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Reader Comments (12)

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 10:37AM (Unverified) said

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But you know all of this going in. Besides, a system like this is truly a reflection of our society. Of course, the biggest and best HDTV is going to cost huge bucks when it first comes out. Over time, it becomes obsolete, and the price goes down. So, you have to decide; do I want the experience and the prestige/bragging rights of having an awesome home theater for a couple years and paying a ton, or do I wait until the price comes down, but it's not going to be the best one out there?

This is why I hate when people QQ about the arena season 1 being available via honor points...sure, they were good then, but they're not now. Same when any content gets nerfed (Kara, heroic keys, etc.) Sure, I can get into Hyjal now, but I don't have the "Champion of the Naaru" title, nor can I say I completed the chain...but for a period of time, you could say you were attuned, etc.

A huge part of any MMORPG is having the latest and greatest stuff. Once upon a time, everyone was saving up for epic land mounts, now, they're a dime a dozen. Life happens....

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 10:39AM (Unverified) said

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I agree with you on many levels. I have played WoW since beta and I participated in all the pre-BC raiding content Blizz released other than Naxx. When BC hit though I was not bitter about replaces my gear because I was looking forward to new content where I COULD replace and and start the "journey" again to level 70 and the end game. I am a PVE player over PVP so the rat race for new gear etc didnt bother me too much because every MMO i've played from EQ 1 to COH, it all is the same, new content, new levels = new gear. Its gonna happen and you can not be ignorant about it if you want your particular MMO to succeed and grow.

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 10:59AM (Unverified) said

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I think most people complain about how fast their equipment goes obsolete. There were very few items that retained their usefulness past 65, which is pretty absurd. Blizzard should have worked progressions so that the highest level epics pre-BC would last you until level 70 five mans, with the lower level 60 epics, lasting you less time in relation to the difficulty to obtain the item.

That big screen HD tv you bought may go down in price and may be slightly worse then a brand new one, but it still is going to be better then that crappy little 32 inch regular def tv. A level 60 tier 2 piece of armor thus should not be obsolete by a 63 green random drop

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 11:31AM (Unverified) said

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It would be great if Blizzard invented a way to upgrade a gear set rather than just replace it. I think socketed items and enchants somewhat address this issue; but what if they took it a step further. Suppose you could keep the gear you acquired in a major instance and then add to or enhance it with gear packs. The gear you got in those old instances would serve a foundation for future gear packs that you acquire in newer instances.

Adding to the old gear could not just enhance the stats, but also change the gear a bit visually so that people can immediately recognize your accomplishment. Perhaps players that bothered to get the original gear would then have a slight edge over players who got gear only by running the newest instance. That might be incentive enough for people to even return to old instances and keep them alive and valid.

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 11:34AM (Unverified) said

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This is the classic cold war between developers and players. Without a steady stream of new content, players begin to wonder what they are fighting for. With a steady stream of new content, players wonder why they should bother fighting for what they can right now. But not having something to fight for at all leads to guild drama and cancellation faster :)

The attitude of why-bother is expected though. It happened before BC and will happen before WotLK. It happened before every cap increase in EQ1 as well, and before new zones in DAoC. It's just part of the culture of the genre.

I personally liked how Blizzard handled top-tier stuff in pre-BC. If Naxx stuff worked through to 70, the only people they'd have had to reduce the quality of the BC zone drops and quest items (or increased the Naxx stuff so much everything else was completely and utterly trivial). The BC increases from outdoors and quests were so good even folks who were geared up in Tier 1 (MC) stuff were getting upgrades almost as soon as they hit 61. And they were fairly significant. Nothing says "wait til you see what you can get at *70*" like crazy increases from some random drop off a 61 Boar :)

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 12:14PM Scopique said

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I guess I'm a totally different type of player here. I've never understood why MMOs -- which are, by definition, open and "never ending" -- have something called an "end game". Considering that everyone knows that expansions are inevitable (unless the game tanks), why is it such a shock that "life goes on" after the level cap?

Personally, I play for the experience of playing, not for shiny virtual objects.

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 1:31PM (Unverified) said

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The problem is though, when you're referring to Warcraft, is that SOMETHING is working. The game is huge. If a large percent of the population got the best stuff, and it became obsolete, and that was so bad, they'd leave. But people keep coming back. Sure, it SUCKS that my T3 gloves will someday be outdated, but does that ruin my experience? I guess not...

If you look at the game like a pyramid, it sounds like people are saying, my awesome drops are falling down the pyramid too fast when the new stuff bumps everything up a level. And that's fair. Maybe it would "feel" more epic if, instead of T5 armor just dropping, you'd get an item that would upgrade the previous set. That way, you NEED the previous, pre-BC set. Of course, now you can get them out of order, and people would complain, but at least what you worked for would still be useful, even if just in spirit.

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 2:44PM (Unverified) said

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This has been a hazard for Blizzard ever since launch and it's a much deeper issue than players becoming disenfranchised because new shinies and levels are added to the game.

