Tobold's Blog
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Adding new classes and races to WoW

I've been critical towards the idea of adding new classes to World of Warcraft in the past. The problem is that it is hard to imagine a class adding a completely new function to the gameplay. We'll still have tanking, damage dealing, healing, and support functions (like buffing or crowd control). Why add a new healing class, or new dps class, if there are already plenty of those? The same is true for new races, besides enabling Horde paladins and Alliance shamans the new draenei and blood elf races didn't add much new functionality to the game.

But saying that new classes or races don't add much to the depth of a game misses an important point: new classes and races add a lot to the breadth of a game. Lord of the Rings Online has 4 races in 3 newbie zones. World of Warcraft started with 8 races in 6 newbie zones and now has 10 races in 8 newbie zones. The advantage for replayability is obvious. As long as a new race comes with it's own new lore, new newbie zone, and new quests, it is a valuable addition to the game. Most people liked the draenei and blood elves, because their starting areas had a lot of new and interesting quests, actually often more varied than the quests in the original starting zones.

New classes could do something similar. Maybe it isn't such a bad idea to have a monk class, even if as melee dps class with low armor it wouldn't be all that different from a rogue. But people who liked one character class and are starting an alt because they don't enjoy the end-game often are looking for something not so different from what they already played. You can always invent slight variations in the way special abilities work, and give the monk some sort of zen power instead of mana or energy. And often much of the attraction of a class is in the looks. I played a friar in Dark Age of Camelot, and his combat maneuvers just looked cool. So maybe some other players would like to play a necromancer with skeletons instead of a warlock with demons, even if they wouldn't play all that different from one another. Adding more content to a game is never wrong.
A Vivendi rep already acknowledged that Blizzard was going to add at least one new class to WoW. I hope it's something traditional and not too weird, but knowing Blizzard...

My choices would be Monks and Rangers.

Yep, the old standbys.

What can I say; I'm nostalgic.
Necromancers, pleeeaaase!
What Wow should have done is set up each starting area so that you could level to 50 completely within your faction other than instances. Then it would be possible to level 8 characters entirely with different sets of quests.

In the end that was what killed the game for me. I got bored with my main but I couldn't stand doing the same quests all alone on azeroth so I quit. Sometimes I miss the game but he thought of leveling a new character through all the old content on a lonely sterile Azeroth is more than enough to send me back outside again.
Necromancers as an additional pet class would be interesting, particularly if one could "tame" their skeletal charges from fallen humanoids. I mean, having an enslaved murloc zombie would be brilliant, wouldn't it? The taming couldn't be as easy as it was made in Guild Wars, where creatures of bone were simply wrested from any available corpse. There would have to be risk, like when a hunter tames a beast. Perhaps wrestling the spirit form of the fallen one-on-one, leaving the necro's body vulnerable during the fight.

As far as news races go, isn't the people's choice obvious?
I doubt we'll see any new races and maybe they don't need to introduce new classes. They could always go with Hero Classes which could compensate for not releasing new classes in the next expansion.
I think Blizzard should first increase the number of chars allowed on a server, the current limit is already too low and adding more types of races/classes would make the problem even worse...

I read a suggestion about a "Runelord", think pala buffs without healing... just a guy who runs around and uses runs on everything - weapons, armor, ground (party), and mobs. Sounds like an interesting idea.
Does Warcraft lore allow for necromancers? It's probably easier to add a new class to WoW than it is for a game like LotRO.
I've always missed a good summoner in World of Warcraft, you know, something that can summon multiple mobs and doesn't himself do much at all (kinda like a summoner necromancer in Diablo 2 was). It would suretainly vary from other classes in WoW and I think they could add some nice stuff to the gameplay (imagine the effect of totems on 10 summons as opposed to 1 rogue). Would be bad for pvp though I suppose because multiple "necromancers" in a BG would lag the heck out of people. :)
I have wanted necromancers a la Diablo 2 since release day. Unfortunately, all necromancers are, to the best of my knowledge, worshippers of the Lich King. Since the Lich King is a great villain of the game, I don't see necromancers ever happening.
I'm a fan of new races. The balancing issue that's bound to come up in PVP is solved pretty easily if you just have a couple racial abilities. Plus I enjoy playing alts, and a little change of scenery is always great.

New classes is completely different, in my opinion. With the focus on PVP in WoW (yuck), there has to be a very careful balance between every class... much more so than if it were a purely PVE game. Because I would rather have the developers spend more time on PVE than PVP, I don't think adding a completely new class would be a good idea. Plus I've heard bad things about adding new classes in other games... didn't the new EQ classes pretty much make the old ones obsolete?

I do like the idea of hero classes though. They'd be similar enough to their base classes that class balancing probably wouldn't be too much more work than it is now, and it would (hopefully) add something new to the game.
I'd have to agree that adding a new class would be very good for business. But hand in hand with it, Blizzard would need to add new mid level content along with low lvl content, imo. Otherwise most people will just stop around lvl 20, especially the people who weren't interested in the new class. However, once the content exploring is over, the balancing becomes the name of the game once again, and that headache just increased decisively.
Blizzard's arrogance was rewarded. TBC only offered 30 levels of new content, and 20 levels of that were newbie.

I took advantage of the 10 day free trial and leveled a blood elf to 20, but had no intention of either buying the expansion or resubscribing. The min my 20th level blood elf mage received the quest to head on over to hillsbrad, my interest immediately ended.

