Disgruntled World of Warcraft players are speaking out against Activision Blizzard turning the game into a cash cow with mediocre-to-boring content, through a fan's letter that ended up being one of the most gilded posts on Reddit.
World of Warcraft's community is in a state of dissonance at the moment, largely influenced by the state of the game many don't approve of. Players have been complaining about Battle for Azeroth not being a finished product ever since the expansion's release in August 2018, but it seems like dissatisfaction is at an all-time high right now.
A passionate World of Warcraft fan, named Lightcap, wrote a lengthy letter to Blizzard, explaining why he loved the company for about two decades, and how that love truly clicked into place once he found World of Warcraft. Over the course of time, that flame had been nearly extinguished, and now it's just about to go out apparently.
Lightcap listed many reasons why they are not satisfied with World of Warcraft's current state, such as Blizzard not taking their time to deliver a high-quality polished product they were known for, which caused their games to become more streamlined and less fun. Eventually, Lightcap called Blizzard's modern games "animated shopping carts that feature mini-games people can play in between opening loot boxes".
Another noteworthy point Lightcap raised was that now it seems like game design is being dictated by algorithms and stat-padding, focusing on maximising profits through microtransactions instead of delivering a finished product. The redditor also called out Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, World of Warcraft game director Ion Hazzikostas and community manager Josh Allen, each for their own missteps that led to the game being in this state.
It seems like World of Warcraft community couldn't agree more with Lightcap's sentiments, as they broke the record for the post with most Platinum awards on Reddit. At the time of writing, the letter to Blizzard had 37.000 upvotes, with a 85 per cent upvote rate, 80 Silver, 95 Gold and 38 Platinum awards.
To put matters about the above mentioned Blizzard employees into perspective, Josh Allen is the community manager that attacked World of Warcraft fans who posted about the game on his private Twitter. He did state he didn't want to talk about the game on that platform beforehand, and disclosed that the opinions expressed on Twitter are his own, but he also pinned that he is a WoW community manager in his description. Therefore, such inquiries were unavoidable.
J. Allen Brack is the same person who infamously told players they only think they want the old days of World of Warcraft back, but they really don't. In an ironic turn of events, he was the one who announced World of Warcraft Classic later on. It is him, along with Hazzikostas that the community usually blames for World of Warcraft getting watered down over the years, which resulted in it being a game with many things to do, but all of them being shallow experiences that don't keep players invested.
It could prove to be just a coincidence, but Brack was promoted to Production Director in 2008 and Hazzikostas joined Blizzard about the same time. Wrath of The Lich King was released on 13 November 2008 and is often cited as the last expansion the community remembers fondly, with some going even as far as saying The Burning Crusade was the only one they liked. Either way, the WoW community's aversion to Brack and Hazzikostas' ascent in Blizzard likely coincides with these timelines.
Since Wrath of the Lich King, the game's mechanics steadily became simpler, with fewer tricks to be discovered with each content update. Purchasing and keeping track of ammunition and arrows, crafting poison and macro switching weapon sets to use Spell Reflection are just minor examples of deeper mechanics that are now a thing of past, which seems to be the main gripe fans have with modern World of Warcraft.
It doesn't help Brack's image that he has a reputation of simplifying games as something similar, if not worse happened to Star Wars Galaxies during his stay at Sony Online Entertainment. While the World of Warcraft community blames the president for game mechanics being shallow, he is not the only one that is currently under a microscope.
Other fans are blaming Activision for potential meddling in Blizzard's development, bringing out the fact that Blizzard currently doesn't have a CEO. While Activision Blizzard's inner workings are not quite openly known to the public and claiming that Activision runs Blizzard may be unfounded at the moment, the same user did point out several blunders Blizzard either walked or was forced into during 2018.
For example, there are mentions of Battle for Azeroth being released in an unfinished state, the infamous Diablo Immortal announcement for mobile and the profit-driven development of World of Warcraft.
Specific cases include a mount that is exclusive to the six-month subscription package and nine items from the in-game store being retired in order to entice more players into buying them, probably in an attempt to pad stats, in a similar manner Lightcap mentioned in their letter.
I took these two instances of player masses showing their dissatisfaction with World of Warcraft simply because they are the most recent ones, but the community has been disillusioned with the game for a while now. Asmongold, probably the most well-known World of Warcraft streamer found Battle for Azeroth to be "shallow, dull, meaningless and not fun" in a response to him quitting a stream back in November.
If content creators can't find fun with a game, then how can an average player do so? The disconnect between Blizzard and their players has never been this high. It's almost as if the sales and marketing people took decision making over from product people. Almost like the company forgot what it means to make a great product.