Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
 
Content distribution

I had a lot of fun in World of Warcraft this weekend, leveling up my paladin from 68 to 71. I found that the Dungeon Finder would let me do random Wrath of the Lich King normal dungeons starting from level 69, so I ended up getting my first emblem of triumph before even reaching level 70, which given the fact that you can't use them before level 80 is somewhat silly. But compared to the really, really bad loot Blizzard hands out as reward for the random Burning Crusade dungeons, the emblems are an improvement.

Anyway the reason I had so much fun was that I moved to Northrend at level 69, and found that in Wrath of the Lich King Alliance has a lot of quests that Horde doesn't have (and vice versa). Big improvement over Burning Crusade, where nearly every quest had a carbon copy on the other faction, or was a neutral quest for both sides. But landing in Howling Fjord as Alliance for the first time starts you right with a bunch of quests in an area Horde never goes to. And later, in Dragonblight, I even got a quest with a cutscene showing how Arthas found Frostmourne, a sequence that Horde doesn't get at all. So right now I'm highly motivated to visit all the Alliance-only places of Northrend and see a different side of that expansion.

Having said that, I did notice that I skipped a huge amount of content of the Burning Crusade while leveling past 70. And I realized that the same had happened at level 60. The thing is that content in World of Warcraft is not distributed evenly over the levels. Blizzard is very well aware of the fact that it takes them on average 2 years to release an expansion, while even slow players can reach the level cap in a few months. Thus a majority of players for the majority of the time of an expansion will find themselves at the level cap, and Blizzard needed to provide a lot more content at levels 60, 70, and 80 than at the other levels.

Only that once the next expansion comes out, people aren't stuck at 60, 70, or after Cataclysm 80 any more. When you reach a previous level cap, there is a huge amount of content for that level available. But unless you would lock your xp at that level for a while (and who would do that?) you're going to level past that content before you have seen even half of it. Or, due to every expansion bringing mudflation, with much better items in the new content for the same level as the previous level cap, people move to the next expansion before even having hit the level cap in the previous one.

Worst hit are raid dungeons. There simply aren't any regular level 60 or 70 raids any more, thus Molten Core at 60 or Karazhan at 70 just aren't going to happen. Also eliminated are heroic dungeons, because a normal level 70 WotLK dungeon gives better rewards than a heroic level 70 BC dungeon. Even the normal dungeons for levels near the level cap end up not all being visited, my paladin certainly missed half of the level 68-70 BC dungeons. Then of course there is all the non-dungeon level cap content, areas full of daily quests and reputation to gather, which aren't going to be used by somebody leveling past. I didn't visit Skettis or the Isle of Quel'Danas with my pally, and I doubt once the next expansion is coming out many people will do the Argent Tournament.

In short, by their slow expansion cycle Blizzard ends up producing a lot of content which isn't going to be used once the next expansion hits, not even by new players or alts leveling up. Maybe they should recycle more of the stuff, like they did with Naxxramas. Have all the old raids be available in a version in which the mobs are upgraded to the current level cap, but drop only emblems, or, even cooler, their old epics in a bind-on-account version.
Comments:
Decreasing XP/quest and XP/monster would also help. This way, due to slower leveling, you either farm monsters (boring) or visit different content. It would still be better to quest in shadowmoon at lvl 70.5 than grind in borrean to reach 71 and be able to go dragonblight.
 
Karazahn for level 80s! My Guild would absolutely pay for that as DLC. They are making HC versions of SFK and the Deadmines, why not upgrade everyones favorite 10man to level 80??? /drool
 
Do we really want to do the lvl 80 instances which we've done a hundred times before when the new expansion hits?
I don't mind that that content isn't available anymore.

But after a while it's fun to redo content. I wouldn't mind raiding Zul Gurub again. Or maybe we'll see the endgame TBC raids revamped. How many players did those?
 
@Anonymous: pay for content is just as silly as pay for gold. Only M&S do it.
 
