Here are some ways I would like to see WoW move forward in 5.0 in order to make the 6.0 experience awesome. This was inspired by The Godmother posting something similar over at Alt:ernative.
Alt-friendliness & character changing
Cataclysm was alt dependent and MoP was alt-unfriendly. Here are some enhancements that would improve the alt experience no end and make it easier to switch characters into the mix.
- Make reputations account wide. It is just pointless to grind multiple times and this is particularly important when you gate crafting recipes. Adding content through excessive grind is always bad. Theres plenty of other things to do.
- Make gold account wide.
- Make an account wide bank that is limited to certain items (crafting materials and heirlooms in particular).
- Introduce side-kicking for all PvE content (I know this one is unlikely). I love the old world. I want to level there and only there. I want to finish areas. Side-kicking should still make you a bit overpowered, but it’s the best way to extend the life of content and gives you the chance to make higher level content more challenging. If its too hard, people have an alternative. If people want a challenge, its there.
Better reward systems
The reward systems in WoW need something of an overhaul. They have evolved, but not well. There are too many currencies. It is hard to assess your progress against other players and/or teams. Rewards do not have to be stats. Rewards do not always have to make you more powerful.
- Leaderboards. These should be implemented like the Starcraft style staged boards.
- Achievement rewards. Give something for all those points – moggable gear, mounts, pets – all good stuff!
- More rewards of different types – we like collecting things!
- Overhaul the way gearing works entirely. There are too many currencies, too much gating, too many different and complex ways to enhance your gear. Keep It Simple Stupid is still a good acronym. Gearing through random drops is fine, but all the weirdness around it should be streamlined. I would have one currency per tier which you can use to buy all manner of things (normal ilevel raid gear, BoA lower items for alts, mounts, pets, bonus rolls the whole shebang). About the middle of each tier this should be made somewhat easier to collect. When the next tier arrives make it even easier again and remove any caps if there are any. Feel free to sell ways to get this at a faster rate on the Cash Shop.
WoW has tried to implement a couple of scavenger hunt style events, but has missed one key issue. If you can just drop in and pick up an item before moving on, its just a chore. You need to do something when you get there. A scavenger hunt should have two challenges – the challenge of finding items (with clues/skill requirements) and the challenge of obtaining the item (with skill/time requirements). Hunting rares has worked best out of all of these attempts and is very popular. I am aware the Timeless Isle is a step in this direction, so its possible some of this issue may have been addressed. Additions might be:
- Following clues to items guarded by challenging mobs.
- Needing to interact with a puzzle/negotiate something in order to interact with items.
- Randomly changing the nature or location of items such that a guide is no longer useful, but giving some other clue or way to find it and complete it.
- Adding a story-line to the discovery of items so that you find them in an order.
- Hiding items in other content such as dungeons and scenarios.
- Give structure to this open content through achievements.
Lets make Azeroth live and change. Rather than adding mid-tier dailies and content each raiding tier should have a series of events running alongside it. These events should:
- Be focusing in one area – an existing area is fine. No need to break the bank on new art assets.
- Have opportunities for dailies, weeklies, mini-world bosses, group events, scenarios, pet battles, dungeons, factions, world PvP, raid-gear catch up mechanics, lore – all sorts of things to give them variety.
- Evolve the area in question permanently so that when the event is over, the end point of the event remains. The old version is gone.
- The events should move forward every 2-4 weeks. Some stages could be shorter, others longer.
- The events should have daily, weekly and monthly strands that award currency. I would suggest that weeklies and monthlies are useful here in particular, leaving dungeon and scenario dailies as the only dailies.
- The events should have meta achievements that reward cosmetic items (titles, transmog items, pets, mounts, etc.).
- The events should eventually reward a complete and very cool transmog set across the life of the expansion. You can only get this set if you do all of the events. Given this, the metas should have a 7/10 type criteria set so that if you go on holiday you don’t miss the entire thing. Also, especially hard achievements could reward substitute items.
- Focus players into specific areas and activities to make the world feel alive and boost participation.
Expand the scenario system
Scenarios can be used to do so much! What Blizzard needs to do is think outside the box. There have been some great examples of this already (the vault was awesome, the use of scenarios as a story catch up in a changing world), but more would be great. Scenarios are a fabulous story-telling tool, but they are also a great chance to step outside the WoW related box. Examples might be:
- Puzzle scenarios, where you have to work to solve a puzzle of some kind (group).
- Discovery scenarios, where you wander randomly into the opportunity to do them with little side stories (both solo and group).
- PvP scenarios, where people/teams race to an objective.
- Guild scenarios where you can go in and contribute to an ongoing battle against the computer or other guilds.
- Persistent scenarios, where you can go back later to the same point you left it, or where a team of people can hop in and out.
- Building scenarios.
- Use scenarios to enhance professions in some way.