World of Warcraft designers have mixed feelings about Cataclysm
While no one is saying that World of Warcraft’s last expansion Cataclysm was a failure, there appears to be mixed feelings about it in the Blizzard office. It may have been the expansion or just the natural process of any game – especially MMOs, but WoW has lost many subscribers recently.
Draxxari, WoW’s community manager, responded to user analysis on why Cataclysm failed to impress many players.
"That was an error we made with the design of Cataclysm, but getting players invested in the world again is something we're interested in addressing with Mists."
For Cataclysm, the focus was on revamping the old world, vanilla WoW, instead of adding completely new areas like past expansions had. While this revamping process did add new areas by completely changing regions everyone were used too, it did not have the effect players excepted. While some enjoyed the nostalgic feeling of killing harder versions of bosses they did years ago, to many others it just seemed lazy on Blizzard’s part.
On the other side of the spectrum Dave Kosak, the lead quest designer for WoW, did not agree with Draxxari. Kosak told VideoGamer.com:
"For me Cataclysm, when we talk about the expansion, for me a lot of Cataclysm was the 1-60 re-design which was an epic amount of work. And I think we managed to pull that off in a time frame and we managed to do it and refresh the old world – that was a big part of Cataclysm. We're really happy with how that turned out!"
It seems that the ‘we’ in his final statement may not be completely accurate. At the same time, community managers and quest writers are different departments and it’s completely understandable if one department was satisfied while the other may not be. Over all though, there are definitely mixed vibes coming from the Blizzard office.
The loss of subscribers is a definite problem though. Will this be just a fad or it is a true decline in the interest of WoW? Will gamers jump ship? It seems like more is riding on Mists of Pandaria than ever. If this expansion is a flop, it may be the end of World of Warcraft as we know it. Can Blizzard get their subscribers back? Summer of this year should tell us.