Is WoW still your cheese?

This is a very long article, that talks about something I’ve been thinking of for a while… what will happen as WoW continues to age and grow, and how will new MMOs affect our community over time. Read on if it’s something you’re interested in discussing.


Many of you may be unaware that my wife is a corporate zombie.

Well, at least she used to be. She has a lot of college degrees, which she worked insanely hard to achieve, and for a long time she was an upper-level executive for a world-wide organization that is well known for their non-profit works. Then our first child was on the way, and she decided that to better raise and nurture our son, she would shift her career and work from home.

None of that is the point, but it lays the foundation for what I’m gonna talk about.

As an upper-level executive, she regularly read books that I can only think of as ‘managerial confidence boosters’.

You might have read quite a few of these yourself. Books that promise that, after spending thirty minutes of reading, you will become a powerhouse of inspiring leadership, armed with the secrets of the rich and dynamic, able to make correct decisions and dominate your peers in the market with one hand tied behind your back.

Okay. I guess they look cool sitting on the bookshelf when you are having a meeting with the employees that you’re planning on downsizing.

One of the books she made me… wait, I mean encouraged me to read, was called “Who Moved My Cheese”, by Spencer Johnson.

While targeted at business professionals who are supposed to job hop and leave their mistakes behind before they get a chance to catch up with you, I found it to have a very strong underlying message that I’ve carried with me. 

The book itself is a cute little parable, a bit heavy-handed but still cute, telling the story of two mice. The two mice are both in one place, where they have learned that cheese, which they enjoy eating, can be easily found. They come back day after day to enjoy eating the cheese which is already there.

But then, the story talks about how differently the two mice react as the amount of cheese that appears each day begins to dwindle.. or the quality becomes poorer, until finally one day the mice go to the place where cheese has always been, and find that there is no cheese there. None at all.

The book itself, of course, is showing how people that are used to a pattern become safe in following that pattern, and even though the world around them may change, or their own needs may change, they find safety in doing the same things and following the same patterns in their life, rather than taking the frightening step of leaving what they know and are used to in search of new, fresh cheese.

Johnson is talking about jobs, and how people will stay put in one dead-end job even after they see that the job itself has no future in it, or may even become worse over time, or is no longer meeting the needs of their family or career or what they want out of life. And about how hard it is to break out of a feeling of safety in search of the new and unknown. And it really does seem to imply that you should feel no loyalty to any employer and be ready to bail the second you detect a change in the air that may bring you, personally, any inconvenience.

That’s fine, it’s supposed to remind executives why they job hop, after all, adn help them get over their fear of the unknown.

But I think the core message of anticipating, preparing for and adapting to change applies to World of Warcraft, too.

If you look at video games, and the technology of our computers and how things have grown, this is still a very new, very fresh segment of gaming.

Everquest may not have started it, but they propelled the genre into worldwide fame. Much like Doom, people who don’t game heard of Everquest. Realistically speaking, Everquest came out not that long ago. Dark Age of Camelot, Lineage, City of Heroes, Star Wars Galaxies. All pretty new. A few years is nothing.

MMOs come… and while they may be eagerly anticipated, they don’t last forever. There WILL be something else that catches the publics’ attention.

But… World of Warcraft has so far endured. My question is, for how long?

Think of the cheese as representing your enjoyment, your happiness in what you do in the game. Whatever it is that you personally get out of playing the game. What brings you back again and again and keeps you playing WoW instead of any other MMO.

World of Warcraft has been around for over 3 years now. Many things have been credited for it’s success, but I’d have to say, IMO, that the two biggest contributors are that it is a huge game full of content that can keep you busy questing for an incredibly long time on your first character… and that once you’ve done that content, it takes a very short amount of time to bring a second character to the max level to play with your high level friends.

There are tons of things to do at end game. There are tons of things to do while leveling. But if you know what you’re doing, you can blast a character straight to 70 in a remarkably short period of time.

But the cheese… are you still enjoying the game as much a year down the road, as you did when you started? 

I think that everyone understands that different people enjoy different things… but when new content takes a certain amount of time to appear, you have to be enjoying what is out there right now.

I played one character from 1 to 60… and then 70. That was some good tasting cheese.

I played an alt from 1 to 70. The cheese from the content, not so tasty… but a new class, a faster progression, and knowing the basic rules right from the beginning the second time around made playing a lot of fun. Good cheese.

Third alt, the leveling was a grind… I kept at it because I knew how much fun I would someday have when I was at level 70. The cheese… not so much in the play of the content, there were bits of fun, but overall it was boring work that was only rewarding in anticipation of the fun I would someday have.

