Monthly Archives: November 2013

It’s all a matter of perspective

I decided to stay.

WoW is so deeply ingrained in my life at this point, I am positive I couldn’t leave without feeling it’s loss more strongly than… well none of the comparisons I could make would sound very good. WoW is more than a game for me, it’s a hobby and a connection to my life. Where was I when I worked at Sega? Raiding in ICC. Where was I when I got hired at TfB? Waiting for the Cataclysm. When my son was born? Prepping for Mists of Pandaria.

More than that, it’s a connection to people. I am an extrovert. I love being around people and feed off talking and interacting with people. WoW lets me do that every single day. I have so many friends that I would not have if not for WoW.

So where does that leave me on the topic of sexism in WoW?

Freaking pissed still that’s where.

I won a trip to BlizzCon this year, again. I know! I KNOW. It’s weird right? The only thing I can ever win is trips to BlizzCon. Eh, I’ll take it. So I went. And of course, they announced a new expansion.

Warlords of Draenor.

And they did it with a big picture of all the Orc Warlords. My very first thought when I saw the picture was, “Oh lovely… a bunch of dudes.” As they did the initial – Things that are happening in WoW panel, that immediate reaction got even worse. I was so excited about Draenor, New Character Models, Garrisons, LEVEL 100!!!! and they were systematically stomping on that excitement by showing they were continuing down the path of not supporting the ladies.

None of the lore characters mentioned were women. There were no women sitting on stage. The character model updates they showed off were all males. The story was dudes, doing manly men things with other dudes. I tweeted each thought more and more furiously. I was excited and yet angry. Why? WHY was it SO ONE SIDED?!?

But I wasn’t the only one tweeting. There were a few. Then a few more. THEN MORE. The flood of tweets loaded with people asking where the women were. After that panel, I went to the lore one. There Metzen did something really stupid.

Someone asked about Aggra and where she would be when Thrall went to Draenor. He said she would be staying in Azeroth, as she had a kid. The “boys club” would be going on the trip to Draenor.

How many people can you offend in ONE statement?

Yes, they also talked about a Joan of Arc character. (Though really, thanks for telling us she’s going to die after being called crazy. Women LOVE that. As far as heroic females, can we not use her? She’s a trope AND well… look at how her life went?) Drakka was mentioned, but only in relation to Durotan.

Here’s the thing… Women are wives. Women are daughters. Women are mothers. Women are also warriors. Women are also stubborn. Women are also capable of violence. I am a mother. But I found someone to watch my kid and went to BlizzCon.

Metzen implied that the reason Aggra would be staying home is because she was a mother. No other explanation or reasoning, just because she was a mom, and that’s what moms do. They stay home and take care of the kiddos.

Oh boy. Queue shit storm. That’s when it hit me. That was the BEST thing he could have said. Absolute best. Why? Why would that be the best? This. And This. And THIS. Especially THIS ONE. (Oh wow, I missed this one – GLORIOUS!) And it just keeps going. Here we are, a week after the con, and people are STILL talking about Aggra. Not Thrall, Durotan, Gul’dan, or any of those other dudes, but Aggra. *silent cheer*

People are being loud and vocal. People are directly messaging Metzen, Ghostcrawler, Kosak, ALL OF THEM. Telling them, that we weren’t happy with the gender imbalance BEFORE, and we sure as hell aren’t going to take them relegating one of our favorite characters to the sidelines. Someone asked about Moira at the Q&A. They had said nothing about her before that point. Turns out, she has some major plot going on in WoD!!!

Now, I do want to address WHY this is such a big issue. The ratio of males to female in the lore characters is about 7 to 1, so about 86% male to 14% female. If that were the real world there would be a CRISIS on our hands. In China, it’s split about 52% to 48% male to female and it’s ALREADY CAUSING PROBLEMS.

The WoW player base is speculated to be between 30-40% female. (My anecdotal data backs that up.) That means there are a ton of people out there, like me, who are playing this game. They raid, they quest, they level. They are heroes, and yet, in game, they have very very few female leads to look up to. And every time there is one, they are overshadowed by the males in the game. Where is our Thrall to look up to?

Even more worrisome is the systematic destruction of the females we DID have. We have so few to begin with, so losing some to plot lines is problematic unless there are new ones to replace them. We need lots of new ones. That is why the loss of Aggra to something so stupid is so frustrating. They took away one of our good female characters for an incredibly sexist reason.

