Player investment

For a game that has been around as long as World of Warcraft, there must be something special that keeps players coming back year after year. But from a design and story perspective, how do you make things new and exciting while keeping the essence of what keeps your players invested in the game? It’s a question I don’t have a great answer to, and I don’t envy the folks at Blizzard for having to find that delicate balance.

Over the years I’ve seen my friends and the greater blogosphere get worked up over changes in gameplay and mechanics, but even mores over changes to the world and the direction of the story. The response I felt to some of the things that happened during the War of the Thorns was a visceral thing at times, and judging from the conversations I’ve seen I’m not alone. Yesterday’s post shattered my record for most comments [thank you, my beautiful readers!], and the discussion was very thoughtful and sometimes emotional. People are trying to help each other navigate their feelings about the game and find a way to keep enjoying it.

My own feelings have definitely evolved over the past couple weeks. I’m in a place where I don’t fully trust the writers with the story, but I do trust that I’ll be able to find fun things to do anyway. My excitement for this expansion is low, probably just a bit better than I felt about WoD, but there are specific things I am looking forward to. As long as Sylvanas and Jaina stay away from becoming raid bosses I’ll eventually make my peace with the rest.

Let’s be honest, the most important part of the expansion is the fact that those extra levels will let me farm WoD and maybe Legion raids for transmog. And if Blizz wanted to give me my very own arcane pirate ghost ship, that wouldn’t hurt either…

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