Tobold's Blog
Monday, February 05, 2007
 
How the World of Warcraft has shrunk

We call the Burning Crusade an "expansion", which suggests that the World of Warcraft is bigger now. But that is only true if you just measure the landmass. In actual gameplay I can't help the feeling that the World of Warcraft has shrunk.

A major part of the problem is that after level 60 there is no real reason to go back to the old world again, except for two new dungeons and the class trainers. Most of the travelling I do now is across Outland, a single continent, and one that isn't very elongated. From a central point, like Shattrath, you can get anywhere very quickly. I only go back to Orgrimmar whenever I level up and have to train, but as soon as I hit level 70 I'll only have to go back to the old world if I want to visit the Caverns of Time or Karazhan. There isn't an auction house in Outland, but I simply mail items back and forward to a bank alt, I don't travel back to the old world for the auction house. So while previously my daily travelling spanned two continents, I'm now down to one.

Related to this is the fact that the Burning Crusade shortened travel times. Me, and everybody else (I would think) is now bound in Shattrath. From there every point of the old and new world is very fast to reach, with portals to all other cities and flight paths. Getting to the Caverns of Time yesterday from Zangarmarsh (heartstone to Shattrath, portal to Thunderbluff, flight to Gadgetzan) was faster than it would have been for me before, as I was previously bound in Undercity, and taking the zeppelin from there isn't that fast. And of course for any instance only the two people closest to it actually have to travel, and they can then use the meeting stone to summon the others. At level 70 people will get flying mounts, which could speed up travelling even further in some situations, even if the normal flying mount is slower than a epic ground mount.

The net result of all these "improvements" is that you spend less time travelling, and more time playing. Which in a way is a good thing. But the size of a world as you feel it depends on how long it takes you to cross it. And by that count the World of Warcraft is a lot smaller now than it was before.
Comments:
I agree with you.

It would have been nice to have 1-2 65-70 Areas added to Azeroth, to keep people more active in Azeroth as well.

However, if you look the World from the Viewpoint of a low-level character, it's much huger than before.

Apart of that, if you were level 60 ,you would'nt go thru level1-40 Areas anymore that often, so what was left was the long flights, and a few areas that were of interest for a level 60, which might been about 20% of the whole world.

I wish for the next expansion new Areas that spawn from level 1 to 70 (a new continent) additionally with 2 new classes and a few new additions for level 70.

If Blizz does only add level 70-80 areas next time, the leveling up of twinks will be not as interesting as it can be with new areas, and if they will be new classes, many people would love new twinks.
 
I just succumbed to the expansion, reactivating my account after a long break. But before I installed BC, I played around with my old characters to try to remember how to play.

But everywhere was empty. Not completely empty, but sort of like a shopping mall after Christmas. The crowds have passed.

And I can see why now. The loot in Outland is such a step up that there's no point in doing any of the high end content in Azeroth. I barely scratched Silithus before, but I see no reason to go there now.

Even the new starting areas are pretty quiet I guess they were crowded for a while, but it didn't take long to do them all for most people. I wonder how many BE or Draenei characters will get through Stranglethorn Vale before their players get too bored...

I would have liked some 20-60 content added. As a casual player, that's the stuff I enjoyed the most.
 
Tobold,
On your point about mount speed and travel times, my wife and I ran a little experiment last night. I used my Gryphon and she used her epic Tiger, to go to Shadow Labrynth from Shattrath.

She moves faster, but I dont have to deal with dorrs and ramps in the city, trees, mobs, and other obsticles, nor did I have to deal with the drop into Auch.

I beat her by about two minutes. Flying makes everything faster.
 
I really think the new content was well done. People explain the BC loot as if it outdates the pre-BC loot completely, which it does from a 60+ perspective . . .
However, If you are looking to blast through the content of the game to hit the 70 cap you will get that feeling no matter how Blizzard adds any content.

My palidan has taken 3-4 days to go from 60-61 and for the most part I have got rid of at least half of the gear I was currently using. If I was still in azeroth doing a MC runs or AQ or ETC, this would be extreme success as far as a gear standpoint goes...

Where I am going w/ this: The game is just too easy now to satisfy the HXCORE G4m3rz and obviously bliz has taken the casual gamer into consideration with this patch. I love it so far as because in comparison i wasnt enjoying devoting 6 hrs of my time to raids that might possibly give me a 1/40 chance at a blue item I need to complete a raid set. NO TYX>

There does need to be some tweaking to this patch. The expansion has done 2 very terrible things to the original contect as far as playability goes...
There needs to be a profitable/gearable/questable/sociable reason to do the 50-60 dungeons because the players now at those lvls have a very large portion of that content essentially stolen by the portion of ppl that play BC areas instead. For a new player, might be plenty of reason to just stop playing at lvl 54 if you actually prefered non-questing and doing instances with other ppl.
 
