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The Rise & Fall Of World of Warcraft

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What led to World Of Warcraft’s community decline?
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Music Credits
Warcraft – Ephixa (EPIC Remix of Howling Fjord) [Hard Trance]

Several clips by www.youtube.com/madseasonshow
Misc. Longshot clips by Everness @
Historical Documentary By Blizzard:

this video is brought to you in part by Squarespace you can start your free trial today at squarespace.com slash downward thrust to get 10% off your first purchase World of Warcraft has been around for so long that it seems like it's always been there nonetheless all good things eventually must come to an end in this video I plan examining the rise in the fall of what I believe to be one of the greatest games ever made World of Warcraft in November of 2004 Blizzard released their new MMO onto the world it transformed the already popular Warcraft series into what would become the most iconic video game ever within a year of its release Wow boasted nearly 3 million subscribers right before the first expansion that number was up to 7.5 million what exactly was it that sucked people into this game stepping out into the huge world of vanilla Wow was really quite magical I can finally remember feeling very small picking up quests in Durotar with my orc warrior traversing zones and exploring the world alongside other players there was a certain amount of wonder lust unmatched for me in any other game even to this day from the violet forests of ashenvale to the lonely expanse of desolace to fir alice each zone transported me into a new place even though I knew it was just a game it was easy to get caught up in the rapture of its beauty and take it all in it was a big big world out there I talked to NPCs scuffled with the Alliance I leveled i SPECT into the wrong trees and I bought overpriced vendor gear like many people I sold items to cheap on the auction house and I did my first dungeon in or gamar slowly I met new friends and learned my way around the continents copying on Zeppelin's and taking in the lands below during the hundreds of flight paths I would eventually pay for make no mistake vanilla WoW was hard the game was a huge grind nearly everything in the game required quite some time from travelling zone to zone to levelling to trade skills even though the amount of time these saints consumed may seem unnecessary by today's standards it was part of what helped shape the community because leveling took ages people became invested in their characters if for nothing more than the amount of time had spent to level them alts weren't very popular either because of this one of the best parts about vanilla WoW was learning the optimal way to quest my friends and I would map out which areas we were going to next learning all the nuances to get the most experience possible at 25 you definitely find me racing across ashenvale hunting down sharp talon and the other named animal level 33 it was time to hit up stranglin bale and at 52 stealing knowledge and azshara was an absolute must combats was the classic cooldown based hotkey style different sparring's were also in this version of the game spells had multiple ranks and with each new rank the spell gained more effectiveness but typically came with the longer cast time in a higher mana cost – the awesome part about different spell ranks was that they added another layer of gameplay depth for example as a healer has your gear level increased you could switch to lower rank heals which had both faster cast times and cost less but they healed for Less – your gear could compensate for the loss of healing though so overall you ended up getting more bang for your buck so that was some strategy there other examples include using rank one of a lot of spells to get their applied effects such as frost bolts for the slow fireball for the dots and frost Nova for the bind so it was a neat little trick that some people picked up on and some people did not and it also had huge implications for PvP there were no flying mounts in vanilla Wow which was good and bad without speedy air mounts the game felt really big maybe too big in some degree for me though it was the space I needed to get lost in during the early days of WoW part of the experience and the big part of it was exploration and hoof it and on foot until 40 so you first learn the world and then you got your mounts as kind of a reward during your adventuring though you definitely come across members of the opposite faction and it was here that the game started becoming really exciting for me the open world PvP was by far the most rare yet addicting part of vanilla I could not be the only one who fondly remembers running into trouble in stranglethorn Vale and having some fierce showdowns with other players not ironically these skirmishes happen at the most inopportune times when your health was low when you were farming mobs critical to a quest or when you were under levelled but the beauty was that these interactions were organic and were exciting when you came out on top because zones were split into alliance only horde only or contested you knew when you were at risk of being ganked however and once it started it often got out of control really quickly it was not uncommon to kill a player and have him come back and gank you with his level 60 rogue then you'd ask your guild to help you out then they would do the same hold a sudden 20 or 30 decked-out level 60 characters would be fighting it out peppering the zone with a graveyard of corpses when they air finally cleared hours later without flying mounts battle stayed on the ground