WoW Thoughts

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On Getting Rid of the Old World

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WoW Insider posted an article following up on a recent forum post calling for the end of Vanilla WoW, getting rid of the early levels from 1-50/55.

Blizzard has long said that they have no plans to bring back the previous World of Warcraft experience, in terms of bringing back instances as they were before the two expansions to the game. I think that this is understandable, and I wouldn’t want them to do so — even if I would love to see a 40-man Naxxramas run.

I also agree that those whining about levelling a new character are simply demonstrating a lack of desire to really ‘play the game’. With a world as large as this one, there are probably a number of things that you haven’t done — and if you have done them all, then going through them again really shouldn’t take you that long. With heirloom items, Recruit-a-Friend, and a decent knowledge of the quests and zones, I have no doubt that experienced level 80 players should be able to level from 1-60 quickly. (I’m currently 1.2 hours in on a new alt, and am sitting at level 11 — and this is only my second character.)

That said, I think that there are some aspects of the game that lead to calls like this that should probably be addressed — or at least acknowledged — in some way.

On the server I play on, 44% of the population is level 80. (It’s not obvious from the chart, but that’s what a month of auto-census on CensusPlus tells me.) With another 25% sitting at some level between 70 and 80, that’s a pretty small population that’s left in the Old World — of the typical 2000 players on on a regular evening, only 600 of them will be in the old world. Given a relatively standard distribution of players across levels, that means that there are between 8-12 players per level online at any given time, and therefore available for groups, etc.

Clearly, this distribution is suboptimal. Malygos is a ‘Medium’ population server, and is therefore probably about average — though I believe Alliance is 2:1 on the server, so it’s likely that it is slightly higher population than an evenly balanced Medium population server. Still, figuring a breadth of 5 levels for most instanced dungeons, you have about 50 possible players that you could build a group from.

That’s not really that big of a number. Although the new LFG mechanic (thought flawed in several ways; a post for another time) is helpful, it’s still difficult to put together for low level instances, even at the best of times. I’ve spent hours looking for a group to run Sunken Temple with — only to get to the first wipe and have someone have to leave halfway through.

One suggestion that I saw — and I’ll admit I’m not aware of the feasibility of it, but I love the *idea* at the very least — was to have the lower level ares actually work across servers, like Battlegrounds do. If it were somehow possible to take 5-10 old world servers and put them together — while leaving apart both the more populated cities (capital cities) and the higher level areas (Northrend, Outlands), you could make the Old World playable again. The lack of low level social interaction outside of the Garubashi Arena makes the social skills that people do have quite limited. While I see constant advertisements on LFG for Heroics and other high level dungeons, there is typically less than 5 people LFG for any of the lower level dungeons.

Dungeons are a great way to find interesting people to group with, both for the dungeon itself and for other questing. More than once, I’ve found myself finishing an instance, and going with one or two of the good people from the group to run some more quests, turn things in, etc. Having the ability to find people to play with really changes the game.

A simple improvement to this would be to allow people to use the LFG technique to find instances that are no longer within their level. Although I understand the pain of not being able to be summonable to an instance, having the instance you still have a handful of quests on disappear off your LFG list is quite annoying. Changing this would make the spread for the number of potential players wider, and allow players to run things that they have more experience with, thus offering a mentorship role to other players interested in running.

One suggestion I saw in WoWInsider comments was a suggestion that you be able to purchase ‘mercenaries’ to participate in the dungeon with you. Since filling groups is hard, and running with 4 is something I’ve never seen done successfully, not having a full group is equivalent to not having a group at all. Instead, make it possible to spend several gold (the recommendation was ’50 silver’, but I think that’s a bit silly) to purchase a ‘helper’. If you need a healer or more DPS, you can purchase one to help you in an instance. We’ve seen a significant amount of AI in some of the battles — though admittedly, I expect that this one would also take a pretty significant amount of code to make happen. (Not the least because ‘parties’ can’t include NPCs as far as I know…) You can imaging these mercs acting as pets to the player who purchased them, allowing you to pick up that one extra player you really need to do the run.

In many instance groups, I find that to fill in a fifth role, a high level guildie gets pulled in. This demonstrates the lack of low level players available for these groups, and indicates that perhaps a solution for this would be a good idea.

These suggestions are off the cuff; I primarily wanted to point out that getting rid of the early game is likely unneccesary. Instead, do what you can to make the early game more enjoyable. Encourage more grouping. Making instance runs easier. Make it so that the world doesn’t feel giant… and empty. Not having purchased either expansion yet, the Old World is all I currently have. I was amazed at the sheer number of people that I saw during Noblegarden — more than I’ve ever seen before, except that one time I saw Eagle’s Pride grouping up for an Ulduar run in Darnassus. From everything I’ve heard, the Old World used to be a place that was full of excitement. Though the excitement has gone out, I think the answer is to bring the excitement back — not to drop that section of the game completely.

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Written by wowthoughts

May 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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