Is this it?

| Monday, July 28, 2008
Is this it, nothing but a gear grind to get more gear to get the next set of gear? Are we nothing more than the steady increase of our combined ilevel values?

It suddenly sounds pitiful, doesn’t it? Oh sure, people can bash virtual accomplishments as being that: virtual. Still, it does take coordination, planning, dedication, some amount of knowledge or skill, and time, to down a raid boss or be on a very highly ranked arena team. There are no cheat codes, even if you recognize the class imbalance.

I remember complaints by hardcore raiders when BC PvP gear was added and it was equal in ilevel to raiding gear. That was as actual complaint. It wasn’t better for raiding; it was equal in some magical rating system that most people probably don’t know exists. Apparently it cheapened their accomplishments. A little number was enough to entirely ruin their raiding accomplishments.

I complained about the badge gear, as did many others. It was a trick, a false nod to casuals. It was nothing more than high ilevels thrown at us with no accomplishment, no inner feeling of reward. Last time you made up gear for casuals you created dungeon two and an associated quest chain. It was very expensive and took a long time, but it was a lot of fun. The story was a little strange, not directly related to the lore we normally see, but it was told so well and brought with a powerful experience. It showed the world to us, a less heroic world without the great figures we know today, but it was our world. The gear was neat, but the stories were better.

What happened to the world in world of warcraft? It’s all just gear grinds and e-peen flexing now. There is no exploration. The stories are badly told, if at all. The actual world even feels smaller. Oh sure, portals from everywhere to everywhere and flying mounts make playing more convenient. The tightly-packed quest areas with demons 300 yards away from the Illidari they are supposed to be at war with are convenient, but they make no sense. It’s not believable.

There must be something more Blizzard can do. They made Azeroth, they told amazing stories, why can’t they do it again? I realize it is a lot more work to make a world filled with stories rather than efficient, convenient gear grinds, but what do we pay them for?

Blizzard, throw away the e-peen lovers. Throw away the grinds and ilevels and anything else that is not fun and does not tell a story. Get a million writers and a million zone designers, pair them up. If that is too expensive, get a million monkeys, throw out the Shakespeare, and pair them with kids with MS Paint.

Remember the stories you wrote and how you told them? That’s what zones should do. Have story zones. When I go to the Plaguelands, I know that it is corrupted, that something terrible has clearly happened, and I want to discover more and do something. Where are the story zones in BC? Netherstorm is pretty good, makes you wonder why it is blasted to pieces. SMV is a little better, especially once you get Spectrecles. But then there are the blasted lands, scorched, barren, subject to constant lightning, inhabited by invincible servants of evil being, and all pointing towards that ominous portal. Oh yea, and there’s the orc ghost who warns you on your way in and eventually sends you all over the world on inconvenient quest chain. That is one of the most amazing chains ever.


Chris said...

TBC was a small expansion in reality without the raiding, its a crushed together part of Draenor that makes little sense, better would be to have made a much more extensive area, so we could have


SMV - Shadow Moon Valley, the Black temple and home of Illidan.
DPL - Demonic Portal Land, part of the Demonic landing area, separates the lush (and accessible only by a huge long walk or flying mount) Plains (PL) and Nagrand areas from this darker area. BEM fits in as the mythical highest point in Outland, above even the plains and Nagrand.

Netherstorm and the Mana Fields, have the Eye as a huge crashed space craft, its reactors or whatever bleeding into the land, and being tapped in Netherstorm because the mana is too volatile in the MF.

In short gradiate the world more to make it fit. As it is Hellfire is a dry desert, running into the few water lands, it could have been ZG, Terrokar, the "plains" were all linked and slightly distorted from the rest of the plane such that the coilfang was actually taking the water that would run from Nagrand -> Plains-> Terrokar -> ZG -> void and recycling it, you have a huge quest chain to shut it down, then a bigger one to turn it back on "Those crazy naga, they were actually helping the planet while they thought they were destroying it".

Then you can open up more of outland, another continent, and it can be radically different because of the effects of the portal and the shattered planet.

Captain The First said...

The world is what you make it as far as I am concerned. People that enjoy the grind and night after night of raiding the same place are welcome to it.

People are concerned with ilvl because that is the default path blizzard has laid out for them and it is as good as any for them.

You can still achieve things, you can still make your own challenges.
Nothing keeps you from discarding your gear and building yourself a dungeon set and following lore at your own whims.

MMO's with open economies are just a bunch of ladders to climb strapped together. That's how that system works, the trick is finding your own path within that system that gratifies you, making your own lore, leaving your own mark on the world for as far as that is possible.

Grind less, play more... even some of the crappier story lines can be halfway believable if you let your imagination loose.

If the story doesn't match, make up your own and tell it to people. Most people stopped reading quest texts a long time ago...

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