Well WoW has been out a long time, and the longer we play it the more you can see how the game is being catered more for the casual gamer as opposed to the hard core.
Back in the day when MMO's first came out, they were pretty hard core, my guildies tell me of epic war stories in the day's of playing EQ (Everquest) and camping mobs for 10 hours, 2 hour ghost runs to pick up your body only to die as soon as you rez and the list goes on.
Well Blizzard must be doing something right as the number of WoW subscribers is still over 12 million people.
So why the change?
Hardcore gamers are said to make up less than 5% of the population, which means the majority of subscribers are casual gamers. Hardcore gamers are on for longer hours which means they are using up Blizz's resources on their servers, hardcore gamers pay the same amount as the casual gamer, see where this is going?
If you were running a business, which gamer would you want to have as the majority of your customers?
Because of this, the game has been catered more for the casual gamer, now more than ever. Although i myself am a casual gamer (hence the lack of posts these last few months) I consider myself a "hardcore" casual gamer, that is i don't want the content so easy it's a breeze through.
It seems in the days of post WOTLK the game has become too dumbed down. I applauded Blizz when they brought in the badge system in TBC they made high quality items available for the casual player, they were not as good as the top tier items from raiding, but they were good, and they took a while to obtain.
Instances were hard in TBC, you had to use the right mix of CC, tanking and healing to finish an instance, and it still took 1.5 hrs. Heroic mode felt impossible at first! Even with experienced guildies in Karazan gear, i remember a heroic slave pens taking 5 hours! The game was a challenge and fun! The casual gamer could get good gear but it took time.
Then WOTLK came, i did my first instance, and the entire instance was multi mob tank and spank, i hit 80 and was scared to go into my first heroic as i was still in purple 70 gear with quest blues, yet it was easy! It was more of the same multi mob tank and spank. The game had been dumbed down to the point where it felt too easy...
Due to the ease of instances and multi mob tanking and spanking, i didn't even attempt stealth runs, i mentally noted mobs before a boss, and it seems they had taken out the need for stealth running, 2 groups of mobs before a boss that could easily be tanked with no cc... this helped me lose interest in running instances and pretty soon i was just running BG's for some gear. Back in those days i had no chance at soloing the old instances, being a moonkin spec with average gear, i wasn't willing to respec every other week.
Although the game is still a dumbed down version of it's former self, a few things have changed. 3.1 has introduced multi specs and new gear. Making it easier for the casual gamer to gear up, and go do some "fun" stuff.
"Fun" stuff being, i've heard of people attempting to solo old 40 man instances like MC and AQ.
Or solo mount farming in old instances like ZG or Magister's terrace.
I'm looking forward to getting some better gear, having a second spec that's good for soloing (or duoing) and having a look at old instances i haven't been to for years.
I know there are a lot of new players in the game, and it's also a great opportunity for them to look at some old content that helped make this game so popular.