 9.2.5, Blizzard is taking the first step towards addressing this.
Announced on Battle.net, Horde and Alliance players will be able to co-operate and play together for the first time. Players will be able to invite opposing faction characters from their friends list, inviting them to PvP, dungeons, or raids, as though they were a member of the same faction. Blizzard noted that the game's aging engine was hard-coded with the philosophy of the Horde vs. Alliance dichotomy, and that resolving that fully will take some time. Still, this is the first step to addressing faction imbalance, which also gives players the opportunity to play on the faction of their choice, rather than feeling like they have to play a specific faction simply because their friends or servers are imbalanced. There's probably a future where the barriers between Horde and Alliance fall completely, as the war between them ends.
Some of WoW's other issues, like content drought, character progression that revolves around work-like weekly rewards, and messy story delivery may take longer to fix. But these steps seem designed to improve the general health of the game. Should lapse players return to World of Warcraft in 2022? Probably not. I am looking forward to the day I can change that recommendation, though, and under new leadership, perhaps there is hope for the game after all.
 
They ARE good changes, and about 8 mos. ago my wife convinced me to play WoW with her after being away for 10+ years, and I really enjoyed playing it again, but, with the way things are now, almost 95% of the available content is essentially meaningless. It's got weird level scaling, so if you are trying to go through the expansions in order to catch up on lore or just appreciate how things evolved and grew over time, you'd hit level 50 before you even are half way through a SINGLE expansion before you HAVE to move onto the latest(Shadowlands). There's a ton of awesome content, that is for all intents and purposes, useless.

The level boosting and other things are a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. The game needs to consolidate a lot of things and needs a MASSIVE reboot. Badly. I stopped playing with my wife and canceled my sub after getting a few max level guys in TBC Classic and in retail and I feel NO urge to go back unless things change in a big way.
 
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Faust

Perpetually Tired
Staff Member
These are some much needed changes, however they are a far cry away from what would get me back into the franchise. IMO, Blizzard needs to refocus on making quality adventures with a good release of content that doesn’t waste a player’s time. Sadly so much of WoW since Legion (my personal most hated expansion) has been nothing but introducing mechanics to waste peoples time and ruining long standing lore with terrible writing. I used to be able to finish a character and move on to alts. I miss those days.

Also they need to turn women back into women. And not fruits.
 
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ManaByte

Gold Member
Tichondrius trade chat in Orgrimmar is peaceful now. It's bizarre without the unending spammers.
 

AV

We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
Interested to see the effect the banning of service selling has. Considering how many people only play that games to either get paid to boost or pay to get boosted, weighed against the fact that it's not even close to enough to get old players back, you'll probably see a chunk of the player base leave.

Cross-faction is long overdue, when was the last time world PVP mattered one iota? The buddies I have still playing retail have basically only been complaining about borrowed powers systems for what seems like 3 expansions now. Maybe it's time to let Ion "gracefully step down" since he doesn't seem to be able to design a game system people enjoy - again, all from what I hear. I haven't played a new expansion since the first few months of Legion.

I still think the game just needs to be put into maintenance mode once the MS acquisition is complete. Make the sub a PC Game Pass sub, let WoW players check out other games and potentially stay subscribers, let GP subscribers check out WoW. Don't progress past 10.0, let the psychopaths collect their 700 mounts and 1400 pets, and start work on WoW 2.0 or whatever you want to call it. The game needs a hard reset away from the current culture of appealing to RMT whales and the top 1% of raiders.
 

Plantoid

Member
What made wow great was the sense of accomplishment.

Some mounts were below 1% drop chance, if you had that, you were unique, no mtx, no buying your way up (only gold)

Having to manually find people and go together to the dungeon you wanted to do just to find yourself in a massive pvp in the entrance between factions

Hours long alterac valleys, 10fps during intense battles...

