Now, since none of you did, here’s the tl;dr version – Warcraft is turning into an online game, not an online world, because that’s where the huge playerbase and money is.
I’m actually not too upset about this. I’ve been feeling it for quite some time – since Wrath, basically – and even BC had a hint of it. I’m just not that invested in Warcraft any more, so it doesn’t hit me so hard.
What does bother me though is the relative non-popularity of virtual worlds these days. I always felt there was such great promise in VW-style games, and it saddens me to see that they’re not as popular or common-place as I’d hoped.
That said, maybe it’s for the best? I mean, it’s still very possible to create a laser-focused VW that targets a specific playerbase and be profitable, if not wildly so. With a less-broad customer base you can focus on tailoring the game to their expectations specifically and not spread yourself too thinly.
For example, you’ll never see dungeon finders and instanced dungeron-style play come to Eve, which is nice. More money and dev time spent on making market improvements or letting players set up cooler bases, etc.
Plus, this gives smaller studios a chance to really shine – you don’t have to worry about competing with World of Warcraft any more – it’s in an entirely different genre.
I really hope this ends up being the case – I’d love to live in a world where there’s hundreds or thousands of virtual worlds to go hang out in, each focused on a very specific theme or gameplay element.