Now, three level 70s. I log in each day, and I play, and I enjoy myself… but I start to wonder where I will look for new cheese in the game.

At this point, it’s about following the cheese. There are strong reasons for staying in World of Warcraft; My wife plays and enjoys the game. I have friends here. I have a lot of time invested in three max level characters. I know the world, I know the rules, I know the classes and the game. And there will be an expansion coming, and new content… in 6 months or so.

If I were to leave for a different game in search of the cheese, I wouldn’t know anyone there. I would be alone, solo, just as when I picked up WoW for the very first time. I would not know the rules, I wouldn’t know where anything was, I wouldn’t know how anything worked or where to figure stuff out. And I wouldn’t have the extreme fun of playing the game with my wife.

On the other hand… there would be brand new adventures, a new world of content, new friends to make, new classes to see for the first time, new art direction, new lore. Something fresh and clean and new. And a brand new community in a vital game that has just taken off, rather than is feeling like it’s winding down.

And maybe… maybe I would find more cheese there, more than I have right now in World of Warcraft.

Am I leaving WoW?

Ha, no. Not anytime soon, either. Are you kidding? I still get plenty of cheese to keep me happy.

But, think about it yourself… how long have you been playing WoW? Are you enjoying the game as much now as you did when you started? Are you enjoying it as much, but for different reasons? Did you get turned on to PvP right when you were getting bored with questing? Are you into raiding with a large guild now, and feel that the game is more vital than ever?

Try to imagine where you will be in a year from now. Will you still be having as much fun? If you get bored with what you are doing now, what is the next part of the game you haven’t tried that might grab your interest? 

Is a new expansion, with a new world, ten new levels, one new profession and one new class enough to last you two more years? Think about the Burning Crusade. Is that enough to do it for you? Or are you dreading resuming the push to level and then re-gear? 

Will you want to level an alt as much when you have to go from 1 to 80? Will Blizzard decide to change things, and add something like Dark Age Of Camelots’s alt rule, where if you have one character at max level, you can create an alt at a higher than normal level?

It is possible… Blizzard has stated that if you have one character at a high level, you can complete a quest chain to create a level 55 Death Knight. What if the secret they haven’t revealed yet, is that ALL alts will be able to be made starting at level 55? And you will no longer have to revisit the first 55 levels of slogging through the low zones, unless you want to twink.

Will having just one new class make that big of a difference to you, after another year? Does it make more sense to make high level alts more accessible to players?

Will you hear the song of the wild geese flying overhead, reminding you that there are new worlds out there to conquer? Will you yearn for something new?

What about two years from now? Or five?

It’s something to think about.

I think the people with the shortest attention spans, the ones that have little emotional investment in their characters, the players that are asshats or griefers at heart, and the people that have no friends in the game and no feeling of community would have no compunction at all in moving on to the next new thing. in fact, I think we’ve seen a bit of that already, with Age of Conan.

If you think about how quiet some of the Trade and General channels have been on your server, compared to before AoC… I think a ton of asshats have already moved on to Conan to torment all the fresh new players in that game.

After all, their potential victims already have them on ignore in WoW.

Can you imagine? A horde of asshats, like the froth at the leading edge of the wave, leaving WoW to rush on, washing over each new MMO and flooding it with hate and rage, before tiring of that crowd and moving on. You can almost see them in your minds’ eye, perpetually seeking out a new audience to bask in the annoyance they bring. 

Those of us left behind as time goes on… encouraging friends to join, playing our mains and alts, waiting for new content releases and taking part in the community of friends we forge… how many years will pass before the cheese, for us, is also gone?

Is it possible for Blizzard to create enough new content and change the way we play the old stuff to keep things fresh, and fun, and cheesy, for many years to come?

Or will there come a point in the future, a point that Blizzard is already planning for, when they will stop actively supporting new WoW content, and spring Universe of Starcraft, or World of Warcraft II (the thousand year change), on us and force us to choose, once in for all, to either stay in a dead world with our community, or move on to something new?

I think of the people that still play Everquest I. And Dark Age of Camelot. And other MMOs that were once the hot, rising success story, the games that were vibrant and fresh. At some point, the number of new players dwindled… the existing players began to wander away… but there are still thousands who choose to stay and play on.

No matter how huge World of Warcraft is… at some point, that WILL happen to us. Maybe it’ll take ten years, but it WILL happen.

When it does, will you know when the time has come to go off in search of new cheese? Or will you linger on, hoping that Blizzard will bring the cheese back just the way it used to be?

42 thoughts on “Is WoW still your cheese?

