Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A humble suggestion

Malygos on heroic difficulty, the hardest boss available in Wrath of Lich King was defeated on Nov 15, within 72 hours of the game launch. While it's a result of extraordinary skill and dedication, it's also a matter of serious concern. If someone completes the Marathon in 5 minutes, one thinks not of greatness but either cheating or a serious error on the part of the organizers. Maybe they measured the 42195 in inches instead of meters.

As leveling myself with much less gaming skills and dedication as the Nihilum or SK members, I can say it's too easy. The bigest challenge is finding the monster alive and tagging before someone else does. A T6 warrior wrote in /say to me: "droods too OP, nerf moonfire to 0.5 sec cast :D"

On the other hand, as a goblin minded person, I fully understand Blizzard's position. They want more subscribers and there are definitely more "what is hit rating for, I want moar demage" guys than skilled players. If a single monster would provide any challenge to me (not even mentioning Nihilum members), half of the playerbase would be unable to leave Warsong Hold, due to those spiders in the quary. They would quickly say "this game is fckd up" and leave.

However I have a suggestion that would provide a challenging enviroment even to the very best players and also an easy and fun play for those who don't want (or cannot) learn anything just play.

The suggestion:

The monsters are organized into factions. As an example let me introduce the "Hellfire Fel Orcs" faction. They are the roaming orcs of Hellfire Peninsula and the denisens of the Hellfire instances (Ramparts, Blood Furnace, Shattered Halls). The endboss of the faction is Maghteridon.

At the start the faction is extremely strong. The roaming orcs are an equal match to an equal level player with average skills 1 vs 1 and almost surely kill him 2 vs 1. The instances need a skilled and geared group to take. Maghteridon is practically unkillable.

The faction has soul points, it's an universal number based on the playerbase of the server. For example on my server the Hellfire Fel Orcs have 10M soul points. Every time a player kills a roaming fel orc on the server, the number decreases by 1. Every time a trash orc killed in Ramparts or Furnace instances, the number decreases by 3. For Shattered Halls orc, by 5. For bosses by 20/30. For HC instances x2. For Maghteridon, 500. So killing these monsters weakens the faction. It could work reversely too. If they kill a player, they gain a soul point.

As the faction loses soul points, so do the monsters of this faction lose HP and damage. So the less soul point they left, the easier to defeat them.

When the soul points reach 0, the faction disappears. The roaming orcs are replaced by random wild monsters (felboars, worms, carrion birds), their instances fell into ruins and become excavation sites of goblins who sell the boss's loot for gold.

So every monster faction slowly goes through the following stages:
  • Challenging state: questing is for the good players, instances are for the good guilds, raid is for the world first guilds.
  • Hard state: questing is for the average players, good players do the instances, realm best guilds doing/attempting the raid.
  • Average state: questing is for the weak players, average players PuG the instances, casual guilds doing the raid
  • Weak state: weak players can PuG the instances, average players PuG the raid.
  • None-existing state: the faction is defeated, the loot is for sale by excavating goblins. There are repeatable quests for grinding the random monsters replaced the roamers for good XP.
Since there are several factions with different level, all players can find monsters/instances for his skills/dedication. The "complete instance/raid" achivements would also show the soul points of the faction, so while both Kungen and me would have the "Killed XX endboss" achievement, his would show 98% while mine would be 57%.

Catching up for a new player would be easy. He could buy gear of the completed tiers for gold and grind XP fast until he reaches the first undefeated faction and with it, the other players fighting them.

The actions of the players wouldn't be just pointless grind. Every monster you kill counts into the effort to defeat this faction. If the boss was firstkilled at 97% while on 98% the world first guild kept on wiping, your effort to bring down the faction from 98% to 97% did count into the world first. While the game supposed to be Massively Multiplayer, outside of instances/raids it's parallel-single player. If I were the only player on the server, the world would not be any different except I wouldn't have to wait for spawns. With the mentioned change our efforts would shape the world, and since we all want the bad guys down, the other player would be a partner, a brother-in-arm in this battle. It would make sense to help him, to try to cooperate with him, since his efforts, no matter how little they are, are a help to me too. The roamer he kills may make the difference between our guilds firstkill and a 1% wipe.

I strongly believe that this change would make WoW a much better enviroment. If you agree with it, if you would like to see them implemented, please copy&paste it to your own blog. Please don't just link, people don't follow links. Feel free to add your own ideas. If the idea is spread on enough blogs, Blizzard might even listen to it.

PS: this suggestion would also end the Keristrassa-nonsense. Currently we have quests like "You arrived in a grave moment druid! The evil Mrrgrrl is threatening our very existence, save us. Only a hero like you can kill him, we all depend on you". One starts wondering why don't he send out a company of his lvl 75 guards instead of single lvl 73 myself.

When I reach the point what Carbonite Quest shown me I find 4 of the world-threatening monster's corpse and 10 other players waiting for him to spawn. Yet when I finally kill him, I hear "Thank you, his death is a relief to all of us". Of course the next day when I pass by, the world-threatening guy will still be there, threatening the world by standing idle on his platform talking to himself.

Instead we could get more realistic quests like this:
"Welcome druid to our base. We are here battling with the faction X. Like us they can resurrect upon death but each of these resurrections take a soul crystal. They already lost 26.5% of their souls! Join us in fighting them! Mrrgrrl is one of their leaders, you can find him roaming among them randomly, unless already killed by other warriors and waits for resurrection". If you find him, kill him and bring me his battle plans"

There is no spot for him to camp, he can be anywhere so to complete the quest you have to move out and search. You will encounter random roamers, killing them is more fun and makes more sense than corpse-camping by the platform. Upon completion you get:
"Thank you for these plans. We adjusted our defenses accordingly, we are a bit safer now. From it you can learn some of their strategies making you wiser [gives XP]"


LarĂ­sa said...

