In the post I did late last month about the metaverse and VentureBeat’s summit, I included a video from the Folding Ideas channel on YouTube about NFTs and crypto and what they’re really about. I do recommend listening to that video (you can watch it, but I think you get 90% of the content just through audio, which I’ve done twice now) even if it is two hours long.
Impressed by that video, I went an explored what else the channel had to offer, which includes an interesting and deep look at the Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings movie from the 70s, but the more relevant gem I uncovered was a video about WoW Classic.
The video, which runs 40 minutes is a look at World of Warcraft back in the day, how it was part of the role playing game genre, its roots in EverQuest, and a comparison between WoW of 2006 and the more recent version of the game. As with the previous two videos I mentioned, it is a thoughtful examination of the topic, delving into mechanics, social dependency, and self-directed play.
As a note, the video is more than two years old at this point, and much of the comparison being done with vanilla WoW focuses on the Battle for Azeroth expansion though, as you might expect, Cataclysm also come under some scrutiny.
For me, the comparison between Battle for Azeroth and vanilla, and how the myriad of options that expansion offered when it came to things to do could quite easily lead to a sense of obligation, a feeling that you HAVE to do all the things to keep up and current, seems even more relevant in the era of Shadowlands.
Shadowlands, having shortened up the already short run to level cap that Battle for Azeroth offered, stuck me as an expansion almost entirely devoted to generating a sense of obligation within players, a false need to get out there and work on faction rep, do the dailies, run Torghast, and work your way up towards the current raid meta.
Whatever gripes I have or had with Battle for Azeroth, I did play it through, getting multiple characters to level cap, unlocking all the allied races, unlocking flying, and generally “doing all the things” that could be done without having to queue up to play with strangers.
So for me it was interesting to consider the direction Blizzard went with Shadowlands and how its design runs against the idea of self-directed play. I made it through to level cap with a single character, then fell off the wagon without even a thought of coming back later to pick up the thread.
Anyway, a food for thought video on a Saturday.