Actually, I think the Argent Tournament will continue to get some use (but not a LOT, probably) for two reasons. The minor reason, is that it's a good way to get city reps. The major reason is that the buyable rewards include pets and mounts, which don't become obsolete.

The tournament dailies start opening up at 77, so they're available before what is likely to be the minimum for Cataclysm expansion zones, too.
 
>their old epics in a bind-on-account version.

Love it.

Even as a HARDxCORE raider I've still re-run all the old raids just for fun and nostalgia.

Reusing this content is great.

Naxx and Onyxia worked out wonderfully, do want more!
 
I love the boa-loot idea. Maybe have a switch between original and current level, so people who want to raid at the appropriate level can still do that?
 
I think alot of people used to the new content would gripe about making things like Kara level 80. That stuff was hard! and some of it even required people knowing how to play their class. Who wants that?
 
The Burning Crusade heroic dungeons are a quick way to build reputation with specific factions.

I see some advertised in trade channel every day on Ravencrest.
 
@Gevlon,

Paying for content is exactly what you're doing when paying your monthly subscription.... therefore by extension of the premise that only M&S would pay for more content, you have may have just labelled yourself
 
Due to much faster leveling there is now too much content at 70, 60, 50 ... for ONE character, but it is just enough for a couple chars.

I recently leveled another toon and skipped a lot of content. BC i only did Hellfire, half of Zangar, Nagrand, half of Blade's Edge. Then too Northrend where i did complete Fjord, only Drak Tharon prequests in Grizzly, half Zuldrak, all the faction quests for Argent+Knights in Icecrown and now the toon is 80.

The next char could very well level from 60-80 without ever doing a single quest the last one did.

Old content with fast leveling is great for leveling multipe characters without being bored.
 
I would enjoy re-making old content for level-cap, like they did with Naxx and Ony and like they will do for SFK & DM. Reason? I haven't played for years and years, I'm fairly new. I didn't run DM 100 times. People I know don't run TBC raids anymore, so I have no idea what those look like.

I think that some who have played a long time think everyone has experienced the same things as they have, which is simply not true. I hear about this and that (hard or easy, I don't care), it would be nice to experience these things for myself in a "non-farming for alts" sort of way.
 
Glad to hear that there is Alliance specific Northrend content for my alt. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
 
"But compared to the really, really bad loot Blizzard hands out as reward for the random Burning Crusade dungeons"

Heh, it was good loot back in the days...

Seriously, the current top-heavy model of WoW has its disadvantages, in particular the trivialisation of non-max level content, but it's very hard to see how Blizzard can escape from it. Maybe for their next MMO they will try to plan a better way of catering for multiple expansions, or perhaps some other company will figure it out.

The current model has advantages too - every expansion resets the game, in a sense, as new players can catch up with those who have current raid gear.

Maybe some sort of periodic total reset, combined with major changes to current content at all levels, and perhaps an heirloom item-like system, is the way forward. It could be that Blizzard are thinking a little along these lines with the DCataclysm design.
 
Heh, it was good loot back in the days...

You misunderstood me. The random loot dropping from bosses not only was good back in the days, but still is good. Where Blizzard made a blunder was with the extra reward for completing a random dungeon, the satchel of helpful goods containing a random blue item. That random blue item is good loot up to level 60, but then they kept the iLevel of the blue item from the satchel going linearly up with your level. Due to the BC loot being significantly higher in iLevel, that results in you receiving a blue item with a much lower iLevel than the other loot you'll find from the satchel of helpful goods. Not helpful at all.
 
@ShittyGoblin/Fake Gevlon

So then only M&S buy expansions?

You have to have rewards at the lower content to drive people to it. In EQ alot of people had a 51/52 alt for Naggy/Vox for the gear and quest items that dropped.
 
They've mentioned this before on forum posts/releases. They want to keep the time to level-cap roughly the same from expansion to expansion, so leveling ends up being quicker.

They've also mentioned that they're fine with having old content be obsoleted.

