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Making the World of Warcraft more trivial, one post at a time…

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To get guilds like that to move, you need to create something so
very attractive – and which offers the same social benefits as WoW –
that the vast majority of the guild are committed to moving. Then those
who are less keen will either quit altogether, or come along as Azeroth
begins to feel terribly empty. If Blizzard continues to put out enough
content to keep everyone occupied and enjoying the game, than even a
significantly superior game won’t be enough to overcome the social
inertia.

Ravens_assembled
Think of WoW as a local pub, if you like. You can drop in there
whenever you want, and pretty much guarantee finding someone you know
to chat to. Now, a newer, more shiny bar may open down the road, but
the sofa you and your mates normally sit on isn’t there, and the first
couple of times you swing by, there’s no-one you know about. Not much
incentive to switch, even if they are serving better beer, is there? It
will take either a focused decision to switch, or a gentle migration
over time, for the new pub to displace the old one. And the only thing
that’s likely to drive either is dissatisfaction with the current game.
Or pub.

The Mac Factor

And don’t under-estimate the drag factor of the Mac users. WoW is
the only MMoRPG that has been available on both Mac and Windows from
the start and, unlike previous efforts, allows both PC and Mac owners
to play on the same server. Now, Macs may be under 10% of the computers
sold, but when you factor out business sales, they’re a much larger
proportion. So, if, say 20% of your guild is on Macs, you have an
additional drag factor to stop wholesale switching.

A World of World of Warcraft

There’s more to it than just the micro social aspect, though.
There’s clearly a macro social factor, too. The game has such a large
international player base that elements of the game have become a
strong shared cultural vocabulary. The key iconography of the game is
recognisable all over the world, even if some of the names aren’t.

Warhammer, or Star Trek, for all their well-known IPs, come
pre-bundled with loads of baggage. For those who aren’t part of the
existing fanbase, they’re "spotty teenage boy" and "no life geeks"
stereotypes, which will be hard to shake. For those who are fans,
dealing with players not taking beloved settings seriously will be an
problem (I like to call this the DarthPwnsU issue…).

Xmasleaf
Warcraft is an IP that was designed for a game, and which has only
spread slightly outside that. Few people will be coming to the IP
through the spin-offs rather than the games. It has a strong element of
humour and silliness from the start, that makes the intrustion of lame
player humour all the less jarring.

In other words, people don’t come for the IP – but they stay for it. One of the reasons for the rapid growth of the WoW blogosphere has been that shared, worldwide community who can interact around shared concepts. And
that very blogosphere becomes another reason to stay – it extends out
the in-game social experience to a broader social experience. You can
now interact with other players on forums, blogs, podcasts, conferences
and more…

This is How a Game Dies

WoW’s growth was sudden and unexpected. People who were watching the
early days of the game will remember the struggles Blizz had to get
enough servers up, and then the dreadful login queues we used to
encounter. They were so bad on the EU instance of Argent Dawn that my
guild transferred wholesale to Steamwheedle Cartel when the option of a
free transfer came up.

The WoW-killer will not be as sudden a success. It will be a slow build to a tipping point where enough people have moved to provide as rich a social environment as WoW. The game will be one that has as much mainstream appeal as WoW, and one that emphasises a fun environment over gritty game-play detail.

And, right now, there’s a better than average chance that the WoW-killer will come from Blizz itself.

Simply put – this game is now Blizzard’s to lose, because it’ll take
a lot more than a pretty good game to get people to switch social
operating systems.

Warcraftalltop

I know that the majority of people who ready my fine thought meats on this blog do so via RSS. That’s cool – but I bet most of you have had to pick and choose which blogs you subscribe to, just to keep your RSS reader under control. While more than necessary, it can mean that you miss out on some great Warcraft stuff that’s out of your particular area of interest.

That’s where the World of Warcraft Alltop comes in.

It’s a single page that lists the most recent five posts for a range of editorially-selected sites, giving you a quick and easy way of spotting stuff you might not have seen otherwise. I usually browse it after going through my reader as something of a bloggy digestif.

Give it a try, and let me knwo what you think.

Hordelocke

OMG! It’s back! And it’s rerolled Horde.

The original Flintlocke was my favourite WoW comic, and nothing that’s come along since has come close to rivalling it. The new version, set Horde-side in the lowbie areas is just getting going, and no doubt it’ll pick up steam as we get through teh character intros and into the plot.

And, just to add to me joy, the original comic has been reissued in a Director’s Cut, with a new prologue and author’s commentary. There goes my productivity this afternoon…

(And maybe time to get my Horde Belf Pally out of mothballs…)

OK. Here we go…

Picture_6

The Lich King. In metal armour. On a Frozen Throne. We all know what that means, don’t we?

Chilblains.

No wonder the poor guy is so grumpy.

Picture_7

Now, we can learn two important things from this:

  1. Arthas has stepped in a yeti. He should watch where he’s going
  2. There will be snow in Northrend! OMG SPOILER!

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Snow Angels: UR Doing It Wrong.

Picture_10

Uh, no Arthas. We don’t want to see what you’ve got under your cloak.

Put it away. You’re just being smutty.

Picture_11

Word of advice, me old Lich King mucker: catching snowflakes is much more fun if done on your tongue. Really, try it.

Picture_12

[Pantomime Voice] It’s BEHIND you!

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Is it me, or did anyone else think "must equip my Argent Dawn trinket" when you saw these guys?

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And lastly, the great mystery of the new expansion: How does he shave under that helmet? Maybe that’s why they’re adding barber shops…

I was going to blog about something cool today.

But it keeps being broken.

And if I tell you about it, it’ll get more broken.

So, I’m just wasting your time by writing this, instead.

I am the Tree of Evil. Fear my Wooden Malice….