This is one of the most awful, foolish, out of touch decisions Blizzard has ever made. I haven’t unsubbed in over 12 years, not during content droughts, not for anything. But something like this just makes me furious and if getting around to do things like world holidays, farm old content, visit places for RP (my little joys) is made that much more difficult maybe I just won’t expend the effort and withdraw my sub (for someone who spends a lot of time RPing and doing old content especially this is a real slap in the face, I can see why people who log on only for progression and maybe trade chat might care less but they’re not a majority and most people who do progression supplement it with doing old content for various completionist purposes).
This is a slap in the face to those actually trying to enjoy the decade plus of work the dev team has put into old content on their journey.
This makes me angry. It is going to make playing WoW a bigger chore. Maybe the devs have tons of free time in their lives with no responsibilities and it’s no big deal for them to deal with the time gating of new content plus wasting extra hours of time on traveling to far flung, old locations to do old content. I can’t see this as anything but an attempt to stretch out the content that currently exists and force players to spend more time doing old content for things like mogs, rep, etc and staring at what the devs think are apparently museum quality renderings of Azeroth worthy of study for days on end. (In Wrath I’d frequently end up dead in the barrens from auto-flying off the edge of continents while alt tabbed, so bored was I by sitting there staring at my screen for 5 minutes of my character slowly moving over a vast, incredibly familiar and downright memorized landscape trying to get to where I wanted to go).
It isn’t about the absolute amount of time it takes either but how it feels. Many people who’ve been stuck in stop and go gridlock traffic can attest it is more frustrating to deal with 10 minutes of that than 30 minutes of country highway driving, because you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, you’re stuck on a journey that you aren’t interested in. I feel the same way staring at zones I’ve seen a thousand times or more as I spend 7 minutes flying over them to get to a destination to then spend 10 minutes clearing some content before hearthing and doing it again to get to another location and repeating this for for hours with the hearth soon turning into just being forced to spend 12 minutes traveling by zeppelin and boat and air on a journey I’m zoned out of. I’m not appreciating your design work on zones when I’m doing this Blizz and I promise most others aren’t either.
This is not going to make people appreciate old content more, it’s going to make them avoid it.
When it’s a struggle to access things less people access them.
With more people feeling cooped up in Zul and Boralus this is just going to lead to more people ending up bored with the game. Ask any transit designer, any city planner, anyone who owns commercial centers how important accessibility is to them and they’ll tell you getting people to a given location is very important and travel times are an essential part of that. If you make it difficult they won’t bother, if they’re on the fence they’ll stay home or in this case sit around wondering why they’re now so bored and what happened to feeling engaged.
All this is going to do is lead to a lot of players who were interested in doing old content giving up and throwing in the towel because they don’t like the travel times. Maximizing player ability to do old content should be a priority at all times. The decade plus of work the dev team has put in to creating that content is an incredibly rich and valuable resource for WoW for player retention and engagement. Forcing players to fly through old zones is not likely to engage as many people as it frustrates. Most of your players are not new, we’ve seen this content before a thousand times and we’d like respectfully to be able to access it more easily to get to the parts we’re interested in.
WoW has so much content, but how it’s accessed makes the difference between that amount being frustrating, intimidating, and apathy inducing from the seeming impossibility of it OR it being a vast resource, easily digestible and seemingly tackle able in pieces of your choosing at your pace and discretion.
Old content is not about the journey anymore than walking to and from subway stops to go to work day after day past landmarks is a journey after a year or two of it. It’s the destination that we care about (work, a bar, an amusement park, the park, a friend’s house) and no one is being prohibited from taking those journeys if they want to, of stopping to look at it. But people aren’t subbing to look at their character flying over Arathi Basin to get to Eastern Plaguelands, they’re subbing to go into Stratholme and farm old gear and Baron RIvendare’s mount!