December 13, 2007

I don't consider myself a good barometer of a game's value for the CGS. I'm far too biased, and for most games, I'm not the target demographic. We need to branch away from the competitive community, into the general public. My support is already in the bag.

Of course, if you manage to take my support out of the bag, you’re in serious trouble.

Sorry, World of Warcraft fans. It's not looking good.

Let me put it very bluntly. I trained for years to become an ordained monk in the Watching Paint Dry Temple, located high in the Himalayans. I’m the Simon Cowell of the annual Watching Grass Grow competition, located deep in the manicured lawns of suburban America. I think turtles need to slow down and enjoy life, and Ben Stein talks with too much emphasis. And I’m telling you, WoW is the most boring thing I’ve ever seen.

Watching a WoW match? You'll need some of these. Snarling Orcs are much scarier in person, or cinematic trailers.

The format runs at a snail's pace, if that. There's a five minute break between rounds. You can run a whole PGR race during that time, if you wanted to, and it kills attention spans faster than logic kills forum threads.  The action isn’t fast enough, either. There’s no sense of urgency during 90% of each round, when people are leaking health. And leaking is the right term, considering how long it takes to kill a player that has a half-competent healer.

But more than that, there are too many gameplay issues. The action is muted and distant. Even CS has trouble translating to the public, and it deals with guns and blood. WoW isn’t dramatic or pressing, it’s clinical and cold. Even if you changed the format to speed things up, it wouldn't be enough. It has too many fatal flaws.

That doesn't mean it's not going to be part of the CGS. I wouldn't be surprised if they keep it around as a smaller exhibition tournament, just like they did this season. Believe me, I’m aware it has a zillion subscribers. At this point, the Pope might be the only person in the world that hasn't played, and I'm not even sure about him. If you run into somebody named the P4p4l Paladin, just stop and wonder for a second.

The actual number is ten million subscribers, of course, but that can be pared down significantly. Just like CS, there are uncounted numbers of inactive players, and people just not interested in the competitive aspect of the game. Even when we do that, WoW still has a big competitive following, which is why I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

I mean that literally; I don’t see it going away, because it does have that huge fanbase. I just don’t see the potential for growth, either, due to the format, and moreso the gameplay.

(I will now prepare for the onslaught of e-mail that only ten million subscribers can bring, and I will carefully comb through them for the address