Removing Content from a Live Game is Shitty Design

Actually, I suppose I could remove “from a live game” and the statement would still be true. But devs of “non-live” games don’t really mess with their games after launch other than bug patches, and maybe DLC – but I can’t think of a single time someone removed something.

Live games are games that constantly update. Content patches and expansions. New things all the time. They are games you never finish and are more like hobbies.

There are 12 classes. There are 36 specs. There are 24 appearances per artifact. That means there are 864 artifact appearances. (Holy shit, that’s a FUCK TON of art. That’s YEARS worth of work on art. Like – if they did ONE a week for a year – that would take 16 artists a year. Counting Holiday weeks. At 5-6 yr art veteran pay average (85k) – that’s 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS worth of art. And that’s a severe lowball for just modeling – that doesn’t take into account concept, vfx, sfx, programming, rigging, animating… Holy shit guys, they probably spent 5 million on artifacts easy. And before people say “Oh but 5/6th of the appearances are just texture swaps…” Textures take a shit ton of time. Especially in WoW – since the textures carry a large portion of the artistic weight.)

My mind is still reeling from that staggering amount of time and money spent on making these appearances, which overrides any of my other arguments for why they shouldn’t be removed. Only the Joker would light 5 million dollars on fire just to keep it out of other people’s hands.

Woof. OKAY. Moving back to my original points and statement.

There is never a good reason to remove content. Seriously. Give me one. It’s already been made, paid for, tested, and shipped. People have played it. Some people love it, some people hate, a large majority are meh on it. It’s done. What is the benefit of removing content?

How about the reasons for not removing it?

  1. People who missed it – can get it later. Check out my post about Exclusives – I know it’s about buying stuff at conventions – but the same ideas apply. You can’t be assured everyone has the time to play every aspect of a game in a limited time frame.
  2. Everyone paid for the game. Now only a selection portion is getting the whole game despite paying the same amount. (See this post.) The idea that only certain people who “work for it” is elitist and selfish. Those who work for it first, get it first. Players who come along after should still have to work for it (and they do) but they shouldn’t miss out because they prioritized Family Familiar instead of PVP.
  3. Oh and as always – rarity in WoW is bullshit and not real.

Also – let’s take into account that unlocking all of these appearances is individual. So – for example – the PVP ones require 12 pvp prestiges. From what I have dug up, it looks like this is per character. Not per account. And according to one enterprising WoWhead commenters – takes 45 weeks doing the PVP world quests every 6 hours, every day. So, that’s about 12 years right there. Or literally not having a job, family, sleep, or anything else to do. The expansion will likely last two years. So. You get two. Which two do you want? My immediate reaction to this – what’s the fucking point?

I want to collect things in WoW. I collect pets, mounts, transmog. I get Loremaster and achievements. I like PLAYING the game. I don’t like feeling like it’s a JOB with a deadline. I’ve already missed out on things – the ZA bear which all 9 of my guildies got but I missed out on, the MoP phoenixes, the MoP battle pet, the Naxx mounts, the Tiger Mount, titles, Ateish… Each item is on a list on my heart. Each one is a blue sphere of sadness. And those blue spheres, they are starting to add up. They are outnumbering the yellow sphere’s of joy.

Why bother when I can go play Persona 5? It’s 100s of hours of gameplay with new game plus. Breath of the Wild, I have played over 100 hours and barely scratched the surface. I kinda want to go back and play Skyrim too. And these games don’t punish me for having a job, child, and hobbies other than it.

If I pay for a game, then the content gets repeatedly removed before I have a chance to get it – is Blizzard just taking my money, calling me a shitty casual, and taking away the toy I paid for? That’s a pretty abusive and toxic attitude to take towards someone who has literally spent thousands of dollars on the game, thousands more on merch, recruited over 20 players, brought back over 20 players, and supported websites, fan artists, and all manner of extra-game things.

Further – those people I try to recruit or bring back – I have lost 4 of them to them seeing a thing, thinking it was beautiful/amazing – then finding out they can’t get it, getting bummed out and just giving up.

Why keep playing if I am just going to keep missing out? Fear of Missing Out only works if I care about missing a thing AND HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET THE THING THROUGH NORMAL PLAY. These grinds and achievements, especially when multiplied across alts, are not normal play. It’s unhealthy play, that does not take into a positive work/game/life balance.

The only thing that will kill WoW, is WoW, and right now, it’s doing a pretty damn good job of it. If I walk away, it effectively pulls the plug on 5 accounts. (3 are mine, one for my boyfriend, and a final one from at least one person I know who only plays WoW because of me.) But even worse, it means the next time I get all excited for a patch or expansion and talk about it, those 5-10 people I am friends with who occasionally re-sub because I am talking about it and they get interested, they won’t.

Casuals are the lifeblood of this game. They are the ones who carry the game between content lulls. They pay more than the bleeding edge mythic assholes who demand special treatment. Cater to one, not the other. Removing content because of some arbitrary deadline is catering to people who require feeling Elite and superior and actively punishing the players who are the larger base of support.

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