Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekly vs Daily Engagement

As a result of my dungeon and raid finding activities earlier in the week, there have been no more Valor points available for me to earn in WoW since Thursday.  This new, more flexible system point system makes WoW a game that requires weekly engagement, rather than daily engagement.  While this change may be good and even necessary, I wonder what effect it will have on community and retention.

The new system
I earned the VP for the week as follows:
  • I attempted three dungeon runs on Tuesday night (reset night in WoW), two of which were successful, for 300 Valor Points. 
  • I went two for two on Wednesday night for another 300 points.
  • I spent Thursday night on a Raid finder marathon, and would have been awarded 500 VP's if not for the weekly cap of 1000 points (i.e. I only received 400 points due to the cap).  I even re-queued to loot the bosses I missed the first time around. 
Effectively, I had maxed out the potential gains I could get for the week before Friday rolled around.  Having killed each boss once for the achievements, I probably won't re-queue in the raid finder just for the chance to loot items that are a tier behind what is on the Valor point vendor.  A single night, or two at the most, will probably be enough to pick off the most valuable rewards. 

Min-maxing by minimizing
In terms of both schedule and level of burnout, not having to grind away at WoW is definitely a good thing.  The reality may very well be that the game can no longer hold player interest seven days a week.  The issue is that the old daily rewards did not just prolong the time it would take players to earn all the rewards. 

Having a reason to sign in every day encourages full guild chat channel.  I wonder whether players will begin to notice emptier guilds as the population on a whole adjusts to this new, reduced commitment.  This could, in turn, reduce player involvement and ultimately make the online world less "sticky" than it was before.  Are we looking at a tragedy of the commons, in which players want flexibility but will be disappointed when their friends aren't around due to the same flexibility?


Brad said...

I think on the whole Blizzard is moving to a model where the server you are on and the guild you are in is less-and-less important.

I think the consequences of them NOT switching to weekly caps would have been way worse. Further there are some things like profession dailies that still require daily logins.

Kinzlayer said...

Ultimately, synthetic reasons to be in game does not build or maintained community. We the players have asked for and gotten most of these changes we see in WoW. Maybe we should look beyond the game to find a reason to be in game and among ourselves to build that community we want. Remember Vanilla WoW didn't create the community, it was each and every one of us that participated that created and maintained the community and interest to login.

Anjin said...

Kinzlayer, this seems like a fundamental misreading of the data at had. Cohesion in MMO communities is generally a function of the game's incentive structure. Games that have good communities are generally those that mandate some form of player interaction. I like to think that shared misery is what keeps communities together.

It could be argued that there is a feedback loop between players and developers, especially in the case of WoW. But I do believe that developers do have a hand in fostering communities or not.