Thursday, September 18, 2014

What is With Blizzards Obsession With Removing Content?

In the last few days we have been bombarded with announcement after announcement of things that are being removed from game.  All things that are added to the flow of removed content we have been hearing about for a while that lead at least me to question what is with blizzard obsession with removing content.

From the original announcement of warlords and the months there after when we found out all the things that were not being added for the expansion, which by not being added could be construed as being removed, such as flying, scenarios, daily quest hubs and rares that can be killed over and over among other things.  All things that are, without a doubt, content in one way or another, all being removed or not added.

We have also known for quite some time that challenge modes for the mists dungeons were being removed but even for the most jaded of players would have to admit that was understandable.  It does not warrant spending the time and effort to rebalance them to compensate for the removal of hit, expertise, dodge, parry, spirit on most gear and vengeance, among other things like various abilities they were designed for people to have.  But an argument can be made, and has been by many, that it should have been left in anyway.  Sure if it became harder, it would be harder, and if it became easier, it would be easier, but why remove it.  Not sure I agree with that, but after seeing their wholesale removal of so many other things that followed, maybe I could be convinced to agree with them.

There are also things that were changed because they were required to be changed if they wanted to stay relevant.  Things such as the proving grounds and the brawlers guild.  While they are still in game, due to the stat  and ability changes mentioned above, they were redesigned and boosted to the new expansion.  So they are still in game, but all the achievements from the previous incarnations and all the progress made in them will be wiped completely.  So people are having that removed.

Many argue, and rightfully so, if they got up to rank 4 or 8 or 10 in the brawlers guild that progress should not be removed.  They can redo them at 100, but if you were a rank 10 fighter you should still be a rank 10 fighter.  Sure they can update it so new players can experience it and the experience can reflect the changes to abilities and stats but why take away the progress people have made through it already. 

Same goes for the proving grounds.  If someone managed bronze, or silver or gold, or endless 30, why is their effort completely dismissed and they need to do it again to get the recognition for having done it, which is more so needed as you need a silver to queue for heroic dungeons now.  Don't get me wrong, it will take all of 10 minutes to get sliver after you hit 100, but the fact remains, why remove your progress?  Basically it would be akin to removing the fact you did SoO on normal when it was current so you can unlock heroic and then once the new expansion comes out you now need to run it again on normal should you want to do it on heroic.  If you have already done it, you have already done it.  Why make people do it again?  Adding content some might say but is more like adding content by removing content?  This one I can get behind when people complain about it.  It is fine to update content but it is not fine to remove personal progression, unless of course you are blizzard and have an obsession for removing things lately. 

Then we get to the new flurry of announcements over the last few weeks and even more so few days where it seems every blue post is about removing something from the game.  From the announcement that they were removing valor and justice as currency, which makes no sense what so ever, to the most recent announcement of the removal of justice heirlooms which makes even less sense. 

The idea that this current raid tier there was no valor gear was one of the biggest mistakes in recent history of the game, so it is no stretch to say that removing valor completely just compounds that mistake.  Blizzard seems to forget that the vast majority of the players do not raid, even at the LFR level, and valor gear was their only means of personal progressions.  If you want people to continue to pay for a monthly subscription having something like valor gear that someone needs to work every week toward getting is a great motivator to keep them subscribed.  But blizzard is obsessed with removing content so they removed the main form of personal progression for the vast majority of the player base by removing valor, justice, and the gear they used to purchase with them.

Then we hear about the conversion of justice heirlooms to gold and later the idea that they will just remove justice heirloom gear completely.  Once more going along with the obsession to remove content instead of adding it.  Some might ask how it was content but that is rather simple.  When people wanted heirlooms they needed justice. So they would go and do things that got them the justice they needed, thus buying heirloom gear created content by making players have the need to do something to get it.

They did say they would add something back at a later date, but that still does not give them a reasonable excuse for removing content once again.  They plan on added a raid tier, so why not remove all previous raid tiers?  Doesn't sound appealing right?  So why remove old heirlooms because they plan on making new ones.  That goes back to the amazing miscue they had when they rereleased ZA and ZG and removed the old ZA and old ZG.  One of their "lets remove content" moves from 3 or so years ago.  This shows that blizzards whole, lets remove content idea, is not new, they are just stepping it up to a whole new level now, sort of like, lets see how much content we can remove all at once.

