Something about Battle for Azeroth was announced today. Maybe a release date or prepurchase or something? I don’t know, but the news has people talking about WoW again in our community and the main topic hasn’t been contemporary.
I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know and agree with completely. Wrath of the Lich King was so far beyond and away the best WoW expansion there has been and likely — given its direction — ever will be.
What made it so good?
This is an interesting story coming off the heels of Rift announcing its “Prime” aka “Legacy” server. Ultima Online producerÂ Bonnie â€œMesannaâ€ Armstrong states quite clearly in today’s UO newsletter that there are no plans for UO to get a legacy server.
She cites the following “challenges“, all of which I think are a little weak.
Yesterday’s discussion about level/world scaling and a comment from one of our readers really got me thinking more and more about levels in MMORPGs. Do we really need them? Are they still a core tenet of MMORPG design?
More and more the answer is becoming, “No.”
World of Warcraft has long been without need for levels. Today the patch basically took 120 levels and condensed them into 7. For years online games, MMO, MMORPG, or otherwise, have tried to implement ways in which players of disparate levels can come together. ESO scaled their entire world. EQ2 has had mentoring (and scaling?) for years. The list goes on.
Many of these games are about simply playing and having fun doing something when you log in instead of playing in the one or two zones prescribed. There are positives and negatives with that statement.
In general, progression can still be had without the official institution of levels. We can use skill points, achievements, and alternate advancement in their place. Games can be made where the world isn’t broken up by level requirements, rather progression requirements. This post won’t specify the best route, rather propose there are other routes which may work well, even for people who enjoy the “ding.”
Nothing kills a MMO faster for me than a list of chores. When gameplay can be distilled down to a list of chores and tasks, burnout kicks in almost immediately.
Even the ‘best’ games that I’m enjoying and seemingly have no reason to suddenly stop are killed by the repetitive tasking. I think about a game like World of Warcraft as a perfect example. I really do like the world, the lore, aesthetic, general gameplay, etc. What I can’t stand are the assumptions on your time and gameplay.
I don’t like knowing that I have to log in every day and do a dungeon (or several), complete a dozen or more daily quests for currencies I need to accumulate a million of, run a raid at a certain time because of lockouts, get a weekly run of this and that in, etc. It’s just overwhelming, and instead of playing a character in a world I’m simply playing whack-a-mole or checking items off a never-ending honey-do list.
This year may go down as the driest MMORPG drought in history. There were barely any new MMORPGs released the entire year. Perhaps that makes it slightly better than past years when we saw nothing but one garbage MMORPG or shovelware MMORPG after another.
Most of what people will chime in about are expansions like ESO: Morrowind, Stormblood, and GW2: Path of Fire. If that’s your thing, great, but for the industry it’s pretty pathetic. The year of Expansions and failed indie launches really doesn’t speak highly to me.
For me personally, I dropped about 4 months into the Time-locked progression server for EverQuest. I had some fun. Playing with some friends is always a highlight for me. There’s a novelty factor there that most people will acknowledge. It wears off. Again, not really a shining beacon for the industry.