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Jaded like Guild Wars: Factions

The ranting and rambling of a guy who has grown up on the MMORPG genre for 8 years, and still plays in spite of the general garbage on the market.

Author: Lord_Vayde

Trivializing Old-World Content, Read: Shooting Yourself in The Foot

Posted by Lord_Vayde Sunday September 16 2007 at 9:12PM
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So I'm sitting here with my now-reformed WoW guild (because there doesnt seem to be anywhere else for us to go), afking on some random hill in Terrrokar, and I keep thinking...

...why bother? Anyone who has played World of Warcraft to 60, or even just read about the game, knew what kind of a pain in the ass process it was putting 40-man raids together and running the same redundant content over and over again in the hopes that the loot you needed would drop, and you had enough DKP to win it over the 5-10 other people of your class or archetype.

To make matters worse, there was only that one dungeon until you had farmed enough gear from it that you could tackle the next one, which only served to outdate that old one unless you felt like running it for fun.

With The Burning Crusade, we were introduced to plenty of new dungeon content with lower caps on the numbers needed to raid, but Blizzard still couldn't get out of this "Progression" ditch. So now, not only were we still stuck dungeon-grinding only to dungeon-grind some more (without being given choices in which dungeon we -were- grinding), all the work spent doing that dungeon grinding at level 60 was tossed out the window at sight of the first quest green.

...and it's happening, yet again, with Wrath of the Lich King. Yes, Blizzard has stated that we can expect the itemization from 70-80 to be a similar comparative power increase as we saw going from 60-70. Well, if 200 spell damage was godly at 60, and my character who hasn't touched an epic from anything post-Karazhan has 1.2k at bet is we'll all be running around with 40k hp and +5k spell damage after the first or second ten-man instance in Northrend. Call me a cynic, I call it a history lesson.

The point I'm really trying to get at with all my incessant bitching is that this idea of farming a single instance only to gear up for another one is wrong, and raising the level cap to make all the work spent doing that obsolete with gear obtained through solo play is even worse.

Call me a fanboi, as I'm going to take one of my "favored" games from my last blog as an example (and yes, I'm going to address this game specifically in the next post), but Final Fantasy XI had it's last level cap raise when, five months after the US release? So in the now two and a half years following that, we've seen two expansions with a third making its way this winter, and not one of those has even breached the concept of either raising the level cap or trivializing the content of the preceding expansions. Yes, thats right - you'll find just as much of a challenge from the missions in the original Final Fantasy as you will in Chains of Promathia or Treasures of Aht Urghan.

The reason for this is twofold. The first is that Final Fantasy is not a dungeon-oriented game, the focus is on completing storylines with your party and doing the battles involved with those storyline missions. The second is that Final Fantasy isn't afraid to make you go down a few levels. I'm not talking about the exp-on-death system, I'm talking about the "Burning Circle" effect - where certain fights have a level cap, and instead of denying you a place in that battle after a certain level, it simply forces you to fight at that level. Sure, WoW could implement this - say force everyone to go down to level 60 the moment they enter Molten Core. No, bad idea. FFXI can get away with it because the majority of those fights are for story purposes and not for "epix". I know I would be pissed off if I was forced to fight old content at a lower level and the reward was simply getting gear that I had no use for the minute I left that instance.

Now I know WoW will never see any innovative content. I've come to terms with that. I also know that the system will never escape this "progression / loot / rinse + repeat" mentality that only a braindead Planes-of-Power fan could base an entire endgame on, however if they insist on forcing us into that position, why not at least stop with this level cap nonsense, and just pile the new instances and gear on top of the old ones? Okay, so we need MC gear to down BWL, BWL gear to down AQ, AQ for Naxx, and then Naxx for Gruul -> Mag -> The Eye, etc. Without the magical ten levels that kills off the first half of that process.