and it was difficult to run away after all nothing's worse than watching a coward run away or fly away without the ability to do anything about it it was a war for pride and nothing more the honor received for killing a player was minimal and next to none but the satisfaction was limitless these encounters reached an even greater breaking points when dungeons and raids got thrown into the mix as well it was often customary for members of a party to meet at a summoning stone or in front of a dungeon in some cases prior to entering kind of a group formation process and when you had a horde and an alliance party vying for turf at the same time the often hit the fan just trying to make it into the instance became the challenge especially during raids like ubers or BRD stare downs would turn into bloodbath especially when some idiots would accidentally attack another player the victors got clean access to the portal and a swelling sense of accomplishment while the losers had to make the shameful trek back to their bodies and wait until the coast was clear to res but dungeons required groups naturally finding a group in vanilla was often seen as a time-consuming chore you had to utilize zone chats use the slash who command to search for players around the current level the instance you wanted to do and whisper them directly to see if they wanted to go or if you were lucky enough gather a group of you and for other friends lfg did not exist some may see this as unnecessary and even I did too at first however I now see it as an essential part of the community that initially made wow so great let's imagine this scenario you're in a four-man party and you still need a healer you've been searching for 15 minutes and no one's biting but finally someone whispers you that they will go you invite them to the group only to see that their gear is crap at this points though you don't really care because you just want to get in the instance and start having a good time but the Rando healer ends up being super nice and to top it all off this kid can heal even though his gear is asked city at the end of the dungeon you had the healer to your friends list and any time you need a healer you wish him this was a big way that friendships were started in bonds were formed in vanilla there's a lot of other things to consider – there were no cross realm instances so your reputation was everything in this game if you were an ass he got around and eventually you'd have a hard time finding groups that would take you in after hitting 60 players were introduced to raids and this is where Wow got really serious these were massive dungeons requiring upwards of 40 people to complete this further the requirements for a community and really fostered the growth of guilds if you wanted to see any in-game content it was almost required to be part of a guild so there was this giant elements of community around vanilla and it was very special some of the raids in vanilla Wow were the most difficult rates ever made especially final raid naxxramas numbers vary but only around 1% to 5% of the player base even walked foot into knacks that's because vanilla was a time when people got rewarded for putting in hard work these people saw the rarest content when no one else did and received the opportunity to venture into the most dangerous places of world of warcraft and that's how a memos should truly be rewarding players who put in the most time and limiting the amount of concessions made the players who don't so if you wanted to be one of those people you had to earn it the gear grind was real and anyone decked out in epic items stood atop the capital city's most iconic buildings relishing in the sights of low level scrubs staring up at them in awe it wasn't easy though raids were difficult to get into both because finding 39 other real people was a complete hassle and because attunements were both arduous and difficult to complete you can spend all your time just fighting for the right to enter Vanilla's most sought after content you were what you put in and that's the best part of vanilla wow everything was slow clumsy and hard but the payoff was a huge sense of accomplishment and community that is currently quite lost with modern wow following the massive success of vanilla blizzard launched their first expansion the Burning Crusade stepping out into hellfire peninsula through the Dark Portal alongside other travelers was an epic introduction to the expansion the land of the Burning Legion was both familiar and new in every way unlike many parts of vanilla tea BC was around the time when World of Warcraft started making things more cinematic strange colors and planets loomed overhead fire storms were pouring down like rain and ferno's were fighting demons on the battlefront and war trumpets could be heard like thunder in the background the Burning Crusade built upon the foundation of vanilla laid it introduced heroic dungeons which were more difficult versions of their normal counterparts it also expanded upon the original classes as well as adding additional races the changes to classes were huge as many of the classes had multiple specs most of them a lot more viable than their vanilla standard-issue builds because in vanilla builds were pretty inflexible this helped to broaden play diversity and choice of specialization the grind of 70 was also pretty enjoyable as the new zones and TBC were fun and different from one another each zone was shared between the two factions which encouraged constant PvP while questing in similar areas horde and Alliance competed to enter the same dungeons – on like vanilla wow this led to some bloody battles at summoning stones across TV see unfortunately with