I think i'll be a lil'off topic.

With the new instances being a lot more difficult than say scholo or strat, i got the feeling that the new gear is needed anyway. I replaced all my shadow priest gear but i'm not "destroying" every instances. In fact, im wiping more than ever on bosses (1st and 3rd boss in mana tomb for example)
 
You know, my heart kind of sunk when I read this post because - even though I have only seen a fraction of Outland - my instincts told me that Toby was right.

As a confirmed casual gamer I genuinely appreciate how teh BC looks to be catering to my playstyle - on the other hand one thing I love about a MMORPG is the BIG BIG BIG feeling about it. That it really is another world you can get lost in.

It's all about psychology. SWG was 10 times the geographical size of EQ, but felt 10 times as small. As much fun as I had playing Hellfire Citadel last night and the end of the evening I did find it a bit strange that it was - quite literally - just a stone's throw from Honor Hold.

It was almost like being in Mayberry in Andy Griffith show. "Go on 'yonder 'crosst the street and whoop ass on them Fel Orc fellers for me would 'ya now? Oh and tell Aint BEE 'ah 'sed 'hah!"

Maybe I'm pre-judging and I haven't seen enough yet - but I do know that the idea of going back and farming lowbie mobs for fun or exploring the old areas all over again sounds preferable to feeling like WoW shrunk.
 
I dropped all my BRD and scholo/strat EPL WPL quests completely without evening thinking twice of going back. Which is kind of terrible since some of them I already spent time trying to complete. The effort to finish them, sort of out of sync of BC just wasnt worth it in comparison to the time/reward scenario of hellfire/honor hold area.

I do also get the feeling that the new area Ive come to feels kind of small as if its like an instanced version of the big old kalimdor/azeroth continents.
 
Outland is small?

I feel like Outland is bigger than any old area in Azeroth.

Maybe it's just because I'm forced into new areas instead of zeppelin to Grom'Gol, zeppelin to UC, zeppelin to Orgrimmar.

And flying a non-epic mount will make you appreciate the flight paths even more.
 
Well, I'm pleased by the changes. Being able to have my hearthstone set in Shattrah City and get to and from Stormwind, or the other Alliance cities, and all the points in the Outlands is great!

I can see your point about the world feeling smaller as a result, but I won't go back to the old way of doing things. The world may feel big if it takes 10 minutes to fly from Stormwind to the Eastern Plaguelands, but what's the point? All I'll do, after the second or third time of making the flight, is let my character fly as I go off to do something better with my time.

That's not even taking in to account the updated gryphons. I'm sure you remember when all the flight points weren't connected, and you had to make several separate flights to get to the high-level zones from any major city. I'd still wander off and do things whilst my character was flying, but I'd have to check back every couple of minutes to start the next leg of the flight. It was tedious, and I'm glad that was changed.

Simply put, travelling is tedious. There are highlights, like first getting a mount, or taking a ship/zeppelin, but those novelties wear off quickly. And once an area has been explored enough to have completed all the quests with more than one character you just want to get to your destination more than enjoying the scenery. This is a game after all, and until travelling is made more like Mario Kart I'll prefer to get to where the action is sooner rather than later.

So, yeah, the world may feel a bit smaller because the travel times have been reduced. It's the same with the real world too, with aeroplanes; it doesn't take six weeks to cross the Atlantic any more, and people don't complain about that. It's not a bad thing, as it means we can get to our friends and to exciting places cheaply and more easily, and opens up more possibilities, particularly when our free time is scarce. When you're out there and exploring, you can still see just how big the world is, and it helps you appreciate the time-savings of the improved transportation even more.
 
I like the new "smaller" world.

For one thing, the world is smaller for the higher levels. My level 43 alt is not able to reach Shattrath City, so Azeroth is still 'large' to her.

But when a level 40 friend needed my level 61 main's blacksmithing skills, it was a quick flight to Shattrath, a portal to UC where he was waiting, some clinks of the blacksmith hammer, and a hearth back to the Outland. I love it.

I just wish I'd had that option back when I was passing between Un'garo Crater and Winterspring on trans-world quest lines...
 
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