WotLK to level 100?

I might be way off base here (not the first time), but am I the only one who thinks Blizzard would be better off focusing on a leveling game rather than an end-game with WoW? Reading forums and blogs, I have yet to hear one person complain about WotLK 70-79, with everyone agreeing that the leveling was superb. In that same vein, many of the ‘I quit’ threads and posts focus on the fact that WotLK is the same old WoW once you cap out and jump back on the gear/arena grind.

From my understanding, WotLK basically has enough questing content to go from 70-80 twice without having to repeat anything. What if instead of raising the cap to 80, Blizzard instead went to 100? The amount of questing content would need to be increased, somewhere closer to original Azeroth (minus Horde/Alliance only zones), but considering Blizzard has been using the same world tools since 2004, that’s not unreasonable. If WotLK kept the majority of its play base leveling for 2-5 months rather than 1, would it have been a better expansion? With 5 months worth of leveling time, even Blizzard should be able to give the player base something new in that time, further extending interest.

I find it odd that Blizzard is not catering to its major strength, the leveling game, and rather continues to focus on its weaker aspects, PvP and the confused raiding scheme. Considering they aim clearly for the casual gaming fan, why sacrifice that demographics favorite portion to try and cater to the hardcore, especially in a market that offers plenty of alternatives for said hardcore crowd?

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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19 Responses to WotLK to level 100?

  1. skarbd says:

    By going up by 10 levels an addon, then it makes it easier to sell 2 more addons. Blizzard are no bodies fool when it comes to content. Time to level will be factored in, but if you increase the no. of levels, then abilities either need to be spread out, or more created.

  2. Snafzg says:

    It may not be the game for you, I, or many of the other bloggers that love the questing game but crap out at max rank, however, it IS the right game for many other millions of people, which is more than can be said for its competition.

    The raiding treadmills and gear grinds seem to appeal to the widest possible MMO audience, so I don’t know if focusing on the levelling game would make them any more successful or worse off. “If it ain’t broke,” so they say…

  3. PTD says:

    A better expansion? Really, the only people I see complaining about Wrath are the extremely HARD CORE types that have already cleared all the existing raiding content. From what message boards are you getting the idea that people feel there is something wrong, even with the “end game” level 80 stuff? All I hear is how great the instances are, constant calls for heroic groups, and glee over the fact that you can raid everything with either 10 or 25 people.

    I should also add that I read many, many WoW blogs, and haven’t seen a single “I Quit” post that had anything to do with the expansion itself. The only “I Quit” posts I’ve seen have been RL related.

    Do you think you may be suffering from extreme bias against WoW that you are getting these impressions?

  4. mbp says:

    Isn’t there an economic reality at play here. Levelling up content gets played through once and then players move on. End game content gets repeated over and over. Ergo it is much cheaper for a developer to produce 100 hours worth of end game content that to produce 100 hours worth of levelling up content.

  5. syncaine says:

    I’m certainly not ‘suffering’ from my bias, I’m quite enjoying it actually :)

    And one should not mistake RL ‘I quit’ for cutting out the less needed things. Plus WoW-blogs are going to continue with the game they are designed around anyway, right? Still, a little google-foo and you can find plenty of statements of the same old ‘end-game’ flip, especially when compared to TBC and how that went with the lvl vs end-game stuff.

    How many instances are being mass AoE’ed? How many guilds first/second shot raid bosses. How many people are ALREADY looking ahead to future content that Blizzard will deliver ‘when it’s done’? WG is as much a stepping stone for the next great thing in WoW PvP as WSG was for BGs, ie: everyone is grinding the same battlegrounds since 2005.

    But my point is, considering that WotLK is aimed at the casual crowd even more so than TBC was (and that itself was a reduction from vanilla), why not just cater to that strength. Would anyone really complain that they have more of the best part of the expansion?

