WoW is played by so many different people around the world that it is only natural that opinions about the content of the game differ widely. Nevertheless, at least to me it seems as if the gap between enthusiasm and aversion has never widened as widely as it is in Shadowlands. Many of the adjustments are pleasing to some of the players, while others cannot do anything with them. And it's not just the scissors that seem to be parting. The amount on the respective pages has also increased in some cases. In the past, if at least the majority of players agreed on whether a change or feature was good or bad, while only a small part even disagreed, the player base is now divided much more evenly at first glance. If you think a certain content is good or bad, you don't really know whether the majority of the other players also see it that way.
At least that's how it appears to me whenever I speak to fellow players, visit forums or read comments under our articles or on other sites. Many of the Shadowlands features divide players. Would you like a few examples?
In Shadowlands, Blizzard has massively changed the way the story is told. Instead of various smaller stories, there is a very clear main story that extends through all four areas to the end game. This makes it less complex, but also easier to understand. But is that better now? Opinions differ. Some find that this has made the story simple, boring, and predictable, which is in part certainly true. On the other hand, on the other hand, players can also understand the story who do not read every quest text and use the WoW lore (buy now € 14.99 ) are on you and you.
The community also disagrees with the newly introduced threads of fate. Is the new option now a good thing because you are offered an alternative, or is the demise of the MMORPG because you can get to the endgame without quests or experiencing the story? You can read both over and over again in the comments on this topic.
Less prey makes it more valuable …
… is an argument of those who are happy that you are no longer showered with equipment in every nook and cranny. Other players, on the other hand, are frustrated when they farm the entire raid and complete countless Mythic Plus dungeons without getting a single usable item. Which group is right is of course completely in the eye of the beholder. It remains to be seen whether the middle ground that Blizzard takes with increasing loot and introducing Valor Points will satisfy both sides. In the worst case, both sides are dissatisfied afterwards, which of course we don't hope.
The Maw – Joy or Fiasco?
The hardest area that has ever existed in WoW – so the gulp was announced by the developers. And yes, they have kept their word. Hardly anywhere on Azeroth are there so many strong opponents that you have to play carefully against. Some of the players agree and they are happy that the questing is now a little more demanding. Others believe that the Maw is the worst failure of Shadowlands. Boring, ugly and simply unnecessary and artificially difficult.
It's similar with world quests, by the way. They're too annoying and take too long. You can find that in the forums as well as the statement: I finally have something to do and don't just have to knock down a single insignificant mob that lives for three seconds.
The parties argue most violently about whether the abolition of the endless grind really made sense, took out motivation or was simply replaced by the anima grind. The fact is: There is no longer an endless grind that has a direct and significant influence on the player power, i.e. the strength of your character. Alone in my filter bubble of WoW players with whom I have direct contact, this fact triggers both joy and displeasure. "Finally time for twinks, other games and less pressure to be online all the time," some shout. "After three hours on Wednesday I have nothing more to do and can't improve my character any more, how stupid is that?" the others screech. Again, both opinions are completely legitimate and are simply based on the preferences of the individual players. It is also exciting to see that after the BfA there was still agreement that the abolition of the endless grind was a good idea. Apparently, some players have now realized that they somehow miss that at the end of the day. The abolition of Titan Forged will certainly have an impact here too, thanks to which random upgrades for the same, already existing item no longer occur. For some of the players, the motivation to do more than just the bare essentials has been completely lost, which ultimately made the game less fun.
Instead of player power, we can grind anima until we drop in Shadowlands. This is mainly spent on upgrading your own sanctum or cosmetic rewards, has almost no influence on your strength in combat and is therefore largely optional. For this reason, the developers designed the feature so that you can play for months before you have all the rewards together. But that doesn't suit some of the players. Completeists want to achieve everything without having to farm twelve hours a day for years. Others find it annoying that the entire extension is farmed the same way.
On the other hand, there are the players, for whom optional actually means that they don't do it if they don't feel like it and who think it's good that no relevant items can be earned with this system. They are happy that they can farm something at any time and that they will still receive some form of reward for many months – be it pets, mounts or transmog sets.
Subjective impression or objective problem?
Now the question arises to me whether this is just a subjective impression on my part. Maybe in the past I haven't looked too closely when it comes to the amount of players who think something is good or bad. Perhaps I have become more sensitive over the years, so that statements like "Shadowlands is total grits, I stopped right away" or "No question, Shadowlands is the best expansion for many, many years" tend to stay in my mind. Or the different voices have simply become louder, which means that I can no longer overlook them. But in my – admittedly not necessarily representative – filter bubble and after my impressions in forums and comment columns, the community is more divided about Shadowlands than it has been for a long time. The impression is also underpinned a little by the feedback, which reaches us directly and in which we have to justify ourselves to the same extent as to why we would always praise feature XY in articles or in buffedCast.
If I am actually correct with my observations, a serious problem could arise for WoW. Because if the players really disagree about various features, the developers at Blizzard are faced with the dilemma in which direction they should develop further. And that's exactly what they tried to do with Shadowlands. They currently attach more importance to feedback, which was also shown by BlizzConline, where they did not go into detail about various innovations because they want to work them out together with the feedback from the players. But if things go in one direction, then you no longer just make a small minority of the players unhappy, but possibly a more significant part, which could be reflected in dissatisfaction and falling player numbers.
Hence my question to you at this point: Do you also think that the opinions of the players diverge more and more, or does this strange guy, who wrote his very personal and subjective impression in this column, have a wrong picture of the Mixed situation?
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