Sunday, December 30, 2007

Eyonix Speaks on "The Point" of Things

Almost two weeks ago on the General Forums, a question was asked about "the point" of playing WoW. The basic argument was that the game is an endless cycle, with all progress and epic gear wiped clean with every expansion, and all invested effort being pointless as a result. The thread was quickly deleted by a forum moderator, but Blizzard Blue Eyonix felt it necessary to address the issue and created a thread of his own to do so.

In it, Eyonix responds:

These are the same concerns (only x100) we saw before Burning Crusade launched. Once the expansion released though, these concerns were almost completely non-existent due to the excitement of getting an upgrade, regardless of item quality. Beyond this, here are some points to keep in mind:

Getting better gear now will give players an edge when leveling in Wrath of the Lich King, which in-turn will give them an edge in gearing up at end-game.
Having end-game epic quality gear (especially depending upon the item level), gives players an edge now.
Not all players are in epics.
Epics of high item level, i.e Black Temple epics vs. Heroic dungeon epics will last much longer.
It would be unhealthy for the game, and players if an MMO remained static and didn't evolve on all fronts.

As usual, Sir Eyonix makes a few strong points, especially related to gear longevity. I remember when I was leveling my Warlock from Level 60 to 70, much of my High Warlord raiment was intact when I hit the big 7-0, and performed beautifully even in Karazhan. It took a good while for me to replace my excellent Level 60 epics, because much of the gear I came across while leveling to 70 didn't even come close to what I already had. I'm sure the same will be said of very high-end Level 70 gear as people lucky enough to sport them work their way to Level 80 in the WotLK.

With that in mind, it's easy to understand why putting much effort into the game now and gaining access to the highest level epic gear isn't all for not just because an expansion rolls around. Much of the stuff may indeed be around at Level 80. Sure, it may only be for a short time, but the point is that it'll still be there, and will be very useful along the way.


Halifax Little said...

That may be all well and good, but there is definitely an hamster wheel effect in WoW that is significant and discouraging. I also find it distasteful that Blizzard would delete this kind of criticism from their official forums, because it equals deleting the truth which is never a good thing.

Of course, there are hamster wheel effects in just about every arcade game, but it seems things should be different in MMOs where story and plot are supposedly important, if not defining, elements of the genre.

What WoW needs is a new wave of creativity. It doesn't need increasing level caps and item "power." It needs more interesting and engaging enemies and encounters and stories and scenarios. It's been a long time, a very long time, since I have felt a sense of "wow" in WoW. Higher gear stats just don't cut it, especially when you know even higher numbers are just around the corner, doled out over time by a company that gets paid by the month. Taking the subscription structure into account, Blizzard's decision to continue raising the level cap seems like a particularly lazy, if not cynical, approach to design.

Don't give us more power. Give us more interesting things to do with the power we've built over the past few years. That's what I say. The continuing rise of caps and item stats does one thing only, ultimately, and that is to reduce WoW to little more than Gauntlet Legends or some other arcade game.

Jagoex said...

I'm inclined to agree with you. Very well said.