  1. Ultima Online started in 1997 and there are STILL people playing it that were there so long ago. WoW will be around at least as long, unless they make a new MMO that is somehow more fun (quite possible, knowing Blizzard and their now billions…)


  2. I’ve been playing for about 16 months and got three level 70 and a mage stuck at 62, We’re a small guild which has – until a few months ago – only consisted of a few friends. With the help of some more friends and a couple of pugs we’ve recently cleared Kara (yay). That was fresh, finally some raiding!

    The thing is, though, that except Kara the other stuff (ie dailies, try doing the Isle with three chars every day for a week) is stale, month old cheese with a little mold at the edges. What to do?

    Roll another druid! My feral druid’s been standing with pre-kara gear (we needed healers, enter resto shaman, damn fun to play) for a long time and with one dedicated pala tank and a warrior dito he’s not going anywhere soon. And please don’t say pug.

    But Tertia, only ten days old, is at level 44 atm and I’m having a blast! She’s got all the boost she needs with bags, but I’m doing 95% of the mining required for the JC (first miner, might be the last as well, man it takes time). And I’m skilling fishing and cooking for the first time as well – artisan on both and cooking has it’s perks with the buff food.

    The thing is; she’s a moonkin. And it’s really fresh cheese. Almost still milk tbh 🙂 My original thought was to level up a resto druid to try some arena but now there are second thoughts creeping into my brain. Once you hit a tree with talents as a druid you don’t leave it. All trees have great talents and I want them all! Thought so with Murmus (da feral) and right now it’s the same deal. “Oh, extra spellcrit on Wrath/Starfire/Moonfire (did a crit at 1022 yesterday)”.”EACH crit lowers the cast time on your the next spell with half a second. Wrath outruns the gcd, muhahaha”. “Mana regen at 3-12% of my total int, GIEF!” (with a resto shammy as a main you gets to be a mp5-junkie).

    She might still be resto when I hit 70, but I’m gonna go there blasting my way through the mobs! Pew pew, watch out mages, you glass cannons, give room for the tanking spellcaster. Watch your mouth or I’ll start a dance-off – your loss!

    And oh, btw, give me some conjured water pls.

    Murmus/Tertia at Defias Brotherhood (EU) –
    The Swedish cows says /moo – keep up the good work 🙂
    And, roll horde ftw! 😉

    PS. Damn, this was fun, I may have to start my own blog and enhance my English skills a bit and get to rant ’til my fingers bleed.


  3. As a Mac user, the only thing I’ll be switching for is Starcraft 2. I like Blizzard’s cheese (good thing I’m not lactose intolerant!)


  4. 1.) Excellent Post.
    2.) Your Right The Cheese isn’t as tasty as the first time when it comes to alts. My solution to this was to do the following.
    1.) Transfer 500gold (ok 425 after ah cut) to Horde toon
    2.) Roll a Tauren Druid.
    3.) Leave the Alliance Cheese alone for a while & see the other side!
    The Cheese is close to as fresh as possible but it’s more a imataion of fresh cheese. In a way it feels like I’m actually playing a handicapped ver of my NE Druid. I know how to mark, pull etc. I ran RFC like it was Heroic MagT =P but I’m severly limited. Still though it’s fun. & it’s also relaxing. Maybe that’s what bothered me the most about my cheese. WOW wasn’t as much fun as it had been because w end game raiding it’s a serious effort. So I’d work all day, come home & work all night.


  5. Yeah it was said earlier. The cheese for me is the group play. The very tastiest cheese in going into a new instance without first reading any of the guides. With a good group you can not get any tastier.


  6. As others have said, a very thought provoking article. As for me I’ve only been playing since December. My Troll Hunter is 70 and my guild (which includes a few RL friends) has just managed to fully clear Kara. We’ve downed the first two bosses in ZA (though not under the time limit). It’s frustrating because on my server (US – Silver Hand) Horde (which we play) has a fairly low population. This is making it hard to get enough quality people to move into the 25-man raids. Even Gruul’s and Mag. I think that with WotLK things should get better because they are adding more 10-mans. Though I’d still like some more tier gear from TBC. I’ve still got plenty more to see though before the next expansion and I think I’ll be playing for quite some time to come.
    Thanks again for the article.


  7. For me, the type of cheese has changed from the original type that brought me to WoW. I first came because of the game, the lore, and the idea that I’d like to see if the community aspect of WoW would work for me. I wanted a social experience, beyond just a chat room. (Especially if I was going to pay for it)

    Now, all this time later…the cheese has changed. I know I like the social aspect of the game, more importantly of my guild and the little slice of community that I spend my time in, and it has grown into something more than just the game itself. If my community moves on, will I? Probably. The game still holds enough draw that I’ll likely continue to check out new content for a very long time to come, but the community has become my primary reason for continuing to play.