Having some low lvl guild member ask for help because he's getting ganked by opposing faction, then immerse yourself into 1v2 or 3v2 battles

So many times I organized invasions, everyone wanted the warbear... We had between 100 and 200 people invading, multiple groups, it was madness

I left after the end of pandaria, but I think It started to go down when they came up with raid/dungeon finder
 

Kenpachii

Member
2 faction system was always a dumb decision. Killed the game already since tbc. Not being to communicate with half the server was another

Also lol at we had high enough players to the servers to balance servers. U never had high enough players to counteract it ever. U just grifted people in paying for transfers to get money out of it.

Also about there paid boosts. So i assume they going to stop selling gameplay tokens? which are basically real pay 2 win currency also? and transfers to sell items in shops from gold to resell it through for p2w money, or boosts in general? ofcourse not.

The whole game went pay to win already for ages.
 

Polelock

Member
I will always have a soft spot for WoW. I however think that the next expansion will be the last one I get if things do not change. I do not need all that space travel/time travel. Give me some stories about lore we have already. A proper scarlet crusade threat. Resurrection of Galakrond, could be so epic. We need better writers, danuser got to go.
 

Hari Seldon

Gold Member
Yeah the game is too bloated, they need a WoW 2 reboot or something. The changes they are making are good though. They should make changes like this and keep the game limping along while they develop a true successor.
 

Larogue

Member
They should release WoW PvP as a standalone game.

Many people are exhausted and no longer interested in another story & PvE grinding after 8 expansions.

But would gladly play BGs and Arena competitively forever.

It can also be a serious e-sport game like CS:GO/DOTA/LoL.
 
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DrCheese

Member
They ARE good changes, and about 8 mos. ago my wife convinced me to play WoW with her after being away for 10+ years, and I really enjoyed playing it again, but, with the way things are now, almost 95% of the available content is essentially meaningless. It's got weird level scaling, so if you are trying to go through the expansions in order to catch up on lore or just appreciate how things evolved and grew over time, you'd hit level 50 before you even are half way through a SINGLE expansion before you HAVE to move onto the latest(Shadowlands). There's a ton of awesome content, that is for all intents and purposes, useless.

The level boosting and other things are a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. The game needs to consolidate a lot of things and needs a MASSIVE reboot. Badly. I stopped playing with my wife and canceled my sub after getting a few max level guys in TBC Classic and in retail and I feel NO urge to go back unless things change in a big way.

You raise a really good point. I stopped playing around the Panda expansion & picked it up towards the end of legion. I really enjoyed being able to go through the WOD content, with the Garrison etc at the normal pace.
Nowadays I'd be a on a crash course to shadowlands within 5 minutes and would have missed all that. I'm not much of an Alt person so the chances of me going back would have been zilch.

They need a way to level the old fashioned way if you want. I know you can go and play it all when you're at max level, but where's the fun in that?
 

TexMex

Member
They will never recapture the feeling of launch/TBC. It's over. It's dead. And it has been for a while. Move on to the next one.
 

Kacho

Gold Member
Kind of funny since one of the top dogs now at Blizz was literally carried to a lot of his gear by these methods including me carrying him around on my 2 person mount power leveling him :)
Yeah Ybarra, the guy in my avatar lol

He got a lot of shit for that and rightfully so.

Anyway, haven’t cared about WoW in years because it got too bloated, stupid (lore wise) and boring. The magic is gone. These are interesting changes though. Not enough to save the game but good changes nonetheless.
 

Xyphie

Member
It's been clear that factions just doesn't work in the game for over 10 years. Over time anyone who is not a casual/roleplayer has been pushed towards playing Horde, because that's were all the good players are now.

Horde has more options in terms of guilds/players for endgame -> More Horde players -> Horde has more options in terms of guilds/players for endgame -> More Horde players

They should've made the factions a pure flavour/story choice a long time ago. Just let people play whatever faction they like for flavour and if you group with someone of the other faction they appear as a Human Paladin instead of a Blood Elf or whatever for you.
 