No...wait...I already know the answer. The reason you'll never see that in WoW is because the end-game is so dull that you get more fun from rolling alts, and to force those alts to have to play through -all- that end-game when the time comes would simply make all the pissant prepubescent boys flock to the forums bitching up a storm. Oh, I guess that isn't such a change after all.

Well, there's always another solution - do what FF does and let your character keep it's major achievements while being able to switch amongst jobs fairly freely. *grumbles* Ah, if only my guild could tolerate the forced-grouping environment.

/rant off, Vayde out. I think my heart shrank three more sizes tonight.

methulah writes:

...And this is in a game they say begins at the endgame.

Mon Sep 17 2007 2:40AM Report
Verduria writes:

I entirely disagree. Blizzard needs to raise the level cap now. I never said it was a good thing, but they do need to. Why?

Because of arena. Arena was a great idea. but making Arena gear continually get better while making the difficulty of getting said gear never increase.. has made it so that if you bore of a character and wish to try another class. 80% of all players not only have better gear than you, but they have gear that is multiple tiers better than you.

And you simply cannot do anything about it. If you enter into arena now, you will not have a fraction of the life/attack/spell damage of those around you. You will die. If you attempt to PVE to get gear, you have to progress through 3 tiers to simply be equivalent.. 3 tiers of progress takes months.

Blizzard backed themselves into a corner w/ arena. To truly catch up, you need to struggle to maintain a base rating for an entire season (couple months) saving all points, so that when next season rolls around, you recieve a full new set of exponentially better gear. Months... and this cycle would only get worse as arena became T7, T8 and beyond.

Blizzard has to do in essence.. a character wipe. Blizzard shot their own foots off with arena. The only way they could now backtrack w/o raising the level cap would be to spend almost all their time developing PVE content that could allow a person who has only been 70 for a month or two to compete. Right now you can't even. Without resilience provided by already possessing arena gear.. you will get wiped.

Blizzard in the meantime has realized their error and is adding S1 gear to pvp vendors, but they know no one wants to feel that they HAVE to spend days (days played, not days in RL) to get the pvp gear to still be 2 tiers below Arena.

Blizzard effed up, and now we pay for it.

Mon Sep 17 2007 3:05AM Report
BadSpock writes:

If you don't have a linear progression, A to B to C, you end up with a radial progression, A to 2A to 3A.

Blizzard interestingly has both in WoW. You raid from A to B to C, but you can also PVP/Arena from 2A to 2B to 2C. 

Pretty much, it's all to keep you playing and paying. Chasing the carrot on the end of the stick.

Is there a better way?

Players need motivation for doing things to keep them playing. Gear is the very easy way to create this motivation.

You have to give reward, but how do you do it without creating a tiered progression?

It's probably the biggest issue facing the modern MMORPG as a genre

Mon Sep 17 2007 10:25AM Report
Blockmoore writes:

Anarchy Online raised level cap from 200 to 220 and it went pretty smooth with the uppgradable tier system. Then again wow is completly wrapped around guild progression while AO is not.

Sure you can chase new Tier forever while yet another and another expansion comes out, but people will leave at one point. Beeing "gimped" over and over again is to much even for the most hardcore players.

The problem right now as I see it is the speed and the difficulty obtaining the items. A majority of the guilds will only learned to master Kara when the next expansion comes out, this leaves most of the big 25 instances useless for them. They just level up to 80 and skip right on to the next  new 5 -10 man instance.

Maybe there should be more 10 man instances and encounters, this seems to some what ideal for most guild when it comes to planning and getting a group together?

Tue Sep 18 2007 1:29AM Report
DrowNoble writes:

I have to agree with the OP.  Blizzard apparently is falling into EQ1's mistake of continuously raising the bar and trivializing previous content.  To me, it's a lazy way to make an expansion rather that create fun/interesting things to do at the existing cap.

Tue Sep 18 2007 9:42AM Report
nopperlee writes:



Fri Sep 21 2007 7:56PM Report writes:
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