Blizzard chose to stake their player retention strategy on large, flashy dungeons and new cool monsters from the lore for players to slay. Sure, they put in some fun encounters, but unless you're captivated by progression for progression's sake, then endgame is just killing time. Sure you get to see new "content" but you'll note that said "content" is relatively devoid of plot and character development.

In an endgame instance you will: Adventure within difficult locations; and slay difficult monsters.

You will NOT: be faced with moral choices; You will never make any decisions at all to decide the fate of your opponents (you can only kill them, not capture or banish them); You will not be able to interact meaningfully with any NPC (there are no conversation trees in WoW); You will never make any roleplaying decisions at all that directly pertain to the game itself.

So there's just not much to hold you. No plot, no story, merely killing off progressively more powerful enemies on the thinnest of pretenses. It's as if Hollywood made entire movies comprised ONLY of explosions and action movie climaxes. I know, it seems like they do sometimes, but many people pay to watch movies for more than just watching explosions and seeing bad guys getting killed in ever-more-interesting ways.

So my point is that Blizzard's endgame is held by the thinnest of threads to retain the average player, and sometimes it just doesn't.

I personally require more than just the promise of new locations and new monster death animations to keep my interest.

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 3:55PM (Unverified) said

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WoW's current strategy *does* hold the "average" player, as seen as their continual climb to 9.3mil.

Having said that, I agree that it's not an infinitely-supportable strategy for one game. It works for the GENRE of course, ever since UO modelled its success on new lands and EQ1 on new achievements. 10 years is a pretty good run for a single playstyle.

But who it doesn't work is the single company. EQ1 example again. First FFXI beat them and then WoW clocked everyone. With largely the same game play, but tweaked for a broader audience (and launching in more territories than anyone else, and with a stronger IP, less buggy, more complete, blah blah).

And considering that the TRULY huge games (by registered accounts) like Maplestory and Audition have very similar motivations of play and are so successful the games are free, I don't see this model going anyway.

Basically, it's going to continue to work. It's just only going to continue to work for one company until someone else comes along and does it better. So the question isn't (to me) when someone will do something new. It's more about where WoW's weak points are.

You mentioned morale choices, which can link to true immersion in the world. Here I agree. WoW has none of that. There's also the other activities of the variety LoTRO offers. WoW has none of that. LoTRO isn't going to beat them, but they show what's possible and fun.

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 3:57PM (Unverified) said

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WoW's current strategy *does* hold the "average" player, as seen as their continual climb to 9.3mil.

Having said that, I agree that it's not an infinitely-supportable strategy for one game. It works for the GENRE of course, ever since UO modelled its success on new lands and EQ1 on new achievements. 10 years is a pretty good run for a single playstyle.

But who it doesn't work is the single company. EQ1 example again. First FFXI beat them and then WoW clocked everyone. With largely the same game play, but tweaked for a broader audience (and launching in more territories than anyone else, and with a stronger IP, less buggy, more complete, blah blah).

And considering that the TRULY huge games (by registered accounts) like Maplestory and Audition have very similar motivations of play and are so successful the games are free, I don't see this model going anyway.

Basically, it's going to continue to work. It's just only going to continue to work for one company until someone else comes along and does it better. So the question isn't (to me) when someone will do something new. It's more about where WoW's weak points are.

You mentioned morale choices, which can link to true immersion in the world. Here I agree. WoW has none of that. There's also the other activities of the variety LoTRO offers. WoW has none of that. LoTRO isn't going to beat them, but they show what's possible and fun.

Posted: Dec 10th 2007 5:56PM Jeromai said

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I suspect the large subscriber numbers are just critical mass piling upon itself. Never underestimate the lure of player communities and the reluctance to leave one's 'very first MMO' where one is comfortable with the rules. Not a large percentage of people reach WoW endgame, do they?

Gameplay-wise, WoW has gone for the clear ladder/pyramid of gear progression. Very linear. There's always a risk that players will eventually recognize the rat race for what it is, and choose to step off the ladder and stop running the treadmill. That's what happens when the activity is not very enjoyable, but people do it for the rewards anyway.

Look at City of Heroes. There's a certain subset of players who play it a while, recognize the patterns as being repetitive, and realize they get no joy out of the journey, then stop. Me, I like the repetitive nature of the combat because of the unpredictably wild action and explosions and easily put-together team dynamics, so I play CoX.

I'm sure there are some dedicated raiders of WoW who would continue because they enjoy the activity itself: the organising and achieving of something great in a large team. But without the loot reward dangling at the end, not many people would choose to do it. And when you chase gear (the ends, rather than the means), you eventually run the risk and pain of its loss. (Of value, if not permanency.)

Posted: Dec 18th 2007 3:45AM (Unverified) said

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As I see it, the developers only provide the stage and it lies upon the player to make the game as interesting or dull as he wants. I suck at PVP and hate raiding. Do I ever get bored? Hell, no. Watch the vid Marc linked, you can meet some pretty amazing people in this game. Hold on to them, 'cause they do not ever get obsolete.

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