It's impossible to make a world if location is meaningless

| Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Yes the title is an exaggeration of the state of WoW. It's easier to say than "World of Warcraft has progressively reduced the importance of particular locations, whether for farming, PvP, or reputation, rendering the idea of location less meaningful and along with it, the suggesting that there is a world contained in the game World of Warcraft."

I originally wanted to write about the way to set our hearthstones, to pretty much the same place. BC and LK took this to an extreme with both factions even using the same city for their hearth. But even now, why would you set your hearth to somewhere other than Orgrimmar or Stormwind? A few people go with Darnassus for the reduced traffic and general peacefulness, but those are an exception, not an indication of any larger trend. I thought of giving buffs to people based on their hearth location, with a lag time on switches so they constantly change buffs to suit what they're doing that very second. The idea was that, for example Stormwind would be a banking and diplomacy city and would give advantages when dealing with NPCs: a small rep multiplier (think 1%, not 10% of human racial) and a small benefit when buying and selling to NPCs and with AH costs (again, 1% or less). Or Ironforge could be a city for engineering, mining, and blacksmithing where they could get extra ore from smelting or lower material costs. Outside the main cities, working out of goblin towns could help with rep there (more than SW, but only for the four towns), or STV could give bonus damage against beasts and trolls. These would be balance, probably mirrored, between factions. The general idea was that if you're primarily engaged in a few activities you'd pick a hearth to help that, rather than the one that is most convenient and common.

Just to be clear: I like the championing system with tabards. It was annoying to be exalted with the relevant faction and still not have the desired loot from an instance. I'm looking at you, Baron, with your persistent insistence on dropping the wrong pants. And ever notice that more mages than tanks had Suneater? True story.* But at the same time, rep based on location made us care where we were. This would be a bad thing if we were using randoms, but when we picked instances, it made sense that we cared about location. Now I frankly don't give a shit where I end up, except that I don't much like Stonecore. I wonder if it could work to have something in between, such as certain instances giving double rep for certain factions, or rep with a faction in addition to the effect of the tabard. So the Wildhammer would care a lot when we go to Grim Batol, but not as much when we're in Tol'vir.

Does anyone farm mobs anymore? I don't really know. I haven't in quite a long time. Well, okay I lied, the other day my mage flew down to Silithus to farm essence of air. But beside that, do mobs serve any purpose beside cannon fodder for dailies and quests? Mobs used to give reputation and dropped items that were useful for said reputation. Undead and bone fragments in the Plaguelands, Cultists and texts in Silithus, various blood elves and demons in Outland.

Have you ever hunted devilsaur? I have. Those buggers are hard to find! They tend to find you instead. Materials weren't always so... generic. They might come from specific mobs types and certain locations. This wasn't quite so convenient, but it did make a skinner care about something more than half percent differences in leather rates off dragonkin and boars. It made the mob choice matter more, and therefore the part of the world.

Do you care where your character is? Does it make any difference? These days, probably not. Just pick your main city and take the portals where they go.

* It's more of a story with truthiness than truth.

10 comments:

Reala said...

I like your idea of different cities for different things a lot, especially as some are so clearly suited (your suggestion for Ironforge).

There are some villages that are charming and I *would* set my hearth in quite a few other places if they offered basic amenities such as bank and AH facilities. Imagine if there was a choice like that; players would pick their favourite towns/villages and you may even see little communities form in these places (community is such a negative buzzword in WoW at the moment).

Additionally, the last time I farmed mobs for rep was nagrand orcs for my talbuk mount. Not a terribly hard grind but I don't know if I'm in love with the mob-farming mechanic. Then again I'm much more of a dungeon-goer than quester type.

~Reala

Nils said...

Location should matter. You give good evidence that this is even possible in a world of teleports.

In late classic I made a business decision: I would hunt the Stone Golems in Un Goro Crater. They dropped magic stones that some crafters needed. Good prices on the AH. The golems were elite and the only reason I could do them solo, was because it was late in classic and item progression (and nerfs and buffs) had set in.

I am pretty sure I had fun. So why were such things scrapped?

Treats said...

It used to be everyone lived in Ironforge because that was the only place there was an auction house.

Nikodhemus said...

