iLevel Squish Roundup – the great “item squish” squish

by on November 9, 2011

Appropriately enough, there have been enough interesting, detailed posts on the Great Item Squish, as discussed by Ghostcrawler recently, that I have to squish them themselves – into their own roundup post.

If you don’t know the background – the Blizzard devs are facing inflation – of their item levels. With every expansion, the numbers get larger, and after a while, that starts to become a problem. And so, Ghostcrawler, the point man at Blizzard for this sort of thing, has been publically discussing solutions to the problem – either converting the numbers into a format called “megadamage” (where 1 million points equal one point, say), or altering every item in the game to flatten the ilevel curve.

And so, with no further ado, the blogosphere’s had some really interesting responses:

  • Nils believes that the reason behind iLevel inflation is control of player actions“In my opinion, the game would be great fun if you could run a lvl90 raid with lvl85 items. Players would still run the lvl90 raids, because the items are better. But players would also enjoy running lvl85 raids for lvl85 items every now and then. In fact, this is exactly one of the things WoW needs right now!”
  • Cynwise considers the proposed solutions from a PvP perspective“This mess is how twinking works – find the imbalance in the system and ride it for all it’s worth. It’s why you see Tazik’s Shockers and Synapse Springs in level 65 battlegrounds, why Green Tinted Goggles were so good in 10-19s, why Crusader and +25 Agility and +22 Intellect enchants are so overpowered at level 10-14.”
  • Matthew Rossi at WoW Insider is coming down on the side of item squishing“The squishing effect will lead to rebalancing that brings all raids closer together in terms of numbers dealt and taken across the board. Illidan in Black Temple suddenly looks a lot closer to the Lich King.”
  • Rank 4 Healing Touch launches a detailed investigation of how the problem became a problem“If Blizzard made the conceit that raiders who had achieved the highest level of gear would continue to wear that gear until they reached max level of the next expansion be it entry raids or heroics as well as compressed the item level progression of wrath and cataclysm things would have turned out a lot differently. “
  • And Gazimoff of Mana Obscura analyses the game design behind the numbers“The more fundamental question is why has gear itemisation become so important in Warcraft? What’s the fundamental reason behind having regular gear upgrades and why are they needed?”

So, what do you think Blizzard need to do about iLevels?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tesh November 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I’d say don’t squish, steamroll. Flatten that curve even more than they propose, down to almost nothing. I *really* don’t like that a level capped character is orders of magnitude more powerful than a new character. In my ideal game design, a skilled newbie should be able to take down a lazy level capped character. I know, that’s a skill=power paradigm rather than a time=power paradigm, but I find it much more satisfying in play.

…yes, this squish/steamroll would severely hamper my pasttime of soloing dungeons I’ve outleveled, but I think it would make for a better game.


Klepsacovic November 9, 2011 at 7:51 pm

I think the squish would wreck raiding. Old raids would be impossible at level without major retuning, which I doubt would happen, since Blizzard doesn’t seem to care much for anything that isn’t at the current level cap. But beside that, it would also mean retuning every current raid. Is that going to happen in a smooth manner? Again, I doubt it.

I have another set of reasons why it would kill raiding, but those will be up tomorrow. Coming soon!


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