I Don’t Know What I Expected from the WoW Community Council

Blizzard announced the whole WoW Community Council plan about a month back as a way for the WoW development team to get feedback from the community

The council will be seated

I was skeptical at the time it was announced based on my experience with other such player committees, and especially the EVE Online Council of Stellar Management.

Not that I think the CSM is necessarily a bad idea, though the “player elections” aspect makes it an outlier and causes it to favor organized groups over the more independent corners of the game.  But, in that process, there is at least an acknowledgement that there are other corners of the game besides null sec, wormhole space, and the occasional low sec PvPer.  People run on other platforms, get covered in the election process, and bring up issues to which the more mainstream candidates often feel that have to respond.

The problem is more the misuse of the resource, ignoring the feedback unless it aligns with the plans of the dev team.  Members of the CSM have spoken against what might be considered the interests of their regions of space.  When CCP proposed making the Rorqual a game breaking super mining ship, something players were not demanding, the response from the CSM was ignored, even though their predictions came to pass just as they said, something that is relevant to the current state of the game as CCP tried to enforce scarcity to undue that whole age of non-stop mining that they unleashed.

So my expectation was that the WoW Community Council would be a fig leaf to allow the WoW team to claim to be serious about feedback so they could safely ignore it and get on with what they saw as the real problems with the game, which I might sum up as “people aren’t wearing enough raid hats.”

What I had not really considered was that they would taint the fig leaf from the get go by packing the council with people who seemed to be on board with the dev plan, that the game is really about raiding with a bit of ranked PvP thrown in to spice things up and try to draw in a bit of esports attention.

Blizzard has picked the 100 members for the first term of the council and kicked off the forums where they will meet and discuss the game while we all watch.  And the first big post was asking for the council members to introduce themselves.

Welcome to having a target on your back in the community.

As I went through the introduction posts… there were about 25 up already when I first looked… they came through at a glance as raider, raider, raider, pvper, raider raider, raider, pvper, raider, etc, etc, etc.

I realize I am being unfair to the members, many of whom are involved in other aspects of the game and who expressed a desire to talk about topics other than raiding or ranked PvP, but the impression it leaves is that World of Warcraft is about two things; raiding and ranked PvP.

But maybe that is all there is left for WoW now.

As somebody who rarely raided or did much PvP (I peaked doing Wintergrasp during WoTLK and have barely run any battlegrounds since) that seems to be the clear message from the WoW dev team with Shadowlands.  The expansion was quick, shooting you to max level in a few days of play, after which you could grind rep, do solo or small group pretend raiding in Torghast every day, or get into a raiding guild and work your way up to mythic+ raiding.  Or go do PvP I guess, though I honestly don’t even know where that is in the game since Battle for Azeroth killed PvP servers.

The core PvE leveling game is pretty much gone.  The level squish made the run to the current expansion a fast run and once you’re into Shadowlands the level cap comes at you fast.  WoW Classic was the last gasp of that, as even the WoW Classic Season of Mastery changes things up to speed leveling and focus on better raiding.

And maybe that is the game’s core audience.  Maybe it always has been.  So why wouldn’t the council reflect that?  Who else is left playing Shadowlands a year later?  I was tired of it in a month and stopped logging in after two months.

I am sure that somebody will want to make the comparison that raiders in the WoW Community Council are akin to null sec players on the CSM in EVE Online.  But the comparison is not apt.  Null sec dominates because the members are elected and only ten people get a seat.  It they doubled that number the balance would shift some and there would be more variety.  But if CCP was allowed to pick the members… I suspect that the CSM would be much more agreeable to everything the company suggested.  The one good aspect of the election process is that the people who do get on are not beholding to the company for their position.

Anyway, I never had much hope for the WoW Community Council and my outlook was only reinforced by the picks I have seen so far.  Maybe somebody will stand up and introduce themselves as not being a raider or pvper, but I won’t hold my breath.  That is all WoW has to offer in any case.

7 thoughts on “I Don’t Know What I Expected from the WoW Community Council

  1. kiantremayne

    I think it’s the nature of the WoW community. If you look on the forums, everyone is (or claims to be) either raiding mythic, a hardcore rated pvper, or doing mythic +23 keys, otherwise you’re a f***ing casual who should take your welfare epics and be grateful for them. You’d have to be insanely brave to stand up as one of the council chosen and say your main interest is levelling alts and pet battles – the internet lynch mob would be straight after you.

    I suspect that making the council discussions forum open for all to read is going to end badly, with people playing to the gallery and hate campaigns against anyone who says something that a section of the player base doesn’t like. I get that they want to show what’s being discussed, but it would work a lot better under Chatham House rules (which means you publish what was said, but not who said it, which lets people state unpopular opinions without comeback).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Moongy

    I saw two people I recognize there: Kiraser (relatively well-known Russian lore nerd) and Marlamin (MMO-C data miner who’s also involved with SteamDB). The rest are strangely unfamiliar.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Archey

    I haven’t paid any attention to the WoW community council… oddly enough, I wouldn’t know it existed if not for this blog, and I still play Classic more or less daily. But I needed to chime in to agree about the obsessive focus on raiding.

    I have played WoW more than any MMO since it’s launch, despite occasional breaks and a lapse between Warlords and Classic. Despite that, my raiding is a small proportion of that time and is usually the lead up to a burn out and six month break. So it’s frustrating to me that leveling alts, trade skills, exploration, and everything else takes a back seat to raiding. This seemed to be the trend in retail which is what led me to quit till Classic came along.

    Maybe raiding is the most popular activity, and does rightly command a lot of design space, but I think the only way they ever achieved their peak of 10 million subs was by catering to a range of play styles. Ongoing attempts to boil the game down further ended up boiling out a lot of good stuff and many players too – seemingly permanently.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The MMO Uninstallation Chronicles Part 2 of 2: World of Warcraft – Kaylriene

  5. GR8GODZILLAGUD

    The only message that comes from this “community council” is that if you aren’t a hardcore raider or PvP’er, you pretty much have to GTFO since devs are clearly uninterested in maintaining (much less adding) stuff for everyone else. And no, putting 45735702473 mounts with a >2% drop chance on “rares” that go down in less than 30 seconds (and with looooong respawn times on top of it) isn’t exactly casual friendly content.

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  6. Anonymous

    I was invited today and I am big on pve and outdoor content. No mythic+ or raiding for me in years due to family stuff anymore and I was invited.

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Anon – And you’re so proud of it you posted that anonymously. Also, it sounds like you still had raiding in your bio, which goes to my point in the post that, while many people who were invited had other items on their agenda, you didn’t get in unless you had raided at some point.

    Anyway, good luck. I stopped watching the forum when it became clear that Blizz was responding negatively to anything that wasn’t already on their agenda. The exercise looked more like a way to fish for opinions to reinforce their already made plans than to find any new ideas. But that hardly makes Blizz unique in that regard.

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