1. #1

    Retiring old content and making WoW and current-xpac only game

    As I hear about the introduction of partial node harvesting in 5.3 I am struck with an idea that reaches to the very core of WoW's design. Perhaps, though grand at first, making wow a bigger and more expansive game with each iterative xpac was a mistake. Or was good at first, but is increasingly resulting in a unwieldy and hollow behemoth loaded with abandoned outadted content.

    What if... not just mining and herbalism could be levelled in Pandaria. What if an entire character could be levelled and played entirely in MoP content? What if the WoW formula was tweaked as such that each xpac was the xpac everyone played in?

    It's a bold proposition, and I know many of you are adverse to even modest propositions, and will most likely flail in outrage at the idea, but hear me out. I'm not saying you should be able to go back and play BC, WotLK, and Cata content. I'm saying it should be taken out of the current gameplay experience and left as an optional aside. We need to face facts. Outland questing sucks, Northrend was amazing, but is now empty and devoid of activity. The drops are irrelevant, there are dusty halls where you can trade in expired raid tokens for expired raid sets. It's kind of depressing, and irrelevant to current play- yet these fixtures remain. I think it's time to call a spade a spade and designate this stuff as retire content. If you want to go back and play through this stuff, I sure think you should be able to; get xmog sets, old mounts, titles, achievements- but levelling through this content shouldn't be mandatory or even intended.

    Obviously, there are huge questions. How can one level entirely in Pandaria? It's possible through clever overlapping of content- such as with allowing people with a mining skill of 1 mine the same nodes as someone with a skill of 600- just with a different payoff. What about enemies? It's a bit too much of an ask on devs to remake 1-85 content just for MoP- then do it again andf again for each xpac. What about 'levelling zones'. We have the wandering isle staring experience. It gets you up to level 10 or so. We have Pandaria which has content for 85-90.

    What if the Jade Forest, The Valley of Four Winds, and the Karasang Wilds were designated 'levelling Zones'. In these zones you have players from level 10-89 all levelling. The content is the same, but the enemies are modular. Instead of having fixed levels, they have relative 'difficulties'- if you pull one it is assigned a level and stats based on your level. Enemies in the Jade Forest are easy, the Valley of Four Winds is full of medium enemies, and the Karasang wilds is full of Hard enemies (with some exceptions for all zones).

    This way you recapture that vanilla feeling of a world full of players levelling just like you. You'll be running around sharing the zone with players 20 levels your senior and junior. PvP servers will be brutal, one part of me wants to suggest phasing these three zones in 20 level brackets to mitigate that, the other part of me relishes the idea of pretty much every levelling player on a PvP server as various sized fishies in a rather small pond.

    This is just an example hypothetical. Come to think of it, questing is very much the 'levelling' gameplay style. You don't really do it at end level play all too much. The world is for questing. Thinking of it that way, why not make all of Pandaria in this overlapped modular way, where levelling players of all levels share this content. Once you hit 90 you're king of the world, but no longer really need to quest in it, and more inclined to do things like instanced PvE and PVP.

    A more advanced formula along the same kind of lines is to have a conceptual range that slowly climbs as you level. So at level 11 Jade Forest is set at the 'challenging difficulty' and the Valley of Four Winds is 'very Hard', whilst Karasing Wilds is nearly impossibly hard. By the time you're at level 50, Jade wilds is now easy (enemies are set to be roughly 10 levels lower than you), Karasang Wilds is medium (enemies set at about your level when you pull them), whereas the Vale of Eternal blossoms is still really hard (with enemies 10 levels higher than you).

    TL;DR: What if the forumal of WoW was tweaked to incorporate fuzzy levelling and modular challenges so that current xpac content is shared by all players- with old xpacs being shelved-but-accessible optional content and not an essential or encouraged part of the levelling process. The goal being to make each xpac play and feel a lot like the World did back in Vanilla; rather than the game getting bigger and emptier.

