Perhaps the most interesting news to come out of BlizzCon atypical fibrous histiocytoma this year, for me at least, was the full reveal of what’s been called the " Level Squish" for World of Warcraft. Rumor and speculation have been rife for some time concerning atypical fibrous histiocytoma Blizzard’s desire to cut the amount of levelling needed to atypical fibrous histiocytoma reach the cap in WoW but now we have some atypical fibrous histiocytoma actual facts about how it’s going to work.
That’s still only scratching the surface. Massively:OP posted a much more nuanced explanation of what’s being proposed, drawn directly from the Shadowlands panel at BlizzCon, complete with screenshots of the PowerPoint presentation. The gist here is that, to quote Justin " Syp" Olivetti, " World of Warcraft’s leveling process will be more like a
Veteran players rolling alts will have a choice of Exile’s Reach or any of the current starting zones. From there, after a trip to their faction’s capital, they’ll be able to speak to an NPC called " Chromie" to pick an expansion from any of those released before atypical fibrous histiocytoma Shadowlands. That character will then be locked into the chosen expansion, which will provide sufficient xp to take them all the atypical fibrous histiocytoma way to Level 50, after which it’s into the latest content to finish the final ten atypical fibrous histiocytoma levels alongside everyone else.
Good luck with that, though. XP gain will also be increased (for everyone, whichever leveling path they take) by an estimated sixty or seventy percent. Since current Live rates already make it impossible to see atypical fibrous histiocytoma more than a fraction of the content before outlevelling it, after Shadowlands releases Azeroth is going to zip past the atypical fibrous histiocytoma windows of your speeding level-train in a blur.
It seemed that the lesson Blizzard had learned from the atypical fibrous histiocytoma enthusiastic take-up of Classic was " people like getting stuff for levelling so let’s give them stuff every time they ding and make atypical fibrous histiocytoma it so they ding faster so they feel like they’re getting even more stuff!". They seemed to have missed the point that the reason atypical fibrous histiocytoma people found that process so satisfying was a) because it felt like a pay-off for significant investment of time and effort and b) the new abilities received with each Ding made the characters atypical fibrous histiocytoma feel more powerful, more flexible, more capable and more able to handle what came next.
By fast-forwarding the rewards so they come so thick and fast atypical fibrous histiocytoma there’s no time either to look forward to getting them atypical fibrous histiocytoma or appreciate the difference they make to gameplay seems likely atypical fibrous histiocytoma to defeat the entire object. It’s hardly thrilling to gain the ability to breathe underwater atypical fibrous histiocytoma if you never need to go swimming in the first atypical fibrous histiocytoma place because none of your main sequence quests require it, for example.
Once the initial shock and outrage had faded, though, I began to come round to the proposed changes, at least somewhat. Playing Classic right now, I am already running into a bit of a wall atypical fibrous histiocytoma through the combination of repeated content, lengthy travel and slow xp gain. What feels compulsively entertaining on a first run-through starts to seem less so on a second and atypical fibrous histiocytoma third, especially when playing several characters of the same faction, concurrently.
This is largely a function of the retro nature of atypical fibrous histiocytoma the Classic experience. Playing an unfamiliar MMORPG, it might take many months, even years, before the content begins to go stale, something that was even more true back in the Golden atypical fibrous histiocytoma Age, when the genre itself was less well-understood. But Classic isn’t new any more and neither are MMORPGs; that process doesn’t take as long.
Retail WoW is already a very different beast from either atypical fibrous histiocytoma Classic or the WoW of various periods in the past. And we have Classic, for those who want something approximating the original experience. In the future we might even have Classic servers for atypical fibrous histiocytoma all the various Expansions, if the demand exists. Who knows where Blizzard will take the concept over the atypical fibrous histiocytoma next decade?
Meanwhile there’s the main game. And it is a game now, not a virtual world. The people in charge of WoW’s future clearly see it as belonging to a very atypical fibrous histiocytoma particular audience: people who want to Raid. Retail WoW has become a conveyor belt to some very atypical fibrous histiocytoma specific content and the Level Squish is designed to make atypical fibrous histiocytoma that belt move faster and deliver its passengers more smoothly atypical fibrous histiocytoma to the endpoint.
I’ve often suggested that one way to avoid the problems atypical fibrous histiocytoma of power creep and content decay that plague every long-lasting MMORPG would be to maintain all the expansions as atypical fibrous histiocytoma discrete entities. I imagine a system where characters have to graduate (or, as I’d lay odds it would be called, " Ascend") from one expansion to the next, maintaining continuity and integrity for the individual characters but, for the player, effectively starting over afresh each time.
WoW’s new levelling game isn’t quite that but it’s a stepping stone towards it. Of course, it still points inexorably towards an end-game which, I believe, is of interest to far fewer potential customers than the atypical fibrous histiocytoma original open world approach that once saw WoW reach twelve atypical fibrous histiocytoma million paying subscribers. I don’t believe the Level Squish will return the game to atypical fibrous histiocytoma its former commercial success, let alone revive its lost cultural significance.
The extended virtual world motif never really suited a company atypical fibrous histiocytoma that places far more importance on narrative than the form atypical fibrous histiocytoma is able to support. By reverting to a focus on directed gameplay in service atypical fibrous histiocytoma of a pre-written story, perhaps Blizzard will be able to take back control of atypical fibrous histiocytoma a vehicle that long ago outpaced their ability to steer atypical fibrous histiocytoma it in the direction they intended.
Looking back at posts on this blog it’s clear I rather enjoyed the tight, disciplined storytelling in starter zones like Kezan and Gilneas. That’s the direction WoW has been taking ever since the atypical fibrous histiocytoma Vanilla era ended and perhaps it’s where they need to go. WoW won’t really be an MMORPG any more but maybe it atypical fibrous histiocytoma will be a better game because of it.
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