Redefining WoW’s Endgame

WoW World Quests

Yesterday I mentioned how WoW’s zones will scale in the Legion expansion. Utilizing such a feature, Blizzard plans to do away with Daily Quest Hubs and replace them with ‘events’ that will rotate in and out. These events seem to operate similarly — from what little information I have — to those “public quests” (wrong analogy but they are open to everyone to open their map and go to) used in other games, with the exception being many seem to be geared toward solo players.

The “World Quests” are designed to offer more of a guide or structure to endgame play sessions rather than act compulsively on players as a “you must do these quests in this order every day” type of mentality. As someone who has never liked dailies, and currently stuck doing them in Tanaan on my Monk, I am definitely looking forward to a system that presents me with opportunities rather than forcing me to feel compelled to “do my dailies.”

“World Quests will show you quests, rare elite spawns, rare spawns, pet battles, outdoor PvP activities, world bosses, special dungeon activities, profession activities, and more. Want to know what there is to do in Azeroth today? Just open your map!” – Muffinus, WoW Designer

As I alluded to in the beginning, I think this will work nicely with the zone scaling. Players will have reasons to go everyone in The Broken Isles rather than all congregating in one final zone. We’ll be able to choose what types of activities we want to do each day when we log in. Some of these quests will be daily, weekly, or even hourly events.

There will still be rep grinds. There will still be a legitimate argument to be made about semantics. In a way, these are still “dailies.” You’re still logging in each day and doing activities, otherwise you’ll miss out on potential progression. Blizzard is simply expanding the scope of the definition to include more play styles and a slightly more forgiving presentation.

Despite the semantics, this is a step in the right direction. I like choices. I like logging in and being able to think, “What would I like to do today?” Any step away from “go to this hub, take these 10 blue exclamation points, and come back tomorrow” sounds good to me.

I’m Turning Into A Goblin

I'm a WoW Goblin

I think “Goblin” is the correct term, anyway. Isn’t that what the people addicted to the WoW economy call themselves? The people who want to make lots of gold? Yeah, I’m becoming one of those. I recently decided that I was tired of being poor. I’ve played WoW on and off since it launched, and I have never had anything close to an excess of gold. I had to work my butt off to buy a mount, and I slaved away at the grind to afford an epic mount. Even in modern WoW I’ve never had luck with making cash… until recently.

I discovered something calling “TSM” or “TradeSkillMaster.” It’s an addon which essentially does all of the work for you — once you can configure the thing. Configuring it all takes an undergraduate degree in economics, but it’s worth it. Now I practically feel like I’m cheating.

TSM has a program that runs in the background and automatically syncs told prices to my WoW client. I know what every item on the auction house goes for and my program will automatically post items based on routines I program in. When I open the auction house, I can automatically buy low and sell high at the click of a button. If someone puts up a valuable transmog, my program finds it, buys it, and reposts it at a higher price. See why I feel like I’m cheating?

I thought I had nothing on my characters worth anything. Then I used TSM and now I have 10,000 gold in one day. So the addon takes care of the knowing what to sell, and finding stuff on the AH to resell, but that’ll only last for so long. The real money game here is in getting the items and posting them. I’m going to start farming pets and running old raids (for gold and pets) to sell. I’m also going to farm lowbie tier dungeons to get the valuable transmog items and sell those too.

Why am I doing this? Simple. I don’t want to pay for my sub. I joined the garrison party too late to farm gold like so many others — they’re rich already. Garrisons are being patched out of existence here soon [Translation: You can’t make gold anymore] so I figure now’s better than later for getting my economy set.

This has breathed new life into the game for me. Sure, I’m still leveling from 94-100 right now on my new server, but that boredom has been mitigated by the obsession and lust for gold. If you’re a goblin, I’d love to get some tips on how to make gold in WoW.

Blizzard Responds to Nostalrius Drama

The talk of the town today has been Blizzard’s response to Nostalrius. Let’s take a look at what they have to say, and then I’ll address a few key points.

Obviously there’s PR speak going on here. The “we hear you” and “we too feel this way” and “even I’m here because I love classic” or “we’ve looked into it and its hard” stuff is a tad sycophantic. But that’s all there because of what follows.

Blizzard has to protect their IP, otherwise they lose their rights. That’s the part everyone with even a whisper of a clue knew because that’s how intellectual property law works. I don’t think that comes as a shock to anyone, nor is any of that why people are talking about about this release. The real reason….

