This is something that I’ve brought up in a couple of Podcast episodes, but one that I most enjoyed the conversation was the most recent one with Ryan Kirby in Episode 8. Obviously WoW is HUGE. There’s no denying that. I have been playing since Vanilla and I am also obsessed, and as I’m writing this also wishing that I could make the clock shoot forward a day so I can play the Warlords Expansion. That being said, I would LOVE for WoW to break into eSports in a big way. I’m a Blizzard fanboy, and an even bigger WoW and eSports fanboy. In the episode Kirby brings up a great point which is that games do not choose to become a part of eSports, the community chooses to put them there. Obviously some games have a preconceived idea of wanting to be in that position, and sometimes it works out because of the type of game that it is, but for the most part his statement is absolutely true. Now the question stands “Will WoW be able to break into eSports?”. We know Blizzard just hit the lotto with Hearthstone and it’s success, but with the extra effort, man power, and time they’re putting into making WoW more “viewer friendly”, will it be able to take that leap?
Changes WoW has already made
There are some changes that have already been put into play to make WoW more viewer friendly, and some things that might have been added regardless, but still have that same effect. I’m sure this list will have to be updated because we all know Blizzard will not just give up and will most likely be implementing more to achieve their overall goal. If I’ve missed anything that you could think of that I should be informing people, please let me know in the comments!
This is something all of you know about. Blizzard has implemented a dampening effect for Arenas so that they do not get extended to long by healing. Here is how Wowpedia explains what Dampening is: “Dampening is a stacking debuff that occurs in Arena matches that run too long, designed to prevent matches from ending in a draw. It reduces healing received and absorption effects by 1% per stack.”. Wowpedia also notes that: “Dampening begins after 5 minutes for 2v2 games, and after 10 minutes for 3v3 and 5v5 games. After this time has elapsed each player will gain a stack of the debuff every 10 seconds, reducing healing received and absorption effects by 1% per stack. ‘s healing absorption is not affected by Dampening.”. Dampening is a great way to make games more viewer friendly and is definitely something I feel was necessary by Blizzard, but how do you feel about it? Kirby actually dislikes it, which makes me curious to see how you guys feel as well.
This is something that most likely would have taken place regardless of whether or not Blizzard was trying to break WoW into eSports, but it is a job well done nonetheless. Ability pruning is just what it sounds like, the pruning of abilities on the classes in World of Warcraft. Now, instead of having a million buttons and abilities to use, with the list growing in each expansion, Blizzard actually pruned the abilities to the best of their ability in the Warlords patch/expansion. This not only makes it great for the players, but also the viewers. There are times where you would be watching an Arena and the Casters are explaining what is happening, but so many skills are being played at once that you just can’t keep up. Ability pruning will hopefully help fix that, even if just slightly.
Ending Notes and Your Feedback
There will be more to come from WoW and eSports, that I’m sure of. I wanted to clear up that I know WoW PvP, Arenas, World Championships and anything else to do with competing in WoW could already be considered BIG, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. I’m more focused on the viewer friendliness and huge breakthrough into eSports. Right now it may be just on the borderline, but there is still something very different between sitting down to watch Hearthstone, League of Legends, or even any other eSports game that viewers already love watching. I’d love to hear how you feel about it already, and maybe even here some suggestions or extra thoughts you have about this topic!