I simply have zero interest in leveling up a new character in one of the zones that I've already repeatedly done that in.
Personally if I were Blizzard and I was to release a new character class I would offer up a new character slot for all existing players for a small nominal fee.... he he

The I would add something both factions could play and probably go with a good ole standby of mmorpgs, the monk.

Then at the same time drop in the hero classes as promised originally at release and give those who have multiple characters at lvl 70 something to aim for before they start moving on to other games due to max lvl / raid burn out ...
Blizzard might look to Diablo for class inspiration, but that might muck up future plans to develop a Diablo mmorpg.

Prediction, btw.

Blizzard will offer a premium subscription service for Diablo 3, which will be free to all WoW subscribers.
I'm actually leveling a shaman and made it to 50 so far. It is a real chore and only because there is an overall drought to do anything else is why I'm at it.

Blizzard seriously needs to do a number of things with a new level cap and a new class/race:

Speed up the leveling game 1-60/70/80 considerably, and add plenty of new content.

So far post lvl 20 I have counted less than 5 new quests. There should have been 3-5 new quests per zone...

But honestly I think blizz doesn't have enough man-power on all the things that need to happen to do things right... just look at the consumables disaster and the raiding setup and the end-game... there isn't enough development time to go around, because the game is running and you can't spend an extra year or two...

I for one can't see myself leveling a new race/class to 80 from scratch... it's too insane a proposition without a lot of helping by the designers.
Plenty of quest sub 60 - as long as you know where to look. The problem is that many of them are part of quest strings that require some research to hunt down.

Thotbott can list quest by level. Sometimes you'll need to track down the preliminary quest in order to get things going.

Good luck.
I don't think a new class/race is a good idea.

A lot of people played at least one alt in Calssic or BC. Once you've left the starting zones, there is nearly no reason to go on than the leveling itself. You know most of the quests, the zones, the instances. More race/class choices are great for new players, but blizz has to keep its existing customers playing WoW, instead of switching to WAR, Conan etc. where all the content is still "fresh".

It's stupid to create new midlevel content when 80% of your players reached the levelcap months ago, and you don't want all of them to play new the panda necromancer.
New classes/races could work only work if blizzard would provide a way to skip the midlevel content, starting with level 50 or 60.

- Ben
to be honest blizzard is dragging its feet with regards to expansions and with 80 % of the population (guess) at 60 + they need to pull a rabit out of the arse or they will start loosing subscribers by the bucket load as better alternatives come out ... WAR for example ... however this is blizzard so maybe they will announce something this time next year. Makes me wonder if blizzard is really the right company to maintain a mmorpg, knowing how notoriously slow they are ...
It's easy, blizzard should make the leveling of 1-58 faster, like in one month, playing more or less casually. TBC was more of a reset on the game and everybody started it more or less equally so it really doesn't matter.

As for bypassing lots of content or making it less challenging i say: so?

How many more times must Onyxia die? What i mean is, if the Lore is pushed forward, why do we have the same static instances, characters, bosses, etc..

Anyway, by making leveling from 1-60 faster that will add replay value and will keep lots of players in the game. I for once am leveling a priest in order to play with a horde guild (my main is alliance) and they are currently in mags but by the time i enter the outlands they will be finishing black temple... mind you, i play about 2 hours a day, 4 to 5 fi i'm raiding, so i can hardly be called a casual.
As an EQ1 veteran, I would just die to have had Enchanters, Bards and Monks in WoW as these classes are unbelievably complex and nice classes. Great addition if done done right. Also I never liked the mage-can-do-all class definition, I liked the powerful wizard (destruction spells) and the mage (pet class) as the master of elements.

The problem with WoW is today, that they failed to offer specialised classes - they could not, due to the F****** PvP/PvE balancing. Imagine a lvl 70 enchanter AoE mesmerizing half a battleground, or a lvl 70 Wizard/Necro/Monk/Rogue, just tearing apart everything he has in range, or a holy Pala just being unkillable by less than 10 people.

WoW has too many class features mixed into single classes.Why on earth can a mage sheep opponents? Although it is funny, I don't like it in the class definition. Then again, with WoW and their dungeons being incredbly easy, a real enchanter is just not necessary. Anyone remember breaking the camps deep in Sebilis or even Lower Guk? It required perfect Crowd Control and skill in order to keep the spawn rotation right for hours. In WoW you go in, kill everything and loot the endboss. :)

I still play and like WoW, also because it is so accessible and can be a game for a casual playing style, if someone wants it like that, but I really loved some of the features and classes in EQ1, and I think EQ1 was better in the latter. And even LOTRO has a point with Player vs. Monster PvP. Although I sometimes like to PvP in WoW because humans are simply the better opponents. *sigh* :)

Thanks for the great Blog, keep it up!
I would like to see some new races like birds or waterpeople, or pirates and indians... Then they can build a city in the clouds and a city underwater plus new quests here. Or a timeportal or stargate to new planets with alien environments. Maybe they can also add new professions like a constructor and a woodcutter. Then you can build houses and villages and maybe start new colonies in different lands. I would like to see a house in the trees for my druid lol. And some new pets like a black unicorn and a flying pegasus as a new mount.
ill try and adress everything; the aim in WoW is to reach the level cap and if they increase the cap again it will take months to reach it. people will start getting bored with the game. blizz has already explored the adding new content option and has discovered that once at lvl 20 its back to the main areas. adding new classes would be too much work for blizz it would take years. i think that for blizz to keep in business they will have to create a new attraction for wow FAST. eg. new continants or wow2??
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