  2. #2
    The Patient Salarius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by composemail View Post

    What if... not just mining and herbalism could be levelled in Pandaria. What if an entire character could be levelled and played entirely in MoP content? What if the WoW formula was tweaked as such that each xpac was the xpac everyone played in?
    This is sort of the antithesis to cross server zones. Everyone playing in the same area or at least set of area would overload the current servers. The only way to adapt that would be to use the formating of certain F2P competitors that allow you to reset into that persons group. Actually I believe Diablo 3 had a feature somewhat like this but it muddies up quest completion and progresses. Your thought is also a throwback to people who play old content. The mods already added a xp off, feature to accommodate these classic raiders. I too would like to see a way to keep warcraft from dying but honestly that just isn't possible.

  3. #3
    Blademaster
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    Sounds like a terrible idea to me. Leveling only within MoP would make endgame unbearable, because you're stuck in a soft asian nightmare for the entire time and no change of theme or lore whatsoever.

  4. #4
    Although i agree that so many levels and outdated content to go through is just a pain, i don't think making the last expansion the place to level up from 10 to 90 would be any solution, with or without phasing, you'll end up so bored from pandaria... From my experience people who still enjoy leveling characters don't find the leveling experience so unpleasing even when going to Outlands or Northrend, but people who are tired of the leveling part of the game, would rather shoot themselves than going from 87 to 90 one more time.

    I think, and i know many would complain for this, but we are just at a point where making something in the lines of "hero class" starting directly at 85 or even selling max level booster that allow you to create a character directly at max level or to level instantly any character to level 90... that kind of things would fit better nowadays with 8 years in their backs than any zone revamp they can imagine... that was the strong point of Cataclysm, i love what they did, but i saw those funny quest chains one time with one toon and that's it.

  5. #5
    No, no and no.

    I spend more time in old zones than MOP nowadays. I´d quit the game.

  6. #6
    Immortal Haven's Avatar
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    Makes sense actually. There's definitely something very wrong in WoW leveling and content getting thrown out the window as soon as the new expansion comes out.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Salarius View Post
    This is sort of the antithesis to cross server zones.
    Actually this is a good point- cross realm zones is a different approach to the same problem- the above proposition would be instead of cross realm zones, making for a busier world by having everyone in the server play in the current xpac zones. Cross realm zones would still be relevant for archived content. Indeed it would be wasteful to dedicate entire servers to instanced zones no longer even 'part of the game'. Better to boil down the random few people accessing Outland to temporary merged cross realm instances.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salarius View Post
    Everyone playing in the same area or at least set of area would overload the current servers.
    That's how it was in Vanilla everyone playing either in Kalimdor or EK instances. Also to be clear I'm not saying we merge all the servers. I'm just saying that the gameplay would happen in the current xpac world instances. Balancing loads with instancing is a technical matter that is by no means an obstacle to the idea of everyone playing mainly current content.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey-Gore View Post
    Sounds like a terrible idea to me. Leveling only within MoP would make endgame unbearable, because you're stuck in a soft asian nightmare for the entire time and no change of theme or lore whatsoever.
    What you're saying doesn't quite make sense to me. How does levelling in MoP make endgame unbearable? The endgame is currently in Pandaria, if you don't like the mythic eastern theme, you're not going to like endgame this xpac. Additionally, i'm not saying old content is walled off- if you want to go look at some vikings in Northrend, go right ahead- that the game doesn't take you there anymore is the proposal I'm putting forth.

    Additionally this isn't an MoP specific idea, feel free to superimpose the idea onto past xpacs or future ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geckoo View Post
    Although i agree that so many levels and outdated content to go through is just a pain, i don't think making the last expansion the place to level up from 10 to 90 would be any solution, with or without phasing, you'll end up so bored from pandaria... From my experience people who still enjoy leveling characters don't find the leveling experience so unpleasing even when going to Outlands or Northrend, but people who are tired of the leveling part of the game, would rather shoot themselves than going from 87 to 90 one more time.
    I think the aim of an xpac is to remain fresh and interesting for as long as it's life cycle. Just like in Vanilla, if you were sick of Azeroth... well, tough shit that's where the game is. Then BC comes and you play that, if you're sick of outland, uh sorry? Same with Northrend. What I'm pushing for is for xpacs to be like episodes- in a current xpac you play that xpac's content, that's where the gameplay is. Old xpacs are 'archived' for those who want to go back and check it out, but the gameplay highway doesnt run through them anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by alex View Post
    No, no and no.

