I blame Deathwing

I get the overwhelming feeling that WoW is slowly dying. I thought it was just me that was no longer finding excitement and things to look forward to in the game. But I’m hearing the same in other blogs and I am seeing a lot of my friends finding their time spent more on Rift.

Rift won’t be the WoW killer, WoW will be the WoW killer. Blizzard did WoTLK right. The Lich King represented a true evilness that must be defeated. I could see it in the artwork when I opened my collector’s edition on release date. The epic cut scene as I was questing through Dragonblight portrayed an larger-than-life experience that was to be the rest of the expansion. His appearance in multitudes of quests, dungeons, and raid instances reaffirmed the evilness that I was to defeat. There was a point, an ends to the means, a final conquest to look forward to for the entire expansion.

I never got this feeling leveling through Cataclysm. It kind of seems like some big dragon just happened to fly over Azeroth and fart tearing a rift in the world. I never saw him once leveling up. Why am I supposed to care about this guy? Deathwing’s character is super underdeveloped in the game, giving the appearance that the climax of Cataclysm’s adventure will be uneventful and the road to get there a flat mundane drudge.

What really hooks in the audience of an MMORPG? It’s the villain in the story. The badass motherfucker at the end of the road better live up to the hours I spent leveling, grinding, and improving my gear to defeat. This farting, sneezing, rift tearing dragon just makes me feel like it isn’t worth spending my time.


  1. I was talking to a few folks on Twitter today about the overall sense of disappointment, and one of them also mentioned Deathwing feeling lacking as an end boss.

    I hadn't really thought of this as a factor, but it's probably a part of a list of things that I've been feeling lately.

  2. It is kind of hard to ignore the steady stream of bloggers saying they're either not playing WoW anymore or that it's rapidly losing their interest. I do agree that Arthas was a more compelling villain than Deathwing, but I'm not sure how much I think that really factors into why people seem to be losing interest, because I'm not sure how much the average WoW player cares about the lore of the game versus other factors.

    There are a few places that they tried to integrate Deathwing into the storyline in this expansion - you seem him when you're flying into Hyjal, you see a bit of where he's been when you're doing Deepholm and then he appears in the nightmare cutscene in Twilight Highlands, but they certain didn't do as much with him as with the Lich King. I think from some things I've read, Blizzard felt Arthas was a bit too omnipresent in Wrath leveling and they didn't want to overexpose Deathwing. In that, they may have gone too far the other way.

    I haven't really sat down and compiled a list of things I've found lacking in Cata, but I imagine if I did, Arthas vs. Deathwing probably wouldn't headline it. Some of my favorite times in Wrath were spent in Ulduar, which arguably had little to do with the main thrust of the expansion, while Crusader's Colosseum (allegedly) did push the story of the expansion forward, though in such a lackluster way that it seriously impacted my desire to continue raiding at that point.

    I still have some faith in Blizzard, and the plural of anecdotes is not data, but it's getting kind of hard to argue that Cata's been a huge success for them. Maybe the average WoW player is still really engaged in the game, but when the people who have loved it enough to regularly blog about it are burning out and moving on, or hanging by a thread, that's not at all a good omen.

  3. I believe me and Janyaa had this conversation on mumble, also had it with a few other jubies as well.

    Deathwing is an under-developed character that if I recall hasn't been a main stay since Warcraft II. The retcon of what happened and how he came to this rise is of little care to many.

    The best part of wow was vanilla and BC; after that they started losing their way, this expansion proves it.

    There is nothing fresh, and Rift is just that. Rift has the feel of a 2008 MMO that borrowed some of the best features from many of it's counterparts. UI customization from LoTRO, playstyle from WoW, graphics from Warhammer/Aion, and many others. Rift left many things behnd that some of us more experienced and aged MMOers hate:

    DPS Meter: We don't care what your doing, just so long as you are.

    Threat Meter: Vanilla players remember what it was like to say "oh shit" and then control themselves.

    Catering: The game is what you make of it, moderate players are moderate and so-on for better or worse players. No giving things away here.

    Will Rift kill WoW... no; however it is available to partially remind us why we play; for fun. Fun is something WoW is missing and that lack has made logging in a chore.