the introduction of flying mounts much of the open world PvP would turn into cat-and-mouse style gameplay or sky camping players could retreat to the skies of threatened with death assuming the player could run far enough away to get out of combat other times high-level players with flying mounts would hover above in the sky waiting for the opportunity for a free ambush mini while players felt that flying mounts started the downfall of open world PvP which turned their attention away from zone questing and to dungeon and raiding with five man dungeons now having heroic mode this further the need to have a strong friendship with good players this harder difficulty required you to be max level and with it came great rewards as well not only was the loot higher quality than their easier versions but you also earned badges that could be traded in for gear in town as well these badges gave people incentives to five man's all the way up until the end of the expansion but before you ran heroics you did have to increase your reputations with the appropriate factions giving you the right to purchase a key to enter the dungeon reputation was a mechanic in vanilla but even more so in TVC it was just another item to check off the list and your quest to attain the next piece of Awesome gear BC also had incredibly difficult raids as well as one of the best 10-man rates ever to be released Kara's ann carrison was the answer to the vanilla raiding puzzle getting 10 players together was a lot more doable than 40 and the result was more personal rating had players not the ability or gear to tackle TBC's more challenging content serpent shine cavern in the I really pushed gills to their limits it also rewarded them with entrance to the next tier of raids mount hyjal and black temple which was a huge goal for most guilds along with the higher tier raids came better gear which was a driving force for many players and the community as a whole at the end of TVC they also released the Sunwell raid which proved to be insanely hard even for the most accomplished guilds very few guilds were able to complete this raid just like max before it if BC did nothing else it reinforced this idea that if you wanted to see everything that well had to offer you had to find yourself a raiding guild but more than that she also had to be greats at your class if he wanted any hopes of competing with those guilds and completing the content it pushed players to their limits and really showed that player skill was a big deal players felt important in their roles and in the community at the end of the bc expansion Wow's sub counts have continued to rise hitting around 11 million players TBC was definitely the Golden Age of WoW like its predecessor wrath of the lich king brought with it two even more classic changes it seemed like every speck felt unique in playstyle and most of them were fleshed out pretty well the expansion also introduced the hero class the death knight wrath continued the same formula for dungeons that BC had which was normal and heroic versions however they also added the new type deemed hard modes hard modes typically involved two different ways of completing encounters which also boasted increased difficulty these hard modes were just a different way of doing a dungeon and they also had higher rewards for completing them the older our raid pushed this premise of hard modes it was a beautiful raid and quite challenging as well after completing all the hard modes you were allowed to fight a new boss that was previously inaccessible called algalon again this really stressed the idea of having strong friends as if you wanted to see this guy he had definitely needed them near the end of Wrath Icecrown Citadel was released which opted for heroic modes over those previously mentioned hard modes to fight the lich king on heroic mode required you to beat the boss in each wing on heroic as well the lich king on heroic was an absolute ass kicker and required the best of the best if he wanted to topple him it was also during this time that while introduced the very infamous lfg system which allowed players to queue up for dungeons instead of searching for a group the old-fashioned way it also implemented across realm play when queueing many people found this feature to be a blessing as they found the old-fashioned way of formulating a group took up too much precious time however I'd argue that this eroded the foundation that was stood upon with lfg you no longer needed to talk to people to find groups you simply had to open up the menu and queue up for the dungeon that you wanted this meant that you didn't have to have communication with the community to find a group and carry with it's huge social ramifications not only that's but you would also be paired with people from a different realm who you would only see for one instance this meant that you were no longer forming bonds with players through dungeons this meant that if you didn't like a group member for any reason at all you could just boot them and immediately a mystery replacement would appear through the lfg system it turned finding a group into tender swipe left if you don't like your group members and get yourself another match right way there was no repercussions either since like I already said these were people from a different server he never had to see them again anyway because of this system no one had a reason to leave town anymore or travel anywhere or meet anyone anymore you could just do everything from the safety of your own home city this was another hit for the community breaking down the organic nature of an MMO alongside the decline in world PvP also introduced was heirloom gear which boosted your experience