There was also the announcement that they are removing the legendary quest line come the next expansion which leads me to ask a simple one word question, why?  There really is no reason what so ever to remove it.  I read their response that they wanted to make it feel like something that is a reward for those that were there to experience it.  Well guess what blizzard, it was a reward for those that were there.  For everyone else it would be going back and doing it to experience the content, the fun, the story, or just to give them something to do.  It is a form of content going back and doing things and it is a very important part of the game and something that does actually keep people paying that monthly fee.

Is blizzard aware of the number of people that goes back to old raids to get old legendary items?  I know of many, myself included, that go back and do old content just for the sake of doing it.  To get an old legendary just to give me something to do.  Going back and doing old content is excellent content.  People go back to farm legendary items, mounts, pets, gear, you name it.  People go back to enjoy a bit of nostalgia.  People go back to experience it on another class.  People go back to see stuff they were not around for when it was new.  Old content, old quest lines, old legendary items, are content.  Removing the legendary quest line is removing content for those people that might want to go back and do it at a later date.  It is content that will keep them busy for a long time going back.  It will keep them active and more importantly it will keep them playing and thus paying the monthly fee.  So why remove something that people can go back to get later, it makes no sense. 

Their argument that they want it to feel like something special for those that were there is nothing short of vacuously wrong.  It was something special for me, because I did it when it was current, I did it when I needed it, and it takes nothing away from my enjoyment of doing it or getting it when it was current if some guy goes back to get it four years from now.  Him getting it in four years did not take away from what I did, so blizzard saying they are removing it so my cloak(s) feel more special is absolutely disingenuous.  Blizzard just wanted to remove content, because for some reason they are obsessed with removing as much content as they can instead of leaving it in game for others to go back for later.

Which brings us to the garrosh heirlooms.  Why are these being removed?  This, just like the legendary quest line, makes no sense.  Leaving them in the game means people will want to go back to get them.  People will want to farm for them, to get complete collections of them, just the way they would with the mount when the time comes if they were not lucky enough to get one when it was a 100% drop.  Leaving the heirlooms in would have made sure that SoO was a raid that people would go back and farm for many years to come in groups or solo when the time came where people were capable of doing so.  It would have created a great deal of content by letting them stay in game so people could go back to get them but instead blizzard has to remove them and in effect remove content once again.

I am having a hard time understanding why blizzard, with warcraft being a monthly subscription game, would remove stuff that would most definitely keep people subscribed because it would give them something to do.  I just do not understand removing things that keep people subscribed.  Where is blizzard going with this because I do not understand.  Keeping old stuff in game is good for the game.  Removing it is bad.  So why is blizzard so obsessed with removing content when it is bad for the game for them to do so?


  1. I was a tad annoyed at the sudden announcement of the end of the cloak quest, even though I am too burned out on it to pursue it on any more alts, but I didn't see the move in the larger context you just described. But now I am nervous -- having just gotten Green Fire on my warlock, after an embarrassing number of attempts and no end of frustration not to mention a fortune in repairs. If Blizz ever even THINKS about removing that, I am pretty sure I will absolutely lose it! Just sayin' . . .

    1. It seems like they are removing stuff for the sake of removing it and I really do not understand the reasoning.

      If it were not for BC reps I would have had nothing to do in my down time at the end of wrath. If not for mount farming and old legendary farming I would have not had anything to do at the end of cataclysm. And now I farm mount, occasionally run my rogue through DS for the daggers, you know, I do old stuff. Old stuff being in game is good for the game. It is good content that keeps me playing instead of unsubbing. I do not understand what the future will bring when there is never anything for the newer players to go back for because it was all removed. What will they do to keep them subscribed? Nothing. They will unsub.

  2. at the risk of you not understanding what I am going to say...

    why is blizzard removing things? why not!

    They have lost all sense of who the players are and they have lost all sense at who blizzard is and who actually supports who (hint - players buy the games and pay monthly fees, in addtion to the mounts and pets sold). So, we, the players, support Blizzard.

    "it's good ta be da king"

    They just have forgotten that.

    Until folks are willing to stop rolling over, and stop subscribing, Blizzard will never figure it out.


    1. I agree, they forgot what they make. A game, for fun. Leaving old things in so people can go back and get them later is good for the game, not bad.

  3. I can't remember where I read this, it could have been from you. But someone, a while back, said that they suspected Blizzard had given up on trying to get new players to come play wow, and that they're only focus was on getting people to re-subscribe.

    I'm not usually big on conspiracy theories, but this one is seeming a bit more believable. Old content, from long, involved stuff like the cloak grind, to the more simple Could Serpent rep grind, provide lots of great content for new players.

