#1 - 2014/01/01 01:41:00 AMTo my fellow players, and to those that work on World of Warcraft:
As this year draws to a close, I wanted to take some time and write down some thoughts I’ve had as I’ve reflected on my experiences in WoW during 2013.
Over the last year, I’ve switched mains 3 times, and been a member of two different guilds. I attended BlizzCon for the first time. I participated in a BTag sharing thread and made some new friends. I got back into heavy progression raiding for the first time since Wrath of the Lich King, and defeated the final boss of an expansion on the hardest difficulty while it was relevant for the first time since Burning Crusade. I also was a guest on a WoW-related Podcast for the first time this month.
I’ve also learned (in part because of my new BTag friends) a lot about what this game means for people who aren’t me. I’ve become increasingly aware of how important each and every one of you are to the continued life and development of this game, and to the community that continues to thrive. Subscribers come and go, and have been doing so since the beginning, but the community is stronger and better than it has ever been.
The subject of the “glory days” of WoW’s first version is brought up frequently on these forums, and before I continue, I’d like to make some comments about the differences between Vanilla and current content:
Vanilla was grindy. Really grindy. Reaching max level took a long time. Mounts were expensive, and quests didn’t award gold if you were 60; they just awarded nothing at all. Quest objects didn’t sparkle. Raids often required a lot of farming. Tanks needed resist gear. Alchemists needed to do Scholomance every time they had to make flasks, since that’s where the only alchemy lab (then-required to make flasks) was outside of BWL. Vanilla WoW was not casual-friendly. And you know what? It was fun. Really fun. I had a great time. I realize now, though, that if things had stayed the way they were back then, the game would not have experienced the tremendous growth it has over the last 9 years. It needed casual players.
Some of you take great pleasure in poking fun at casual players, or telling them that they don’t belong in World of Warcraft. I have news for you: casual players are World of Warcraft. By the time Warlords of Draenor is released, less than 1-2% of all players will have defeated Garrosh Hellscream on Heroic difficulty. The rest of the player base will have continued to do what they’ve been doing this entire time: enjoying the game in their own way. If you’re a heroic raider, or a high-ranking PvPer, and think that you are more important than other players, or that the game is “yours” more than it is anyone else’s, you are gravely mistaken. World of Warcraft belongs to everyone.
I have come to realize that without the pet battlers, transmogrification gurus, role-players, forum posters, LFR raiders, Loremasters, collectors, and anyone else I have failed to mention, the World of Warcraft I love so much would no longer exist. The support the game receives from those that aren’t into heroic progression are in fact what enables me to continue playing in that area of the game.
It’s people like my mother-in-law, who gets up early every morning before work so she can do her Tillers dailies, and who recently earned the Loremaster achievement, who make my continued enjoyment of the game possible.
Thank you for finding all kinds of new ways to enjoy World of Warcraft. Thank you for showing me that the game has become something people of all ages and walks of life can enjoy. Thank you for helping me to realize how important the community is. Thank you for being my friends and saying that I’m “surprisingly nice for a heroic raider.” Thank you for keeping a game that means so much to me alive and thriving.
To the employees of Blizzard who keep the cogs turning, and who continue to produce such high-quality content consistently:
Keep up the good work. You’ve continually managed to make this game look terrific after nearly a decade. The music, sound effects, upcoming character models, architecture, and so much more all show us that the game is just as important to you as developers as it is to us as players. Thank you for everything that you do, and that you will continue to do. I’m so excited for Warlords of Draenor!
Additionally, Blizzard, you do a great job communicating with your players. Whether it’s through Twitter, Facebook, these forums, or over the phone for customer support, you’ve shown continually that you listen to and care about your players. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed!
As we head into 2014, I would encourage all of you to reflect on how much this game means to you. Try to spend some time looking through the eyes of another player. Maybe you’ll discover something new and exciting in WoW that’s been right in front of you all along and you just couldn’t see it. I certainly did.
Thanks for everything, guys and gals. Happy New Year.