Okay, before the response – is being a stay at home mom not heroic? I would NEVER say that. I stayed home with my kid for 3 months, and at the end of it, I was a basket case. BASKET CASE. Being a stay at home mom is quite possibly the most insane thankless job ever. But having said that, this isn’t an issue of staying home and raising your child instead of going to work. This is a matter of SAVING THE WORLD. If you don’t, it doesn’t MATTER if you raised your kid, THERE WON’T BE A WORLD FOR HIM TO GROW UP IN. Not to mention, Aggra has never backed down from a fight before, why would she start now? Draenor was her HOME after all. She had to live/grow up on the shattered remains of it.

I was happy at the Art panel they showed off the female models a bit. Their work on the female dwarves is nothing short of astonishing (they are so beautiful now!). I also noted that was the first panel with a woman on it (hurray!). As the weekend went on, I heard and saw all the many responses and so many of them are people talking about these issues. I think I made the right decision. Stay, speak, fight.

And I think, they might be listening.

PAX and Acceptance.

There are a ton of people who are super pissed at Gabe. I wanted to weigh in on it, because I feel like people are getting riled up and yes, overreacting.

First, a few points I want to be perfectly clear:

1. I don’t like Gabe. I think he’s an asshole. He’s not a terribly nice person, and he overreacts in extreme ways and INTENTIONALLY tries to piss people off.

2. I don’t like rape*. It’s a way of killing someone while still letting them live. It’s an atrocity and should be treated as such. I am firmly in the camp of “Not only does no mean no, but ONLY yes means yes.”

So. What does this mean for PA/PAX and my love for all things nerdy gamer?

Well for me, not much actually. I haven’t read PA regularly for over a year. I will occasionally go over and read a strip or two if someone links it. I haven’t bought PA merch in a while (5 years?), since it got me in trouble. (MtG shirt that says I’d Tap That… apparently inappropriate when a woman wears it.) But one thing I do, and will continue to do, is go to PAX.

The tensions on the sides of the argument are heavy. One side, rightly so, points to rape culture and the harm it causes through casual acceptance. The other side, again, rightly so, says that censorship is wrong. These, and many other arguments against Gabe/Tycho/PA are all deeply mired into experiences, anger, fear, pain, and rhetoric that is not to be taken lightly.

Today I was told I was a horrible human being and not a feminist for going to PAX. This is not okay. A personal attack against me, or Gabe, or Antia, or ANYONE is unacceptable. Part of this comes from growing up and from two very pointed comments made to me. Once I used the phrase “It’s like Sophie’s choice!” when discussing trying to pick a Magic card during a booster draft. Someone, thankfully, looked at me in shock and asked if I was REALLY comparing picking a card to picking which of my two children would die? I didn’t have kids. I had never seen the movie. I just knew it was an exaggerated phrase to describe an impossibly difficult choice. As a writer, I often consider word connotation, but I had never really thought of idiom choice. I STILL think about that moment regularly. I think about it when I use an over used turn of phrase. The second was when I told someone to diaf (die in a fire) in a random group in WoW. He was being a jerk. When I said it, another person in the group immediately got furiously upset with me. Not normal levels of upset, but more like, if she had been in the same room strangling me with my mouse cord upset. Her father died in a fire, saving her and her sisters. He died from the severe burns he got all over his body. I found this out after managing to get her calmed down to explain WHY she was so mad at me. Not only have I NOT used that phrase again, but I also have spoken up to people I have heard use it and explained that they need to choose their words with care.

This is the crux of everything. Choose your words with care. The larger your platform, the greater care that needs to go into every word you say/write.

People point to the original strip and say, “They made a rape joke! What horrible people!” I actually remember being surprised to find it wasn’t a Fruit Fucker comic. I remember reading the Dickwolves comic the morning it went up. As a WoW player, especially during Wrath, I recognized the dissonance he was talking about. These characters we play are supposed to be heroes, and yet once we were done with a quest we were willing to leave, regardless of how many prisoners remained. I assume he got the idea from the Pit of Saron. I am fairly confident in that, because I remember pissing off groups I ran with because I would free every prisoner, EVERY TIME, when tanking. The first time, it’s a quest. After that, it was me, actively hating that they were laboring away while I would just run past, trying to get to loot faster. I remember feeling horrible over it. I actually told myself, THEY ARE JUST PIXELS GET OVER IT. So at this point, I have to say, I disagree with people who look at the comic and say it’s a rape joke. The Fruit Fucker is a rape joke. Dickwolves is making a not terribly funny joke about players who are supposed to be heroes and instead are mercenaries, It’s about the moral lack they show leaving those prisoners chained up. Would the strip have worked better without the dickwolves or if they had said something other than rape – like beat us every night? It would have been a wash. The “joke” barely made sense to people who play WoW.

