WoW is a very interesting entity. I feel like Blizzard knows WoW is entering its final stages, and is just seeing what kind of things work in an established community while they still have it. One thing that really killed the game is letting players code for it. Deadly Boss Mods has single-handedly shaped the way end-game content is created; instead of creating bosses which are legitimately difficult or awe-inspiring, WoW has bosses that now require DBM to attempt. The bosses no longer have incredibly powerful abilities, they have weird aggro patterns and require a raid to focus on manipulating hate, or else the boss just wipes you out. Also, the bosses can only last so long, or else they ‘enrage’ and wipe you out. It doesn’t leave much room for innovation or adaptability – you figure out the fight and then you read your queues.
1) Don’t let players shape content
2) Bosses can’t be structured around invisible metrics (such as hate). They need to be structured around normal fantasy-based behaviors. E.g. you want to dodge a dragons breath, not make sure you’re not at the top of it’s hate chart.
Over the course of its life, Blizzard has shifted its group paradigm several times. The 40-man content of yore has been replaced by 5 man heroics, 10 man dungeons and 25 man raids, each giving better gear than the last. But Blizzard designed it so that the content scales up with the amount of people, which is stupid. The 5 man heroics are used as a stepping stone to “harder” content. What SHOULD’VE been done is keep these things in parallel; make difficult 5 man dungeons where the gear and drops are still excellent, but make them hard enough so that you need to take 5 players who REALLY know what they’re doing. 5 (and 10 man to an extent) content in WoW is a joke – something to do when you can’t get 25 people together to tackle something big, or something to farm badges for.
1) Content shouldn’t scale in difficulty by number of people, it should scale by ‘skill required’. Make easy, medium, and hard areas for every group size.
2) Shifting paradigms may breathe life into a game for a time, but its ultimately not worth it. Ask any ‘old school’ WoW player, and they’ll admit that nothing in today’s content is anywhere near as cool as downing Ragnaros for the first time, no raid mods necessary, unless you were the leader or a healer.
The other big mistake I’m sure Blizzard realized is the homogenization of the 9 classes in the game. 9 isn’t a lot. So when you blur the lines between them, you’re not doing your game any favors. Homogenization is one of the few irreversible processes a game can go through. Once you give a healer or tank the option to do damage, you can’t take it away. Once you give a damage dealer some defensive abilities, you can’t take them away. You’ve @#%^ed yourself, royally.
1) Don’t listen to your player base. A lot of times, the players don’t really know what they want. E.g. “BUT I WANT TO HEAL!” “…well, then why’d you roll a Death Knight?”
2) The purpose of dividing players into classes in the first place is so that players can fill a specific need. Half of the classes in WoW suffer from serious identity crisis on a daily basis; “what spec are you?” determines whether you get into a raid, but “what class are you?” determines whether or not you get items from it. So, you’re forced to conform to what your class is designed to do, regardless of your other options… except now there’s 2-3 other classes that can do it just as well as you due to homogenization.
But all these “PLZ DON’T TALK ABOUT WOW” and “I DON’T LIKE WOW” posts are retarded. WOW is literally schooling other developers in how to properly create a persistent online world. It’s a test bench. WoW has taught developers how to properly structure a thriving economy. WoW made all the mistakes other developers now won’t have to. Do we link auction houses or not? Do we allow players to link items in chat or not? How should trade work? How should players earn money? How strong should crafted items be compared to raided ones? How do we distribute loot tables among lowbie zones versus high-end zones? These are all standards new games are going to go by. Why? Because WoW, after 7 years, has provided tons of valuable, visible data on a MASSIVE scale. Will these things be tuned to newer games? Sure, but the underlying fundamentals are still there, and they came from WoW.
Now, before you rip me a new hole by saying “we all know Blizzard took the AH from FFXI,” I already know that. In fact, when I was beta testing WoW, I was one of the players who made the big push for the auction house system. FFXI’s AH system was, and as far as I know still IS absolute trash. The *only* good thing about it as far as I’m concerned is a price history, which is modifiable in WoW. Also, the economic player-created mods in WoW are beyond superb, and should be taken note of in every game.
On the forefront of PvP, no game has more options than WoW. And while many of these options suck, no one can deny that they are valid attempts at creating goal-oriented PvP. And while balancing classes for both PvP and PvE is a nightmare – as discussed above – no one can deny that it needed to be tried relentlessly to be proven.
Sure, it’s graphics are cartoony, but they’re timeless. Some of the scenery is flat-out beautiful while others suck. WoW was geared for the long-haul and knew updating the graphics wasn’t a serious option. So they chose style over substance. Not a bad move.
My overall point is this; why the @#%^ are you hating on WoW? The things it does so wrong are very important to its contribution to the gaming world. You can’t say you don’t like a game just because it’s become a major reference to its industry, especially when other developers (SQUARE ENIX) are OPENLY using it for reference. Yeah, I get it. I like Final Fantasy just as much as the next guy. I grew up on FF6-10, just like the next guy. I played FFXI, just like the next guy and I know a bunch of people who left it for WoW, just like the next guy. Stop being so bitter and arrogant about a game that’s doing well just because it’s not one you play.
So how about we use this forum for it's purpose -- wild speculation on bits of information about FFXIV as we get it, and use WoW as a reference where appropriate.
Edited, Jul 7th 2009 10:58am by Kharmageddon