Brevity in World of Warcraft's Patch 4.3
World of Warcraft: Hour of Twilight gave us many new features but have the Darkmoon Faire and 5-man dungeons have been a success?
Lets All Go To The Faire!
The Darkmoon Faire has been the most surprising addition to this last content patch. In days of Yore, the Faire was a novelty that moved between Mulgore and Elwynn Forest every month. Nothing stopped you going to either starter zone, even if it was in enemy territory but you had to be prepared to be killed on sight on PVP servers. The first time you visited, it was amusing but, unless you were collecting Darkmoon Cards, it got boring pretty quickly.
Fast-forward to the latest patch and the Faire has gotten a total revamp. Its now so big that its gotten its own island, located somewhere in the Azerothian sea. Theres a petting zoo, an hourly concert with Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain (yes, theyre still playing The Power of the Horde) and loads of other things to do.
There were games to play, which involved buying game tickets for gold and then winning prize tokens. There were daily quests to do and pets and mounts to earn. That said, hidden behind the fun and frolics of the Faire, its main purpose was to provide a way for people to level their professions. Yes, its all about making skills like fishing and cooking more fun.
We had just a week to experience it before the portals closed and the staging area vanished. The next Darkmoon Faire wont take place until the new year and many are left missing the chance to have fun and win stuff.
The Faire is back and it's now bigger and better!
The last big quest hub was the Molten Front and it took weeks for the most dedicated players to unlock all the phased versions and get themselves a fiery hippogryph. The Darkmoon Faire is, in its own way, also a quest hub but by only making it accessible for one week in every month, its going to lead to frustration for many players.
The Darkmoon Faire is a world event, much like Brewfest or the Lunar Festival, but it is also much more frequent than any of the other festivals. Yes, this revamp has been long awaited and actually made people want to get blown out of a cannon but then were dumped back in Azeroth with more than a bump.
The month-long gap between Faires is just too long. For the first week, players are going to be eager and religiously do the dailies but what about after the second month or the third? Asking people to do dailies for this period continuously for this long works because everyone has an unspoken reward they want to earn. Once thats been earned, most people will stop and move on.
Only the super-dedicated, therefore, will stick with the Darkmoon Faire. Asking them to stop, forget about it, and then go back a month later. Well, its like asking Garrosh and Varian to bury the hatchet and become BFFs. Its just not going to happen.
Of course, Im not suggesting Blizzard makes the Faire available the whole year, just lengthen the amount of time we can play it by turning one week into two. That extra time would not only give people longer to earn those precious rewards it would also keep their attention on Darkmoon Island for a little longer.
The other big draw of Hour of Twilight is, of course, the lore-packed feeder dungeons which guide you into the final showdown with Deathwing. Like ICC, these new dungeons offered a challenge for people who dont necessarily do the hard-core endgame raids but can also add something to the lorefest which is Deathwings demise.
This time we get to go all timey-wimey by visiting a possible future, the ancient past and present day. The point of our quest is the Dragon Soul, the epic relic which is the only hope for Thrall to weaken Deathwing. As a by-product, this also allows us to experience the conclusion to the Infinite Dragonflight storyline as well as experience a classic period in Warcraft lore and meet some old friends and enemies.
Then we get to go escort Thrall (again) and face off twilight dragons and the Twilight Father himself. Sounds epic doesnt it and it really is. Theres just one problem: the dungeons are just too damn easy.
In Wrath, people were running five-man dungeons in fifteen minutes so, when Cataclysm hit, the switch to the other end of the scale sent shockwaves through the playerbase. Of course, no one is ever going to be happy and Blizzard doesnt always listen when we moan. This sudden shift in how difficult is too easy or impossible to play, has really made these three dungeons feel cheapened and running for gear has never been easier.
While fun and lore-packed, the new dungeons are just too easy.
Getting to the Heart of the Problem
The main problem with this really isnt centered on the difficulty but more on how fast people are hurtling through the content. Its a year since Cataclysm was released and weve already finished all the content. What else is there left to do until Mists of Pandaria?
This is the part where I really hope Blizzard will be releasing content faster than previously. Im sure well see more patches over the next couple of months but Blizzard has already told us that Hour of Twilight is the last big one, packed full of content, before we roll Pandaren. Minor patches mean class changes and the like, nothing to write home about.
Will this decision to end Cataclysm now with nothing to keep people interested in the long term affect subscription levels? All we have is the Faire, which isnt even permanent, and a trio of easy dungeons. Only time will tell if this will herald another slump in the number of subscribers Blizzard has to its flagship game.
Let us know what you think of the new Faire and whether you think the dungeons are just too easy in the comments box below.
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