An important consideration on this wording is social Investment. Folks are defending "social" in general which is too broad and woolly and you can easily say Retail is more social if you consider what social means by justifying that social is 'engagements per minute', or 'ease of social engagement via matchmaking' and so on. That's utter nonsense. If people think group finder helps them be more social they have failed to understand what socialising is.The real difference is that Retail has made socially engaging easier, with lighter touches, and without depth. Some might consider group finder a social activity. I do not. I have no reason to make any socially deep connections, in fact this leads on to the absolutely wrong part of this justification. It's positing that "social" is now simply being a silent member of a group in a match made artificial setting.Consider the vanilla social engagements. You were invested. It took you an hour to find a tank and they were just trying it out and you had to teach them some basics and you didn't want to immediately give up. So you stuck it out, giving them praise, working through the wipes together and your began to deeply engage. By the end of this stockholm syndrome farce, good or bad, you were properly socially engaged. Not this artificial nonsense advertised as social. That's one of the sentiments that people are trying to explain in these comments and I think it's not been well put across, that basically it is misuse of the word 'social', as normal people know it, and that deep social engagment is the effort people put in, without which it is not social, in fact, the very mechanics that allow this are antisocial because they remove any requirements to socialise and encourage not engaging deeply.I heard a counter argument that vanilla still had 'bad' people in it. It's true. And we all knew their names because we were also deeply socialised with our server, community and the good and the bad. it was an option to talk with the persons Guild leader and for that Guild leader to actually care about how their guild was viewed because there was a problem when your guild name was mud. We knew these guilds. Retail is not social in any sensible manner or form and to say so is to attempt to justify that light touches with no consequence of your actions breeds good social ethics.
When servers were closed, you knew who people were on your server and interacted with them. You would see the same players your whole time leveling to max level. You'd run heroics together and get ganked/gank together. There was a lot more community building within the game than there is now. The community building now is done mostly outside the game.
Thank you for your comment on J's comment on Mike's comment. It's word-by-word my opinion and it's nice to see it echoed by someone who's higher profile than me :D
Being a "social" game isn't just about interacting with others, it's about forming persistent and long-term relationships. That's the part that has somewhat fallen by the wayside in WoW. The accessibility of queuing and easy PUGs means you can do a huge chunk of the content in WoW without ever forming that type of persistent relationship. While I don't have the rose-tinted glasses so many others seem to have about original vanilla WoW, it certainly had advantages when it came to forming those interactions and relationships, simply because it more or less required them to do anything worthwhile at endgame.
I ask someone hey how did you deal with the mage class call on nefarian? They know the answer if they have been in the raid with Nefarian. I ask someone how did you handle mechanic 3,045 on madness of N'Zoth, and their response is going to vary depending on which difficulty they played on N'Zoth and how many players were in their raid at the time. It is a completely different social experience and a lot of times people can't share it because there are too many versions of bosses to make it accessible to players with out the same time commitment or level of play experience.
Players haven't changed, it is just pointless to be social and try cause you don't get rewarded for it.
We'll say it lacks the same level of *meaningful* social contact. I can't decide whether Brack is deliberately full of crap, though, or simply has to be for the shareholders. Either way, the way he's framed WoW's (and Reforged's) problems in comments over the last while makes me dislike him more and more with each b.s.-laden utterance.
I may be no big fan of Brack. There's plenty he's done and said that rubs me the wrong way, but I am kind of baffled by some of the comments on this post. Like, actually, yeah, I know plenty of people who have married someone they met on WoW within recent expansions. I met my own SO in BfA. And, I regularly call the cellphones of people on my raid team or mythic+ team when they aren't on when I expected them to come on. As someone that's an introvert, I like what WoW offers. I like being able to solo and just relax with a video game sometimes and I like that I have a massive social network I've built up over years of play, so massive that it's often hard to balance commitments I have to them. I'm still friends with people I met when I first started playing the game in WoD. I feel like a lot of people who complain are looking for these social networks in the wrong places or not putting in the work themselves to make these connections. They're out there in spades. You just have to put in a little more effort to build these long term relationships than saying 'hi' in LFR and expecting everyone to drop everything to share their life stories with you.
LUL Dream on xD Retail WoW almost doesn't know what social means.
edit: removed subjective criticismsI'm amazed someone like Brack was even part of old blizzard he literally stands for nothing they used to. he's lying through his teeth or he's delusional if he actually believes wow is as social as it ever was. It's not fair to say he is the one ruining blizzard, clearly he's a symptom rather than the root but every time you see his face you know you're about to be spoken corporate garbage nonsense speak that exists to calm stock holders no other reason.It's a fact that game isn't as social as it used to be, you can get through most activities solo and what you can't you can silently que up and never speak a word to your group. Most interactions are negative if anything if you're going through LFG system and sadly guilds die faster than fruit flies these days
Judging by the comments here, I can see that a lot of people have forgotten that WoW was essentially just "Diet Everquest" back in the early days.Blizzard originally designed a lot of the content with solo players in mind, it's why we have the overreaching story lines and questing for in the first place. And really, the only grouping content they ever cared about was raiding, given that many of the devs where hardcore raiders back in the days of Everquest itself. Guild halls, the actual "role playing" aspect itself, and any kind of customization? What's that? All that matters is you beat the raids in order to get bigger numbers next to your name.