Blizzard is facing an interesting dilemma this year, MMO games that capitalize on reall solid PvP endgame systems. We often talk about the golden age of Dark Age of Camelot here on the site with many fans of the game. Now as we enter 2012 and 2013 there are up to five major MMOs coming out with three-faction PvP systems. All of these games are appealing to players who want to do more than raid. As in the beginning with EverQuest setting the bar for boss fights and raiding in MMOs, so now we see the full impact of DAOC on the genre. The main question is, what will Blizzard do to keep up with this trend in World of Warcraft? Last week, Bill talked about putting the war back in Warcraft, but there's more to say so I'll piggy-back off of him this week.
At BlizzCon when Chris Metzen began his talk, he started hinting at the phrase “putting the War back in Warcraft,” then suddenly changed his tune to Pandaria and the new expansion. I remember actually taking notes and writing down, PvP expansion for WoW! Sadly the topic has gone quiet since then. However, when Bill Murphy went to Blizzard for the press event to see Mists again, he got a taste of more ideas the team had been talking about in regards to Horde vs. Alliance PvP. Still, whispers and rumors are all anyone has heard for now.
Yet, within these hints and rumors comes some pretty juicy stuff. The idea of a Horde vs. Alliance dungeon where players can go in and attack each other is simply awesome to think about. The thought that both the Horde and Alliance feel like Pandaria is ripe for plunder is tantalizing. PvP quests is something that would be great to see flourish in the game. All of these pieces add up but there is something that the Warcraft team needs to think about very seriously. What will the impact be?
WoW players have gotten very used to the raid runs and loot grind. It is what drives the game. I remember playing Lich King like crazy because the Shaman armor looked amazing. The weapons looked awesome, and the gear really gave my Shaman some boosted ability. So in a system based on character gear, how do you implement ideas that will benefit a whole faction?
One of the biggest single rewards you can give players is an Experience Point boost. This not only helps new players coming into the game, but it will encourage veteran players to go back and level a new character. It is a core part of the game which end game players should be encouraged to win for their faction. Blizzard has done small bits of this in the past, but never to a degree that it truly made a difference in the game. The key here is to give a very solid in game mechanic that is worth having the Horde and Alliance go to war over.
The open world dungeon idea is always a great topic. Back in any older MMO when you went into a shared dungeon you were always looking over your shoulder. In Ultima Online I can remember players minding their own business in a dungeon fighting monsters and getting loot, when the Player killers attacked. Everyone dropped what they were doing and banded together to battle back the invaders. Those fights were rarely won, but when they were, it was a huge deal and people looted the other players of all their gear. That system will never come back into play now, but seeing something like this done with a WoW dungeon would be an amazing design.
World of Warcraft remains one of the best MMOs on the market. However, with other games coming along and more ideas about World PvP coming to the table, Blizzard will have to really think about the future. The endgame in WoW could use a great shot of PvP in the arm. Not just arena fighting, but something that impacts the entire game. Let’s hope Pandaria delivers on these whispers, and we see the full blown Alliance vs. Horde war we have always wanted to see.