Even one step further, I was so surprised people were upset by it, and actually said something to the effect of “Do you READ Penny Arcade? That’s totally the stupid shit they do.” Once more I point to Fruit Fucker. If you go back to the start of the strip they made a dick joke in the second strip, and had a murder in the third. It’s five strips to CHILD ABUSE. Suicide, gay sex, sexism, slavery, human trafficking, and so on. It’s frequently juvenile, disgusting, and crude. Apparently we didn’t mind the Gabe raping a Pac Man cosplayer. And all of that was in the FIRST YEAR. (Even funnier is reading through that first year, I noticed that most of the issues Scott Kurtz has with Big Bang Theory – PA did too! That just cracks me up.) But here we are, 14 years later and we have this. Yes, there are still dick jokes (alot of dick jokes), and jokes that make veiled implications about homosexuality and sexism. To the point where I just have to say… that’s kind of Penny Arcade. That’s what they do. They make a ton of stupid comics that aren’t that funny, then they make one that’s HILARIOUS or one that’s BEAUTIFUL. I stopped reading the comic because I got sick of all the dick jokes. I grew up.

Now here’s where it gets… shifty. There are people attacking ME personally because I went to PAX. There are people who are attacking PAX and Child’s Play because of their connection to Gabe. I don’t like Gabe, but I am aware that making a rape joke, though in extremely poor taste, does not make one a rapist. But he is being treated as such.

I don’t attack someone who likes Chris Brown even though I think he’s a horrible person who deserved some serious jail time. I have friends who are perfectly okay with reading Ender’s Game and deciding to go to the movie, even though I refuse because I think that’s another human who makes the world worse. I have friends who go to Chic Fil A KNOWING they donate to groups that advocate the KILLING of homosexuals. I accept these people, even when I disagree with them, because I know we are all people. No one is perfect. We are all flawed. I am not going to attack someone because I disagree with them, or because I think they are being a jerk.

If you disagree with Gabe, me, or anyone else, it is your right to say we are horrible people. Just like it’s our right to stop interacting with you. But I don’t want to lose more friends over what is a disagreement about freedom.

Gabe responded to the initial response to Dickwolves very poorly. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. What I don’t get, is how people didn’t expect it? Anyone who was a nerd in high school, and bullied for years, is familiar with that instinctual response to defend and lash out. Of course he buckled down and then used every bit of his hard won protective shell of sarcasm to fight against it. We in the community tend to believe we know more than we do of these people. We think because we see them at PAX, read their tweets, and watch videos that we know them. Does anyone saying he’s a rape apologist actually THINK that Gabe would rape someone? Or be okay with someone being raped? There are leaps being made that people cannot back up.

I am also bothered by people who bring up Enforcers and the bad (illegal?) things that happen, and actively blame Gabe/PA for it. o.0 Are you kidding me? How can we blame them for what volunteers do? Of course there are going to be some bad apples in a force of volunteers who are put into a position of power. I am assuming they only do the standard double check on people, but I doubt they can find someone without a record who turns out to be a bad guy? It’s not like they are inviting them back year after year. They have a black list of people who aren’t allowed at PAX, why would we expect the Enforcers to be any different? (To be fair I have only had three encounters total with Enforcers, two were exceptional and one was a guy who was just a bit of a dick.) I am bothered by people who also bring up the bad behavior of people who read the comics. Because it’s Gabe’s fault those people are dicks?

(As an aside, Gabe’s idiotic response to transgender doesn’t really have a place in this discussion, because the understanding between biological sex and gender presentation is still not a broad understood concept. *I* didn’t even get it until a few years ago. And even then, I wouldn’t have if not for actually meeting a transgender person and having it explained, with great patience. He could have responded better, and so could have the people who called him on it. In the end, he said he didn’t care, and this upset people. But I can kind of see his point. I don’t care if someone is transgender. Mostly, because I am not trying to sleep with anyone. The parts don’t matter to me. All I need to know is, which pronouns should I be using with that person. However, it wasn’t unreasonable for him to assume a game with vaginas was aimed at women. Because for the most part, it is. This is part of living in a two gender society, although wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t? Calling him transphobic is not accurate because if he was transphobic, he certainly wouldn’t employ someone who was transgender or be friends with them. He doesn’t know, and that’s different.)