Personally? While I think retooling Kara for lev 80 would be cool for nostalgia's sake it doesn't really add anything to the expansion. If you were around pre-wrath you probably ran it countless times for gear/badges. If you weren't, then other than lore, there's no compelling reason to run that more than once.

If people really want to run those instances/dungeons, there's nothing stopping them. They just have to find 4/9/24 people that feel the same way and want to run them. I don't think its fair to artificially slow down leveling to try to keep those instances relevant.

I say go the opposite way, turn those large raids into smaller 5-mans, update the gear to 5-man heroic mode. That way for everyone that wants to see it, in some form, can. For those that don't they can be skipped without feeling like they "missed out" on so much content.
 
I wonder if in the next expansion, Blizzard will drop the levels you're allowed to use emblems at to 70. I think with the next expansion, the 80's will all be rushing to get the new gear(if there is any) and this means they'll either cancel the current emblem gear or just reduce the lvl requirements
 
I honestly don't know how much I miss by not seeing all the content and doing all the quests. Like you say, most quests are the same, kill x, collect y. And I can't remember reading a quest text since week 2.
Josh
 
I have read here and there that maybe the next expansion would only give 5 levels.

I like that idea because 5 levels would likely make the more difficult 80 content like ICC & ToGC still relevant for awhile at level 85. It would also give a second step to gearing up if they improved the loot to outgear lvl 85greens.

Maybe not allow XP so people don't miss the new questlines?

It would allow many of us casuals the opportunity to see instances that were out of our reach while they still had some decent rewards for us.
 
I am playing WAR right now, and the situation is similar. I do a lot of RvR so I often find that I have out leveled the corresponding PvE content. This is because they wanted PvE or RvR to be a viable way to level. Even so, I do the quests for the story line and not the experience, so you most certainly can see all of the content if you choose to see it.

Furthermore, I am trending away from the "grab all the quests at once and go out and do them" because I find that I don't follow the quest lines that way, and instead end up forgetting exactly why I am doing what I am doing. That is part of what is killing what little story there is in MMOs.

It's like reading several chapters in the same book all at the same time, but skipping around between them a paragraph at a time.

Case in point. I was given one of those travel quests that started in the Elven T2 zone. I actually went all over the place doing somewhat standard kill this collect that sort of things. The quest mechanics themselves were unremarkable, with the exception of a magical barrier puzzle, which was kind of neat. However, paying attention to the actual story behind it made it fun for me, and I started to remember those older RPG games that had this sense of exploration and adventure behind their quests. "Travel to the lands of men and seek out the ancient prophet..." I realized that I had removed part of that mystery, by skipping the story and focusing on the numbers (XP, gear reward etc.)

I also don't think these sorts of story telling devices (the quest) are effective while socializing. You CAN read a book while talking to people and typing, but you don't get immersed in it. You might as well be reading the menu at a restaurant while making polite conversation!


Some of these issues can be improved by Game developers. They can make more interesting and challenging quests, they can pace the content (but not too much because then complaints of "too long to level!" surface). They can give rewards that are not quite so level specific (like your badges at the lower level dungeons).

However some of it has to be improved by players themselves. If everything is broken down into XP per hour, or the next piece of loot, then you lose some of the sense of story to the game and then they might as well not bother with that whole expensive time consuming world and lore building.

The best written tale in the world can't be told well if it is simply skimmed "yeah yeah yeah, when do I get to raid Mordor for Sauron's socks?" It's sort of like skipping the middle bit of a book to read the ending, because that is where you see the value and then complaining that the book wasn't long enough.

I went through each zone in WoW, because I was interested in the story and character of those zones. The overall character of each zone was well crafted and the quests were integral to telling that zone's story. I often did the quests when they were gray. The only thing I out leveled, was the challenge, and there were always more challenges to be had once I had cleared the "gray" quests.
 
I found that the Alliance questing content was better than Horde's in WotLK (I found Horde's slightly better in TBC, namely because of the Greatmother quest chain).

Make sure to do the Thassarian quest chain in Borean Tundra, starts with a quest called "Word on the Street".