    I think I mentioned this on this blog, but I loved going back and grinding the netherwing drakes. Because I didn't play in BC. Had I been a max level character in BC, the content wouldn't have mattered to me. But as a newer player, it was amazing content, that kept me logging in for a while when there was no new content.

    If they wanted new players, then having a rich, diverse history to the game is good. Even if they level past it quickly, and don't go back to do it until the next content drought.

    If they only want to get old players to re-sub, then yeah, I guess keeping content like the cloak isn't as important.

    1. It was a blue remark, not sure who. They said something, paraphrasing of course, that they don't think there is as much growth left in the game as there used to be and they are trying to get old players to come back.

      So I know exactly what you are talking about even if I do not remember the exact words.

      You get the exact point I am trying to push here. Old stuff makes for excellent content. It is a wealth of content just sitting there for new players so they have months, years even, of content even if they immediately become hard core players. Why dismiss all the past by removing it, it makes so sense.

      I too ended up going back and doing the BC reps at the end of wrath because I never had a max level character in BC. It kept me active in the game. Something that future generations will not have the option to do if they keep removing things for no real reason.

      But, if you are trying to get old players to come back wouldn't it be better to have this huge wealth of content they missed and they could catch up on if they wanted to, like the cloak quest, should they be so inclined to do so?

  4. I don't get it either. I started playing end of Wrath and wasn't at 80 long before Cata came out. When I got burned out of raiding DS in April, there was still 4 months till Mists. I considered unsubbing then but I didn't. Why? Because I had so much to do.

    I went back through all the old reps in the game to get to exalted. I had a weekly/daily farming plan for mounts and legendary weapons as I'm a collector and completionist. I want the full set.

    Old pre-Cata content gave me goals and hours of gameplay. As you said why remove what kept me engaged and subscribed?

    I haven't got gold challenge. I figured it would be removed but hoped it wouldn't. It's the sort of thing I would go back for.

    Blizz is screwing up IMO

    1. You nailed it on the head there. All that old content, stuff they seem to be taking out now, became your content and kept you playing and more importantly kept you paying.

      Old content is good to keep around. There is absolutely no reason what so ever to remove it.

      I too would go back for those golds. I would go back for many things they are removing. I would finish the cloak on the only three classes that never finished it, the plate wearers, once I could solo the content. It would give me something to do during the next slow point which we know will come. Leaving stuff around is good for the game and good for the businesses bottom line. I wonder what the stock investors would think if they know that blizzard was actively giving their subscribers a reason to unsubscribe like this?

    2. If I wanted to sound like a broken record I would also talk about the alts I levelled. The dungeons I ran for valor and justice, the incremental progression that made alts fun and worth playing. I've used alts in Mists for professions and Tiller's farming. 11 farms = metric ton of herbs on demand and a nice amount of the 'rare' golden lotus. I made all the flasks for the raid team easily and without having to log my herbalist. Didn't actually play any of them which is sad when I remember the fun I used to have.

      Anyway it's an old argument from me and I do sound like a broken record. I don't understand blizz's approach as I can't see who it works for. If I knew that it was what a large proportion of players wanted then that would be ok. I don't expect them to make the game to suit me. However I can't see how some of their decisions, especially of late, really benefit anyone. Maybe I'm being blind , blinkered by my own opinions. Who knows.

    3. Doesn't sound like a broken record to me but it does sound like one that blizzard apparently has never heard.

      I also do not think removing content in this case works for anyone. Not even blizzard itself. So I am not sure why purpose it is meant to serve.

  5. I wonder if they will do anything with Ordos. If you still need the cloak to jump the chasm, new players or new alts won't ever be able to see him.

    That plateau could become like a cool kid tree house for old players years down the road.

    1. You will no longer need to cloak to get to ordos. That will be changed as well.

      I have never been one of those people that would begrudge someone getting something I already have. It would not matter one bit to me if some guy managed to get the legendary cloak 4 years from now.

    2. You can get to Ordos using the legendary cloak? Well I learned something today. I guess I had never really thought about it. I always got there by flying in and hitting my parachute glider. I got my friends who had the misfortune to not pick engineering there with warlock chest. I think I figured everyone did it that way /headdesk. Oops.

    3. You needed to have the cloak on at least one of your toons in order to enter combat with Ordos, otherwise it would port you off. Also, the cloak carries you across the broken bridge.

      You can get to the area without the cloak, just can't attack Ordos. Olivia Grace (wowhead) always made a big deal about it since she never got the cloak but Ordos drops a shaman item named after her, so she could never get "her" item.

    4. Ah as we all have the cloak would be why I never twigged then. Still feel pretty dumb but oh well I'm sure my guild appreciated being summoned rather than making the trek.

