If I was a MoP developer …

This is a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic.  In fact, its my Blog Azeroth Shared Topic as I suggested it.  And then I nearly missed it as I’m so sick!

I’ve already said I’m looking forward to some of the new features in Mists of Pandaria (PokeWoW ftw!)  But what would I do if I was in charge of the expansion?  How would I resolve some of the debates?  And what would people think?

What do we know about MoP so far?

  • 5 new levels in 5 new zones
  • 1 new race – Pandaran – for both factions
  • 1 new class – Monk
  • New continent – Pandaria
  • Talents 2.0
  • New system – PokeWoW!
  • New system – dungeon challenge modes
  • New system – scenarios
  • Dungeons will be for levelling or Heroic only – no level 90 dungeons
  • 1 new raid of 6 bosses
  • New model battlegrounds

So what would I do?
Lets start with the easy stuff.  Its called Mists of Pandaria and that means Pandaran.  I have no particular problem with this.  I have no particular enthusiasm either, but that I found TBC to be a bit odd (I didn’t really have the background knowledge at the time to understand it).  Oddly enough, I think Pandaran are unpopular because of their background, but it doesn’t matter.  At this point all the easy races have been added.  Pandaran do tie in well with the Monk class and the Pandaria continent, and a new continent is definitely the way to go!  I think having the Pandaran for both factions is essential.  Otherwise there would be cries of faction favouritism from both side whichever one got it (“Blizz prefers Horde coz they got Pandas’, ‘Blizz prefers Horde coz Alliance got pandas’)

The new systems
Despite all the QQ on the forums, I totally understand where Blizzard is coming from with these developments and I don’t think I’d change them.  Blizzard is trying to develop something other than traditional content because traditional content keeps running out.  Pet battles and challenge modes, like PvP, should have ongoing interest over time.  They aren’t things that can be ‘completed’.  They should give people new things to do.  I like the sound of one (PokeWoW) and not the other (challenge modes) but I know other people feel differently.  If you don’t like either, then I guess it sucks but I’m not sure what else you would prefer.  And don’t say more raids because I’ve already pointed out the issue there.  And there will already be new Battlegrounds.

Scenarios are a little bit different.  I understand why they are adding them.  The group content has been ripped from lower levels and it is a missing part of the game.  Levelling in Star Wars only sought to remind me of that.  So this is the optional group content.  It is also going to be easy to access via a queue system so I think it should work.  I’ll talk a little more about what I would do with scenarios below, but generally I approve.

Revamps to current systems 
Talents 2.0 is something I also have high hopes for.  I buy into the artificial choice arguement and I think this will solve it.  I also like the change to dungeons to remove a tier of content no one really wanted or needed.  I think new model battlegrounds are needed – more of the same just won’t cut it.

So far aren’t you just rubber stamping things?
Yes, but wait for it …

Raids
So where are we with raids.  Raids have been evolving at quite a pace across almost every expansion.  We’re almost there now, I think.  Heres how I would structure raiding across the expansion:

  • 3 raids of 6-8 bosses each spaced more frequently across the expansion
  • Each raid has the potential to tack new wings of 3-4 bosses onto them.  They wouldn’t necessarily be added to in order.  Raid 1 might have 6 bosses, with a 3 boss wing added.  Then Raid 2 comes out and has 8 bosses.  Then a further wing is added to raid 1 with another 3 bosses.  I would expect more than one wing to be added to some raids and at least one wing to be added to each.  Wings would be connected in terms of reputation, but not in terms of progression.  Additional tier parts (i.e. waist, wrist, feet) would be available in Wings.  There would still only be a 4 set bonus, but you could choose it from different pieces.
  • All raids available in LFR (in 2 parts), normal and heroic
  • Achievements separated to have something at each level as follows:
    • LFR section kill achievements
    • Normal boss kill achievements + Normal ‘do things differently’ achievements = guild mount
    • Heroic kill achievements = title – achievements with no raid debuff would be available too
    • Mount drop from Heroic final boss
  • Tuned around the Dragon Soul level of difficulty with a little less focus on raid mechanics where everyone gets it right or you wipe instantly.
  • Stacking raid content debuffs would be applied to every raid.  These can be turned off.

I think more frequent content is wanted, but to expect more raids is just unreasonable due to the amount of artwork required.  This is a solution that might work.  It would be well recieved if it meant more raid content, though I think people might find the non-linear wing addition confusing so that might have to go!

Getting out in the world: PvE
I would take a zone out of the levelling process and make it an end game zone for PvE.  Give people somewhere to go!  It would have lots of safe points for PvP realms, and quests.  Lots and lots and lots of quests.  At least as many as are available in a levelling zone, and spread across several factions.  Within each faction would be a set of quests available on different days and along different quest paths.  Also, each faction would have scenarios available.  Quests and scenarios would give Justice Points and reputation to access gear and enhancements and other cool things.

If players still had a limit on the number of daily quests, they quite simply couldn’t consume all this content at once.  And more could be added over the course of the expansion (a new hub with quests and a new faction each major patch).  To make up for the sheer volume of reputation needed, reputation would be cross-account.  Old justice point gear would be put on these vendors once it was replaced with a new tier.