gained by a large percentage in turn this created imbalances in world PvP and pushed people towards making alts which made people even less invested into the main characters but still at the end of Wrath wow saw its highest sub count yet around 12 million but wow was definitely on the verge of changing Cataclysm was where the building blocks of Wells Foundation kind of began to crumble I'll start by saying the glyph system was really interesting which allowed you to alter some your spells to add another layer of decision-making in regards to your character Cataclysm also had some boss fights that were in the top 10 of all time for WoW sinistra for sure what a cool boss fights it also saw the addition of the dungeon log which was an in-game tool that glossed over every boss in a game as well as their attacks and general strategies however with the implementation of lfg class homogenize a ssin the simplifying of class rotations in play how easy gear was to obtain how easy the bosses and raids were it kind of led to not only a loss of community but also took away from the some of the sense of accomplishment that you received from mastering a class people were hard pressed to find a reason to log in other than to raid or level alts while a lot of the boss fights in Cataclysm were definitely cool they weren't necessarily the same level of difficulty that prior expansions had enjoyed this pushed hardcore players in declaring the rate content much faster and with them leaving them little to do mists of pandaria saw changes to the talent system which with its removed a lot of player choices that were previously available the talent trees were getting really big as a result of each new expansion but streamlining them was a step in the wrong direction and led to even more casualness gone were the days of deciding where to spend those last ten points instead of having 41 choices now you had to make a whopping 6 good for casual players not so much for veterans with Draenor came the addition of Garrison's which were specific to each player it was essentially player housing meaning that you saw even fewer people within the game world as many were holed up in their own little houses Draenor also introduced a new difficulty for raids mythic though this seemed like an increase in difficulty first it's more of a result of the previous difficulties being easier than in the past heroic was now the new normal normal was now the new easy LFR was casual mythic was just reintroducing the ideas of heroic and increasing the degrees of difficulties that players had access to this also meant more and easier access to loot again the faster you gear up the last reason you have to log in overtime and last but not least Legion brought with it the gift of legendary weapons prior to Legion revered orange lutes was seen as the Holy Grail a badge of triumph but now they were as commonplace and easy to get as a max level character I would argue that these features while they are good for common audiences continued the downward slide of the communal world of World of Warcraft World of Warcraft's 15 year anniversary is taking place this November the purpose of this essay was to simply take a trip down memory lane and uncover why playing while today isn't really anything like it used to be it's not worse or better it's just different it depends on how you like to play an MMO and what is important to you for me it's about the community and the classic way of playing vanilla Wow but those evolutions weren't all bad while has come a long way making the experience more cinematic story driven and stable for all gamers the combat is deeper now than it has ever been in boss fights today have complex mechanics unseen in expansions Bryer dual spec has removed unnecessary hassle pet battles give players something extra to do and the performance has been highly optimized over time but when analyzed to the core the game has definitely changed Wow has been around for so long it's not unreasonable to expect the game to evolve over time many of these evolutions though are what led to the decline of the community which was the biggest part of the games foundation many see these additions to the game as quality of life changes that needed to happen but in fact these are actually in somewhat ironically taking away from what made the game strong in the first place while initially flourished because it felt good to be part of something bigger than just yourself it was about the connections you forged with other players and how those connections could take you to the impossible unfortunately that sensation has been lost through the years before I wrap this video up guys I want to thank today's sponsor and friend of the channel Squarespace Squarespace is an online website building platform that even a Tech dummy like me can figure out it's got everything you need as an all-in-one platform no plugins patches or updates needed ever I've been developing my own sites which is a personal blog called the downward blog go figure I'll be making its public in the coming months you guys can get to know me a little bit better so if you're a wannabe blogger like me a musician an artist maybe a business owner it doesn't really matter Squarespace will give you the tools to have a really nice website you guys can start your free trial today at squarespace.com slash downward thrust to get 10% off your first purchase hope you guys enjoyed my take on the developments of one of the most popular games of all time of warcraft' do you guys think that World of Warcraft's can return to its former glory and repair the cracks that each expansion left in its wake let me know down below in the comment section and thanks for watching you