Friday, October 19, 2012
World of Warcraft status report
As I believe that content is the purpose of a MMORPG, and not an obstacle to overcome, I don't rush. That plus time spent in other games, like XCOM, means that my World of Warcraft main still hasn't hit the level cap. He is level 89 though, which qualified him for both the Brewfest and the Halloween event dungeons. Thus I do have two level 90 (iLevel 470) epic trinkets from Coren Direbrew and two rings from the Headless Horseman. Why two each? Well, this is where the trouble starts.
I like 5-man dungeons. I also like the more casual kind of raids. Very early in my World of Warcraft career I discovered that the best way to get into a dungeon or a raid was to play a role that is less popular. I tried both tanking and healing, and ended up liking healing a lot more. So my main is a priest with holy spec and nearly 8 years of experience in group healing. I'm not claiming I'm the world's best WoW player, but I am a good healer.
Unfortunately in this expansion you cannot simply just play the content you like. As after nearly 8 years of practice I'm unlikely to still make huge steps in improving my player skill as a healer, my healing output depends very much on my gear. In previous expansions I would have been able to get better gear by just running dungeons. But in this expansion I'm already capped at 4,000 justice points and there is no way I can spend them at level 89 (unless I want to waste them to buy bad level 85 epics or heirlooms). And even once I reach level 90, I will still not be able to spend those points, or progress further by running normal dungeons. Instead I will have to grind daily quests with various factions to be able to buy justice point gear. And I would need to be stupid to do those daily quests as holy priest, I need to be shadow to kill mobs in a reasonable amount of time. That is why I'm collecting spell damage gear as well as healing gear, to speed up grinding. I am really going to miss tabards.
Ultimately that is a self-defeating game design. As Green Armadillo recently wrote, MMORPGs are increasingly forcing us to do stuff we don't like as a pre-condition of allowing us to play the stuff we actually do want to play. But when I turn on my computer and wonder what to play, that game design ends up with me thinking "oh, if I play World of Warcraft I will have to grind daily quests I don't like before I can run dungeons", while if I play some non-MMORPG game, I will be able to do the activity that I actually do want to play. Thus sooner or later I decide *not* to play WoW, and unsubscribe.
I think combining daily quests and gear progression is a bad idea. You don't need gear progression to be able to do daily quests, thus you are basically rewarded with something that only serves for a very different activity. I don't mind there being daily quests in the game, there are probably a lot of people who like them as an endgame activity. But why not make the rewards for dailies to be pets and mounts and other stuff you don't need to run heroics and raids? It is great to have many optional alternatives in a MMORPG, but stupid to make them mandatory for progression.