It's really an interesting thought. I don't know enough about game mechanics to suggest it myself. Not yet at least, I have to think a bit more about it first.

But seriously, don't you think people follow links? I'm sure they do. You could perfectly well write a few words about your ideas, giving you proper credit for it and then linking to your blog. That's standard procedure in blogging and what I've seen so far I think it works pretty well.
However I seriously doubt that Blizzard reads small and unimportant blogs suchs as yours and mine (if you excuse me). To grab their attention I suspect you need to make it into Wowinsider at least.

Sylver said...

Very, very interesting and constructive post you wrote us there!

The idea would definatly be a very new game-mechanic, some would be excited and some would show up with counters.
I'm pretty sure this system would have alot of pro's but also it's cons.
After I first read I didn't really see any cons, but one would be for a player who decides to join in on World of Warcraft at a late point.
He would be quite confused to enter lands containing a raid instance only to meet up on boars again! (After the destruction of the faction)
And to be honest, I'm pretty sure only a small fraction of the players bother reading system explanations. (It's increasing though imo)

Maybe phasing could come in here, improving your theory. I'm not sure how (yet), but yeah I'm just writing a quick reaction :-)

As Larisa said, I'd have to think about it more to actually come up with some better replies.

I do think Blizzard reads up on blogs though, not only the famous ones. (Didn't alot of bloggers get beta-keys in their mailbox?)

About the links, I agree that a copy/paste would be better, together with a link ofcourse! (+ Needed credit)

You can't let respect fall into the wrong hands..
No need to say, I don't need the respect. Everyone needs respect.

Sylver said...

Oh and about the quest thing there, phasing would simply solve it. But it'd require hell alot of phasing ^^
I could backup blizzard by saying they got other things to worry about. But hey, they are earning quite a damn nice amount of money there, so gief more employees! (Though probably alot gets spent on the servers, after reading: , blah bad argument :p )

Also on a sidenote, there are alot more things quite unlogic when it comes to WoW about respawns etc.
Each can be solved, but it'll probably take a while before some sort of super-solution pops up without any counter-arguments to be made. (Philosophy ftw?)

kyrilean said...

Interesting suggestion, but I don't think it'd work.

What do you do when new players who haven't experienced something all of a sudden don't ever get to because the server already destroyed the faction? Don't see Blizzard ever allowing that to happen.

As for weakening something over time?

I have to be one of the only people in the world that thinks Blizzard is doing a good job of this.

Make the instances brutally hard so the hardcore guys are happy. Wait a few months, introduce new content to keep them happy while at the same time introducing something to make the more casual players able to do what the hardcore guys have already finished.

They already do this with new badge and pvp gear. They did this with the pre-expansion nerf.

Granted this upsets the hardcore guys, but I don't see what they're complaining about because they'll always get to brag that they did things "uphill in the snow both ways" and the rest of us will always know it.

Blackthought / Deathwing said...

I like the idea but would say why not make the factions reset when they do server resets or have a reset time on a monthly counter or something. That way we could all experience having our asses handed to us. I hit 70 right before the nerf bat came out just recently and it sucks because I will never get to know just how hard kara was.

I do like the idea though and it would make more...”sense” to have everyone fighting a faction and eventually kill a boss.

Very interesting idea though, perhaps with some tweaking it would be something that would improve everyone’s game play experience.

I think it would be cool if you could wager how hard an instance was going to be. Let say on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a Friday night run through of RFC and 10 being a t6 guild week long run at sunwell. What you could do is prior to entering an instance is set the difficulty and then have the instance AND the loot scale accordingly. So if you set the instance to 1 you get 1 badge for finishing the whole thing and no blues drop. 2 you get 1 badge but blues drop, 3 you get 2 badges and blues drop , etc, etc. At 10 you get X badges for each boss as well as a BONUS for completing it at the hardest setting as well as having the % drop of the good gear go up 5 or 6 points.

This would allow EVERYONE to enjoy every instance. I would imagine you could just have HP and such scale for the mobs and then maybe every 3 difficulty levels you could “adjust it” sorta of like a level 1-3 would be normal, level 4-6 would be heroic, level 7-9 would be ...super heroic, and level 10 would be...something harder than that.

I also think adding “required” raids and instances would be cool. If you think about pre BC raids and now Pre WOTLK raids who’s ever going to do them again? I’ve been playing for about a year now and I think I’ve ever seen one AQ 20 raid and that’s it from the pre bc stuff. It would be nice to make it mandatory for people to run through some of the raids and instances before they could go into later raids and instances. I think making an AQ 20 raid a requirement for getting into say Kara might make these instances worthwhile again.

Devin said...

Phasing is amazing in LK indeed. It's really cool to have a zone change!

However, I do like the idea of making content less and less hard through an algorithmic function such as the one you suggest, especially when the achievement also lists when you did it!

Hombre said...

Old post - yet here I am commenting on it because I'm reading your whole blog for all the interesting thoughts you have.

However, this idea sounds a lot like the exact same thing Blizzard did in BC. Namely: as time progressed (and therefore the general level of content reached), all 'old' raid content was progressively nerfed. By direct nerfs to bosses, or by handing out badge-gear. With the possible exception of quests, all the states you describe can be found in the history of TBC.

I'm not sure about the name of the business strategy, but it's a well-used one: adapting one product to as many buyers as possible.