    Do I check out new games now, as they are announced? Sure. I’m still a gamer after all. I love new games, new content, new ideas, and I certainly don’t mind checking out new things in case something turns out to be awesome. I’m not disappointed by WoW either though. I think the game has come a long way, and still has a long way to go before it’s run its course.

    So…the cheese has changed, but even if I find new cheese somewhere else, I think I’ll still come back to nibble on the WoW cheese from time to time. 🙂


  8. The timing of this article is ironic.

    I think a few ppl in my guild are eating my cheese… I’m not sure though, it’s just a suspicion. My feeling is it is much like Faleene’s situation and I’m wondering what changes I need to freshen up my cheese.


  9. My cheese is being useful. If I can stick my fuzzy butt in there as a bear tank and take hits so the squishies don’t, then I’m happy. If my Hunter can sacrifice her pet or even herself to help a group succeed, then I’m happy. I’m NOT happy when I’m stuck standing around, waiting for somebody to decide I might be useful in their group and give me an invite. All those wasted hours, sitting around spamming the LFG channel for a group, or farming useless rep or gold for equipment I’ll never get much use out of.. That’s the spoiled cheese I’m forced to swallow and gag on.


  10. Great article!

    For me, the cheese is still here – in the people I play with, the content I go through – both raiding and leveling. I have 3 level 70 chars and I enjoy playing each and each is different and fun in a separate way – one is a mage, one is a healer and one I use mostly for farming (a hunter ofc :))

    Funnily enough, I’m now leveling a Big Bear of my own now and that’s a whole new cheese there, enjoying learning how to play the class and hopefully some day be a tank. That day is actually getting closer as I’m now level 49 🙂

    I find it amazing that after almost 3 years of logging on almost every day, I still find myself thinking whenever I logoff “damn I wish I had more time, I didn’t manage to do X, Y, Z…”. It’s true, some of the cheese is a bit stale sometimes – levels 40-50 are and always have been a pain to me. But overall there is still plenty of cheese there I feel.

    Maybe Blizzard should have named the game “World of Cheese” 😀


  11. I agree that the people in WoW are the best motivation to keep logging in, keep playing. I have kind of got my hunter to as far as it is likely to go in the game, so I find myself logging on to do Karazhan, grind some gold and try to get those fishing crocs. For that reason I rolled an alt, a resto shaman, to experience a different side of the game in the hope that it would be new enough to keep my interest going. Thus far it is working.

    However I wouldn’t have bothered if I wasnt in a good community of guildies and RL friends to play with and heal for. I have a level 60 druid on the other side (the Alliance) and although I am tempted to play, the fact that I would be doing it alone without my friends and guildies is enough to put me off.

    I am however slighlty active in seeking out new cheese; I try to get onto any new MMO’s open beta so I can try-before-I-buy and look to find out if they are any good. I came to WoW from SWG basically because I found myself rather playing the WoW beta on a toon which I knew would be deleted, than SWG on a toon I’d invested a lot of time into. But at this point they would have to be better than WoW for me to switch, and only then if I could bring a lot of my in-WoW community with me.

    I can’t face doing Outlands for a third time however, so I am quite looking forward to Wrath and the opportunity to see some new solo and group content. Levelling is fun for me, gaining new interesting talents and spells, plus the whole gearing up thing is quite fun; researching the best quests and talents to take, getting them done, seeing the transformation of a patch toon into an uber healing/DPS machine. I know there is new cheese coming to this cheese station, I just need to wait and exist on the current, slightly less tasty stuff.


  12. Yet another voice in praise of the article, you’ve managed to sum up the wanderlust very well, with the cheese analogy.

    WoW has lost a lot of its lustre for me, of late. Not doing 25 man content seriously limits your cheese opportunities, and when the guild starts to struggle to put together a 10 man, you’re left with the same old cheese. I see a lot of people talking about how the hardcore players are getting tired of WoW, but I think that it’s even more of a problem for those of us who don’t raid. Once you’ve completed all the 5 mans, and done the quests and rep grinds, there’s relatively little left. Dailies, whilst fun for the first few, come all too quickly to seem almost job-like. I am not a fan of the same old same old, day in, day out.

    So, I’ve wandered off in search of new cheese. Pirates of the Burning Sea seems to be asshat free, and is a period that I adore, so I’m having fun with that (playing a Frenchman, as the french have the best cheese). I’m unsure how long term the game will hold me, but I’m only looking for a break from WoW, not a cure. But I also took the time to play some of the Sam and Max sequels, which are old skool fun.

