Optimization of Location

| Thursday, May 5, 2011
A few months back I noted that the teleportation system, along with other mechanics, have made location meaningless in WoW. I ended with this:
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.
What I didn't realize is that I'd contradicted myself.

Location still matters. So do talents, stat choices, and enchants. But we don't make many choices anymore.

I mistakenly thought that WoW was losing a sense of location. Quite the opposite. Location had become more important, and optimized. Just as theorycrafters have found the best stats, the best talents, and the best enchants, so have we also found the best location: capitol cities.

Being 'out in the field' just isn't a very good choice anymore and we know this. Unless you're gathering from resource nodes, you're probably wasting time outside the cities. Just as if you're running a PvP spec outside of PvP, you're probably wasting time.

What has happened is that the devs have followed the players. We seek efficiency. This isn't a bad thing. What can be bad is if the devs follow us. We go to a city and they follow us there, placing portals everywhere, teleports, and making outdoor farming obsolete. And so we never leave because we have found efficiency and it has become the only efficiency.

One might hope that hearth location could be a last bit of player choice, but no.

P.S. The dungeon post is coming soon*. It got a bit sidetracked so I spun off Monday's post. Then it got sidetracked again with recent uh... outpourings of elitism over video games.
* For a given definition of soon.


Nils said...

I agree. Which is why I disrespect devs that claim to listen to their players so much. Either they are liars or they are honest. Honest being the bigger problem.

Kring said...

I think there's nothing wrong with portals. It's probably a matter of taste if you prefer a game with or without them. The problem of WoW is that it doesn't have enough of them.

Everyone stays in the faction main capital because that's where all the portals are. No matter what you like to do, the most efficient route starts at the portal hub.

If all the capitol city would have a portal hub I would probably put my char in the Exodar. But as long as only Stormwind has the hub the hearth position is not a choice but a calculation.

And if they would add portals from every small town to the main hubs you could place your hearth wherever you like.

Either you should have no portals or you should have them in excess.

Klepsacovic said...

@Nils: What if the player feedback is about how we don't like how all the quest dialogue is excerpts from Mein Kampf? See, Nazis can prove anything right. Or wrong. Maybe it's wrong.

@Kring: My point isn't merely about hearth locations, but where we are all the time. Would you ever go farming if you're not looking for herbs/ore? Can you imagine going somewhere for a specific mob? How about an outdoor boss? That's my point, not merely that we set our hearth in cities, but that we set our asses there as well and never move.

Kring said...

I (think I) understood. But the reason why we all stay in one place is that this one place has everything and the other places have nothing. You have to make all places "equal" attractive or "equal" unattractive. And Portals are one of these major advantages.

After they've added an auction house to Stormwind there were discussions which is the better "hearthstone" city. SW or IF. That was CHOICE. Without a definitive correct answer.

- Either remove them all to make places more equal.
- Or add many more to make places more equal.

I think TBC would have been a better expansion if they've added 4 portals to every capitol. One to Shattrat and one to each of the other 3 cities.

Klepsacovic said...

I don't mind that we all tend to congregate in one place. It makes sense. Trade is easier then.

With the IF vs. SW split, that was because of the world outside the cities. If you care more about getting to Blackrock Mountain, IF is going to be faster. If you instead want a fast route to the Plaguelands, you'll want SW. And then some freaks picked Darnassus for peace and quiet, which is clearly a euphemism for "safe place to RP as sexually-flexible dryads."

I don't think cities need to be equal, but instead to all have their uses. In the post I linked I suggested some unlikely ideas, but something as simple as some players preferring to farm in one area vs. another can change their choice of city.

Though I agree that something would need to be done with the portals, since if SW offers all the portals and IF just saves a couple minutes when flying to BWD, we're going to pick SW.

scrusi said...

Since your link doesn't work, I'll shamelessly plug an old post of my own on the topic ;) http://procrastinationamplification.com/mmo-home/

Your observation of the world not mattering anymore at max-level is a good one, though that would need to be fixed by making locations more interesting not by limiting travel.

Klepsacovic said...

Oops. Fixed the link.

Tesh said...

What Scrusi said.

...and yes, I do go out in the world looking for named critters and crazy things to see, just because I have an itch to get out there instead of sit in a city. That's in my DNA, apparently. Hunters and Drood flight form rule, dood.

Maybe we're seeing a playstyle problem, enhanced not so much by the devs placing portals as by them focusing on the endgame of a leveling grind?

Kring said...

> I don't think cities need to be equal,
> but instead to all have their uses.
> ..
> Though I agree that something would need
> to be done with the portals, since if SW
> offers all the portals and IF just saves a
> couple minutes when flying to BWD, we're
> going to pick SW.

Exactly. Portals either need to be removed or many portals need to be added. If only one city has all portals, that city will be the world.

Ngita said...

The players follow the devs. Remove the global lfg to promote lfd. Replace with a pos that only works in cities. Mow unless you have a good reason to not be in a city, cities are the only place to be.

Personally i use Dalaran since 4.1

Klepsacovic said...

@Tesh: You mean that for the average end-game-obsessed player, there's nothing between SW and the end of the portal worth traveling through?

@Kring: Maybe other cities could have portals to that city, but not the reverse. That would make it the hub, but not the hearth of choice. Instead we'd have to pick which of the other cities we prefer. But I guess all that does is make all cities equal, minus one.

@Ngita: I miss global LFG.

Post a Comment

Comments in posts older than 21 days will be moderated to prevent spam. Comments in posts younger than 21 days will be checked for ID.

Powered by Blogger.