Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Confusing big with endless
My Draenei mage in the Burning Crusade beta is now level 19, and in the last corner of Bloodmyst Isle, doing the last of the new Draenei quest. When I have done them all, I'll be level 20. But there is a definitive "game over" feeling to that. This being a beta, the character will be erased when the expansion comes out. And while doing all the new quests was fun, there are no new quests between level 20 and 60 in the Burning Crusade. All the quests that my mage could still do I have already done with other characters. There is no fresh content left for him. And that makes me somewhat sad.
But looking at it objectively, that sadness is my own fault, based on a stupid expectation that World of Warcraft had endless content. Of course it hasn't, it just is very big.
By the time my mage hits level 20 and did all the quests in the new starting zones for the Draenei, he will have played over 20 hours. The single-player RPG Fable, which sold well enough, only has 10 hours of gameplay, and there are lots of other games that don't deliver more than 20 hours of content. Playing just one character through his newbie zones is already more content than many single-player games offer. My first level 60 character took 500 hours to level to 60, the next two took about 300 hours each. I don't know which single-player computer RPG is the longest, but the highest numbers I remember reading was 200 hours of gameplay for Baldur's Gate and Oblivion. And in World of Warcraft you can level about 4 characters to 60 without having done too many quests more than once. And that doesn't even begin to count the time you can spend in the more repetitive endgame. A friend of mine just clocked 1 million seconds, that is 118 days or nearly 3000 hours on his main character.
So World of Warcraft is huge, which explains the confusion. We play this for much longer than we would play a single-player game, and World of Warcraft never seems to end. There is always something new around the corner for hundreds and hundreds of hours. So the day when we actually reach the end comes as kind of a shock.
I have done over 95% of all existing quests, many of them twice or even more often. I have seen every corner in every zone, except AQ40 and Naxxramas. I have played every race, and every class to at least level 30, except for the mage who is still level 19. As much as I hate to admit it, the game is basically over, until more content gets added to it in the expansion. Its like turning the last page of the latest Harry Potter book and having the equally unattractive options of waiting for the next volume, or starting over reading the existing books again. I'm a bit at a loss about what to do next, while waiting for the Burning Crusade to come out.
I don't want to start another character, or level up one of my existing mid-level characters, because none of them has quests I haven't done yet, or could go to visit new places. I could raid, but that is getting old, and now that I've been until Nefarian I probably won't be seeing any new bosses for quite some time. I could level up my level 63 priest in the beta further, but that is basically living on borrowed time: The more content of the expansion I "consume" now, the less long will it keep me occupied in the release version. Maybe I should just take a break, install D&D Online or play single-player games until the expansion comes out.