Nils And Raven: Levelling Needs Balance, And Soon

by on October 22, 2010


Blizzard’s given levelling a strong emphasis in Cataclysm. They want us to go back and see the new content, and to attract new players with a fresh game. Then why, says Nils, are they not putting more effort in to balancing the levelling experience for Cataclysm?

She opens with a quote from Ghostcrawler talking about how the developers want the levelling game to feel. Nils is extremely worried that, even though they’re going to look at the levelling balance, they’re not putting enough focus on it.

There are a lot of eloquent complains about the ‘numbers’ on the forums. That is about the average dps, hps and health of all mobs and players while leveling. Apparently, Blizzard considers the ‘balance’ while leveling just important enough to not want it to be ‘odd’. Now, if Mystic or Funcom had officially stated that they just want low-level content to not feel odd, I would have left those games even faster than I did.

She’s started a new character for patch 4.0.1 and found she needs one ability and three seconds to kill a monster. That, Nils says, is no fun, nor does it interact with new players – they’ll get the wrong idea about what the levelling experience is about.

Raven over at Currents Turn Awry takes this point further. He remembers learning as he was levelling in Wrath. He says that post 4.0.1 his levelling hunter finds himself in a similar position to Nils, and it’s not engaging. He’s not impressed with the lack of learning opportunities and worried about how this will play out when we get a fresh wave of 85s levelled through faceroll content.

Both Raven and Nils have ideas on how to improve levelling, based around tweaking the maths behind the numbers we see on screen. Both of them suggest some combination of rebalancing health, abilities, and survivability, and reckon it would work wonders for making levelling more engaging again.

What do you think? Is this a concern we’ll be falling over in a year’s time, or are you hoping that Cataclysm is going to rebalance the new zones anyway?

Quote taken directly from Nils’ post
You can find Nils’ MMO Blog homepage here
You can find Currents Turn Awry’s homepage here

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Hugh Hancock October 22, 2010 at 9:57 pm

If Blizzard don’t make the levelling experience a bit more challenging with Cata, a large part of their content is going to be a joke.

Currently, Knew The Risks (our new guild) is 3-manning instances where the boss is 4 levels above us, with no healing and no tank (oh, and no heirlooms). And that’s a decent level of challenge. Any improvement to those variables (say, 3-manning a +4 instance with one non-mainspec healer, or 5-manning it at +4 with no tanks or healers) makes it a total faceroll.

That ain’t good.

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Iris November 11, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Yes interesting point. I wouldn’t necessarily want to go back to the days of vanilla where levelling was this endless process and getting to max level (let alone raiding) was really something reserved for only a few (that’s what it felt like to me anyway at that time), but right now the game both in questing and 5 mans feels like it’s more about mashing some buttons and moving through the quests as quickly as possible to attain max level. Maybe it’s just the natural progression of the game for people who have been playing it for a long time (I mean, once you know the ins and outs of the game, how to maximise xp gain for time spent and are levelling your 7th alt everything does kind of lose its shininess) but I do hope that that interestingness and epicness that I think used to be associated with playing comes back in Cataclysm.

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Rebecca Judd November 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm

@Iris – you might have something in saying that it might be the natural progression of gamers who’re on their 7th alt and know what to do and how to do it already. I know a couple of people who started as new players not so long ago and they didn’t find it that easy to get to grips with how to play. Although saying that, I think their main barrier was how to learn. One of them kept saying “if I didn’t have you here, how would I know all this stuff?” and once they learnt the basics they seemed to have no problem executing them and levelling fairly quickly.

I’m with you, though – hoping there’s some kind of rebalance that brings back something of the epicness. It’s not all about balance; some of it’s about story and the world, but it’s certainly not that engaging to clear an area of monsters using only one button.

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