The Death of WoW and the Circle of Life

It is safe to say that World of Warcraft is going through something of a transition these days. The change to Cataclysm's new style of play has not been easy for a lot of people – particularly people who have been playing this game for a long time.

Evidence of this is all around us. Every time someone gives up healing or tanking because it's too hard, there it is. Whenever we hear that a long time WoW player has dropped his subscription we're reminded of it. Every time that a player drops WoW for Rift and starts spamming Twitter with an incessant stream of achievement spam, we can't help but notice. Whenever a beloved, long-time WoW blogger closes up shop, a flagrantly obvious fact is right there in your face like a village full of murlocs:

WoW isn't the same game that you fell in love with six years ago.

Over the past couple of months, many notable WoW bloggers have decided to retire their blogs. Tam at Righteous Orbs, for instance, and most recently Larisa at Pink Pigtail Inn has called it a day. Many others have quietly faded into oblivion without so much as a 'farewell' post - their blogs going dark, leaving their readership to wonder. There is no question that the WoW blogging community is smaller and less brilliant because of their loss of these voices that we were so accustomed to hearing, but as Vidalya at Manalicious so elegantly put it, "other's endings are not my endings".

Being plugged into Twitter and the Blogosphere means that it's impossible to not hear grumbling and griping about all sorts of things and very rarely do we hear someone mentioning how great something is. We bloggers are, if nothing else, champion complainers - and it's not a hard stretch to imagine that hearing all the doom and gloom would affect our opinion of our game and our community to the point where we would begin to believe that it's dying.

I'm curious how a WoW player who isn't active in the community feels about this game and it's health. Do they look at their guild and the competition for a raid spot and feel that the game is hemorrhaging people? Do they think that losing a long time guild member means that there is something wrong with the game? Or do they look at it as the natural way of these things?


With any game that sticks around for a long time, it's natural for people to come and go as their level of interest waivers. I'm not sure how anyone could play the same game for five or six years - or any length of time for that matter - without losing interest or feeling burnout at some point.

Before I started playing WoW, my game of choice was Counter-strike, and I played it for a long time. I ran my own large clan of players, operated my own public server, a private server and Ventrilo server and even competed in organized league play. I was as involved in that game as it was possible to be. Over time, the game became much less fun and the only thing keeping me coming back was the relationships I had with my clanmates. Eventually I quit, disbanded the clan and moved on. It was a very tough decision.

I see the same thing happening with WoW. I know that when I left Counter-strike the game continued on just fine without me, and the same is true when someone from the WoW community leaves. This game is bigger than any of us and will soldier on as we leave.


For better or for worse is still a point of great debate, but there is no question that World of Warcraft has changed a lot in the past six years.  And whenever change happens there are going to be people who don't agree with or like the changes. There is no way to please twelve million people, and as I mentioned in my 2010 Peevie Awards, it's the definition of insanity to try.

The people who are most likely to be left out in the cold when change happens are the people who have been around the longest. These are your raid leaders, guild officers and respected, pillars-of-the-community types. And in the blogosphere, they are the ones that have become institutions.  "Oh, [Popular Blogger] could never leave, he's been here forever and he's too good to ever quit." Of course, it doesn't work that way. Quite the opposite; they are the most likely to drift away to something else.

Losing one of these bloggers or guild members is hard, but it says nothing about the game or the community or your guild as a whole. The health of any community is determined by the strength of the people involved, and as someone leaves for other things inevitably someone else will come forward to take their place. New raid leaders will step up, a guild will pick a new leader with new ideas, and new bloggers will begin writing to fill the void.


In the past few months since Cataclysm several high profile blogs have shut down, but even more new bloggers have taken up the blogging challenge. These blogs aren't high profile yet, and they don't have the readership numbers of the blogs that have quit, but they are providing fresh new voices for the community to listen to. Different styles, new opinions and formats are being injected into the community everyday.

That's what tells me that our game and our community are doing just fine. This community and game are far from stagnant, as the new and vibrant voices are showing in every corner of the blogosphere.

The circle of life continues.


Vidalya issued a challenge in her post: Introduce and link to a new blogger.  I love this idea, and even as a new, post-cataclysm writer myself, here is a list of recent blog starts that have caught my attention. All of these blogs were started around the time that Cataclysm launched, although I'm using this criteria fairly loosely.

Muradin Musings by Janyaa

Unleashed Rage by Bloody Gneisha.

Ask a Salty by SaltySlainte

Mortigan the Lock by Mortigan

Zwingli's Blog by Zwingli (An older blog that has recently returned from the ether.)

Beer Bacon Brawling by Beerbelly.

