Moo Tang Clan: November 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Levelling speed and zone sizes

I realised today while flitting the length and breadth of Zul'Drak that I completely skipped the Grizzly Hills zone. I'm now level 78, nearly 79, and the content of Grizzly Hills is more suited for 73-75. I also missed out on seeing various instances at an appropriate level, thus missing out on a decent challenge.

I first landed in the Borean Tundra and worked my way through all that. I didn't leave until I got the Nothing Boring about Borean achievement. I then spent many hours exploring as much of northrend as possible, a challenging task for being only lvl 72. I then completed the I've Toured the Fjord achievement and dinged a bit more. Then the Might of the Dragonblight fell too, I got my winter flying, finished exploring the rest of Northrend, and headed to Zul'Drak to continue levelling.

It's taking about one night per level, which is awfully fast, and I'm not alone in this. I'm out-levelling zones before I've fully explored them. I'm glad there's more than enough quests per zone to level and I don't have to mindlessly grind mobs before I'm ready to go to the next zone ... but the zones are still too quick.

One downside of this rapid levelling is that my guild is widely scattered across the levels and the zones, which means we don't get to play together much at all. Another downside is I'm missing out on hitting the various instances at the appropriate levels, meaning they present no challenge to me. It feels like I'm just boosting others, blech. Also, all the zones have great terrain and features and hidden nooks .. but I'm missing out on immersing myself into them - a dozen quick quests here, a dozen quick quests there, and I've moved on. There's also a huge number of stories going on in each zone, many with an underlying theme or greater story arc, but with the speed of levelling they're just not sinking in. More the pity.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Flying over content, such a waste

The Moo got his winter woolies on the weekend and then proceeded to explore the rest of Northrend. Flying over Storm Peaks was fun, but when I started flying over Icecrown I was struck by the magnificent desolation there, that and the legions of undead arrayed about. The geography of the place is very much linear, with huge elites guarding gates from one subzone to the next. Ominous and spooky added to the scene.

It looks like one huge outdoor raid zone, I can easily imagine a guild or two of raids carefully slogging their way through the zone, capturing safe bases along the way, establishing a tenuous foothold before waves of zombies come in the night and overwhelm what few defenders haven't logged out yet.

Such a pity then that players will simply fly over all that beautiful zone design.

I would design the zone such that there was progressive zone unlocking like the Isle of Quel'danas: fill the air with nasty flying mobs which get cleared in limited flightpaths by establishing a series of ground bases. These ground bases would have ground gunners and magnificent magics keeping the air clear around them, as well as launching powerful NPC patrols back to the prior base.

I can imagine that some of the quests could be escorting caravans of NPCs to forward bases. As each wagon arrives an additional NPC resource gets unloaded. This way, even if you're not on the quest it's in your best interest to help them get through.

Progressive unlocking of the zone, but with a temporary nature - after midnight the zombies, ghouls, wraiths, and stitched horrors come out in greater force, easily overwhelming the NPC defenders, and even overwhelming the lesser numbers of players on at that time of night. Not a good place to log out in, obviously. Don't have any inns where players could set there hearthstone to (not a good idea from the players' perspective anyway .. who wants to hearth into a zombie infested burning ruin?)

Throw in some lower tier rewards for participating in the ground assault, something requiring sustained effort (not just a quest or two). Make it such that the top tier raiding guild would still be overwhelmed by the enormity of it all - sure, they could easily capture successive staging objectives, but they wouldn't be able to do that while simultaneously defending the previously captured bases, and anyway the long slog would be an enormous time-consuming grind before they even get to the raid instance. The top raiding guilds would require the assistance of the rest of the player population, who would already be participating for the ground assault rewards anyway.

Plonk in a few smaller dungeons along the way, some on the main path of the ground assault, some down divergent gullies. Thus: don't have just the one possible path which gets unlocked - this design opens the possibility of a guild rallying the general population to go unlock a side path one weekend, and another side path some other day. This keeps the zone interesting long after the top tier blazes the main trail.

I'd love to play in that world. Much better than the static theme park of raids where you must be "this high" to ride.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

cross faction language barriers

A passing thought: what if it were possible to understand what the enemy was saying, but you couldn't respond in their same language, and understanding the other factions language was an option (available via training or a quest, and a toggle-off setting even then).

Thus, cross-faction communication might be possible, while at the same time ameliorating the worst excesses of spiteful sledging.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

leveling the crafting economy

high level recipes with low level components?

will high level players re-visit lowbie zones to farm components, or will the simply visit the AH?

will this provide a source of revenue to lowbie toons, counteracting the problem of high-level toons causing inflation?