You could add endlessly to this zone – outdoor world bosses could go here.  As could all manner of other things.  And these quests could lead into the raids.

Getting out in the world: PvP
Blizzard have already said there will be separate Horde and Alliance cities.  And that there will be World PvP.  I feel these go together pretty naturally.  So between the two cities, perched on their mountain tops, I would create one uber PvP zone.  There would be lots of different objectives in this zone.  Three big objectives would be available to fight for once every two hours.  One of these would have the PvP raid in it.  The other two would control how much Honor various other parts of the zone gave.  Holding one would give the other faction an advantage in getting the other (the same way the attacking faction currently has an advantage in Baradin Hold so that its possible to win both, but hard, and  defending both would be almost impossible).

There would also be a number of smaller hubs to be fought over every 30 minutes, with the holding faction getting access to daily quests.  This would include staging points for attacking each of the other faction’s cities.  The staging points would have big guns that could be used to shoot either at incoming attackers or INTO the cities (buildings would be suitably reinforced).  These points would NOT be easy to capture and would require a concerted effort.  For every additional 30 minutes you capture such an objective for, it becomes harder to keep.  Like the PvE zone, not all the content needs to be there at once and things would be added and PvP points and gear would work much the same way.

These two features don’t have to be in separate zones.  They could be spread out across the levelling zones.  However, with PvP in particular I worry that end game might prevent people from levelling, so this would only be possible with heavy phasing and careful planning.

How would people receive my ideas?
I think some people would complain that the raid idea makes too much use of existing content (the expansion wings).  But a compromise has to be made somewhere if people want more raid content and I think the artwork is probably it.  Its extremely time consuming and the same people need to also do the art for items and bosses.  Taking the scenery out of their workload would undoubtedly help.  I really think adding in achievements for clearing without a raid debuff would make the debuff more palatable.  At the moment no one has a reason to turn it off.

I think the PvE zone would be the most unpopular idea, though I would love it.  It will be a bit grindy.  But with tabards for reputation as well, there would be different ways to go about getting reputation.  I think I would put better rewards at lower reputation levels so it could take a long time to get Exalted for those people who want something to do.  If you only have to do it once per account, its an up front grind and not a repeatable grind.

I think world PvP will be welcome in any format as long as it works!  The idea of being able to attack enemy cities probably won’t be welcomed by people who don’t want to PvP.  But I really don’t intend for them to PvP.  They will just have to run from building to building!  Maybe on a PvE realm players could be magically protected unless they turned their PvP flag on?

So thats it.  Thats my grand plan.  Thats where I would like to see WoW go.  I know its probably wishful thinking, but we all need dreams.

Anything I wouldn’t do?
Player reputation voting systems.  As in Like/Dislike a person.  Typed speech is just not nuanced enough for this not to be full of misunderstandings.  I remember going on the PTR once and wiping on a dungeon boss.  I made some jokey comment like ‘That didn’t go so well’.  In my head it was said in a lighthearted tone and was meant to be an invitation to figure out why.  The group heard it as ‘OMG your all noobs’ apparently and had a go at me for having a go at them!  I was utterly shocked.  It really was a harmless comment and I really couldn’t understand how anyone had taken offense at it.  Now imagine that on the EU realms where many players are talking in languages other than their first language.  The constant stream of misunderstandings would mean that a voting system was just utterly unreliable in figuring out people’s intentions.

I know people want it to try and figure out who the ninjas and ‘gogogogogo’ players are, but it won’t be used for that.  It will be used to down vote a perfectly good player who said something you don’t like.  It will be used against the player who complains about racism.  It will be used to victimize little Johnny when hes fallen out with his WoW playing school friends.  And if you think LFD killed communities?  Imagine a WoW in which people are afraid to speak because they might get downvoted!  Imagine a WoW in which people stop playing because they’ve been downvoted so often, maybe because they don’t know what they are doing or don’t play very often, its destroyed their self-confidence?  Remember this game is 12+, though I don’t think even adults have the emotional strength to face being massively downvoted.

No matter how nice a person you are, or how good a player you are, you WILL get downvoted.  If you’re the kind of person who wants this system so you can downvote little Johnny who only does 8k dps in LFR, then you will get downvoted by people who think you’re an elitist jerk.  If you’re the kind of person who uses the words ‘retarded’ and ‘rape’ as gaming terms you WILL get downvoted (by me).  If you try to stand up for little Johnny, because you don’t like bullying, you WILL get downvoted by the bully.  If you want to downvote the ninja, the ninja will just downvote you right back.  If you say ‘Hi’ and someone is acting like a fool you WILL get downvoted just because they are going around downvoting people for fun.  In fact, its quite possible for nice people to end up with lower votes than the nasty ones because the nice people will use the system reasonably and responsibly and the nasty ones will abuse it just like they abuse every other system.

A system like this would be integrating cyber-bullying into the game.  People ask for this system because other players cannot be trusted.  However, the fact that other players cannot be trusted is why you can’t have this system!

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