Kacho

Gold Member
You can, yes but my point was that you can only level through one expansion, so in my example, if I levelled through WOD I'd have then missed out on the legion levelling content.
Yeah it's a garbage change. Sounded great on paper but it robs the game of what made it special.
 

Hari Seldon

Gold Member
It's been clear that factions just doesn't work in the game for over 10 years. Over time anyone who is not a casual/roleplayer has been pushed towards playing Horde, because that's were all the good players are now.

Horde has more options in terms of guilds/players for endgame -> More Horde players -> Horde has more options in terms of guilds/players for endgame -> More Horde players

They should've made the factions a pure flavour/story choice a long time ago. Just let people play whatever faction they like for flavour and if you group with someone of the other faction they appear as a Human Paladin instead of a Blood Elf or whatever for you.

I thought War Mode in BFA was an absolute blast and it kept me in the game far longer than I would have otherwise. Dumping all world pvp will be highly disappointing. Hopefully they can keep that going now.
 

Zug

Member
Spliting the game in 2 factions was a mistake from the start, but it's probably a decade too late.
 

RSLAEV

Member
It's a good start but they have a looong way to go before I even think of coming back. I feel like they're going to do just enough to stem the bleeding and retain the people that are still subbed now.
 

wipeout364

Member
Surprised this has never received a console release. It’s probably past it’s best before date but it would have been an interesting approach that would have expanded the audience. When they launched the classic servers that would have seems like an opportune time.
 

Kagoshima_Luke

Gold Member
I'm not seeing how removing factions is a good thing. Didn't they make it so that people can seamlessly see other players of the same faction on different servers years ago? Are they saying that there aren't enough players across all servers to support factions? *doubt*

Also, the war between the factions is core to the game's premise. This like removing the scoreboard from BF2042. It's a war game, but let's all get along and make sure nobody's fee fees get hurt.
 

The_hunter

Member
I balied from the game in Pandaria, when most of the content started being about daily and weekly time wasters, and they added the paid level boost.
 

DeceptiveAlarm

Gold Member
I'm not seeing how removing factions is a good thing. Didn't they make it so that people can seamlessly see other players of the same faction on different servers years ago? Are they saying that there aren't enough players across all servers to support factions? *doubt*

Also, the war between the factions is core to the game's premise. This like removing the scoreboard from BF2042. It's a war game, but let's all get along and make sure nobody's fee fees get hurt.
The problem is most Mythic raiders e
Went horde. It's a endgame issue. I got the mythic dungeon achievement on a small alliance server this season. Had no problems. The factions have been coming together to fight the big bad for years though. So when you see all the main characters working together to save Azeroth why shouldn't we be able to raid together. That is the thinking. I just want to be a Orc and still play with my Alliance guild so I'm for it.
 

Kagoshima_Luke

Gold Member
The problem is most Mythic raiders e
Went horde. It's a endgame issue. I got the mythic dungeon achievement on a small alliance server this season. Had no problems. The factions have been coming together to fight the big bad for years though. So when you see all the main characters working together to save Azeroth why shouldn't we be able to raid together. That is the thinking. I just want to be a Orc and still play with my Alliance guild so I'm for it.
Fair enough. I just don't want it to be where Allies can walk into Org, etc. There needs to be some level of faction tension and conflict. I actually always wanted to be able to learn different languages so you could eventually speak to the other faction, maybe in not so great orcish or whatever.
 

Skifi28

Member
Maybe it solves endgame issues, but as somebody that played the game for a decade changes like these only push me away further. Factions have been a core theme of the game since release and to my experience it has been great at selling players the MMO warcraft experience, which is rather important.

Now it's just the same bland MMO everybody else is making, why choose warcraft that is ancient? Might as well choose something newer and better if it's all the same.
 
