**I've come to discover that Role-Check was implemented for BGs, which is a good step forward in the right direction. It has flaws (like most of Blizzard's ideas), but it's still progress. Having one team with twice the healers as mine was an enormous setback, and even if people try to take advantage of the system, the other team still won't have six healers while we only have one. It needs improvement (should only be able to queue as a certain specialization you're currently using and can't change specs in the BG, something to that affect) to reduce manipulation, but like all things they do, Blizzard needs to tweak it.**
**WoWInsider asks Ghostcrawler about the decline in 25-man raiding, and how 10-man raids seem to be the only kind now:
WoWInsider: Do you think 25 man raiding has stabilized at all, or is it still in decline? Are you guys working on anything to address that?
Ghostcrawler: I don't know -- overall, I haven't looked at the numbers in awhile -- my hunch would be that it's still in decline honestly, because there aren't a lot of -- it's just entropy, that 25 man guilds collapse into 10 man guilds, and it's really hard for a 10 man guild to decide "Hey, let's recruit a bunch and become 25!"*
This was my biggest issue with MoP. The raid lockouts for both 10 and 25 are the same, and no one wanted to be in a 25-man guild. There were hundreds (maybe thousands) of guilds on the server I played on when I quit, because all of them were 10-man, and only a handful were 25-man. As I state later in the review, this made joining a guild and creating one almost impossible.**
In Wrath of the Lich King, you had your crazies and your jerks, but at least they didn't take up ninety percent of the WoW population. Since Cataclysm, the playerbase has strongly changed, turned into some globular, filthy black mass of selfishness... kind of like a Sha, but a lot harder to kill.
Like I said, I've played during Wrath of the Lich King, and I loved that expansion. I heard that The Burning Crusade was the best out of all of them, and I believe it, because some of the more amazing tales I've heard about the game involved that expansion. Guilds were massive, raids were actually important, and people relied on one another to get the job done. In WotLK that happened as well, in Cata, not so much, then it just completely vanished in MoP.
For a while, I wasn't sure why this was. The game had improved at least a tiny bit from Cataclysm, but the players just seemed to get worse. I play a wide range of various MMORPGs, and I can say with complete honesty, I have not run into players so hateful, so selfish, and so childlike as I have in MoP WoW, and before I quit the game, it was an epidemic, brought on by TERRIBLE ideas and additions to the world by the developers.
Then I did some thinking (a lot of it), which eventually caused my inevitable unsubscribing. The guilds were too small, and too many of them existed. Every guild I ran into had at most, fifteen people in them. In BC and WotLK that was UNHEARD OF. The reason for that is because the change to raids. Before I start ranting, in my WoW days, I was a hardcore raider. I loved to raid, and I loved to make my guild large enough to take on serious bosses. Raiding has just died completely now, and for two reasons: the same loot drops in ten-player and twenty-five-player modes, so there is no need to make a big guild to do twenty-five-player. Therefore, guilds have shrank, and everyone was in a guild. No one was guildless, and if they were, it was very briefly, because there were so, so many barely useful guilds running around. This made it extremely tough to find players to join your guild so that you could raid, because everyone was already in tiny little guilds that could barely do anything. In Wrath, on the server I used to play on, there were three or four "top guilds" which were HUGE in size, and everyone wanted to join them. Yeah, casuals played in their dinky little guilds that never did anything, but at least "Raiding Guilds" actually existed. Even when moving to a populated server in MoP, I couldn't find a single guild that was worth a damn.
The other reason is Raid Finder. I know, I know, it's not meant to replace actual raids, but here's the thing: it has. People don't join guilds because there's no reason to. Why should they? You no longer need a guild to raid. Just run the baby raid. Your chances of getting gear are pretty much the same either way, and the stuff that drops from Raid Finder is only a few item levels lower than that of actual raid drops. So, when you think about it, why would anyone even bother joining a guild? If I was a casual player, I wouldn't. There's no point. Run the baby raid and never do anything with anyone on your server, ever.