  6. Anjin says:

    PTD, if your not seeing the “I quit” posts, it’s because they’re disguised as something else. I and a great number of other bloggers and podcasters have moved to LotRO just to have something new to do. My personal switch over happened when I hit level 80 after completing the first four questing zones in Northrend. I still haven’t entered Shalozar, Zul’Drak, Storm Peaks or Icecrown. I will someday, but hitting 80 pulled the big carrot out from in front of me.

  7. PTD says:

    @Anjin

    “A great number” is how many, exactly? Can you be a little nebulous in your statement? I ask because I follow the blogosphere and podcasts around WoW pretty closely, and frankly I don’t see it.

    @Syncaine

    If there is so much disappointment with the end game, why do I see so many raids still happening? So many heroics? Why are there constant queues to just get in the game?

    Face it, Warhammer is a bad, unbalanced attempt at RvR. The scenarios are the only thing worth any time, and that’s basically all you do. Open world RvR is non-existent, and Destruction outnumbers Order all the time.

  8. syncaine says:

    No actually I do very few scenarios (I actually wish I did more, but oRvR makes that difficult in a good way). Also, show me a balanced PvP MMO in the first 6 months. Remember early DAoC or AC-DT? How’s that balance working out in WoW close to 5 years later?

    There are queues to get in? Odd considering the ‘official’ source for numbers (xfire) has WoW down since WotLK’s release. Is Bliz still having server issues? Regardless, of course in-game you will still see activity, people still playing are going to be doing things. That’s like saying Fortresses in WAR are working perfectly because every night we see multiple warbands battling over them. But denying that many players consider WoW’s best moment to be before the level cap, it’s hard to argue that providing such a short sample of such great gameplay makes sense.

    Sure the big mac of the MMO world can basically do whatever it wants and the masses will still show up in droves initially, but at some point even they will hit a similar point the bleed-edge hits, just slower. I’m just saying it would seem to make sense to stretch out your core market over a longer period of time, and try to stem the inevitable increase in the churn rate, that’s all. Certainly by now Bliz has both the resources and know-how to make that happen at an affordable price.

  9. PTD says:

    And guess what, DAoC was NEVER balanced. NEVER. Are you saying that the Destruction vs Order problem has been resolved? Because they could never figure it out in DAoC. No matter what they did, there was always one realm that could bulldoze the other two. People who are drawn to heavy RvR games are also often drawn to the SIDE OF STRENGTH, because they want to win. I don’t know how Mythic could solve that problem.

    However, the point I was trying to make was that I don’t have any business knocking WAR based on what I’ve heard on a few blogs or message boards. You are focusing too much bashing on an expansion you never even loaded up. It’s fine that you’re over WoW, it’s great that you’ve found a game you enjoy. I just wish you didn’t feel the need to bash WoW occasionally when you really don’t have a frame of reference.

    Yes, there are queues to get in on many, many servers. I’m glad you had the foresight to put official in quotes, because Xfire has no bearing on the actual number of players. On the other hand, I would argue that Xfire is better representative of the more “hardcore,” and that explains why their numbers are trending down. And of course there is some churn in the first couple months of the release of any new MMO or expansion. This includes WoW, LoTRO, Warhammer and others. That’s how it works. Having seen the vast numbers at the Warhammer release followed by the significant churn once the free month was over, you should know that.

    Just so we’re all clear here, I like reading your blog, and enjoy your posts. :) I just wish that since you have made the move, you would quit trying to talk about a game you don’t even play anymore, getting digs in it when you can.

    PTD

  10. Werit says:

    If they had content to 100, filled with quality quests (ala Wrathgate I hear) they would certainly get my money longer.

  11. Yeebo says:

    I think that many players do indeed agree with the basic premise of this post. WoW is fun 1-cap, and pretty much falls flat on it’s face once you hit the cap. You won’t see many statements like that in established WoW blogs simply because those are by definition gamers that think the current WoW end game is just fine. You really can’t play for more than a few months unless you get heavy into some of the end game activities. Ergo, gamers that hate the end game won’t have long running WoW centric blogs.