    5. Of course they would rather get summoned, it is faster. :P

      I would actually prefer to summon some people because they could not make it through the middle without pulling everything.

      But you will be able to get to ordos even if none of your characters had the cloak as soon as the patch comes, so it is now a non issue.

  6. I commented on the removal of justice heirlooms when I saw Perculia announce it on twitter (got twitter bombed because Lore and Bashiok responded to my tweet). I told them I didn't understand why and after all their "clarifications" I still don't understand.

    Lore even made the poor comment that they had been in the game for years, so people have had plenty of time to get them... Sorry, but screw you too, Lore! Sure, that was Lore's comment (probably made without thinking about it much), but it makes me wonder what the general Blizzard opinion is. It doesn't seem like they give a shit about the majority of their player-base who are not Heroic/Mythic raiders.

    They keep saying that WoD is the biggest expansion ever, but I just don't see it. I was more excited about the new content in Cata and MoP than I am with WoD.

    I like that they removed of hit/exp but they screwed up by adding a bunch of new stupid stats
    I like the streamlining of 10/25 man to Flex and 20man
    I like the stat squish, but they didn't really do it well because the stat inflation is still in place.
    I was looking forward to the transmog closet, but that got delayed...
    I still have mixed feelings on garrisons...
    I liked that they took profession bonuses away but then they screwed professions by tying them to garrisons.
    I wanted them to take away racials, but they attempted to "balance" them instead... Night elf racial is just weird...
    I like dailies or even better weeklies. I don't know why they aren't adding any at all...
    I always liked valor gear, so the removal in MoP and complete removal of valor in WoD pisses me off.
    I like flying. Taking it away is a stupid f***ing idea.

    I can come up with more things, but it doesn't matter. Blizz isn't listening...

    The WoW and especially Hunter Communities are the only things keeping me playing the game.

    1. I am sure you got some fanboy grief over not understanding but you are not alone. I am sure a fair amount of people do not understand why they are doing these things. And for the majority of the player base, which does not read the forums or any blogs or twitter about the game, they will be in for a HUGE shock soon.

      But, being those are the people that do not go looking for information they are also the ones that will not comment when they are unhappy and blizzard will take that as a sign that everything is okay because they did not complain.

      Love the community too and glad to see lots of the hunter community coming back together but I have to wonder, how long can that keep people playing. Sooner or later, no matter how much you like the community and the people you play with, you have to say good bye.

  7. I guess I'm the only person who is happy they're removing that legendary so I don't feel the temptation to do it. With only a newly minted alt the temptation was there a little bit but I'm relieved to have it removed.

    On the other hand, the FoS remains for having achieved things in Proving Grounds and Brawlers right? Don't forget that our abilities are a little bit different now and we have to make sure we know how to play these with our redone abilities so it isn't THAT unreasonable to have to do them again, I don't think.

    It's like spring cleaning. You can't keep all that stuff. You'll just run out of room. If you're not going to wear it at least twice a year then there's no point having it in your cupboard - so that's the same for this old content. How many people do you see in Wintersgrasp these days? Or on Sunstrider Isle doing dailies? One day those poor places will be gone too, because you have to be out with the old to get in with the new. But I do understand if you still want to keep wearing those flares from the 70s because they were fun back then. But I'm just glad they don't sell those in the stores anymore.

    1. You will find me in those places, when I'm subscribed that is. Plugging away to get as many of the WG achievements as I can. Going for the legendary bow for myself and my friend.

      I guess I just can't see why we can't have both. Now don't get me wrong I agree with you on brawlers and proving grounds. Given all the changes it makes sense. However I don't see the point in removing the cape quests. If someone wants to do it then why not?

      I guess I'm someone that has no issue with changing things like when the vale got destroyed or the dungeon upgrades. I think showing change is cool. It means we can see the consequences to our actions. However I would like to see a toggle so the old versions still exist. Like old pre-Cata Azeroth. What do the caverns of time exist for? Why remove when you can have both? Twice the content, more things for people to do. Where's the harm?

      Hmm sorry think I commented a lot on this post. I guess it struck a chord.

    2. @Navimie

      I look at it the other way. If I knew they were going to remove it I would have done it on my three plate wearers. I have at least 1 for every other class, 4 for hunters of course, horde and alliance, but I never did the plate wearers with the intention to come back and get it done next expansion.

      Even if I started now I would never finish it before the expansion comes out. They did not give us enough notice. That is more what I am upset about, even if I am upset about them removing them. I am upset because I was saving some content to do next expansion and they are removing it when it is too late for me to do it now.

