One of the best threads I have ever read about WoW can be found here. It’s a very long thread, with reoccurring ideas but clearly a large divide between developer and player base.
The basic element in all of this is entitlement – or as alluded to later in the thread – prestige. This e-peen mentality that “only I can” is so ridiculously absurd that I have great difficulty empathizing in any form.
I played WoW since launch. I raided in every expansion and quit in every expansion. Vanilla was impossible to organize and had huge walls (a-la EQ at the time). TBC had gating, huge huge gating, that stopped many guilds from getting new players mid-expansion. It was challenging, sure, but less than 1% of the entire population saw Sunwell at-level. I’m not saying completed it, I’m saying stepped foot in it. WotLK broke down gating and added challenge levels (heroic versions). Raiding exploded, up to 10% of the player base completed all content at the hardest level. We’re talking millions of more players seeing end game content than in the previous patch. Cataclysm put in harsh raiding requirements and destroyed 25 man raids but they did bring in the LFR tool. It went from 10% completing the content at hardest level to over 30% completing it at normal and 75% actually seeing the content in some form.
Now, I get the idea of prestige and that you want to be able to show that you did something more challenging than other people. World firsts are for that. I understand that the 5% debuff per month on last tier raiding annoys the uppers that have already done it as there’s no indication they didn’t have the buff outright. I don’t understand why Blizz can’t just disable mount/title rewards for people that need the debuff to complete content at the hardest level.
I also don’t understand why this is such a big deal. If you’re in guild ranked #130 in the world, who gives a flying heck. Maybe the guild itself and those looking to move up. That’s what, maybe 200 people out of 10,000,000?
It begs the question, who are you impressing exactly by beating content with the buff or without it? If that list of people is under 100, then there’s no reason for Blizzard to look your way. If it somehow impacts say, 5% of the playerbase, then ya, Blizzard should pay attention!
Tangentially, a SWTOR dev stated that the game failed because they listened to players. I think this might be true in that the content from 1-50 was amazing. It was impossible to test end-game content (the stuff that’s broken) in beta as the game wipes happened every 2 weeks. This meant that players that reached level 50 in beta were putting in 50+ hours a week to get there – not exactly who your target player base should be. Anyhow, I think this is a great example of a company that had super success by listening to their players but did so at the wrong time and without the wrong tools.