    If you haven’t seen any other bloggers griping about the end game being the same grind in WotLK that it was in BC and vanilla, you haven’t been reading a lot of general MMO blogs. Brent and Keen and Graev are two pretty high profile MMO bloggs that have recently expressed a similar sentiment, just off the top of my head.

  12. Tesh says:

    To my mind, the whole game is a series of treadmills (as are most MMOs; it’s just the window dressing that changes). It’s just that the endgame treadmill is more blatantly obvious, and in a different gear than the leveling content, so it’s natural that there would be complaints shifting from one to the other. It’s not a phenomena new to Wrath, or even unique to WoW; it’s part of the mainstream MMO design mentality.

    Yes, Blizzard could make more leveling content. Until they see a dent in their sub numbers that kicks them out of their complacency, they have little impetus to do so. *shrug*

  13. Anjin says:

    Off hand, I can only point out Michael Zenke and his Massively cohort, Van Hemlock, Ravious and others at Kill Ten Rats, and the team at Gamers With Jobs. If you challenge me that these aren’t WoW-centric blogs, that would be the point which even Syncaine is overlooking. WoW is a big game with many tastes. Those playing for Arenas or Raids are getting their endgame from Blizzard just fine. Those players who enjoy the leveling game got ten great levels and now we get to wait again. I’m waiting in LotRO at the moment.

  14. mordiceius says:

    On the queue issue… my server, a lesser populated one is seeing a queue of 450-700 every night now. The higher pop servers are seeing queues for 1500-2500. This has only happened in the last week and a half so it seems as time is going on more people are coming back rather than leaving.

  15. PTD says:

    One last point. I looked back at one of your top posts, https://syncaine.wordpress.com/2007/09/13/looking-in-the-mirror-the-sickness-that-was-wow-raiding/, and it was basically about what was wrong with the hardcore raiding game. You were spot in in your assessment of Vanilla WoW raiding, and I’m glad that they’ve relaxed it over time to make it more accessible for more people. I have also never been one to raid more than one night per week, if that, and I never will. I think perhaps this contributes to my disagreement with you on this post. I have a great time with WoW as long as I don’t try to take it too seriously, or play it more than 12 hours a week, if that.

    Why is it, then, that I’ve heard you a couple of times long for the “old days” of WoW raiding and inferred that Wrath raiding is too easy? I’m a little confused. I think you were very right in that older post about raiding, and should understand the direction that Blizzard has taken in that area.

  16. syncaine says:

    People misread that post. I’m not really blaming the design, but rather how I played it. At a later point, with many of the same people, we went back and raided a bit in TBC, and still enjoyed it at a much slower pace. Granted we knew we could not be a server-first guild anymore, but once we accepted that, it was all good.

    But while your cutoff now is 12 hours, mine is 30. I work full time, live with my fiance, take care of a dog and cat, hang with friends, all that. I just don’t watch tv much, I happen to only need 6hrs of sleep, and I don’t go out and drink as much as my friends. I’m not saying what I do is better than anyone else, I’m just saying that while your cap is 12, mine is 30ish, and both limits work. If I took my 30 into WoW right now, I would be out of content, as would most of the friends I play with. And not only would we be out of content, the content we had taken down would have disappointed in how easy it was. That more than anything is why I think people are going to turn on WotLK faster than they did TBC.

  17. tobias says:

    I heard the same arguement form hard core gamers all of the time. I have a life, I only play X hours a week.
    The truth is. most of us are adicted. We love playing the game. We want to see new instances.
    Truth is, new raid contend is easier. But what i have heard has also difficult tasks. To get this obsidian sanktum with all three dragons seems to be hard.
    My point: I love it that even casuals with X=6 can see heroics, see raids, and can have success.
    If X>20, go and help guys only playing X=6 or twink or whatever.

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