Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Pokemon and Farmville

There was a lot of information this weeks about the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria, which I am not going to discuss in detail. I just want to discuss two features, already decried as "Pokemon" and "Farmville". Although the details are still sketchy and much might still change, it is foreseen that there will be a feature in which you can do battles using your pets. And you will have some sort of a farm, with daily quests to tend it.

Now I don't expect too much of these features. I would really love to play a REAL Pokemon MMORPG, based on the elemental strengths and weaknesses of the original game. But I'm pretty sure that MoP pet battles won't be as elaborate as that. And having a farm in WoW will probably still be far from what you'd expect from a "player housing" feature.

But I would like to state that features like this are a good addition to the game, because they increase the "world" aspect of World of Warcraft. They aren't on the critical path to ultimate power, but instead add alternative activities for people who aren't all that interested in ultimate power and just want to live in a fun virtual world. Although she is now playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, my ultra-casual wife is still playing World of Warcraft from time to time to do things like collecting pets or doing fishing quests. And she complains that SWTOR doesn't have many of those "world" features.

World of Warcraft has lost some of the "world" feeling by the extreme progress acceleration the leveling game has undergone. Blizzard basically wants to keep "time to level cap" constant, but that has weird effects if the level cap is 90 instead of 60. It's like watching a film in 1.5x fast forward mode, you can still follow the story but everything is somewhat weird and distorted. And by rushing through the zones at high speed you end up being less familiar with them than you were when doing them during vanilla. Note that this acceleration is *not* something the casual players requested, it was done at the request of the people who think the game starts at the level cap who wouldn't accept that every expansion pushed that level cap further away.

So everything Blizzard adds which makes the game feel more like the World of Warcraft instead of the Rush to Power of Warcraft is very welcome indeed. Jokes about Pokemon and Farmville notwithstanding.
Bliz should have left rhe leveling speed unchanged but allow people to start at higher levels IF they got a level cap character on the same account.
@Teut: I agree. I do have a feeling that "insta-boosted-to-level-80" characters may come in the future though.
I read criticisms from the 1337 crowd about Pokemon and childish and WoW for kids. My guess is that Pokemon is more likely to appeal to a mother of a ten-year old than a ten-year old.
The "world" part of WOld of Warcraft is long gone. These are just new machines in the arcade parlour. I think WoW is done in the sense that they will simply try to maintain the cash cow as long as possible without any expensive changes to the game and that will probably become painfully evident when Blizzard releases Titan.
When it comes to leveling speed and increased level cap, I like what they did with the last LOTRO-expansion: Pre-order came with an equippable item that gives +25% xp, up to the old level cap. I don't see why they can't make some kind of optional increased leveling speed in WoW as well with expansions, instead of the current model.
No comments on Diablo 3 release date anouncement or anything? O_O
For a casual player it would be difficult to measure how the increase in leveling speed decreases their satisfaction with the game. There are so many ways to experience old content via: 1)Archaeology, 2) focusing achieevements, 3) exploration, 4) doing old content with a higher level toon.
Please remember, that the huge majority of new toons that get rolled when MOP drops will be those on one of the existing 10million accounts. They'll want to experience the new content not painfully rehash what they have already done on 5 or 10 other toons.
No comments on Diablo 3 release date anouncement or anything?

Why would that announcement necessitate any comment? Since Blizzard first said that they wouldn't make the previously estimated Q1 2012 release date, a date in the second quarter of the year was on top of the list of probabilities. That it is May 15 instead of a month earlier or later is of no import whatsoever.
I do think any MMO that adds levels in expansions does have a time to level cap problem at some point. Certainly friends of mine that joined in Wrath were worried about it prior to buying. So I do think it is an issue Blizzard needs to address. While reducing the XP per level as they have done is the simplest solution, I think it actually messes things up for the leveler as you have mentioned. The question is what could be done instead? If we assume that it is a problem, and we further assume their solution is a bad one, what other solutions can we come up with?
Leveling speed is one small part of the problem..the big part is the 1-button smash fest that leveling have become...

No need to search for gear upgrades, no need to press more than 1-2 buttons and generally no absolute need to have a basic idea of your character.I miss the old days were you were using all of your skills while leveling...stuns, cc, kite, interrupts wasn't only for pvp, but for leveling too..

they add more dailies and they think that they will built again the virtual
I'd prefer Hello Kitty Island Adventures, personally.
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