Content becoming obsolete is an end-result of having an ever-evolving world. Developers only have so much time to work, and players only have so much time to play, and for the most part both would rather focus on new content than old.
 
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Forgive me, but the cutscene showing how Arthas found Frostmourne is indeed available to Horde players.
 
For the love of God, please prohibit the geek who copied Gevlon's name from posting under that faked name. I'm all for very limited moderation, but this guy is double trolling. He should be shot in his face while sleeping, IMHO.

Not only does the guy act as a huge troll, he is specifically derailing the thread by getting people to respond to him as if he is Gevlon.

Smurfing someone's name seems like a PERFECT reason to actually out and out ban him from your comment section. He has proven that he is just trolling, and not putting anything worthwhile forward.

I don't usually mind troll posts, but this guy is going above and beyond that by acting like Gevlon. I'm sure he is really mad at Gevlon and all, but seriously, it's an absolute waste of your commenting space.

See MY post for one more example of how the idiot pretending to be Gevlon is just ruining your comment section.

I hope you adopt a limited moderation approach so that we can have real-time conversations through the comments (see my comment in that thread) but I'd much rather have your delayed moderation than deal with this Gevion smurfing idiot ruining your comment section single-handedly.

Commentators might know it now from your posts, but a week from now...two weeks from now, this Gevion idiot is just going to ruin the comments. Seriously, ban him or stop the smurfing of Gevlon's name.

And I don't read Gevlon's blog either. This isn't me being a white knight for him.
 
Tobold i think you need to do some research instead of making ill informed statements you persieve as facts.
1) I'm lvl 74 and still the best gear for my level is tier6 period.
(Tier6 drops from hyjal, BT, Sunwell)
2) There are still many many pug raids of classic content 60-70 on my server
3)You get out what you put in, try
/2 lfm bt raid, you'd be surprised how many people would still go.
 
Why would I want to play at level 90 content I already ran a hundred times at level 70. Rebooting Naxx was fine because 1% of players saw it, rebooting Karazhan would be a major headache to raiders and a patent example of Blizzard scaling down their already limited "content generation" development efforts. The game is centered around people playing the current tier of content, not the few who are 1-3 tiers behind the rest.

And I see people in the 70s looking for KZ or other TBC raids all the time in trade chat. My understanding is it's still a good source of experience.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
IMO, as for raid it only fun while we finish the first or second time. After that will be equipment griding for most of the time. People do not go to old raid or instance because the items there is mostly useless today.

So for the old contents, Blizzard just need to give players reason's to come back again. Currently they tried to make old raid instance upgrade to 80 and provide us upgraded items. And it is quite successful, even they use 5 year old model. In fact people rarely care about how it looks in appearance, but how it looks in states.

In another way I have always thought about way can not Blizzard provide us a new function to combine old item models with new item states. People always like to look different with others, and by this way everyone can make their own unique appearance instead of like wearing uniforms especial after Wrath. It will make more RP sense, which we can tell someone by their waring instead of their tag floating above their head. Meanwhile people might have good reason to grid for their desired outfits.

I always want to wear my Bloodfang T2 set all the time, instead of wear it only when I AFK in Dalaran

#Edited for some miss spelling ..lol
 
All dungeons and raids should scale with the current level cap. ie there should be a level 55ish BRD and level 80 BRD (85 in Cata).

It's waste of content to have all these low level instance sitting empty and it must effect the design on newer raid content for Cata... "lets not go overbroad with Arthas because in 6 months no one will be raiding ICC"
 
I realize I am coming to this convo pretty late, and that this might have already been said... But anyways:

I am really fond of how FFXI handled expansions. After RoZ (the first expansion), they didn't raise the level cap. They did add new classes, content, areas, quests, etc. This gave players stuff to do and new areas to visit without making the old content worthless.

On a related topic: Before the recent change to the emblem system in WoW, I found myself refusing to get gear on my mage, since it would all be a waste of time once I could get emblems of Triumph from heroics. Doing that seems somewhat similar to making the content useless after an expansion... if only for gear and time put in to the game previously.
 
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