The expansion has reached the point where we are waiting for what comes next. Most people have completed what they wanted to complete and now it comes down to running the same stuff we have been running for months already over and over to get that one piece that still won't drop for you (actually three for me) or playing around with alts and/or achievement hunting.
Really what it comes down to is this is the point of the expansion where you just want to have fun. It is no longer about the rat race to finish content before the next patch. It is no longer about getting as much gear as possible because we all know our gear will get replaced by quest greens soon enough. Now it is more like if you get it you get it and if you don't, who cares.
This is the time of the expansion where people usually leave the game in droves which is not good news for an expansion that drove them away when it started, which is the time it is usually supposed to gain subscribers. While the quarterly reports are due out today and I expect to see a rise in subscriptions from the scroll program and people popping back into the game to see the last raid, it is still the dog days.
These are the days that we just try to make it through. The days where we look for things to do. The days where we play with new specs or new classes or new aspects of the game we normally don't.
For me, on my main at least, there is not really a great deal for me to do. I do some solo mount farming once in a while. I like to try and solo some more challenging content as well from time to time. Over all there is not much for me to do as I have nearly all the achievements you can get solo already.
So it is time to play with some other characters some. Change my warrior from a tank/tank spec to a tank/arms spec. Change my priest from a disc/disc spec to a disc/shadow spec. Change my druid from a bear/tree spec to a bear/kitty spec. You know things like that.
These are the dog days, the hard times, the heat is hitting us full force and the last thing we want to do is doing anything that isn't fun. This is where the expansions start to lose people.
Why does the expansion start to lose people now?
There are a few good reasons for it really.
1) If you have done everything you can save some money by not being subscribed.
2) Knowing there is no new content coming until the expansion makes people lose interest.
3) The desire to earn gear that will be replaced by quest greens turns off many people.
4) There are other new games out there to test out during the lull in the game.
5) The game is still not fun friendly for most, so trying new things is not appealing to many players.
The heat is on now and it is getting hot in azeroth. So much so it is scaring people out of the sun. This is not a cataclysm thing, it is an expansion thing. Four of the five things I mentioned blizzard can do nothing about. One they can and I would like to see it fixed, even if it really is not broken to begin with.
The perfect example of the dog days and why I think they might get to me for the first time comes from a random heroic I ran while trying to learn to play a warlock better. Yes, learning my warlock better is one of the ways I am dealing with the dog days of having nothing else to do. So I figured I would just have some fun.
Long Version of the Dungeon - Skip ahead for the short version if you do not want to read it all.
I finally reached the item level to get into HoTs with my warlock so I queued up for one while doing my cooking and fishing dailies, two other things I am doing just to pass the time during the dog days.
My lock is still not enchanted, still has at least 6 pieces 333 or lower and only the few 378 items he is wearing are even gemmed. At this stage I do not bother gemming and enchanting anything lower than 378.
The way I look at it is this, 378 is easy as sin to get, it is the lowest of the starter gear as I see it. So that is where you "start" now. Just like when the expansion came out, you started at 346 items. That is the first time gear began to matter. Now, gear only matters if it is 378 or better.
Either way, back to the dungeon.
We enter the first of the HoTs, End of Time. I say hello, as I normally do, you could hear a pin drop. We port to Baine, the tank runs right into the dragons after everyone else had ran to the platforms and start attacking. The healer sees that and runs up to try and save him, I figure if the tank is tanking and the healer is healing, we can just down them, no big deal right? Apparently so.
Tank died, healer died, I died, the other two DPS, that did nothing, somehow managed to get on the aggro list and died as well.
Tank leaves. One DPS leaves. No words said yet.
We get new people, I say hello, I once again hear the crickets.
Second verse, same as the first. Tank runs into the dragons, this time the healer and all DPS start fighting the dragons but the DK tank apparently does not understand that DK tanking is all about cooldown usage and that not every healer is an over geared healer that can handle it so he dies, the healer dies, the three DPS die.
At this point I was thinking to myself, okay, maybe the dragons are not a push over like I thought they were.
One DPS leaves this time, one replaces the lost one, I say hello, I hear crickets.
We get to the boss, finally, after the tank decides to fight them again, the healer decides to heal him again and one DPS decides to do damage to them again. The other damage dealer and myself decided we wanted no part of it so we moved on to the platforms and waited for them to die and mass resurrected them.
The tank didn't want to accept. He waited and waited and waited, one DPS dropped group, we got a new DPS and I said hello to crickets again and the tank finally accepts the rez that has been going out for about 6 minutes now.
Tank asks if everyone is ready, everyone says they are, tank pulls, we wipe.
