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A leveling server, just for leveling

Reader Tiago sent us an interesting idea I thought was worth sharing. He suggests that Blizzard create a "leveling server" -- a server that would be marked as specifically for new characters, so when you rolled a new toon on there, you'd be surrounded by a bunch of other people pre-80. And the key here would be that when you hit 80 on this server, then you would get a free server transfer off. In other words, Blizzard would have one server (completely optional, of course) designed for people to level on, with a realm full of people playing in the old world and leveling through the old quests.

Sounds good, right? Like most of our ideas, Blizzard probably won't go for it -- they've already knocked down the idea of vanilla realms, and while this isn't the same thing (you'd be able to level to 80, the idea is just that you'd leave the server when you got there), it does mean creating a different ruleset for a brand new type of server. Plus, to a much lesser extent, it could create an even more lonely existence on the normal servers. Not to mention that Blizzard has been focusing on speeding past the low levels, not emphasizing them.

But I like the idea anyway -- it doesn't seem too tough to do (mark one realm recommended, and provide free server transfers off of it), and it seems like an excellent way to get people who enjoy leveling up all together in the same place. And that's really what MMOs like this are all about, right?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Leveling

Forum post of the day: Pick up groups to pick up points

I'll give you a quick run down of the general forums today:
  • Take away the arena point requirement, or else!
  • Epic flight costs too much!
  • Requiring arena points for PvP gear is a slap in the face!
  • I can't get this or that achievement because it involves something I don't want to do!
  • This is the end of casuals, I don't have time to play arenas!
  • /waggle
  • GG Bliz, the arena requirement is going to make me go play <insert any other MMORPG here>!
  • Death Knights should tank!
  • If you're going to make us play arenas, let us PUG them like battlegrounds!

It is hard to find someone who is happy with this new PvP development. I'm indifferent. Personally I find arenas to be the best part of PvP and the purpose of battlegrounds anyway. Like so many others, you need not agree. That last theme however, Blizzard should players to PUG arenas, gave me a moment of pause.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums, Battlegrounds, Arena, Forum Post of the Day

Making the Racial traits more individual

Hot on the heels of word about all the new changes to racial abilities in Wrath, reader Mike sent us a suggestion he thought up to give a little twist to racial abilities in game: Blizzard could unlock some of them from a few races, and instead give players the ability to choose a few on a peronal basis -- they could pick and choose certain abilities for their characters to have from the beginning. As in, each ability would get put into a budget, and instead of merely choosing a race, players could then choose one or two skills from the budget to give to their characters. You could end up having a Troll with Escape Artist and Diplomacy, or a Human with Hardiness and Magic resistance.

Of course, some abilities are pretty strictly defined by the races themselves, so not everything could be pick and choose -- Gift of the Naaru and Will of the Forsaken would have to stick with Draenei and Undead, respectively (they'd have to stay Racial traits, not personal ones). But abilities like Endurance and Quickness are so insignificant in the bigger picture of things that it would be nice to customize your character a little bit more -- match it up to your style of play rather than just want race you'd like to be. Character creation is quickly becoming the one thing in the game that's stayed exactly the same since launch, and for many reasons, from RP to theorycrafting, players would really get a kick out of customizing their characters that little bit more.

As Mike told us, each character has their own personal background and insights, so why shouldn't each individual character have their own personal traits to shine in? It's a little late for Wrath, of course, but it's something to think about in the future -- if Pets get their own choices about their strengths, why shouldn't the different ingame races?

Filed under: Human, Gnomes, Trolls, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Expansions, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

Forum post of the day: Arena Leagues

We all know that it can be hard for new level 70 characters to break into the arena. Many people start out playing their 10 games a week in order to scrounge up arena points for their first PvP pieces. Welfare epics? Maybe, but having decent gear makes it easier for many players to progress. It make some time for players to really learn to play their classes in a competitive PvP setting. Despite their best efforts, Blizzard has largely failed at fixing problems in the arenas.

Cyrse of Farstriders suggested the creation of a minor league arena with reduced rewards to help players get their feet wet in PvP. The oginal poster listed several advantages of such a system. A minor league for PvP might discourage point and team selling, which despite Blizzard's efforts is persistent in the arena. It would also allow elite players to only be bracketed with folks who give them more of a challenge.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums, Arena, Forum Post of the Day

Tournament Test Realm: The good, the bad, and the bovine


The Arena Tournament Test Realm (TTR) has been live for a few days now. It seems there have been some hiccups, which is to be expected during a stress test. Hortus has popped up in a few instances on the TTR forum to address some of the major concerns that players have brought up.

Lag is far and away the biggest issue on the TTR. Hortus indicated that one of the main functions of the TTR is measuring the best way to handle the massive number of contenders on the official tournament server. Blizzard currently has no plans for opening up any new TTRs to relive the stress. Logging into the server, I find the term "laggy" to be an understatement. Movement is dizzying, and players crowd around.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Quests, Contests, Forums, Arena

Breakfast Topic: Arena dreaming


I love playing in the Arenas, but I'm getting kind of bored with the same three maps. I was very exited Ruins of Lordaeron map was introduced with Season two. It was something new and exciting. It's still my favorite, but now its just as dull as the other two. I wish they would introduce a new fighting ground for Season four.

I would love to see a map in Stormwind City. I picture it as something like the legendary tournament venues of the Medieval Knights. There would be banners all around it and an audience of noisy NPCs in the stands. In order to spice things up, it would be awesome to include environmental hazards like boiling oil or escapable, but painful pit traps. Also, if I were designing an Arena, players would be forced into combat more quickly, since the preparation areas would close one minute after the battle began.

It would never happen, but a girl can dream. If you could design a battleground for Arena combat, what would it look like? What new features would you add?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Breakfast Topics, Arena

Tauren cat form updated a little in patch 2.3


We just talked about this issue in Shifting Perspectives a week ago, but it appears Blizzard is already doing something about the tauren cat form -- albeit not very much. Many tauren have long complained that their cat form is much uglier than the night elf version (compare for yourself here), and while these changes aren't comprehensive, at least they're a tiny step in a new direction.

Beaux on the US forums showed everyone how, in patch 2.3, Blizzard has modified the tauren cat form's face to look more like a lion and less like a monkey, and changed the neck of the lion so that it doesn't look so hunchbacked as it moves. It's not as pretty as the tauren cat form suggestion submitted in Blizzard's art contest, but it'll do for now I would think.

[Update]: Our reader tmklein supplied us with some interesting links for what the EU player Andrige thought the various forms should look like -- all with a distinct visual style. Would you like this sort of change?

Filed under: Druid, Patches

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