I hate WoW's popularity. It kept us from getting a sequel to FFXI, because FFXIV takes its cues from WoW.

I liked FFXIV as a FF game, but not as an MMO. FFXI was my gaming life for years. It required a teamwork community to have a chance of tackling it. It's not like that in XIV (or even XI now, from what I hear).

But FFXIV is magnitudes more popular than XI ever was, so those types of MMOs are likely long gone.
 

AV

We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
Spliting the game in 2 factions was a mistake from the start, but it's probably a decade too late.

Nah that's crazy, Alliance vs. Horde is an absolutely integral part of Vanilla. The problem was the future imbalance that broke it. In TBC they gave Horde paladins but also gave them a totally OP faction racial so there was no good point in playing Alliance any more considering Horde already had the better PVP racials.

It's exactly why in Classic vanilla PVP servers you had an overall 52/47 split and in TBC you currently have 60/40 in Horde favour, from release until now we've seen server after server collapse because all the Allies migrated to safe servers. Exactly what killed mine.

In modern retail? I can't really say but from what I know, there's no point in a faction split at all. World PVP was made opt-in on every server and at that point it's worthless.
 
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Bogeyman

Banned
That faction change absolutely SUCKS.

Don't get me wrong, with the current faction imbalance I guess their hand was forced. But I refuse to call it a good change.
That's like chopping off your leg to stop a festering wound, and calling that a long needed positive change.

They would've needed to take measures to counter faction imbalance early on, rather than waiting until its too late.
Now, we're left with even more streamlining. Everyone plays exactly the same content, most classes are pretty much the same with slightly varying visuals, now even the faction hardly matter anymore.

I used to love pvp - organic pvp. Conflicts that felt like an organic war in the world. Yes, those huge tarren mill battles. Those multiple day long AVs.

Then arenas came along, and made a joke out of that. Pvp was no longer an organic effect of the game, it most became another artificial game mechanic. I guess unifying the factions is just the last step in taking away the last bit of atmosphere from that part of the game.
 
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Freeman76

Member
Bring it to Xbox. If BDO can work well, and FF14, so can this. Put it on GP, reduce the sub to 4.99, this would rejuvenate the game.
 
Why are people celebrating the faction changes? I don’t get it. Just seems like yet another neutering of what made the game special in its first 5 years.
 

AV

We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
I used to love pvp - organic pvp. Conflicts that felt like an organic war in the world. Yes, those huge tarren mill battles. Those multiple day long AVs.

But they're not removing the factions, they're just allowing people from different to group up together, aren't they?

Also correct me if I'm wrong but didn't they make ALL world PVP opt-in a few expansions ago? That means no more organic PVP at all, because you're either fighting other people looking for a fight or unable to attack those opted out. Seems like that's the actual issue.
 
Also correct me if I'm wrong but didn't they make ALL world PVP opt-in a few expansions ago? That means no more organic PVP at all, because you're either fighting other people looking for a fight or unable to attack those opted out. Seems like that's the actual issue.

This right here ruined every MMO and turned them into carebear PvE borefests. I think the last one standing is Eve Online, but they have to constantly battle with carebears whining on the forums.
 

Lanrutcon

Member
Yeah, catering to people at the expense of everything else. Exactly what made WoW go to shit in the first place.

Ah, nostalgia. There's always that one tryhard nerd in every WoW conversation that absolutely can't wait to give you his expert opinion on why WoW went to shit.

We'll never escape trade chat.
 

Coolwhhip

Neophyte
Blizzard even managed to ruin their amazing old versions of (classic) Wow by just terrible additions and changes. Wow will never be good again sadly.
 
Ah, nostalgia. There's always that one tryhard nerd in every WoW conversation that absolutely can't wait to give you his expert opinion on why WoW went to shit.

We'll never escape trade chat.

lol WoW is in its current state because they catered to the every whim of casual players. It’s a husk of its former self. Enjoy it, it’s what you want.
 
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