    Many of our lot have headed off to try out AoC, but I have an issue with Howard’s mysogynistic approach to fantasy, and so am unlikely to ever join them. It’s a bit of a shame, as Funcom were responsible for one of the best MMOs ever, in the form of Anarchy Online. Still, others seem to be enjoying themselves.

    At the end of the day, WotLK will bring new cheese, but I’m hoping that it will be new cheese, and not the same old cheese with bigger numbers.


  13. Your cheese analogy works great for solo play experiences or maybe more solo/hardcore leanings… but what about people who use WoW as some sort of crazy polygonal AIM? Have any of the instant messenger clients truly killed the others? Or do we stick with the ones that have all our friends on it. Its like trying to move social networks without convincing all your friends to move.. its ultimately an empty experience.

    I had a really good friend move to Lotro because he truly started to hate WoW but none of us went with him and that caused some issue. For us WoW was still the good cheese.

    I think WoW will continue to be the good cheese for anyone who has lots of social ties in game regardless of new raid content. If you and all your friends are raiders then maybe you will up and move together but don’t we always here about these people asking for mid level content who are pleased to constantly try new characters and just futz around with their friends?

    If Warhammer or whatever else along the line is REALLY the a Wowkiller that can convince all the people I love playing with to move.. then I will move. Until then WoW is my cheese.

    The cheese is where the home is. <.< Or something.

    Great article. Made me think when I didn’t particularly feel like it. heee.


  14. Hey Wind,
    I bought GuildWars a while ago to try something new. It was not something that I liked very much in fact I gave it to my nephew to play and he loves it. (My sister could not find a copy anywhere in the city 😛 ) Then I tried the trial version of EQ2 (it took 2 days to download and update O.O ) I played it for a couple of days it is a very frustrating game to play, if you play it and like it /cheer for you. I also tried AoC when hubby bought it and he makes me lvl his toons for the first 5-6 lvl’s, again not a bad game but not one i will play on a long term basis.
    If you are looking for something new to try on WoW switch sides I did and joined a RL friends guild. Almost 70 and getting impatient to raid again. 🙂 Believe me being horde and trying to go to HH or Telaar is not a good idea then again it was fun getting chased and killed 😛


  15. I almost hate to bring it up, but the biggest expansion draw to me is hinged on Blizzard’s ability to create a 10 man progression game. I’m crossing my fingers about this.

    RIght now the game when playing only with friends (and friends of friends) is currently stuck at:
    1) Ding 70
    2) Run Kara
    3) ???
    4? Profit

    I’m pretty stoked about the ability to take 9 friends and actually get to see some extra cheese. I’ve been pretty impressed with the WoW content, but being a “non-raider” I don’t get to see a large chunk of it.


  16. Still plenty of cheese in WoW for me, especially as I am now starting to taste the raid cheese.

    However, I have a concern…perhaps a fear…that the Wrath of the Lich King will introduce bleu cheese…and I simply cannot stand bleu cheese.


  17. I definitely agree with everyone here that it’s the people that we play with that keeps us coming back… as for whether if one day WoW will loose it’s flavor, I think I also agree with everyone else that once the majority of the people I play with leave I will too. It’s funny that the original group that I started EQ2 with and brought to WoW have left but I have meet so many more people in-game that keeps me here.

    I love my main and my alts are fantastic fun, the old world is still fun to explore but there is a feeling that we are all holding a breath. I don’t remember the feeling being so strong before the announcement of TBC but I guess back then there wasn’t as many competing games coming out.


  18. I cheesed out on WoW a couple months ago.

    I’m thinking I might just run an old fashioned pen’n’paper game. But I’ll do it over the net with Vent, an online roller and a webcam so players can see the table…won’t cost much and I can make it asshat proof…(i.e. only play with those I choose to play with)

    Hmm might just be the answer…


  19. WoW hasn’t been my cheese for a couple months at this point. Like many others, what kept me playing was the people I played with, not the game itself. Raiding with 9/24 other people I barely know wouldn’t have been anywhere near as fun as was with my guild. In fact, every time I left a lightcore raiding guild before the expansion, I considered dropping WoW to go back to FFXI. Ultimately, I went back, found a new group of folks who seemed like-minded until the leadership of the group decided it was time for a change.

    For the 3 and a half years I played WoW, it was some really good cheese. I throughly enjoyed playing my 2 shaman to 70, and raiding with them was a blast. The rogue I got to 61 was a pleasant diversion, as well as the myriad hunters and lone paladin I played. But at the end of it, like most MMOs I play I took some things said by others a bit more personal than I should, let it affect me, and ultimately quit. The same people that made the game a blast made it no fun at all, and I went to EvE for more cheese.

