The World of Warcraft is a very old game. Celebrates being 15th birthday later this year, the wide world of Azeroth has undergone quite a few changes over the years. Despite adding more and more to the content of the endgame, however, there was a clear and aging problem for the overall experience. This experience, in addition Battle for Azeroth & # 39; s many other problems, the overall quality of the game continues to deteriorate and may be the biggest elimination for new players. Of course I speak about it Warcraft leveling experience.
We discussed this earlier on WoW Wednesday earlier in an article a few months ago. There we discussed the controversial Draft of Ten Lands ban and why players try to exploit their way to the endgame. Venturing through the old and sometimes primitive content of Azeroth can be extremely painful. While long steps were taken to renew older content natural disaster, both Outland and Northrend still have outdated systems that block the leveling process. Changes during 7.3 to experience gains have also drastically lengthened the process. Simply put, it's not nice to give a character a level.
As such, Blizzard is now looking to lower levels World of Warcraft by pressing them to what they call a "dramatically lower" number. An internal survey sent to multiple Blizzard departments (shown below) and players conducting customer service surveys shows that the idea is almost certain. Although previously teased and suggested, such a thing has never been considered before. In the past it has seen different stat squishes with both Warlords of Draenor and Battle for Azeroth. These reduced the total number that had fallen within the range of several million by the end of their previous expansion. We have also seen a significant reduction in skills for classes during the large & # 39; pruning & # 39; at the beginning of Warlords.
In my opinion, a level squish is neither a desirable solution nor the right one.
To be honest, it is hard to know what Blizzard intends to do with this, because the press simply asks a & # 39; no comment & # 39; has received. Hypothetically, what would a squish look like?
Frankly, we could reasonably see a squish drop to level 60 reasonably. The first twenty levels can take place in the Eastern kingdoms and Kalimdor. The following ten might appear Burning crusade and Wrath of the Lich King content. 40 and beyond can take place over natural disaster and Fog from Pandaria. 50-60 could result in the last three extensions, with the last few levels all covering Battle for Azeroth.
The problem is not that level numbers have become too ridiculous. It's just that leveling has become ridiculous and no attempt has been made to fix it. Although true, there have been adjustments in profits and experiences in recent years, these have done two things. The first, as we already suspected, extends the overall leveling time after level 60. The second has been more like a patchwork solution to let people choose what content they can undergo, with certain brackets being given a choice where they like their rut to deal with.
Here is the bigger problem. Wherever you go, leveling is just not fun. Whether it's your first time or your twenty-first time, leveling is not an enjoyable experience. Gameplay is not attractive; there are no rewards looking for the simple sharpening that dungeons can amass (unless you enjoy titles). Unlike later expansions, which have attempted to be narratively appealing, there are no attempts in any of the first four that would otherwise not match the content of the endgame. These storylines then become redundant when players cross the threshold and are forced (by breadcrumb commands designed for that purpose) into the content of the next legacy extension. That cycle then repeats itself and becomes incredibly boring INCREDIBLY fast.
Meanwhile, especially for newer players, leveling time is impossible. If a player pushes through an alto at the maximum level, you can realistically bring a character up to 120 in a week if you played five hours a day. That is with full heritage equipment, all three different experience buff drinks, with a monk who does nothing but dungeons.
A newer player can spend at least three times as long, and only if they knew exactly where they were going.
Let's face it, who wants to spend 160 hours on a game that is frankly bad to play?
There are two methods to solve this problem. One is of course complete overhaul leveling. This would be an incredible amount of work to redo the entire game up to and including Battle for Azeroth, remake missions and make the whole world more attractive. Frankly, this is directly impossible and not feasible, not only from the point of view of game development, but also from a business point of view. As we have seen in Fight when content is terrible, such as Patch 8.1, it is in Blizzard's interest to double the efforts for the next patch before the end of the game and move forward to better content. The majority of its player base is full of players with end game content.
