It’s a bit like someone put a haste buff on my days. The weeks vanish before my eyes, and the weekends pass with barely a single blink. Since starting my new job, everything feels rushed and a bit overwhelming. I’m still working at the same company, in a similar position, and yet suddenly everything is different.
I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately. It’s one of those odd things that I dread and look forward to at the same time. Life would certainly become stale without it – but it doesn’t magically make everything better. Change always comes with a mix of good and bad. The key to a successful change is that you’re moving forward – the good outweighs the bad.
Cataclysm certainly brings with it a lot of change to our game. Most of what we know is tossed out the window – from mechanics, to quests, to landscapes, to familiar NPCs. What I’ve seen coming down the pipline from Blizzard is promising. It’s not just change for the sake of change – they’re moving the game forward. Things are being improved upon, simplified, and polished. Yes, there are details that I don’t particularly like, but the end result is a win.
It’s so easy to focus on these negative aspects – but we do have to consider that what seems negative for us might be fantastic for someone else. I don’t envy Blizzard in trying to weigh which audiences to appease. Game design is incredibly subjective. The developers are influenced by their own viewpoints, the opinions of those around them, feedback from the forums, comments from people they meet on the street, reporting data from the game, etc. Decisions can be made carefully, weighing the pros and cons, but in the end the decision to go in a certain direction seems rather arbitrary. That’s the problem with creative endeavors – there is no “right” way.
I have a similar problem in making decisions for my wedding. I can weigh the pros and cons of choosing a particular photographer, or a color for tablecloths… but in the end, there is no right answer. Even if I took a vote of every single person coming to my wedding and went with the majority, the choice might still be a bad idea because it didn’t result in the wedding I wanted to create.
Blizzard has said in the past that they don’t let players vote on game design issues, because sometimes they just have to go with what they feel contributes to the game they want to make.
I’m not sure if I had a point somewhere in that enormous ramble. I think it is that I’m looking forward to Cataclysm, and as the news pours down around us, I’m focusing on the good things that it will bring. It will change the game in a huge way, but it will be for the better (at least for me). It’s so easy to criticize, to dissect the news and complain about the details. Some constructive criticism is good, but keep the doom and gloom to yourself. People have been prophesizing the downfall of WOW for many years now, but it’s survived just fine. If everything is looking gloomy to you in the game’s future, then perhaps it is time for you to move on?