    I don’t know if EVE will be the last MMO I play, but I do highly doubt I’ll go back to WoW, regardless of what they’ve got cooking in the expansion.


  20. I checked and it doesn’t appear I can run Conan with out a couple major upgrades…which is very low on the list of purchasing priorities


  21. I just lost all my in game friends that I’ve known for two years now. Most have transfered or quit the game all together. My brother who lives 3 states away then stopped playing… I then leave my guild because Im tired of the daily grind of being around for everyone…

    The more I think about it, there is certainly a conection with my wanting to do anything BUT wow and losing all those friends that I raided ZG with.

    We’ll see what time brings…. but this article hits me in the numbers… I think I may be waiting for EQ classic or just calling it quits.


  22. Some cheese gets better with age.

    I found that before BC, getting to 60 opened up many options. So I got my first taste of raiding and enjoyed it.

    BC came along and added a slew of new dynamics and content. Flying mounts for God’s sake? Daily quests? New races? All classes now available to both factions? Jewel crafting? The list could go on. Some changes I like, some I wasn’t phased by, some I dislike.

    Like you, I’ve got a cadre of 70s. I’ve always gravitated towards melee and dps. I’ve always wanted to try tanking, so I did it, and found it agreeable. I’ve always been an admirer of the healers that go about their business with grace and calm and make it possible for the tank to stay alive. So I tried that and right now, I’m in love with the role.

    There’s so much to do, so much I’ve still not experienced with BC, and now we’ve got WotK looming large, and again, a whole slew of new stuff is going to be coming in. A new class with entirely new mechanics to assimilate into what’s known. New content and professions, and all kinds of other stuff.

    That’s all just game stuff.

    As someone above pointed out, the cheese is the people I’ve become friends with (and some of these folks I’ve been friends with for over 10 years – just from gaming). WoW is the current vehicle of choice – sorry for mixing metaphors here.

    I think as long as Blizz keeps refreshing the cheese, I’ll keep buying it. Thanks for a great and thought-provoking post!


  23. I’ll admit, my cheese has been getting moldy around the edges for a bit now. Mostly because I’m never around when its time to eat the best tasting bits (Raids, most of which occur while I’m in the corporate slave pits), but also because much of the current content has gone stale for me.

    I do plan on upgrading my cheese a bit soon. . . but I’m hoping to get up the motivation and time to write a full blog article about it, so I wont tip my hat too far just yet.


  24. Yep, three great points I’m seeing here… first, yes, I agree that just moving from WoW to try something new doesn’t make you an asshat, lol. Not at all.

    In fact, I think that there are tons of people that play WoW that have a natural curiosity about what other MMOS might have to offer, and that will pick it up and try it if their computers can run it. Knowledge is power, after all. Most MMOs that come out, you buy the game and get the first 30 days gameplay included. That to my mind is plenty of time to see if you like it or not.

    Second, I also agree that the single biggest draw, to me, is just how deep the group aspect of WoW is, and how incredibly fun the game becomes when you actually have good friends in the game. It is a cheese multiplier, because even when you’ve seen the same content 30 times, playing it with your friends instantly adds win. Yes, multiplayer games rely on this, I ain’t revealing the secrets of the gods, but in an RPG that you spend countless hours earning new gear, getting lucky drops, trying to do neat things that help your character stand out… having friends that also play to share it with is awesome. I refer you to my previous post… and the lengths Doodleberry went to get a mount that was a bit out of the norm.

    Third… Kirk, I agree that WoW does a very good job of being accessible to a lot of people, because it still runs well on older computer systems, and stay looking pretty good. As much as I continually hear about next gen MMO graphics, I am still perfectly satisfied with WoW graphics… if only they would let me shut off the damn shoulder graphics.

    Yep, I had a conversation with Manny a few weeks ago, that Age of Conan looked very pretty, and maybe we could pick it up to try something new for a few weeks to play together… IF our computers could run it, since neither of us can afford to upgrade just to play a single game.

    From what I’ve heard… I might be able to run it, but I doubt he could. So what’s the point?


  25. WoW is still my cheese, but I have only been playing for about a year.

    I hope that one day I can say that I have been playing for 3 years. I recently transferred servers so that I could raid when I am available for raids. The AH prices on my new server are 30-40% higher. So, I started a Druid alt on that server so that I could have a herb.

    Part of the fun of this new character is learning how to play the class, looking at all of the different gearing choices, etc. I’ve even started thinking about switching it to my main for WotLK and becoming a tank.

    I look forward to playing WoW for many years to come.


  26. One factor – a horse I’ve been beating regularly but which is not yet dead – that you didn’t mention is the ability to GET the new cheese.

