Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Classic Thoughts, Part II

Other People in Classic

A long time ago, I observed that:
It's a little unfair to the developers, but the best reason to play WoW instead of other MMOs is that you don't have to listen to people talking about WoW.
Well, now you can play WoW while listening to people constantly talk about WoW. Either castigating Battle for Azeroth or reminiscing about 15 years ago. It's non-stop, and it's like these people don't have any other conversation.

Truthfully, it makes me less inclined to play Classic.

Grouping and Questing

Regarding the discussion of grouping and questing, I came across this old post of mine from TBC days: Is Questing Anti-Social. An excerpt:
I think people don't group because they are ambivalent about approaching strangers. Maybe it's fear of rejection, a desire not to impose on someone else, or feeling bad about asking for help. But my experience is that a lot of people are perfectly willing to group up, they just don't want to be the one to ask. And because you can solo most quests, they don't ask unless they have to.
I think we are already seeing this issue in the Beta. Classic is a game which works best when groups are formed easily. But people simply don't like to group.

Will Classic Weaken Guilds on Live?

My current guess is that Classic will attract a great deal of attention on launch. But over the next three months, it will lose 90% of its audience. It will still stabilise at a few hundred thousand, numbers any other MMO would envy.

I don't think that Live will lose significant numbers to Classic. However, I wonder if the "type" of people who switch from Live to Classic will matter.

Basically, the type of people who will be very attracted to Classic are the highly social and the organizers. They'll be the ones who will be able to handle the grouping, who have a rolodex of friendly tanks or healers. In Live, though, these are the people who form the strong core of guilds. Guild leaders, officers, etc.

Numerically, these people are outnumbered by the rank-and-file. But they're the type of people who's loss hurts the most. I look at my current guild, and I think I have a general sense of who would be most interested in Classic. If we lost half of them at the same time, it would hurt us a lot.

I think something similar happened before, when 10-man raids were introduced. The core of many existing raid teams focused on 10-mans, but a lot of the rank-and-file ended up dropping away.


  1. "But over the next three months, it will lose 90% of its audience."

    I wish we had a place where we could put money on bets like this, because I'd take Classic retaining more than 10% of the population for three months. Hopefully at least we have enough info to know this.

    Among other reasons, the one you list (Classic appeals to leaders/social people vs the solo player) is why retention will be high. Leaders keep the rank and file people playing, while the solo player is in their own bubble, and they come and go based only on the current content.

    And as you say, the type of person who will leave current WoW is exactly the type of person who will have a cascading effect on population. Even if a rank and file current WoW player isn't super into Classic, when their guild moves over and stays, they will stay too. The only people truly immune to this are the solo-only people, and those types don't 'matter' from a social retention perspective; as said they come and go based on just the solo content, which isn't what Classic is about.

    1. Well, we'll see. I think you vastly underestimate the number of "solo" players in Vanilla. At best, only about 30% of the population did Vanilla endgame. I don't think Classic will have a real grip on the other 70%.

      Social retention only applies to the people who are actually pulled into guilds, into the bonds formed by the social people.

      Plus a huge number of people will be straight tourists, who really have no expectations of staying long term.

      So I think that the final numbers will settle into the height of the EQ/AC/UO population pre-WoW, maybe a bit higher.

  2. If you were to Venn the groups interested in Classic long term, I'd be surprised if it was even 1% of the accounts created on day one. Right, it's people who a) played WoW 15 years ago, b) want to depend on social interactions, c) want to spend more time walking/getting places than actually doing things.

    ~1000 people killed Kelthuzad in Vanilla, which had more subscribers than BfA does now (which itself is down by an astounding margin.)

    Am I the only one who remembers the nightmares of organizing 40 man raids, and a bench to support them? Like herding pregnant hungry cats...

    1. I think using Kel'Thuzad is misleading. Vanilla was based on the idea of progression in raids. Using KT is like using Mythic Jaina or Uu'nat to measure raid participation in BfA.

      A better measurement would be Ragnaros.

      Otherwise, though, I agree with you. Even the social people might find flex raiding in BfA preferable to maintaining a 40-man guild.

  3. I've learned to ignore general/zone chat until I need something. People comparing Wow versions is minor (to me) given some of the other, room temperature IQ topics that can consume a large chat channel. I think it will be something that fades over time once Classic launches and establishes itself.

    As far as questing goes, I think there is enough friction in putting together an adhoc group that most people would rather keep questing than take the time to find folks on the right quests. Heck, when the addon community put together tools to make joining groups as seamless as possible Blizzard put in the development time to break the addons. :sigh:

    1. I personally like seeing general chat. Yeah, it's sometimes dumb, but it reminds me I'm in a social game. I find MMOs without general chat to be very lonely.

      Regarding joining group mods, I've always thought that Blizzard broke them because people switching shards/layers so often stressed the servers and was causing performance issues. Heck, I remember people would join my groups not to actually do the quest, but just to shard-hop to farm things. I remember the mods adding features to auto-kick people who joined but were not in the actual area.