Friday, February 11, 2011

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Reign Over WoW

Naithin over at Fun In Games suggested this Blog Azeroth Shared Topic. What would you do if you had a chance to redesign wow from the beginning?

Naithin opened the shared topic with:

"Pretend for a moment that WoW hasn't yet been released. Or perhaps it is, but you've never heard of the whole SWG NGE debacle, and thus have no fear about dramatically changing how everything works post-release.

You have the original (or BC, or Wrath, or Current, your pick) design docs to start from, but you're free to change absolutely everything if you so choose.

With all this power, what would you change? What would make WoW the dream game for you?"

Making WoW the perfect game... Blizz has done a better job than anyone else so far but there are things about the game that irk me and make the play experience less than optimal. Some of them are tweaks that could be accomplished in the current game state but many are design choices that are fairly unalterable now.

Lets get started shall we!

  • Character Customization(Look) - I think a big part of what helps you connect with your avatar is the ability to customize it. Just from a pure visual standpoint our options in WoW are extremely limited. A single body type/height per sex, a few different faces, and very limited hair/facial hair choices. I hate the fact that my shaman looks like 50 other guys on the server. I would definitely give the entire character creation system a major overhaul. Some people like the simplicity so I'd have a basic and advanced creation system. Basic would be pretty much what we have now but with more options and a body type selector. Advanced would include sliders galore! If you've ever played a Bethesda game you know what I'm talking about. 
  • Character Customization(Mechanics) - I like the talent system. I think it's a way to have some choice while keeping things somewhat simple. That being said our talent systems needs more depth. Especially with the great talent change of cata we've always been very restricted in how we can play our toons. There's little if any leeway in our specs and having the same spec as every other jerkwad with a chain heal serves to further disconnect me from my character. While I like the basic three tree setup I'd definitely ditch the new locking of the other talent trees until a certain level was reached in your "primary" tree. I think for newer players you could add an autospec feature that would ask you what role you planned on playing and whether or not you'd do more PvP or PvE and then assign talents accordingly. The biggest thing I would do is add a "flavor" tree that opens up after you reach a certain level and allows you to customize non-combat abilities. Your ghost wolf is now a ghost stag or your warrior now has a different animation for shield bash. There are som many little tweaks that could make you feel more in tune with your avatar.
  • Guild or Player Housing - I know this is a hot button issue with many people but after what... 6 years of WoW we still have no kind of personal space? Almost every single mmo offers this as an option. why don't we have it? The excuse that it would empty out the cities is weak. If you put stuff to do in the cities then they won't be abandoned. Having no place to call my own makes me feel less a part of the world. My poor hunter hasn't slept in a bed in 6 years! Are all of my badass heroes nothing more than homeless busybodies? An instanced area where I have a house is all I want. If you want to make it low on features to keep me in the world I'm allright with that but I want a space for my poor toons to crash. 
  • PvP - I know I'm going to anger some people but WoW has some of the worst PvP of any game out there. Have you ever played Eve Online? That's a game that's made for PvP, but Eve's PvE content greatly suffers for it. I think Blizz wants to have its cake and eat it too. Playing against a computer and playing against people is such a vastly different experience that without a significant separation between the two mechanics one side will suffer. I think the base design of the game doesn't allow for great PvP and I think that balancing PvP has gone a long way to hurt the PvE aspect of the game. I would redesign pvp from the ground up. World PvP would be out the window and the game would have distinct separation with certain things working in PvE or PvP but not in both. I also think a few more Zone Control areas like Tol Barad would be nice. The PvP determines who controls the area for a while but after the battle it reverts to a PvE area until it's battle time again. It's a great way to highlight the Alliance/Horde war without forcing people to PvP.
  • Cleared Content - Once I've cleared something I want to see the effects of my labor. I know phasing has done much to help this but I want it taken to the next level. I would give people a phasing "switch" once they have cleared a raid/completed a quest/done something that has an impact. When the switch is "on" the player sees the new pacified zone but when the switch is "off" it reverts to it's original state to allow farming/quest completion etc. This could be further refined but I think you get the basic idea.
I think WoW is a great game. I love playing it and writing about it but I think the above ideas would improve the game. There are many other tweaks and redesign choices that would make the game better for me but I want to hear from you. What would make your WoW experience richer?

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