    Everquest II was the best example of this, as it and WoW were released so closely in time. I tried both in December of 2004 while deciding between them. Or rather, I TRIED to try both. EQ wanted more computer than I had.

    Age of Conan’s minimum is unplayable on as much as 3/4 of the online communities’ computers. Certainly half of them can’t play. WAR appears to be running in a similar fix. If to get the “new cheese” I have to buy something that one computer generation ago was cutting edge and is STILL not exactly inexpensive, I may stay with the cheese I can get.

    This sort of burden applies to even the original cheese. Johnson’s book assumed that cost barriers to “getting new cheese” were insignificant. For the upper management that tended to get it, they mostly were. For many of us in the wretched middle class or lower, they weren’t.

    For WoW, then, it’ll still be the cheese of choice till either plenty of folk can PLAY the alternatives or it becomes so intolerable that people give up and go eat crackers instead.


  27. Great article, thank you. I agree a lot with Itok. I’ve played for just under a year, so plenty of fresh cheese left. But I love the game primarily because of the community – because it rewards groups who can work together well. That is my biggest passion in the real life context, and many of the dynamics that lead to success or failure in that context play out in WoW too. That’s why I’ll always love it – as long as I continue to meet solid people who share that passion. When it really starts to happen, its the greatest thrill.

    I don’t think the “frothy wave” is populated only by asshats – there will be genuine explores who really care out too. The frothy edge is chaotic, but it’s not all bad (I’m sure you didnt mean to imply that).

    As in life, I think your experience and desire to keep playing changes dramatically based on who you meet, and who influences you, for better or for worse. That aspect of the game is, in significant ways, beyond Blizzard’s control.


  28. Simply put, I won’t do this again. I have no desire to play another MMO and if and when I grow tired of WoW, that will be the end of MMOs for me.

    I have an Alliance Feral Druid who is end-game raiding, including Mt. Hyjal and Black Temple. After being a tank for quite some time, I am looking forward to the other side of the spectrum, which is playing my Tauren Hunter who just DINGed 70 yesterday. It will be a nice change of pace to play from a DPS standpoint.

    LOL, I laugh every time I think of how excited I am to get into Kara. roflmao


  29. As usual, another great thought-provoking article.

    WoW was my first MMO and I’ve been playing from just about launch. 4 70’s later, I still find a lot of “cheese” left in the game.

    But I’ve got to admit I can see a time when I’ll eventually put down my Wow swords, staves and bows.

    I’ll play with the deathknight when it comes out (if nothing else, sounds like a nice prof alt), but I really don’t see going through the grind of levelling any more alts. I think Blizz has painted themselves into a corner on being able to start new alts at high level — that was touted as one of the things that made DK’s “heroic” — if they give the same ability to other classes then undermine the DK’s specialness, but people who want to play other alt classes will likely really resent having to do 55 levels more than a DK.

    There’s still a lot of content I haven’t seen and I’m looking forward to Northrend, but once I’ve seen as much of that as I can, my main reasons to keep playing Wow will be the friends I’ve made ingame and the fact that nothing really compelling has come out to compete with Wow yet.

    LOTRO’s not a serious contender. Tabula Rasa sounded great — especially with a the sci fi theme – but hasn’t delivered. AoC sounds semi-interesting, but sounds like you run out of content pretty quick and I only have a limited interest in ganking people forever. Warhammer is everyone’s next great hope, but that sounds like a lot of the other games before they were released. And then there are bunch of unknowns out there — like maybe all the ex-Everquest people toiling at 38 Studios (got to say Curt Shilling sounds like a smart guy, a serious MMO player and I’m intrigued about what he’s cooking up).

    Eventually, one of these games is going to score a serious hit and the buzz will entice first a few lookers and then whole guilds to migrate. The more people switch, the more other people will want to switch too to be with their friends. There will always be hardcore holdouts, and even a small percentage of them could keep WoW running for years — but I don’t think the cutting edge leaders and the vast middle majority are all that wedded to any one game.

    I’m sure Blizzard knows this too, and imagine that somewhere in their own gameplan is their own replacement for Wow.


  30. While I do not fall under the title of Asshat I did obtain a copy of Age of Conan. The reason behind picking it up was that I wanted to be able to play but not have to worry about Hey come Tank this, hey come DPS this. I wanted to just enjoy the one thing that WOW does not have alone time.

    That being said I was not impressed with Age Of Conan. It was very lag heavy and I felt the same frustration I felt a year ago when I started WOW. I didn’t know where to go and what to do, this combined with 19 FPS on a good day made me quickly return to my beloved Cow. Now while I would eventually have those

    I recently joined a guild who have Kara on farm and they have been very kind getting me geared. They also signed me up for all of the arena teams as well. It’s a good group of people who have a push towards end game content but at the same time do not make me feel as if I have a second job.

