Plunderstorm’s Backlash Shows World of Warcraft Fans Don’t Want The Game To Evolve

Blizzard's latest game mode for the MMORPG has had a mixed reception.

Story Highlights

  • Blizzard has introduced a new game mode called Plunderstorm in World of Warcraft.
  • Despite its potential, some fans are opposed to the devs trying out new things. 

In recent years, Blizzard has been playing it very safe with how they handle modern World of Warcraft. Each expansion set comes with the same amount of dungeons, raids, and patches, every time. And even box features like War Within’s “Dynamic Flight“, don’t have the same allure as features used to have back in the day. This is why “Plunderstorm”, the MMORPG’s take on a fresh game mode felt like such a weird addition.

For one, it came completely out of the blew. Blizzard kept the development of the mode pretty under wraps. But more importantly, it seems very much inspired by Fortnite and similar Battle Royale games. These not only feel like a foreign idea in WoW’s MMORPG setting but are way past their expiration date for a lot of gamers. But that’s what makes this whole experience so weird.

YouTube video

Because despite the issues Plunderstorm has going for it on paper, I still can’t help but enjoy it. It’s a fun, engaging way to enjoy the iconic World of Warcraft combat. Except, it doesn’t have the bloated systems and ability the game has become so synonymous with in recent years. Sadly, not everyone thinks the same way. And for some players, the fact that it tries to be unique at all is a grave sin.

Because of this, I feel World of Warcraft might end up becoming more stagnant. Especially if more players are less open to ideas like Plunderstorm becoming the norm. Here’s why.

Plunderstorm Gets Rid Of The Game’s Persistent Problems

One of the big reasons why Plunderstorm seems to be well-received by some players, and hated by others, is because the game is a completely different approach to how the rest of the game is structured. It doesn’t rely on the class-based system WoW is known for. Instead, you pick up abilities from kills and treasures and drop them when you die.

The duality of man…
byu/Everdale inwow

It’s a very tried-and-true BR experience, but one that feels completely new when made under the framework of World of Warcraft. The thing is, fans, who’ve grown accustomed to the game’s classes and abilities, are feeling like Plunderstorm is a personal insult to them. Because, it shows Blizzard is moving towards a style of gameplay, that is at odds with what they enjoy.

WoW’s gameplay, while fun, is so chock-full of mechanics and detailed systems, that any new player looking to join in is simply at a loss on where to start. Every class has a dozen details you need to keep in mind. And then there are ability rotations, boss mechanics, and add-ons. It’s a mess and one that some players almost seem to revel in.

So, when a new mode, that strips away all of that extra fluff, and focuses solely on the moment-to-moment gameplay, players who’ve clearly invested hundreds of hours, if not more into learning those skills, feel threatened. On one hand, I can see where they’re coming from. But to me, it shows an unwillingness to adapt, with fans rejecting any kind of evolution to the base game.

The Base WoW Gameplay Loop Doesn’t Appeal To Everyone

One of the biggest reasons keeping WoW from becoming as mainstream as it once used to be is because the endgame content in the MMORPG seems hyperfocused for the competitive crowd. Mythic raids are fine-tuned to offer a tough challenge to people who play the game for a profession. This means that the regular gamers, who just want to enjoy themselves with their friends on a raid night, end up getting stuck on bosses with no chance of clearing them.

Addons in WoW.
Addons in WoW.

To even play the game on a semi-decent level, you need to download dozens of addons. These addons tell you just about every detail you can imagine about a boss fight. In some cases, they make outright mechanics redundant. Blizzard has been in a battle to make fights more and more complex, to combat the addon plague that’s been going on in the base game.

Plunderstorm has a set rule of disabling addons altogether. As a result, everyone is on a level playing field, and there’s no chance of folks getting an advantage just because they’ve downloaded better files. It’s a step in the right direction, but one that will obviously come across as hostile to folks who’ve made their entire lives about gaining every percentage of an advantage possible.

The Backlash To Plunderstorm Might Stop Devs From Experimenting

Ultimately, while some players do like the new game mode, it does seem like there’s a lot of negative feedback about it too. It’s the first iteration of a new idea, so it’s not perfect by any means. And pointing out the flaws can help Blizzard improve it over time. But the folks saying it should be removed outright, or that it was a waste of developer time, clearly just want the game to say the same forever.

And while that might sound appealing to them, it’s not the best outcome for WoW. If the title isn’t able to attract new audiences, eventually the game is going to die out. And in its current state, I just don’t see how anyone would want to get into a game, that requires literal years of background knowledge to be able to excel at a decent level.

Plunderstorm, and similar modes like that, hopefully will make WoW more mainstream, allowing new players to join in, and maybe get a chance to explore Retail and Classic-era versions of the game. It should be seen as a win-win for players. But of course, not everyone is pleased. Hopefully, Blizzard continues to experiment and try new things with WoW, especially with its upcoming World Soul Saga.

Because if the only thing to look forward to is the same kind of dungeons and raids for the next 10 years, I fail to see how the MMORPG is going to feel fresh or interesting to anyone but its most hardcore fans. 

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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