The Modern Convenience: Screw the “good ol’ days”
Talk to someone about World of Warcraft and it’s hard to not hear them reminiscence about the good old days. The game’s pinnacle (The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King) is now long gone and people seem to prefer to look back instead of forward.
It’s hard to truly figure out where things went wrong. Maybe it was the Looking for Group tool? Perhaps it was making every raid accessible by either ten or twenty-five man groups? The justice and valor system didn’t necessarily win any favors. Don’t get me started on Looking for Raid.
Oh wait; all of these are things that helped the game become more accessible to newcomers. Sorry, my mistake.
It’s an easy mistake to make if you listen to the “elite veterans” of the game, ignoring the fact that a lack of diverse content is what started to chip away at WoW’s subscription rate. Seriously; the first two tiers of Cataclysm shared the same shade of red. It was dreadful.
The need for accessibility is incredibly apparent when looking back at the end-game progression for The Burning Crusade. A popular meme at the time in regards to getting your Karazhan key took a flowchart of the process and had Olmec from Legends of the Hidden Temple provide his tour guide spiel: “You could start…” Seriously, the thing was an absolutely nightmare. Run these dungeons. Grab this item. Run those dungeons, grab that item. Go back and run this, talk to the guy, then go back and run that…
Oh, and remember: these are Burning Crusade dungeons. They were the exact opposite of a pushover. There wasn’t any type of queue to sit back and wait in as you grinded faction reputation. If you were running a dungeon, you had to manually put the group together either through guild chat or, even worse, trade chat in a major city. Talk about a logistical nightmare, one that gets made fun of in other MMOs that lack a LFG-type tool when they launch (I’m looking at you, Star Wars: The Old Republic).
It’s nice that a casual WoW player doesn’t have to put in dozens of hours of effort for a raid. They can simply log-in, queue up with LFR, and enjoy themselves. Veterans/Elitists still have the heroic modes to enjoy. Everybody wins.
The modern convenience doesn’t just attribute to MMOs. I recently talked about how new additions to Pokémon X and Y make the game better going forward. Sure, we laugh and jest that it’s dumb how the game hands you roller skates, the Kanto starter, and countless other once rare Pokémon, but would you rather jump through the hoops of buying multiple copies of the game or tracking down friends and sitting together for hours as you do nothing but trade? I didn’t think so. Yes, the Mass Effect franchise changed from RPG to shooter between the first two games, but is there any denying the fact that it handled significantly better because of this? Wasn’t it absolutely awesome when Rock Band 3 introduced the ability to jump in and out of songs at will?
The good old days aren’t always good. We’re blinded by the nostalgia of exploring a new world for the first time, inhibited by the pure joy of when a once-beloved franchise was incredibly popular. While the past for all of the mentioned franchises (World of Warcraft, Pokémon, Mass Effect, Rock Band) When we look back, it’s funny to think how much of a pain it was to walk (yes, walk) through Azeroth until level 40 as we waited at summoning stones for a dungeon run. It’s silly to consider the amount of time wasted breeding for perfect natures and IVs. Let’s not look back; let’s look forward.