I believe these two things have caused the steady decline in player accountability, respect, and of course, dignity. No one talks to each other except to call each other hateful, cruel things, or to spam general chat with crude, childish opinions. I felt lucky when another player even bother to say "hello" to me, and I was as polite as I could manage!! People will steal your mobs after waiting for them to kill you, they'll roll need on things they don't need, and they'll pretend to have good intentions when joining your guild, only to steal everything from your bank and running like hell. The world is packed FULL of these people. It's not just a small percentage, it's practically EVERYONE. If someone sees you're in trouble, they will NOT help you. They will simply stand there and watch you die, and never say a word to you. Ask someone for some help with quests? Forget about it. They call you something horrible or laugh or something, then blow you off. God forbid you ever accidentally kill one of the mobs someone meant to kill. You better put that person on ignore before they get a chance to sling ridiculous insults at you, usually insinuating your sexual orientation, regardless of your gender.
As I've said, I play many other MMORPGs. Everquest, Guild Wars 2, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Final Fantasy XI... none of which have a playerbase like WoW's. Take EQ for example... I have yet to run into a rude person. Even the cold, non-speaking types will surprise you and buy you some gear, even though they barely know you. People rely on each other, because if you help someone, IT MATTERS. For helping other people, it doesn't waste your time or hurt you in any way. Same with Guild Wars 2. I have never met a rude person in that game, either, and that's because it actually BENEFITS you to help other people, and furthermore, it's impossible to steal from others. In WoW, it's possible to steal from others, and there is no benefit whatsoever to applying your resources to save another player. People don't care, because they don't have to care. If you die, it doesn't hurt them in any way, hell, it may even help them, because a rare mob that they want to kill just hacked you to pieces. After running to your corpse, you see they took your rare mob and left. No one cares. Everyone is selfish. Everyone is a jerk.
Which brings me to my final point. Why would I want to play a game full of people that hate me for no reason? I'd rather play with someone who was a bad player but was at least friendly, than I would a mediocre player who is a complete jerk, but in MoP, they were scarce, and when you did find one, they left the guild in a matter of days, guild-hopping like crazy, because a guild is useless now. Why bother staying to prove yourself to your new guild? There's only ten people or so in it....
This is a harsh reality, but it's reality. If people don't see it, then they need to wake up and smell the coffee. WoW has a problem, and it's not going to get better the way it's going. By now, honestly, it should have been free-to-play. Most games have gone that route by now, and they really need to make some changes and stop being greedy. One of my main thoughts when leaving the game was "why should I have to pay fifteen bucks a month to get crapped on every time I log on? There are better ways to spend my money." I'm sure others have had the same mentality when quitting for good.
As for the game itself: The pandas are just stupid. I realize that most of the WoW playerbase is Asian........... but come on. I haven't met a Westerner who gives a crap about pandas. Everyone's reaction was pretty much a simultaneous groan, followed up by questions such as: why couldn't it have been Nagas or something cooler?
The environments are enjoyable, though they seem a bit recycled. Don't get me wrong, I really like them. It's easy to immerse yourself in Pandaria, because a lot of the zones are calming. I didn't like the Valley however. It strangely made me thirsty whenever I played in it.
The quests are very fun, but the dailies are too hard. Even with good gear, they're incredibly tough to solo, and you need to drag your unwilling friend along to help you, because you know no one else will. People would sometimes ask around for daily groups, but I never joined them. After interacting with so many bad attitudes, it spread onto me, and I didn't want people to help me because all I could ever think was how they might steal from me, or call me names, or do something else to hurt me or my feelings. An MMO should not EVER make you feel that way. It's supposed to be a social game, it's a massively multiplayer online game. I didn't want to play by myself, but I felt like I had to to protect myself.
PvP: Same as always, sometimes even worse than before. Lackluster, nonchalant, apathetic players queue for PvP, don't do what they're supposed to, and you lose. You try to get them to help, you get called names. On a rare occasion, everyone was cooperative, and those were good times. It didn't happen often though. The new battlegrounds were interesting, and a lot of fun to play, I do admit. The mine shaft one was unique, and that's what I like.
Raids and dungeons: Well designed and thought out, but a lot of the same mechanics and strategies we've all seen before. Don't stand in the bad stuff, and you won't die (and people still can't do it).
Mounts: Breathtaking and beautiful, especially the cloud serpents. The mounts added in MoP were better than those in Cata, which were just a bunch of the same model drakes we've seen before.
Pet battles: I didn't think I like these at first, but they were actually pretty fun. They're not required for anything but achievements, but they can be pretty addicting once you try them out.
So, like I said, the game would be great... if it weren't for the players. I had fun with a lot of the quests and my mount and pet collections. It wasn't worth it, honestly. I play EQ now, and when I log on, I don't immediately think of how little I like everyone.