No one threw the totem back at him and sadly being I was alone on my platform and none where thrown at me I had nothing to throw back. The DPS was subpar as well. I mean I knew mine would be subpar because I do not know how to play a warlock, I do not have any decent gear and I do not have it gemmed and enchanted. But when I am the number 2 DPS behind the tank you know there are going to be issues.
You should be able to do at least 12K in HoTs as I see it. It can be done with 8K each, if the people know what they are doing but that does not change the fact that if you have a 353 item level you should be able to do 12K, even if you do not know how to play a class well, have no enchants, no gems and the 15% buff. I am glad to say I barely make my own cut off point, I can do 13K at the moment under those conditions. The sad part is, compared to everyone else there, I was a god. This is sad, this is very sad.
Apparently the tank noticed that little fact. I could almost hear him thinking through the computer screen. "Not one person threw a totem back and that shitty lock is the only one that is even doing DPS capable of a wrath heroic nevertheless a cataclysm one."
He left group of course. Then one DPS leaves and another follows. When we get new people, I say hello again, to no one apparently and start thinking is my party chat broken, not one word from anyone even if I have went through this many people already.
Tank pulls, totem get thrown at me, I throw it back, I spend half my time running from platform to platform while the tank is tanking the mob in the lava and finally I see something in party chat, the tank complaining he did not get heals after he died.
We wiped of course and I am on the healers side here even if the healer never said anything, nor anyone else outside of that one outburst from the tank. I was thinking if you tank him in the lava with the subpar DPS we had there is no healer, not even a heroic raid geared one, that will be able to keep you up.
At least I notice that party chat is not broken. One DPS leaves, we get another one.
Tank pulls, we wipe again. Not enough DPS and we run out of places to go. One DPS never did anything. They start a kick and get rid of the AFK DPS.
Tank pulls, we barely survive this time but we finally down it.
I say, port out and back in so you do not have to run through the dragons again. Three people do not listen. maybe it is their party chat that is broken and not mine. They die.
We finally assemble for the moonwell run, after another DPS drops and is replaced, and it seems one DPS decides to attack one mob while waiting for the tank, who seems AFK, even if he didn't say anything. Suddenly we are covered in mobs doing all we can to survive. The tank comes back and decides to tank them right there at the entrance and not bring them to the moonwell.
You can tell where this is going right? We wipe.
Everyone leaves, I think of getting four new people when I finally get that completely defeated feeling and give up. I do not want to finish it. At the moment I do not think I ever want to do a dungeon again. By the end of the run I was feeling as if I never even want to play this game again.
Short Version of the Dungeon - For those that just want the facts.
After a horrible wipe fest on what is really simple content, not even getting crap down and rolling through at least a dozen different players I am left feeling like I never want to play this game again.
Back to the dog days.
By the time we get to that point where there is nothing to do but things just for fun we no longer can deal with those bad dungeons any more. Not like wiping was fun before, but they go way beyond frustrating now.
There is something about cataclysm that makes these dog days worse than any dog days before a new expansion ever. But really the only thing we have that can be compared was the end of wrath. Random finder was not around any other pre expansion time.
At least at the end of wrath you could pop on a rarely played alt, get in a dungeon and be done with it. Something just for fun. Something just to pass the time. Something that kept you playing during the dog days.
Unless luck is on your side, you can not do that in cataclysm. This was a Tuesday, the day the best players usually random, and I could not get even one person that seemed to have a clue what they where doing in their role, I could not get even one person that seemed to have a clue about the dungeon we where in.
If this is the day that the best players play and this is the group I get, I do not see many people surviving the dog days. There is no reason to stay playing, to stay subscribed, unless there is something worth doing, even if just for fun.
The dog days of cataclysm are going to bring the game to a whole new low in subscribers for this expansion, it is going to show that a game can't make it past its best used by date, it is going to show that the hell the start of cataclysm rained down on the subscriber numbers will hit a second time, for the same reason, the dungeons.
Also, I should note, even if you run into the truly good players, if you use gear as a measuring stick, they even make the dogs days horrible.
Had a run with a rogue, with the legendary daggers and every piece of heroic gear with his savior title proudly displayed, do absolutely nothing on trash for an entire run. Trash was beneath him, he only attacked bosses because he was better than us.
Sorry, that guy with his attitude would not even get into the third team DS run that we bring fresh 85s on just for fun and laughs and never get more than a few bosses down with. He would not even be good enough for that with his attitude.
Even the good players make the dog days horrible this expansion. I don't see things going too well for the game as a whole if mists does not come out soon.
The community is ready to implode and destroy itself.
We all have a front row seat to watch it while Blizzard allows the dog days of cataclysm rip the game apart. At least, the ones of us that don't unsubscribe do.