By doing this, however, they ignore newer players who are not willing to make that rut and thus lose more of a potential player base.
The other solution is to introduce new leveling systems to make it more pleasant.
This can be done in many ways, but the easiest to implement would be the introduction of new intrinsic reward systems. There are two methods to do this in game development. The first, an extrinsic reward system, would introduce new elements outside the normal game process. Similar extrinsic systems that we have seen are related to the Artifact Skin system in Legion; it was not something that was used in the natural flow of the game. These were just extra pieces to link to existing gameplay.
The other, intrinsic, are systems that connect directly to the gameplay and can be seen as inseparable. It is easy to introduce extrinsic systems, such as the Heart of Azeroth & # 39; s new Essences in Patch 8.2, to reinforce old ones. However, intrinsic systems must be carefully crafted to be successful.
Take the old talent systems. Players from Warcraft The classical era may remember the three branched talent trees. In contrast to the current 6-tier, 18-selection system, the older talent system contained around 49 talent points that could be spent on a growing tree. This system was later introduced most effectively in the Borderlands franchise, where it is still a good example of Classic's old design philosophy. While the current system immediately focuses on large-scale changes, the older system focused on progressive changes over time.
Both systems have advantages. Now talents are very versatile and can be changed for different situations. In Classic this was not the case, where there were often single optimized builds to collect specific necessary statistics and skills due to severe underdevelopment and imbalance. However, you have a talent point for every level after 10 in Classic, which means that every level you were looking forward to. Now you get one point every fifteen levels. Maybe you get one skill every four or five. Instead of a small development you have a wide range of control over it, you now have BIG developments that feel quickly like extrinsic additions that your class doesn't need.
Even cracking the required levels for leveling does not change the time required to go to the NEXT major development. It will still realistically last the same, but now you have less beautiful colors and nice sounds to enjoy.
What is a realistic solution for this? Just make leveling more worthwhile.
Despite my opinion that most of Classic is a poor gameplay, it knew how to reward players. While the talent system is primitive (and perhaps incompatible with electricity) Warcraft), players are intrinsically rewarded. It was exciting to plan your progress and try new things. Even in terms of individual class identity, each class had a new quest to unlock skills or unique weapons every ten to twenty levels. The most famous are the Warlock and Paladin Mount mission lines, but Shaman also had several involved adventures to get hold of their next elemental totems. Warriors also received incredible weapons and their new positions by searching.
This is partly why Legion was so celebrated. It felt GOOD to not only perform tasks as the model of your class, but to do MORE as a member of your class. While Warcraft is an MMORPG, the RPG part of that experience has been missing for a long time. Introducing more class-based elements as players progress, even as simple as new story-based missions, is a good way to get started.
YouTuber Bellular has one of the better suggestions in an additional talent system & # 39; latent power & # 39 ;. This system would introduce a new branching tree that would unlock as you progress. Unlike talents, which are variable, these would become passive skills to create content anywhere in the world. Because they would be disabled during instanced content, there is no need to balance them, allowing players to grow more and more in strength over time.
In addition, the introduction of new milestone rewards over time can be a different concept. We now have such a system in both the new Heritage Armor transmogs. Every ten levels you simply unlock a new transmogrification outfit for your class based on the zone in which you reach your level. This would not only encourage players to go to that next important milestone (often offset by talents), it would also play on every continent. This would extend the playing time, something that Blizzard currently seems to want.
These are all extrinsic systems. These are additions that will not solve the main problem of Warcraft. They don't like leveling; they just make it more REWARDS to perform. The pleasure comes from getting more flashy bits to enjoy, less from the leveling experience. The intrinsic problem that Blizzard has requires an intrinsic solution. For now, the best we can hope for is an addition to the problem that makes suffering a little more pleasant.
The message WoW Wednesday: Blizzard & # 39; s Proposed "Level Squish" first appeared on MMOGames.com.