    All that to say one thing, its not WOW that is providing the cheese it’s the people who play it with me. As long as they are around I will always be a fat cheese eating Cow.



  31. I’ve been playing WoW for less than a year now, and while I still have boundless energy for the game, I do sense the WoW fatigue out there, both in the blogosphere and in my guild. WoW was my first MMO and as much as I still love it, I am open to the idea of trying some other games. This probably won’t happen in the near future, given the number of things I still want to accomplish in WoW (unless someone wants to hire me to just play games all day). So, for now, I’ll just play vicariously through the numerous non-WoW MMO blogs and podcasts. 🙂

    And I’m sure eventually we’ll all move on from WoW. My guess is that it would be to the next Big Thing from Blizzard. (Diablo 3? I am so there.) I doubt it would be something like AoC, or an MMO with so many similarities to WoW, however. I think it would be awesome if we all moved on to the next games together, too. I’ve seen successful communities of gamers that have built guilds across many different games to still play together (The Amazon Basin comes to mind). I sometimes wonder if we’re slowly building something similar, with all the various groups of bloggers playing together, and we just don’t know it yet. 🙂


  32. I’ve been playing for three years this week, and WoW still has lots of cheese for me – but I’m watching as the cheese diminishes for others that I know (especially my husband). In some ways, the game was easier and more fun back when we had only one level 60, and one or two alts – but raiding and alting now are so very different than they were when we started out.

    And I think that change will happen again when Lich King comes out. Each expansion changes how the game works and is played, and “refreshes” the cheese. But the good things about the cheese are still there – the people, the lore, the areas you love to go back to and explore all over again.

    So, for me, there’s lots of cheese, since the things I like to do are rarely changed – but there’s also new things on the horizon.

    That said – leveling alts from 1-80 is part of the reason I just recently rolled what will be (by force) my last new alt. I’ve run out of character slots on my realm. But I wanted to give all the classes a try – and give myself a bit of a headstart. Old-Azeroth questing is still one of my favorite parts of the game.


  33. As mentioned above, I think WoW does a good job of having plenty of cheese available. The nervousness of jumping to the dreaded Alliance from a life-time (WoW-wise, of course) was comparable (if not a weeee bit smaller) to jumping jobs in the book.

    It will, of course, eventually run out. But it is sure fun while there is still good cheese there!


  34. I believe that it will be a long time before WoW ends, and it won’t be because of us leaving it, it will be a corporate decision at the end of the day. The cheese IS the people . the groups, the guilds, the rivals and the other faction. They are the part of the reason we keep going back. And a promising sign would be some of the other MMORPG’s like Ultima Online, It’s been 10 years or more and has been “Reborn” and still going. As long as Blizzard do not do anything stupid with the game, It’ll be there years down the line.


  35. It would be great to start an alt that was able to fully train a profession! One of the reasons I have so many alts is to experience the different professions and become somewhat self sufficient.

    And just when the boredom starts creeping in, I discover yet another aspect of the game that renews my enthusiasm.


  36. I’ve been playing WoW for about two and a half years now, and I find that it is still full of cheese for me. My first character was a hunter, who is now 70 and raiding SSC/TK, etc. I have made several alts over the years, and now have one that is nearing 70 (a prot paladin), while the others languish in the 40’s. I find that leveling this alt has been almost entirely a new experience, because though I’m doing the same quests and working in the same areas, the playstyle differences make the whole experience new again. Sometimes things are easier, sometimes they’re more difficult, but they’re always different, and that keeps me coming back for more every day! I look forward to the next expansion, to having new things to do and areas to explore, from both perspectives!


  37. The people I meet are, in the end, the cheese for me, I think. Although I left my PvP server, I still have people I log on to their vent and chat with, I still e-mail… I still have a level 3 priest alt I log on and blather about the world of Kael’Thas with. If you and the other Sidhe Devils were to say: “this game is boring, let’s try out Age of Conan” I would do so in a heartbeat. I’d still come back to KT and Doozie and all the various Doodles, because there’s still a lot of ‘game cheese’ for me to nibble on: I want a phoenix pet, I want to discover all the flasks, I want to punch Illidan in the nose, I want to make a death knight… and I think I can definitely play this game for a long time to come. It’s been three years, and I haven’t burnt out yet, after all. I’ve definitely had ‘brown outs’ you might say, where I step back for a week or two, but eventually I find “hey, I’ve got a couple hours to spare… let’s grind some CE rep”. I think WoW has at least 4 to 6 more expansions left before it becomes stale. But you really make me think… which is good. 🙂


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