I see this also. I'm not a long term veteran, I didn't start playing until WotLK was well established, but I always thought it very interesting small things like not being able to learn certain recipes unless you went to a certain trainer. There was a reason to visit Grom 'Gol because there was a great chef there! Or the whole 'Dark Iron' and all the odd bits you get out of Black Rock.

I had my bank alt parked in Silvermoon for a time because NO ONE is ever there, and I could buy the specific recipes that only exist there for the AH... but, then I couldn't take advantage of any trade chat offers because I was no where near where the action was. Anymore I have taken to doing exactly that, hearth set to Org all the time on all toons. On one hand, it is the capital city for the Horde... on the other hand, it makes places like Silvermoon and Thunderbluff not seem valid as cities at all.

Kammler said...

Agree wholeheartedly. Huzzah!

Dalaran portals have been replaced with the circle of portals in SW and Org. Instead of setting hearth to Dal and using the portals to major cities we can set to our capital and use portals to new zones.

Why scrap the Dal portals if the mechanics in the new world are the same? Only the destination differs. Need to get to Exodar? Harth to SW, use portal to Mount Hyjal and fly--not quite as fast but still....

And in a L9 guild you get a 15 minute CD on your hearthstone!

I'm hopeful that future expansions will roll out some specific goods like you mention--Devilsaur Leather is a good example, or Mongoose from Kara is another.

Personally, all I'm grinding is the old world reps that I missed so I can get those specific enchants. I'm seeing Mongoose going for 50% more now than it did in WoLK. Timbermaw Agility enchants are more than double their previous AH prices, and I sell a couple every day.

One of the joys of WoW is how complex it is. My wife used to joke with me by asking "did you win yet?". The thrill of discovering some new recipe or vendor was great. I miss those simple pleasures.

Justisraiser said...

Since you mentioned it... I've been reading mixed things about the drop rate of Essence of Air from the Dust Stormers in Sithilus. Did you find that it's been nerfed?

Tesh said...

Place absolutely matters to me. Then again, I'm a rock solid Explorer type, and I don't particularly care for crowds. Thunder Bluff and Ironforge will always be my big cities of choice, but the vast majority of my time I'm just wandering the lands. That's the whole reason I even bother playing WoW, since I loathe the subscription model and the game design is subpar. Not what I'd call bad, really, just not my favorite.

Tesh said...

Oh, and sorry for the double post, my fingers are too fast today. I really like the idea of city-specific buffs. That would be a great way to give them flavor and meaning. It even echoes real trade routes, which is a nice angle to play up.

Klepsacovic said...

@Reala: "community is such a negative buzzword in WoW at the moment" It's a bit sad, isn't it?

@Nils: Part of the reason may be that if a material is too specialized, the stones in question weren't used for a wide variety of recipes, then they are too inconvenient to keep up on the AH for the time needed to find a buyer. A different type of auction house could help with that.

@Treats: I thought all the cities had an AH but they weren't linked, so IF and Org became the commonly accepted default. It's been a few years. :)

@Niko: The strange thing is that there never seems to be a shortage of those distant recipes: someone always seems to be buying and mailing them to the cities, so it's not as if it hurt anyone much.

@Kammler: Have you been fortunate enough to find a reasonably priced 30 SP formula? My enchanter managed to snag one, make a good bit of gold.

@Justis: I've not heard anything, but from memory of when I farmed them for my agility enchant back in the day, the drop rate isn't particularly good, which fits my recent experience. Sorry that's so vague, but I wasn't really timing it. Maybe 10 over 1.5 hours.

@Tesh: I doubt we'll see trade routes. :( But maybe the buffs could happen someday. Imagine the fury if IF/SW/Org weren't the "1% raid damage" cities!

We Fly Spitfires said...

With WoW it all boils down to laziness. The game seems to make life easier for you as you level up. I mean, levels 80-85 where a piece of cake in terms of transport, all you had to do was take the ports from SW/Org and go right to the zone you want. It's all rather odd considering the lower levels have you running around like a dog or spending 10mins on griffon flights around the world.

To be fair though, WoW has always done a lot better job of making me feel like I'm playing in a virtual world than say Warhammer Online.

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