Retro-spectacular! Keys, Vanilla Heroics, and reaching Gold Cap

To round off our half-week of retrospectives, today we’ve got 3 really rather cool ones – each of which, frankly, probably deserve their own post, but that way I’d be rather overloading your RSS readers.

So, with no further ado:

  • Keys are about to disappear from WoW forever, and Kurn’s looking back and remembering the pain in the ass that was aquiring the things in the first place – and all the good memories that went along with that. I actually sat back and grinned for a moment, reading this and remembering all my own memories of the Onyxia attunement – really great post.
  • Klepsacovic at Troll Racials Are Overpowered is discussing the oft-quoted theory that Vanilla didn’t have Heroics – and he disagrees. I never did the Dungeon 0.5 quests, so it was an interesting read!
  • Finally, Fox Van Allen over at that little-known site WoW Insider is writing about his three-month journey from 20k gold to the gold cap. This is a REALLY interesting post, both from a practical method-comparison point of view and also looking at something that very few people manage.

So – will you miss keys? Do you miss Vanilla-style progression? And is there any chance you’ll ever hit gold cap (in any game), and if so, how?

Read more →

How Do You Want Progression Content?

In a short and perceptive post Tobold has stated what he thinks of Blizzard’s apparent design concept and goals for raiding in Cataclysm. He talks about what he’d prefer as a player, and the problems with the design that Blizzard, so far in Cataclysm, seems to have chosen.

For me an ideal raid endgame would start with a dungeon that is relatively easy, and then get progressively harder with each following dungeon. As a consequence, players and guilds would spread out, with the best players advancing fastest, and the least good progressing very slowly, and that mostly through the inevitable gear accumulation. And all these raid dungeons would remain as they are throughout the expansion.

If you follow the Pot you probably know about the storm we kicked up last week with our editorial. Sure, we’re a little biased on this one – not because we like Tobold and think he’s generally fabulous but because as gamers we agree wholeheartedly with Tobold’s idea of WoW heaven.

Even so, our preferences aside, go have a read of his post. And while you do, bear in mind that it’s gamers like Tobold and Larisa who are feeling a disconnection from WoW or have simply quit already, and ask yourself if there’s a correlation between that and Blizzard’s design philosophy in Cataclysm.

What do you think – and how do you want your progression content to be designed?

_Quote taken directly from Tobold’s post

You can find Tobold’s MMORPG Blog homepage here_

Read more →

WoW Levelling As Its Own Game

Yesterday we highlighted Tobold’s idea to strip raiding away from WoW and have it as its own solo/multiplayer game. Well, you’re not getting the full scope of Tobold’s idea if you only get the half we ran yesterday, as it was only half Tobold’s brainwave. Today he’s posted up the other side concerning making WoW’s levelling game an entity of its own.

Tobold says the basic problem is that reaching the level cap and going into heroics/raids isn’t an end to levelling, just that levels start being measured in terms of gear. Once you realise that raiding and levelling are both ‘levelling’ games (it’s called progression for a reason), Tobold says, you can approach each as a means to itself. Levelling then becomes the end-game: your goal. He has a lot of ideas how to make it work to keep us engaged.

The same principle would also serve to create a flexible social game. It would be possible to solo, but the efficiency in experience points per hour would be relatively low. Group, and you advance faster. And you wouldn’t need a full group for that, as a group with 2 or 3 members would simply advance faster than a solo player, but slower than a full group. Thus given the possibility to temporarily adjust your level for a group, and a flexible group size, you would always be able to form a group with whoever of your friends is online…

Tobold says there needs to be enough levelling content to keep players entertained, and being able to change your level would keep things fresh and sociable. He points out this would have impacts on game mechanics from guilds to taking pride in your levelling gear, and everything in between. The only thing I’m not sure on is Tobold’s logic of how this would affect peoples’ role choices.

Go, read. What do you think – would a pure-levelling version of WoW mean people were more sociable and took up roles they didn’t like, or would it skew it too much towards social (or even casual), and fail to satisfy you?

_Quote taken directly from Tobold’s post

You can find Tobold’s MMORPG Blog homepage here_

Read more →

MMOs Would Be Better If…

Have you ever daydreamed about how you’d like games to be? Or how you think they should be? If so (and c’mon, I suspect most gamers have) you’re in good company. Nils has let his mind wander and written down the results in a curiously accessible daydream style post. So, Nils says, what if we removed Character Power Progression?

Well, he says, MMOs would get a lot better. He starts off with a few pointers for premises and builds up to saying that having to wait until your character is powerful enough to do things is a huge barrier to a game’s accessibility. Ideally, Nils says, a mixture of lesser and more powerful friends should be able to work on the same things together. I see what he’s getting at: whether or not they can slay dragons on a hunting trip, the less powerful party members can help out with scouting, cooking and being bait. Might be fewer volunteers for the last option.

While combat would still be important in such a game, it wouldn’t be what you ‘naturally do’ while playing the game. Exploring a cave with your guild, listening to sounds inside, picking fights, looting treasures and carry them home into your self-built castle to sell them for gold in the nearby town to pay for the next tower of the castle. This is the experience I have in mind.

It sounds like a good idea and there’s been a smattering of chat around the blogosphere recently about character power progression and its problems. I got the feeling looking at Nils’ post that a lot of it was heavily inspired by the best parts of other games *cough*Minecraft*cough* but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

So what do you think – is how powerful you character is (or isn’t) a barrier to gameplay that should be removed, or do you have other daydreams of how games should be?

_Quote taken directly from Nils’ post

You can find Nils’ MMO Blog homepage here_

Read more →