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Blue Posts and Other WoW News: The endgame is king, and face the blues in rated BGs

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Blue posts

Endgame is King
Quote:

I agree. Unfortunately Blizz decided that endgame was king when they made the leveling process take no time at all.

That wasn't arbitrary decision, nor did we arrive at it lightly. There are more than a few factors which played into it, but I'll cover one of the really big ones:

People often play MMOs to play alongside their friends and share adventures. That social experience is important, and it can feel a bit lonely when your friends and most of the rest of the playing population is cavorting around at the level cap while you're just starting out.

It's true that some players will create new characters to level up alongside their pals (or invite a new player using the Recruit A Friend service), but all too often a new player will end up on a realm and be expected to level up with relatively little assistance before they can join their friends on their 'end game' adventures. There are now also three expansions worth of new leveling content to experience in addition to the classic quest line which takes players from 1-60. We wanted to make it easier for players to come into the game and enjoy the leveling process, but also join their friends who are already playing on a more reasonable time frame. Another reason that questing seems faster is that we've learned a lot of lessons about quest and zone design flow since the old days - you might notice this when transitioning from Azeroth to Outland now, for example.

The leveling experience is important to us, which is part of the reason we revamped Azeroth for Cataclysm. It can be fun, rich and engaging without taking as much time as it used to. Still, at the end of the day, end game gets so much attention because that's where players spend the majority of their time. We do understand that not everyone enjoys the same types of game play, and we're always looking for ways to expand and improve the end-game experience to make it more engaging for different players.

Quote:

There is almost no reason what so ever to venture out into the world.

That was an error we made with the design of Cataclysm, but getting players invested in the world again is something we're interested in addressing with Mists.


Face the blues in rated BGs on the PTR
Greetings Combatants of the Glorious Alliance and the Merciless Horde!

It is my great honor to invite you all to test your skills, steel, and sorcery against Blizzard employees such as myself (watch the face though, I got an image to maintain).

So if a bit of You vs. Blue action sounds like your idea of a good time come on down to the 4.3.2 PTRs this Tuesday, January 17th. We'll be queuing for Rated Battlegrounds from 3pm-6pm PST, you'll know it's us from our [Blizzard Horde] & [Blizzard Alliance] guild names.

Hope to see you on the fields of battle!


Questing
There are advantages and disadvantages to linear questlines.

The advantages tend to flow from the effort to build epic stories for players to be a part of. When you put the player into a linear questline, you can more easily incorporate dramatic elements like foreshadowing, plot twists, and a satisfying climax that you know the player is going to be there for.

The disadvantages have been well-covered: If you're isolated into a personal story too much, you lose the sense of being in an open world that is filled with alternative potential adventures. It's more difficult to hop around and partake of the glories of several different zones at the same time, and harder to join up with friends whenever you like. Group quests become less-desirable.

As Dave Kosak and others have said before, we think we may have gone a bit too linear with Cataclysm. That informs one of our big philosophies for Mists of Pandaria: Give players more flexibility to play how they want to. We think that the solution may be to have linear story arcs, but have more of them in each zone, rather than making the whole zone one big story with a beginning, middle, and end. In addition to multiple linear quest lines, there will be smaller (and in some cases, one-off) quest hubs, and some of those hubs may be well off the beaten path.

To make that work, we've got to tweak the orientation of quest achievements. Rather than "vacuum up every single quest in the zone", we're aiming for achievements that reward completing the main story arcs. All in all, players should feel less like their time spent playing in a zone is exactly the same as every other player.


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