The Burning Crusade: Delaying the Balance
Editorial by Hasani Davis
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.
The Burning Crusade is coming! The Burning Crusade is coming! Oh wait, that's right, wait two more months. Blizzard is now releasing the next part of its Warcraft Universe in January 2007. This addition brings new areas, new monsters and new items. I am looking forward to this expansion! There I said it. I look forward to this expansion in hopes of caring about a game again. Contrary to popular belief, Warcraft is a game from 1994 and not a new game that was just created two years ago. I was a kid in high school back then and found a copy of Warcraft and loaded up the game from DOS and began my first steps in the land of Azeroth! I have been with Blizzard since its first steps and am one of the many who started in its fan base, spending countless hours battling against my friends for control over Azeroth! I expected the same feeling when I began playing World of Warcraft as I had eleven years ago. The journey started out with a tale of great lands and powerful armies and a promise of fun and excitement, built to be the Template for next generation MMORPGs.
But can I really care about a game again after being treated so badly?
Blizzard has done a horrible job for casual players and avid fans of player versus player combat, a PvP fan base that they helped to create from the beginning of the modern computer gaming era.
I have spent two years wallowing in a world rich in graphics and countless tongue in cheek based quests and combat so simple and repetitive that my nephew could excel at it (literally, my nephew is 10 years old and a rank 9 rogue). This game has been nothing more than a time sink; putting countless hours of mind numbing faction grinding, killing the same monster 100,000 times to gain favor with said faction. The repetitiveness of the game is worse than any MMORPG I have played in the past fifteen years. For some reason I wait for the expansion, and I wait for a game that I can care about again.
This year of gaming has been one huge arms race of powers and items, granted mostly to those who choose to band together in large groups and kill computer controlled pixilated dragons locked inside instances far away from players of the opposite faction. At the same time it punishes those who do what the Warcraft franchise was based on, using tactics and skill both together to crush the other faction. The competitive spirit is lacking from the game and it needs to be restored. It needs balance, a way to shed the faction grind, a way break down the doors of instances, and bring the game out anew! So many things were right with the initial concept of this game; but once you reach 60 the game went down hill.
This expansion brings a chance to correct the imbalance that items have caused. Right now you can have a level 60 Warrior in average gear with 4000 armor, 4100 Hit points, dealing 400 damage, and he is supposed to exist in a game where another Warrior of the same level that has 7000 HP, 7300 armor and deals 1100 damage? With new weapons and items coming out there is a chance that this can be corrected. A new hope can be brought to all! Will people who PvP and the people who just toil in the game with a solid small group of 5-10 friends now be able to compete on the same level?
We can also look forward to new groups coming into power. I think the level cap raise should happen in all MMORPGs! Now the groups and guilds that joined late have a chance to push forward and press the top guilds to be the best. The best will have to work harder to show they have what made them #1 in the beginning. It could have a chance to bring back new life to servers and a renewed excitement we haven't seen since the opening few months.
The Arena system sounds like it will reward small close knit groups who work together. Isn't that what an RPG is all about anyway? Forming that group and setting off on conquest? Well, now we can hope that this new system will let your groups do just that, and also segregate it based on Gear/Stat points and levels.
With new levels come new spells and abilities. We have seen Blizzard add spells to classes that already should have been in the game to balance and flush out the talent trees. Warriors can now "protect " group mates, mages can finally summon elementals, druids get more CC and priests get newer and more innovative ways to heal. Although it looks like the game is becoming a who can deal the most damage to whom the fastest, I still have hope that the game will evolve with each expansion and grow. This is a major step in the right direction.
Blizzard can expand the game to have more landmass, more quests, more enemies and encounters that will require puzzle solving and cunning AI as they get harder. Imagine having fun instead of grinding the same mobs five hours a night for two months? Imagine having more innovative player versus player combat? Remember the first game of Warcraft you played it back in 1992? Creating your army and sending it into the city of your rival and burning things to ashes or defending against attacks as your heed the calls of your peasants. "We're being attacked!" Rumor has it that neutral towns and outdoor player versus player action will be a part of the game. Not just in the Southshore versus Tarren Mill scenario; but actual conquering of towns and regions, actual playing, actual fun, actual creativity, and hopefully in the end, actual Warcraft.