I have seen mentioned at times that for the most part, people that play WoW don’t really comment one way or the other. They do their own thing, they don’t read or post to the forums, they are not involved with Class web sites, probably glance at WoWhead if they are looking for some information on a quest.
And it occurs to me that there is a big problem coming. I read the Priest forums. There is a long running topic, Power Word… the balance changes every time it caps. I do not know how long it has been around, or how many times it has capped out, but it’s in the years for duration. And without fail, it is always a front page post, never goes more than a few hours without someone saying something. But recently, I have seen it slide to page 2, which is notable in the fact that it takes a good deal of time for anything now to slide to page 2. There was a time that being away for an hour, could see any post slide to page 3 or more. But now an days, things are a lot more quiet. And it occurred to me. The people that are left playing that use to be the ones talking and posting, answering questions, helping people are now even more of a minority. Certainly there was always a greater number of players that never posted, but more and more those that were always there are leaving, or just not talking any more.
Someone posted an old thread, and the shear amount of blacked out silhouettes was staggering. There were many names I recognized as the people who were very active in the forums, were there writing class guides, the ones that enjoyed helping new players, or taking time to answer those not only at the top of the game, but those struggling at the bottom.
And a sobering thought occurred to me. What if the amount of people that visit the forums on Blizzards site, or WoWhead, or MMO-Champion drops to a point that the adds and clicks just can’t pay the bills. Think what you will about America Online (AOL) and their decision to drop WoW Insider, but they have been involved with the World Wide Web from near the beginning. And they are still here years beyond when many others have long since closed their doors. Maybe they saw the writing on the wall. People don’t want to read any more. It’s all watching videos. What happens if WoWhead just announces they are shutting the site down. We have all heard the tales recently about the intrusive advertising. What if even more, still cannot keep it going. We are entering a new age of technology. Visual communication is replacing written. We see on our smart phones, we can record text messages, we can video chat, watch news reports live.
Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong, because writing a blog is my method of communicating thoughts. I prefer this format over the fast paced Twitter world of instant communications in sound bite length. The next expansion for WoW is going to reveal a lot about how information is put out there to the players. The Dev Chats are all on Twitch now, what else will the future bring, and what might we lose.