Monday, April 25, 2011

WoW's target audience

Syncaine asked a very good question, which necessitates its own thread: As for WoW, do you really think the target audience is the same for the game today as it was in 2004? Or, is it possible that Blizzard changed WoW between 04 and 2011, and has replaced those who originally played with those looking for a slightly deeper Farmville?

I can't say what audience they are shooting for, or what their intentions are. But I *do* know that whatever the target audience is, they are very inconsistent in approaching it. While during WotLK I might have answered you that yes, WoW is heading towards being the easiest and most accessible MMORPG (and nothing wrong with that), I find the target direction for Cataclysm extremely confusing: The leveling game has been made easier, to the point where my ultra-casual wife is complaining that she is leveling new alts too fast (without ever having even seen a heirloom); but the heroics and raiding game has been made far more difficult and time-consuming than in the previous expansion.

I honestly think that EITHER game would be okay, an ultra-easy game, or a game that is consistently challenging. But making the leveling game easier and the endgame harder makes no sense to me at all, because there was already a rather nasty gap between the two before. Why would you want to make your casual players level FASTER, and then not offer them anything to do in the endgame? Why would you design a challenging game, but not use the opportunity to teach players how to play their class during the leveling part? I really wished Blizzard would make their minds up about who exactly is their target audience. As the old saying goes, you simply can't please all the people all the time.

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