Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture

Mists of Pandaria

September 23, 2012 By: Ladan Category: Mists of Pandaria

So it’s happening again. An expansion. Since I first launched this blog, there’s been another expansion–Cataclysm–and since I started my research, there’s been one more–Wrath of the Lich King. We like our expansions–it keeps us coming back; even those players who seem to cynically ‘quit’ WoW to play other games seem to come back to check out the expansions. Maybe it’s because despite things getting stale or frustrating once we’ve played a while, the allure of something new just keeps us returning back. These expansions, to some extent, re-create WoW anew.

So we’ve been on alien lands, frozen, fiery hot… and now we’re about to be bamboo loving, chi-channeling, fur-wearing pandas. Well at least I am. I love pandas. What can I say? I’m not sure how I’ll feel dressed as a panda, but I’m certainly going to give it a go. I’ll also be levelling up my main characters, which is going to be a peculiar experience to say the least. I’ve spent almost 4 years researching this game and its players, which has meant the ‘playing’ part has often had to take a backseat or a shared-role at least with my researcher side. Now as a player foremost (and researcher secondmost) I am eager to see how it will feel the play a game without having to necessarily document it. I honestly can’t wait. :)

But let’s talk about raiding and MoP. It’s hard to dispute the Asian feel of the new area. And it’s hard to ignore the fact that with Chinese players getting access to the new expansion only a week after other parts of the world, this may be the game and raiding expansion that belongs to Asia. What I mean by this is that with the growing interest in WoW from Asia, the earlier access to the expansion for Asian guilds and the increased success of Asian guilds during the Tier 13, we may be seeing a shift in raiding dominance. At least when it comes to the 25-man raiding. As far as the 10-man scene, Korean guilds typically dominate these rankings, but with guilds like Paragon deciding to downsize to 10-man, it could prove to be an extremely exciting race there, with a wider number of guilds and geographical regions represented.

As a researcher interested in how we engage with competition while gaming, I’m particularly interested to see how, if at all, these new ‘Challenge’ dungeons and the ‘pet battles’ might infuse the formalised competitive spirit into other parts of the game. Will they expand the competition among guilds and players or just be self-contained parts of competing against the game?

But either which way I’ve got over a day to get myself sorted and ready to check out the expansion late tomorrow night… I’m really looking forward to it and considering all of the changes to the game in the 18 months or so since I was regularly playing it feels a bit like a whole new game to me. Hopefully I’ll get to see some of you around the game. Tally-ho!

4 Comments to “Mists of Pandaria”

  1. Really pleased to hear you are coming back for the expansion. Me too! There’s something about an expansion that I just cannot miss, despite not really having played much over the past year or so. I guess I love the ‘mad rush’ of people starting the new content at midnight, the frustration of servers being full and needing to queue, suddenly realising that its 3:30am and I need to work the next day. (I’m my own boss now though, so I’ll go easy on myself if I turn up late to work on tuesday, hehe).

    See you ingame!

  2. In your article on WoW you mentioned that numbers are declining as far as subscribers go. The reason as I see for this decline is simply that the maker of World of Warcraft has simply shifted the focus of the game. By focus I mean they have made it easier to level and easily gratifying, too easy. I have played this game since 2004 and I find that more and more people are complaining of the previously mention facts but to sum it up I would say ‘not challenging’ is the world. It used to be a feat to level up in WoW; players may have complained about the exhaustive grinding but at the end of the day have a sense of achievement is gained. I have written to Blizzard many times on this but I think you will find that the 2010 decline is the result of the easier leveling that was initiated around this time. The game just stopped being interesting for a lot of people. Blizzard assumes that all players are in a rush to reach the level cap and has redesigned the game to for this to happen with ease. By talking to others on forums it is clear to me that most of the people not happy with this new direction are veterans like myself who played from the beginning. I just looked at the patch notes for the new expansion and nothing has been done to address my concerns and that of others like me. In my openion the numbers will rise a tad but then start to decline whithin 6 months as players rush to level cap get tired of high level content and drop. I will not be getting back into WoW till this changes. Guild Wars 2 is calling.

  3. DiamondTear says:

    What makes you think there is a growing interest in WoW in Asia? Most of the subscriber losses were from Asia, so I’d say the interest is waning.

    I’m quitting after 466 days played because having a job means that I don’t want to spend as much time raiding. I’m no Kruf.

  4. Rish sorry are you one of those players who is unwilling and unable to accept that WoW is a organic process and that it has to move on and that Blizzard has a massive unheard majority who are probably more than happy with how the game is if it was such a big issue the numbers would have really dropped which does not seem to be the case.

    You sit and bang on about being “hardcore” and “raiding” and the “grinding” as well. I started back at the tail end of TBC (The Burning Crusade for those who do not know) and I found the game a huge slog to level up through and it was ages and ages to get to level 70 and I was burnt out by the time I did and felt no sense of accomplishment but more a sense of I have to go through all of this again to get another class up to spec. And you know what I dreaded the idea entirely of doing that all over again. I am not a causal I have OCD and trust me I can level a character day and night if the mood takes me with little sleep but TBC and WoW at that stage was just not fun at all.

    Also talking on the forums does not give anyone the proper insight into the community’s feelings and it does not give hard data as the majority of players on WoW do not use them because anyone with a view that differs to so called “veterans” like you is flamed and trolled and therefore I cannot blame them one bit for not wanting to post on the forums that is a narrow minded view set of a few thousand at best part of the player base it does not count for the millions who play. Your so called facts are best insulting and at worst an overt trolling of anyone who dares have a different view to your own.

    Get over it or better still quit WoW and let people who like seeing the way this organic process is going enjoy the game.


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