      Yes, the FoS and rewards and titles remain. However, if you need a reward, buy it now. Because your rank is getting reset and you will not longer be rank 10 to buy it. Sure you will get there again but for a while you will not have access to it again. Which makes no sense at all.

      I understand where you are going but also realize that it hurts no one to leave wintergrasp in game. Just because no one goes there any longer, unless to catch a snowy owl and do pet battle daily, doesn't mean it needs to be removed. Leave it there so if some day someone wants to do it, it is still there.

      It costs them absolutely nothing to keep it in game but loses them the good will of the people who loved it if they remove it.

      Is that a good business decision to remove something it would cost you nothing to keep?

    3. Whoops, mistook wintergrasp for winterspring, please disregard the pet stuff. ;)

    4. One of the reason 'nobody' goes to Wintergrasp and Tol Barad (event) anymore is that these used to be open to both XP-locked and regular characters but MoP made them only accessible to level 90.

      So both levellers (WG gave very good XP, esp. with the Weeklies) and twinks were excluded from them, which given e.g. the amount of BattleChest/Cata accounts out there esp. in the beginning (MoP launch had only 4 million or so copies sold , on 7- 8-odd million subs) was a kick to the groin, especially because holdouts tend to be more into PvP than full accounts.

    5. Excellent point.

      I still do them for some quick and easy honor and something fun to do when bored. But they are usually a dead zone. I'd say if there are a total of 20 people involved it is a lot most times.

      As you mentioned with hold outs being more into PvP that is huge. PvP does not need new expansions. They could still be sitting in vanilla and be just fine. All PvPer need is a place to PvP. So I can see why many of them do not keep up with the current, because there is no need to as long as there is someone to fight.

  8. I'm really, really starting to get bitter. Why does it matter if 6.0 changes make it as easy for a 560 Shadow Priest to do Brawler's Guild as it used to be for a 585 Destro Lock? There was such variance anyway, and now they're just leaving us a month with less to do. My server is huge, the lines are long, and the heckling when you wipe on Hexos is brutal. I would have very much preferred the luxury to work on it at my leisure.

    I feel such a disconnect with the current dev team that I don't even want to play anymore.

    1. I agree. They could have added season 2 fights and left season 1 fights alone. Let the people over gear it if they want to. It is their prerogative.

      I originally did it on my alliance hunter a while ago but recently went back in did it on my horde hunter in almost all heroic gear just for the fun of it. Who does it hurt that I blew through it? No one.

      I think you are not alone feeling disconnected with the developers.

  9. All I can think of is that they want to push selling Boxes over Subs even more brutally than before: you either buy our overpriced expansion, or you'll 'miss out' entirely.

    The problem for them however is that by making the treadmill run even faster, people reach the point of stopping to care entirely even faster.

    Sadly, the vocal minority of Achiever Bartke-types they cater to cheers them on in this, on the offcial forums you e.g. have people still frothing at the mouth that they should have removed mounts like the roflcopter from Ulduar (pointing out that their current drop chance is already much, much lower than the original 100% a.k.a. showing up chance makes them pop a vein).

    Personally, I prefer being able to replay content with new characters to false feelings of exclusivity and 'specialness'.

    Frankly if they want certain Achieves etc. to be more special they should first combat the rampant paid boosting business, also because these kind of removals only serve to line the pockets of the boosters and fill the boostess with false feelings of superiority.

    1. Subs make more money (but I could be wrong) because they keep people paying week in and week out and if they are doing that they will buy the box eventually just to get more content. Content is good.

      I have reached that point this expansion and I am not looking forward to gearing up in the next one. I am about as tired as tired can be with the whole raid or die attitude. I just want my other ways to gear back so I do not need to raid with alts, which is what I have to do now if I want them to get gear. I think this expansion is the last stand for me. I am done if they do not change the gearing process.

      I like being able to go back and farm for (and never get) that mount. It is one of the things that keep me playing. Without stuff like that they game has come down to a raid or die thing where the only reason to log in is to raid. That can not be good for the game. Having old stuff to do is good.

      I say leave all stuff in and if they want stuff to be special without hurting anyone feelings, make feats of strength out of everything that says "done while current" and leave the other things for everyone else to do while they can. So the people that want to feel special will have their feat of strength to show off. I have my cutting edge garrosh but would it bother me if someone else got it 6 years from now? No, not at all. However, the achievement says, "while current", so that is how I can feel special, if I was into that, and they can still get the achievement otherwise.