Finally, I have one last point to make. We spend all our time saying that the games, movies, books we consume do not make us violent, thieving, rapists. How then can we say that this comic changes that? I watched Buffy and the rape scene that happened there, but I didn’t attack Joss Whedon. I watched Archer, and the multitude of rape jokes that show has made, and all it told me was, nope, don’t want to watch Archer, got it. when I read PA and it is 80% stupid stuff and dick jokes, I stop wasting my time on it. That’s the correct response. If someone wants to keep reading it, that’s okay too. If someone wants to buy a Dickwolves t-shirt, they can. It just helps me know who I am not going to want to talk to. Just like I am fairly positive I don’t want to talk to someone wearing a redneck shirt or a racist shirt or any other thing I find reprehensible.

So… How can I go to PAX, even though I dislike Gabe? Easy. I don’t go to PAX to see Gabe. In fact, I was three feet from Gabe at this PAX and ignored him in favor of his wife and son, who I talked to about Skylanders. I went to PAX to spend time with people who live far away, but travel to PAX. I went to walk the expo hall floor and not be assailed by booth babes at every step. I went to buy dice and watch people play board games. I went to sit in the Tap House, drink a stupid amount, then go back to my hotel room and play WoW. I went to revel in gaming and gamers for three lovely days.

People will say, you can do that without PAX! Well, parts of it. Some of my friends don’t go to BlizzCon. GDC is mostly professionals. E3 is booth babe central. None are in places like Seattle. People who compare it to DragonCon and it’s founder problem are not comparing the two accurately. One is a guy who runs off at the mouth. Another is a guy who actually BROKE the law.

I love PAX because it’s the first place I ever felt like I could be wholly myself. I could be a nerd and not only was it okay but I was cooler because I did. I love PAX because it’s about the gamers. PA may be the thread that started it, but I actually don’t know very many people who go to PAX to meet Gabe and Tycho.

If you honestly think we shouldn’t be friends because I want to go to PAX, even knowing that I dislike Gabe and his humor, then I am sorry. That’s sad. I agree, Gabe has a huge platform. He could be a great leader from his empire of nerdom. But he’s not. He’s a flawed human that wants to do what he wants to do. We aren’t going to change or educate him anymore than we can change or educate any other dickwad on the internet, at this point he is too ingrained and too convinced of his own power. He is convinced that he can just speak his mind and if people don’t like it, they can fuck off and that’s okay even for him. Instead we need to choose OUR words with care. We need to express concern over his actions. We need to express concern over the comics. We need to express how it *is* a shitty thing to do to wear a shirt that makes a joke about rape. I actually think his decision to “not engage” is a good one. He needs to stop engaging if he can’t choose his words with care. We need to not leap to conclusions and immediately jump to inflammatory rhetoric. We need to, even with Gabe, but especially with everyone, remember to not assume the worst.

As my absolute final comment, how do people who call for bans of PAX and Child’s Play deal with the choice of banning everything associated with Gabe and PA? Are they not going to buy Magic cards? No more Minecraft because Notch goes to to PAX. No more Wil Wheton. No more D&D. No more Borderlands. No more Nintendo. No more of those lovely indie games. No more Think Geek or We Love Fine. Is that logical or reasonable? How about instead write an email (no threats or insults) and explain why that was such a shitty thing to do? Write a blog. Write so the words are out there and people will see it. (It’s a much better medium than Twitter after all.)

*Marks an understatement.

Free to Play Vs Subs

During my Game Design 1 class this week, I talked about WoW. As a part of this, one of the students asked a question:

“Yes, but how do you feel about the subscription fee?”

Then he made a comment that he just couldn’t get past the sub.

So here’s my answer, that I feel is very important for any person who considers subscription games.

  • This month I bought Gone Home for $20. I played it for 3 hours. It was great, and totally worth it.
  • I got into the Hearthstone Beta, and bought $50 worth of cards. I have played it probably about 30 hours. Totally worth it.
  • I bought Dishonored for $60, played it for about 10 hours, and it was totally worth it.
  • When I go to the movies, I pay $10-12 for a 2 hour experience. Totally worth it.

So the question becomes, what is the value of WoW at $15/month?

Well first off, I only pay $13/month. I pay in 6 month blocks. So it takes about 2 and 1/2 games to equal the amount of money I spend playing WoW.

