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Blizzard has a brilliant strategy for keeping us hooked. Simple, but brilliant. As I trounce through Ulduar for the umpteenth time, I wonder to myself, why is this place not old yet? As I skim the snowy surface of Storm Peaks, searching for the abundant Icethorn and Lichbloom, I am curious as to why I am not bored out of my mind from flying repetitive circles over the same, ice covered mountains. And as I level my 15th toon, I realize I know exactly when and where I am going, how long it will take, and what upgrades await my triumphant victories. Why the hell am I not going crazy!

Because Blizzard knows what they are doing. They created a game so rich in content, with so many possibilities and roads to take, that the game will never end. Not even when we cut down Arthas will we be through.

Slowly but surely, Blizzard is releasing new instances, new raids, new gear, and new battlegrounds on a regular basis via patches. And the expansions delve much deeper than that, bringing new aspects of gameplay every two years. By making us want more, they are keeping us hooked, and keeping our wallets open.

Here's what impresses me. Blizzard, on top of all the monthly subscription fees we pay, has managed to scrap together additional services that we pay for. Let's count them:

  • Name Changes
  • ServerTransfers
  • Character Customization
  • and now Faction Changes

What I find brilliant is that they are periodically releasing these services when we all start to lull and drag, complaining of doing the same old crap, time and time again. All these new options bring droves of players willing to shell out cash to change their names, sex, and now factions. You know what's next? Sometime next year I bet we see the (paid) ability to change races within our faction. Just one more thing we've all been wanting, planned perfectly to be implemented just as all the other services have been in the past.

They're keeping us reeled in, all the while reeling in that cash too! Boasting over 10 million subscribers, you can bet they won't be letting go of this cash cow any time soon.

The next expansion, which I am assuming will be announced at Blizzcon coming up soon, will probably announce a new race or two, causing an onslaught of people rushing to crash through content with their new virtual toys. It happened with the Draenei and Blood Elves, and again with the Death Knights. A renewed interest and passion for the game, with new levels, and a hundred new roads to take. Who knows what they'll come up with to keep us drawn to Azeroth.

Take a look at all the paths we have now. We can level additional toons (with heirloom items I might add, another brilliant lure to put a hook in our mouths), PvP, PvE, raid, farm for gold, grind for reputation, level twinks for PvP, collect achievements, collect mounts, collect small pets, and every other small aspect of the game, should you get bored with any of the others.

Right now, I am burned out on PvP...been that way for almost a year now. Before that I was burned out on raiding, and before that, leveling. But now I'm leveling, raiding, and farming for gold. It's a viscious circle. A circle that has me handing Blizz $15 a month still.

You know what, before I close, I want to address how smart heirloom items were, and Bind on Account items for that matter. Heirloom items, especially those with experience gain increases, have caused thousands of players to create new toons, leveling from 1-80. By doing so, a whole new experience to the game is opened up, creating that much more of an addiction (yeah, I said the 'A' word) to continue on not just one, but two, three, four, five or who knows how many additional toons. All creating their own black holes of time consumption, we never even blink to conitnue down our Azerothian path.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love the game, but when I sit back and look at this nearly montstrous monopoly Blizzard has going over the mmorpg genre, I can't help but wonder what new strategies will they bring to the table to keep us immersed in their ever expanding world.