Pristine Realms

Here’s where people are going a bit nuts and not only reading waaaay too far into this, but also missing the mark entirely. First — no, this does not mean Blizzard is missing the point. They know you want vanilla. It’s at least a public acknowledgement that there has been thought to a solution.

I believe people underestimate what a big deal it is to support a classic server. Blizzard employs an army of customer service representatives just to handle a game that has a consistent experience. Imagine if the customer support had to be (1) trained and (2) taking the time to manage multiple version. You think they’re slow now?

Looking at the only major example of classic servers out there right now, we see that even EverQuest hasn’t been able to recreate a true “classic” experience. Their “progression” servers or “time-locked” servers all have modern conveniences built into them. They have major updates they simple can’t remove.

People don’t REALLY want Vanilla

At least I don’t. I don’t miss that version of WoW. I think modern WoW is way better. When it comes to a themepark, I prefer the convenience. If I’m looking for an experience that takes commitment and dedication then I want more than questing and gear treadmills from that investment. I’ve done the ‘first to kill all the raid bosses’ thing on 3 different WoW servers. I’ve done the competitive play. That’s not fun for me. What’s fun is the journey, and that’s why I dabble in EverQuest classic servers, but WoW lacks that journey. WoW has -never- been about the journey.

Blizzard knows most people would agree. Most people want modern WoW and its conveniences. When I say most, I mean enough that it doesn’t make financial sense for them to do classic. If classic meant way more money, then as a public company seeking to make profit they’d do it. They’re not in the business of testing something publicly just to see if it works. They’re crunching data, and I bet you the data shows it’s not worth their time. If they wanted to have a classic experience, it would have already been done.

 

Class Orders Won’t Be Garrisons, But Close Enough?

WoW Class Order Hall Missions

I haven’t followed WoW’s Legion expansion development very closely, but seeing that I am now back in WoW and playing on a weekly (not daily) basis it might be time to start following it a bit more.

You might recall from my last trip into WoW that I liked the Garrisons introduced in WoD. I also enjoy games like Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, etc., where I’m building up something and nurturing a city form or whatever it may be. I like having my own space and upgrading it based on playing and making decisions. I thought most of the Garrison features were quite nice.

My biggest gripe with the Garrisons were that the rest of the game didn’t matter. Looks like Blizzard agrees that this was a main problem — perhaps most people agree? In the three months I played WoW, I think I went to Orgrimmar or a main city once — ONCE! My last month was spent logging in to send my guys out on missions, running a dungeon or two, but mostly just focusing on my Garrison’s rewards. They were too good not too, and as a result deflated the rest of the game.

I realize that Garrisons are/were quite polarizing. People either like them (like me) or they loathe their very existence. This loathing came into light yesterday when a WoW designer/dev commented on recent statements from Alpha testers that the new class Order Halls were starting to feel the same way. Watcher (the dev) seems pretty open about making it fact that “mission tables” are not the plan, and that questing (this big epic quest story thing) will be the main reward mechanism; AKA getting out in the world and having a quote, “proper MMO experience.”

I’m glad to see Watcher noting that there are players who enjoy aspects of the mission-table experience — that’s me. I like the idea of the epic stories tying into my experience. I seem to be getting the best of both worlds.

Class Order Halls and their missions are on the top of my anticipated-feature list.

This is Why Hunters are Overplayed

Mechanics Hunter Pets in WoW

I’ve been waiting to play a Gnome Hunter since 2004 and Blizzard has finally made that a reality. In Legion I will be able to play one, but now I’m raced with the annoying realization that I either have to level one from scratch, use my instant level 100 on a Gnome Hunter, or pay for a race AND faction change for my Orc. Bleh.

Seriously though, if being a Gnome isn’t cool enough they went and made MECHANICAL PETS!

Most Mechanical pets will be challenging to tame, requiring you to first locate them and then use your Hunter abilities in unusual ways. (You didn’t think we’d make it easy, did you?)

For example, one rare mechanostrider requires you to create a special punch card that grants access to a closed section of Gnomeregan (we hope you remember the way). Once you locate the clockwork creature, you’ll then need to figure out how to overload its circuits. Solve the puzzle, and you’ll have this magnificent mechanized minion striding by your side.

gnome hunter in WoW

The addition of Gnome Hunters makes perfect sense to me. Hunters use traps. Hunters use guns. These things scream Gnomish tinkering potential to me. Hunters seem akin to the Gnomish spirit of solving problems and making their tools work for them.