Return of the RPG

Our guild decided to take the month of July off from raiding, so this past weekend I decided I'd pick up another game to occupy my time, and attempt to ward off some of the WoW burn-out that inevitably happens at this point in every expansion.  

After browsing through the Steam Summer sale, I noticed there was a Dragon Age: origins "ultimate" for 10 or 15 bucks. I had a roommate who had DA:O back 5 years ago, or whenever it came out, so I'd seen some of it, but had never actually played it. So I downloaded and installed it.  

It's been a while since I really played a "traditional" RPG, and I have to say it was lots of fun. I haven't read too much about it, but I think I'm about half way through the main quests, maybe a third of the way, and it's just so much fun to see how much of an effect my character has on the world, which is something that an MMO-RPG just can't allow.  

What was really fun about it, however, is that instead of wanting to just get as many quests as possible, and trying to get them done as fast as possible, I found myself oddly compelled to read all of the text, and talk to everyone I could find. This is, of course, how RPGs are supposed to be, but in WoW, I almost never read quest text (often to my own detriment, as I won't realize what I'm actually supposed to be doing). To me, WoW has become purely a race. Get to max level,  get the best gear, get the raid bosses down.  

I know many didn't, but I really liked Mists of Pandaria.  Perhaps it was just because Cata was so silly, but when I first started playing Mists, it felt like a decent story, which was fun enough to exist in.  I think, however, that I had mostly just forgotten what it was like to be playing an RPG with good, solid story-telling.

I can't remember where I read this, but some blogger I read recently mentioned how they thought that with World of Warcraft, it used to be the case that they had a story to tell, so they had to create these playable classes and raids and quests in order to tell that story; whereas now, it feels more like they feel like they need to make more content, so they're just creating some bits of story to fit in around the play-style they want to have.  From my point of view, this is dead on.  

One statement Blizzard has been making for a while, is that they want to make content for everyone, and not spend a lot of time focusing content/quests for individual classes or races.   The argument made some amount of sense at first, but the more I think about it, the more it seems they really need to do something to make players' experiences unique.  

Instead, Blizzard has focused their energy on trying to get everyone to raid. I, of course, love to raid, but getting people to suffer through LFR is a pretty lousy pursuit, in my opinion.  They've repeatedly said that they want people to get to see this "epic content", but it's really not epic once it's watered down in LFR format.  I imagine that they thought, since they couldn't come up with a very compelling story, they'd instead try to get  more people to participate in the very un-compelling story they already had, and it just didn't work.  

I'm not trying to say any of this because I quitting WoW or anything like that (I imagine I'll stick it out until the servers shut down, in some capacity, at least); I would like to see it return to its former glory, though.  And to do this I think it needs to return to its RPG roots.  If Blizzard wants to keep WoW alive, then they need to write a story that's so good I'll allow myself to get behind just so I can read all of the text in the quests, and all of the dialogue; we need a story so good that I want to watch the cut scenes (at least the first few times). Once they've accomplished that,  then start worrying about the class designs, and encounter balancing.

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