Let’s see… I got Dishonored, got 10 hours worth of play. XCOM, 36 hours. Borderlands 2, 4 hours. So all told about 50 hours worth of play for more money than I spend on WoW in a year.

I play WoW, on average, 3 hours a day. (From 7:15 ish to about 10:30-11 most nights.) That means in 17 days, I have already played more WoW than I would THREE other games I bought at $60 each.

The only single player game in recent memory that even comes close to WoW is Skyrim. I have about 240+ hours. Totally worth it.

But even so, these games can’t compare to WoW because I play WoW with friends. I enjoy hanging out with them. Killing Internet Dragons with them. Griping about quests and LFRs.

I am not saying that one type of game should be played over the other. I loved Dishonored, XCOM, and Skyrim. I want to replay all 3. But at a purely cost vs time played, WoW wins, hands down, regardless of the subscription.

The Price of Progress

When writing for a site that earns money based on hits, the best thing you can do is write a controversial and slightly inflammatory post you KNOW is going to get commenters riled up over.

Bravo Holisky, you did it perfectly!

200 comments and still growing. *slow clap*

That being said. I totally agree with you. More than that, I honestly believe it is PAST time for World of Warcraft to implement a buy a character store.

So let’s review the arguments people have for why there SHOULDN’T be a character store then review the arguments for why there SHOULD.

This is a terrible idea!

1. You need the 90 levels to learn how to play your character correctly!

There are more ways to level than ever before. You can level through PVP, Pet Battles, being power leveled, etc. Even so, playing at 90 is very different from leveling. It’s two different games. People who come for the leveling will still level. People who come for raiding will get to jump right to the meat. Pve is not the same as Pvp, so why would someone assume leveling is the same as raiding?

Two stories – The first is about me. I leveled a hunter to 60 in vanilla, then leveled a mage to 60, then a priest, then a warlock. What can I say, I like ranged DPS. When Burning Crusade hit, I leveled the hunter to 70, then the Warlock. Once my warlock hit 70, I was a part of a raiding guild, and one night they drug me along to Karazhan. We were fighting the trash before Moroes, and one of the healers asked, “Joyia, why aren’t you Life Tapping?” I responded, “Why would I do that? It just leads to me dying.” I had never used Life Tap. I didn’t even have it on my bars. I had leveled that character, but had no idea how to raid with her. Fortunately, our other warlock took me under his wing and taught me how to play as a raiding lock.

Second, in Wrath, I was running random heroic dungeons on my priest. I got into a dungeon with a level 80 DK. He started pulling and I had the hardest time keeping him alive. I was an ICC geared healer, and this was one of the starter dungeons. It should have been cake. I looked at the tank’s gear. He was wearing a mix of spirit plate and other plate (maybe dps or tank, I don’t know). He had not spent a single talent point. I asked, “Dude, what’s up with your talents?” His response – “What are talents?”

Leveling teaches a player virtually nothing about playing well at level cap. Especially since some of the most important spells players only get at level cap, or the rotation relies on secondary stats being at a certain level.

2. You will miss all of the STORY!

Way back in vanilla, there was a mod *everyone* had. Everyone. I played for 20 minutes, before my friend helped me download and install it. It did several things, but mostly it made the quest text instantly appear instead of slowly appearing. That way I could just click okay and follow him to the locations. Even now, I rarely if ever read quest text on my first run through. I am blitzing my warlock to level cap as quickly as possible. Especially with all the new map and tool tip stuff.

People don’t read quests. They don’t watch cutscenes. I know people who didn’t know who Tirion or Bolvar were in ICC.

Not everyone cares about the story.

3. Professions/Gold/Gear

For about 30 seconds I thought this was a good argument. Then I remembered… It’s not. I have power leveled professions on multiple toons. It’s *always* easier at level cap. Also, dailies make earning gold a snap. As do scenarios, dungeons, and LFR. All of which give gear too. They will likely start the players with a set that is equal to the lowest dungeon blues, but that’s fine. It will get replaced rather quickly anyway.

Even better, this would help server economies, as there would be tons of people buying up all those low level mats. OR even better than that, Blizzard would implement a catch up systems like Thanksgiving for all the professions. (Actually they kind of did with Ghost Iron recently, remember?)