Healer Aggro by Ttrinity

The Casual Raider by Jack

Rants of a Priest by Morituri

Elfi's World by Elfindale

Cleansing Waters by Mylindara

Specced for Drama by Ama (Who turns out to have been around longer than I thought... her blogspot blog has only been around since November, tho!)

Stand in the Blue Circle by Alacran

Word of Glory by Lynesta

Heavy Wool Bandage by Glorwynn

Healbot by Gina

And more!  I'm quite certain I've missed a bunch of people, and I'm sorry for forgetting you! If you have a newish blog and would like it listed here, leave me a comment and I'll include it.


  1. Thanks for the mention :) Aye, the circle of life, changes. It is inevitable in WoW as in real life. If it didn't, then, well, it would whither and die. I see these changes as I guild changes I am pondering today as well. They happen and we move to what is next.

  2. :3 I'm honored to be on your list! I agree a lot with this post, my brother was the first person in my guild to hit 85 and he quit WoW completely 2 weeks later. He's now playing a lot of Minecraft and Battlefield, and he joined the Angels of Death clan, which I hear is pretty good.

    For me, I'm still in love with WoW, with the quests and the mounts and the pretty gear and killing internet dragons. I don't play much else, but when I feel burnt out I too go play a bit of Minecraft (with fantasies of building a huge kingdom), watch TV, or work on the book I'm (very slowly) writing. I probably don't play quite as much as I used to, especially at the height of ICC raiding, and I'm okay with that. :)


  3. I'm the only one in my guild who blogs or really reads WoW blogs, and many of my in-game friends aren't connected with this community either. And all of these people are thrilled with Cataclysm, love every aspect of it, and have no plans on quitting because of burnout or boredom. Perhaps we bloggers tend to overanalyze things, or perhaps it is the fact that we are so inundated with WoW news and discussions that they are part of the reason people get burned out.

  4. I like your point in general, and I think you've compiled an awesome list of bloggers to get reading (I'm going to take a look at a few I hadn't seen, for sure) BUT, I think that buying into the idea that this expansion is somehow different or a bigger change to the game than previous expansions is just lending credence to the end-of-the-world mentality that's overrunning the blogging community lately. Things are different, true. But I really don't think it's fair to keep emphasizing that people leave around expansions. They always do, just because it's prominent bloggers this time around doesn't mean the game is hemorrhaging. We're a small small sample size, and we're not that important in the grand scheme of things.

    Plus, I really do think that there's some underlying condescension in that assumption toward people who DON'T think the game is in decline. It's so often paired with an "I've been here a long time and remember the glory days" attitude that it's easy to feel like if you aren't seeing the flaws in the game right now that you've got bad taste or are a noob.

    So yeah, excellent highlighting of good new bloggers. -1 for perpetuating the armageddon hysteria. :P

  5. @Rades - you said exactly what I mean! My boyfriend's guild is an old guild from Vanilla and they had been extremely tiny through the end of BC and Wrath because all their veterans got burnt out and quit the game. Since the beginning of Cataclysm, their membership has tripled with old guildies coming back. They are loving the changes and feel the world is revitalized, not dying at all. I think we have to remember that our little corner of the wow player base (bloggers and forum lurkers) may be the most vocal, but it doesn't reflect the total population very well.

  6. @Rhii: That the game has changed over the past six years is undeniable, and as I tried to emphasize in the post it's a matter of opinion whether the changes are for the better or not. I, for one, think the changes have been great on almost all levels. But my point was that the people who are struggling with them are more often than not the same people who have been with this game the longest.

    I certainly don't want to perpetuate any rumours or hysteria that the game is dying, quite the contrary; the idea behind this post was to prove that the opposite is true. But at the same time, denying that the game is evolving is just sticking your head in the sand.

    Thanks for your comment, Rhii. Spirited debate and passionate exchanges of ideas are another sign the the community is vibrant as hell!

  7. @Rhii: Although, given further thought, the title of this post is a little sensationalist. The other title I was toying with was "Rumours of WoW's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated", but I didn't think a Mark Twain reference was the right way to go. :)

  8. We have seen this little rift before. Aion was supposed to kill WoW and so was Ever Online. Now we have Rift stealing players who want to test the greener grasses. Some of them are now gone for good, while others will be back.

    In my niche within the game making gold through the auction house, I welcome these changes. Why? Because my competition on the auction house tends to be more of the veteran players as opposed to the new players, when the veterans start to quit I get more sales from less competition.

    It will be short lived as new players will undoubtable start to set up shop as well. At least I can enjoy it while it lasts.

  9. Also we had some great discussion on my post on The Current State of WoW" that are well worth a read on the same topic.

  10. @Fannon - sorry I wasn't clearer. Of COURSE the game has changed since launch. That would be idiotic not to recognize it.

    But the prevailing opinion seems to be that THIS change is qualitatively different than previous changes. Which is the assumption that I think should be challenged.

