World of Warcraft (WoW)

This sub often doesn’t seem like a good place to talk about enjoying the game

This is a bit of a long post so apologies for the wall of text.

Nearly every expansion there reaches a point after the ‘honeymoon phase’ of expac launch where subs inevitably drop off. Some people only wanted to play the new content and take a hiatus until the next patch, some didn’t enjoy the content and unsubbed quickly, etc.

Meanwhile one of the things that is great about a huge IP like WoW is that there is a massive community of people who are interested in it for all sorts of reasons. Whether someone is a casual player, a world first raider, a pvper who goes to the AWC or one who likes mucking about in bgs, or people who love achievement hunting, people who are interested in the lore, people who RP, people who don’t care much about the game but love the art or the music… the WoW community is a gigantic and vibrant place. And someone does not need to actively play to appreciate it or to engage with it, But whenever people stop playing because they dislike current content, and they continue to participate in discussion about the content, it creates a bit of a selection bias. Not sure which is more accurate here). People who dislike the game talk about why, which gets upvoted by other people who agree, and may downvote people who disagree. Those people who disagree may be people who not only actively play the game but love it. This kind of creates a feedback loop where people who enjoy the game just stop frequenting the sub because any positive opinions about it might get heavily downvoted by people who don’t play and don’t enjoy the game but are still active in the community.

The maw is a prevalent example that comes up nearly every day here. Some people who play might max out their jailer rep every day, and if they did so they could have probably made 20+ gem slots by now, or gotten gems on their 7 pieces and then rolled on a bunch of conduit stuff and bought all the torghast upgrades. Or maybe they just do the weekly quests that award 2-3k stygia but don’t bother with dailies or the bigger grind. Maybe they just go to the maw once/week to collect souls for their order hall for the renown or for the anima. Or maybe they just don’t go there at all; gem slots and conduit ilvl aren’t huge dps upgrades (especially compared to how op gem slots were in bfa) so that whole area might be considered optional. So there are lots of options there. Its not mandatory content, its an optional inconvenient time sink to get a marginal upgrade, there are diminishing returns on the time you spend there vs the stygia you get, and there are a few different ways you can go about farming it based on how much you care.

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I’m not defending the maw or saying it’s a good system. But rather I want to point out that you can’t really discuss that on this sub. Every day there is a post about how shit the maw is and anyone who disagrees is considered inherently wrong. A chunk of the comments will be about people who unsubscribed because of it or because they didn’t like shadowlands. And if people agree but say it doesn’t matter, or if they disagree, or if they just want to discuss the system instead of complaining about the system then they just get downvoted instead of people engaging in that discussion. I used the maw as an example but this happens every expansion with regard to nearly everything. Apping to m+ or arena in group finder, the existence of group finder itself (‘it killed the sense of community!), boosters in pvp, exploits in a world first race, people being too elitist, people being too casual, rogues, worgen models, bugs… the issue with all of these things is that someone might raise a concern that they want to talk about, but instead there will be a pile-on by people who dislike the game at that point in time and that concern fits with their current dislike.

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This creates a cycle where people are kind of actively discouraged from taking part in positive discussion. If someone talks about how much they enjoy being stupidly op in torghast and wants to talk about the different anima powers that are fun on different classes, the discussion becomes about soul ash being a dumb reward or twisting corridors not having enough rewards or torg being too easy or too hard. If someone wants to talk about pvp (its participation is the highest it has ever been this season) then its all about losing to boosters at 1500 cr or the gearing system being too easy or too hard or being op etc.

This occurs every single expansion too. People praise MoP class design now, but at the time most of the forum discussions were dominated by people expressing concern about class homogenisation. People talk about Legion as one of the best expansions, but for ¾ of the expansion people talked about it as if it was one of the worst ones because of the ap grind and the grindy+rng aspect of legendaries. And look, if someone didn’t like a system they aren’t wrong! If someone loved those systems they aren’t wrong! How you think the game should be played is not mutually exclusive with how other people think the game should be played. The systems you advocate might be mutually exclusive, but your opinions are both subjective.

My point is that criticizing these issues and critically analysing game systems isn’t a bad thing in itself. The negative aspect comes from people actively disagreeing with other people’s subjective enjoyment of the game based on what they dislike about it. Constructive discussion is great, disagreeing with people is a part of that discussion, but don't heavily downvote people for saying things they enjoy about the game. When there is a culture of that mentality then it drives away people who do enjoy the game and want to talk about what they love about it. And it can drive away people interested in trying the game or returning to it because they will only see the selection bias of players who dislike the game because people who love it don’t want to express it in this community. I’ve got a couple friends who like to play casually each expac and sometimes lurk this sub. I’m having an absolute blast in Shadowlands and encourage them to play, but they have seen nothing but negativity on here and are reluctant to pay for a sub to give it a try. I don’t think that is the kind of culture that is healthy for a game.

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I guess the take-away from this is not to stop engaging in discussion even if you don’t actively play or don’t enjoy the expansion. But just be mindful of the fact that you can have a problem with the game and other people can enjoy the game and neither of you are wrong for doing so.

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