4. Everyone starts near the top, there is no one to help. (Really? What game are YOU playing?)

Wow… so someone tried to say that players like helping new players and that if this is implemented there won’t be anyone to help or the only people to help will be mouth-breathers. UM. First off, what game are you playing? Because as far as I can tell WoW is definitely NOT a game where people like to help strangers. Guildies, of course. RL friends, always. Strangers? GTFO NOOB. Also, they make it sound like those level 85 players won’t know anything and that’s a bad thing. How exactly is it different from a level 10 asking where the auction house is compared to a level 85? Level is just a number at that point. Will it be rough for the first 3-4 months? YEP. But then the good people will come out of the woodwork and the newbs will help other newbs…

5. Guilds will suffer from bad players!

They already do. Even worse, they have to keep the bad players because that’s the ONLY option they have. The influx of new accounts to WoW following a character buying system would lead to hordes of players, including many who would learn quickly and potentially become excellent raiders.

Let’s say 1 million people join the game just because they can skip leveling. If only 10% of them are decent THAT’S 100,000 NEW RAIDERS. That’s 10,000 NEW RAID TEAMS. As a guild officer, that idea positively makes me want to shiver in excitement.

6. It’s pay to win!

You can already do it. It’s just difficult. You can already pay for power leveling. This just streamlines the process. This takes it from being illegal and makes it legal. This protects the players by making it a Blizzard offered service.

Also, if you agree that the “winning” of WoW is downing the last raid boss, then actually it’s not. It’s pay to skip the grindy bits to get to the real part of the game. Everyone says the “real” game begins at level cap. Well, let’s get to the real game then.

7. It doesn’t take any time to grind to 90 ANYWAY! Just do it!

Well, if it only takes 2 days, then why gripe if someone skips that? Also people love to bring up heirlooms, forgetting that totally new players wouldn’t have those. Nor are they likely to be in a guild with the leveling buff.

Real arguments against it:

Button overload! – This may even be worse than starting fresh and facing x amount of hours to 90. There are a ton of buttons in WoW at level cap. It would be very daunting.

Solution – Perhaps a scenario like the DK one, that teaches and adds abilities as you go. Honestly WoW could use a “solo scenario” set that is directly targeted at teaching players to play their class and spec well. Match the player with an NPC of the same class and spec who leads them through a dozen or so scenarios to teach them skills, talents, glyphs, etc. I would like this EVEN NOW, so I could really learn to play a melee class well.

No additional leveling content or updates.

Oh this is actually a good one. If everyone can skip the old content, there is no reason for Blizzard to update or add to it. But then… have they really done that much anyway? Other than Cataclysm, have they *ever* added mid level content since Vanilla? And even with Cataclysm, how many people replayed all of that content? Blizzard has the stats. Clearly it wasn’t *that* great or they would have updated more or updated Outland. (Now what, Friday they are going to announced updated Outland.)

So why should they do it?

1. They sort of already do allow it with Scroll of Resurrection.

2. They have exp gear and potions in China. Precedent has been set.

3. Sudden influx of *tons* of players BOTH OLD AND NEW.

I sit next to a guy at work, who would love to play WoW. He doesn’t though because he doesn’t have TIME to level a character. He would raid with us, two nights a week for 4 hours total, but he can’t play anymore than that. He’s a smart guy. He would learn fast.

I am an officer in a casual guild. We have existed as a raid team since May of 2013. Now, 5 months later, we are 2/14N and 10/14 Flex. Why are we not further along on Normal modes? Because we only have 11 players. 2 tanks, 3 heals, and 6 dps. If ONE of our tank/heals is out, we *have* to flex. And life gets in the way all the time! We recruit nearly constantly and yet our gains are almost always met by losses. New babies, new jobs, new school schedules… there is always something. WE NEED MORE PLAYERS. That is the truth. I can’t wait for our realm to be coalesced with another one.

4. The average age of WoW players is increasing. These people have lives, jobs, kids. They don’t have time to play a game for a month just to get to the real game, and gear for a month, then to be able to play with their friends. It’s too much of a time sink. To hook new players, you have to lower the barrier to entry. Lower barriers equals more players. Which would you rather have – a game bleeding subs year over year, or a game with tons of new players every month?

I also don’t think there should be “requirements” like having a max level character. Maybe limiting it to the “previous expansion cap”. I could get behind that one, but really this service needs to be more for new players than for old. Old players are hooked. They have the heirlooms. They have the experience of knowing leveling zones, dungeons, friends, etc. This service should be targeted at new players to draw them in, get them into the game, and then they will stay here. WoW is at heart a peer-pressure driven addiction. Why does it continue to be the 800 pound gorilla? Because even if there are better games, WoW is where your friends are. Your friends pull you back. Now let us pull in new players and get them to the cool stuff asap.