    (sorry for the double post, I hit the wrong identity, if you could remove the other comment, I'd appreciate it greatly.)

  11. Thanks for mentioning my blog, friend.

    - Alacran

  12. I think it's just starting to hit that critical mass of all the problems they keep kicking down the road piling up. The guild reputation system causes more drama, raiding was made harder and thats upset people. They are destroying class differences to make PVP more "fair". Blue actually posted that one of the reasons for druid shapeshifting change was that druids were so "annoying" to fight. Not hard, not unbalanced just annoying. the game has been spinning slowly out of control since they decided to make PVP a huge part of it and I think it'll just keep getting slowly worse.

    I've always thought they should have had instanced PVP profiles. Everyone should have a PVP character if they want and a regular character and the two should never be able to meet. If Pvp didn't impact the regular game half the problems they spend dev cycles on wouldn't exist.

    I guess a good analogy is that wow is no longer that Hot sexy girl that was just pretty enough we all thought we had a chance with, She's become a loud grumpy middle aged woman that we are comfortable with but it's just not as much fun. girls insert guy for womean not trying to leave you out. She'll be there for a long time but some people will never forgiver her for getting old and longtime mmo game break ups are hard for a lot of people.

  13. Alot of truth in this posting. I never feel bad if people move on. It's like real life..people move away for better jobs etc. I do miss them and will always wish them good luck in thier future endeavors. I can see how this is very hard on Raid guilds though. Loosing a key healer or tank or dpser who really knows their stuff can be devestating to the morale of a tight knit team.

    As to the majority of players who do not post or join in the blog community or forum community. they play...and ALOT. I have several alts on different servers. While there are areas that are dead, the major hubs are always crowded and busy wherever I go. Down side of course is that many of the cities are'nt very accessable so become very quiet. Thunderbluff and Darnassus are 2 immediate ones that come to mind.

    It has been my experience that most who post one way or another tend to have very specific personal views that aren't always in tune with the general player base of any mmo community.

    One thing that can encourage people is to look at both the big blogs and small blogs. Show interest in everyone's opinions even if its a tactful disagreement. Read every blog you can find, put it on your follow list and comment where you feel appropriate, even if it's on social in nature. Many of the contributors here have vaulable inforamtion of fun stuff to talk about in thier given areas of interest. Also, it's an excellent way to network with other players who still have a great interest in the game.

    Bottom line, if you look at the server populations, I grant they are a little less than they used to be, but it is still by far the healthiest of MMOs out there for bringing in new and keeping veterans. Just my 2 cents.

    Oh yeah..drop by the The Rusty Blade, my newly formed blog and say hi lol. I'm glad I found your blog and thats one more I'll set to list for others to find. have a great day!

  14. I'm new myself to the blogosphere, especially the realm of wow blogging, and was rather sad to see that many of those I stumbled on were just then closing down. But I'm finding new and interesting blogs to follow all the time! I think the realm of wow blogs will be just fine.


  15. Oooh! Someone mentioned me?! Thank you, Fannon. I don't have much to add here, except a general agreement, and that I too, will attempt to link to some lesser known blogs in the near future (if you guys leave me any to link to).

    While I do find it sad that some people are leaving, I'd rather that than they stick around and complain and spread negativity. I see too many people that continue to play WoW yet spend a good portion of their time complaining about the changes rather than finding something fun in it. I guess maybe some people find complaining to be fun?

    Instead of worrying about what everyone else is saying about WoW, ask yourself, "Am I having fun?" and go from there.

    And I'll second what Mhorgrim said about server populations. Other popular MMOs like LOTRO and and EQII have a fraction of the servers and population that WoW has. I think WoW is doing just fine.

    Ok... maybe I did have some stuff to add...

  16. Great post! Will check out all the blogs you mentioned in the next couple of days.

  17. I'm with Anna on this; those who aren't having fun with the game, or with blogging, make it better for everyone by stepping away from whatever doesn't make them happy rather than stick around and complain about it. Lot's of prominent bloggers and players are quitting both blogs and the game, but my guild and server are still energetic and vibrant, and I personally still have lots of excitement for the game. It's hard when big names publicly quit an activity, but it doesn't mean everyone else shares their feelings and will follow!!

    Thanks for all the new blog links :D

  18. Yeah seems these things go in cycles in a way (as the game does also). Those who have stopped blogging, and some playing for that matter, have all touched our lives in one way or another.

    As a new blogger, it's really fun and refreshing to meet you all and I wouldnt even be doing it without the others who gave me the inspiration in the first place <3<3<3

  19. As others have said, you hit the nail on the head with all the points here. All of which I feel is solid truth, without biased, and grumpy negative views.

    This is attitude our community needs.

    Keep them coming,

    - Jamin