    I spend more time in old zones than MOP nowadays. I´d quit the game.
    In my suggestion, it'd be no different for you. I'm not saying you can't go to old zones. I'm saying that it'd make for a better play experience if players levelled in current content. Old zones would still be accessible in this proposition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haven View Post
    Makes sense actually. There's definitely something very wrong in WoW leveling and content getting thrown out the window as soon as the new expansion comes out.
    I can understand the devs on why they just can't keep old content up-to-date as a matter of practicality. Especially as more and more content is added to the pile of shit needing updates. As a lore fan, this blows immensely.

    What I'd like to see is a 'core' part of Azeroth that is updated/kept current in economical ways; so faction capitals and starting quests. I'm not talking about total remodels and entire new sets of quests. Just touch-ups, references to current affairs, maybe the odd monument or relevant NPC. You section each faction capital and starting zone off from the rest of Azeroth and vanilla content. It's instanced, and it's current. The current xpac zone is in it's own instance(s) and is also current. Everything else is locked in time and the gameplay highway doesn't run through it. That is to say, no current quests will point you toward the Vanilla world, Outland, Northrend, or Cata zones. They're there, if you wanna go check 'em out, RP in them, grind old content/rewards- but 99% of play happens in the current xpac.

  8. #8
    Moderator Nobleshield's Avatar
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    I think leveling needs to stay as it is (barring the obvious of adding something, even just a Bronze Dragonflight NPC, to account for why you go back in time twice) but I think they need to revamp the profession system in general. I liked how you could level Cooking entirely in Pandaria; they need to do the same for the other professions. Having to spend thousands of gold or go back and mindlessly farm mats for worthless items isn't fun. If I have tailoring I should be able to level it from 1 entirely in Pandaria, even if I have to make vendor trash items until I hit the MoP patterns. If I want to level JC or Engineering I should be able to do it without having to waste time in Outland or Northrend.

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  9. #9
    you would see another 1-2mil drop in subscriptions if this happens maybe more. As new content becomes stale, what was once stale, old content. Becomes enjoyable again as people go back for that legendary or that one achievement or those mog gear pieces. Dont discount old content to provide true enjoyment. For example 2 manning blood infusion using a DK and Lock was the best fun I have had in recent years in wow.

  10. #10
    Another thought, compartmentalising all current gameplay into the current xpac would mean you could sell MoP as a standalone title without forcing new players to buy every previous xpac just to play current content.

    Surprisingly, this would actually mean more money for Blizz, not less. As it stands, having to buy every previous title is one of the biggest obstacles to getting new players into the game. It's a technical requirement, because you can't get to end level without grinding through this old content. The only way Blizz makes it work is by rolling titles together (vanilla now includes all of BC and Wrath), and by offering bundle packs for the lot.

    Instead, they could sell just MoP- people could buy it and play the whole way up to end level in MoP content. If, however, they wanted a Nether Drake, or the Crusader title, or a Cataclysmic Gladiator set for transmog, or to explore Azeroth and get vanilla achievements; they'd need to buy the relevant old xpac to get to that shelved content.

    For a new player it means you can buy MoP and play WoW from 1-90, including all endl level stuff. For Blizz it means more money buying individual xpacs at full ticket price just so they can access the old achieves, mounts, titles, sets, and content (though without being obligated to). It's there for the completionists, but not mandatory. Want a frost Wyrm? Buy Wrath and do the achievements, then fly around MoP showing off your old xpac mount to all the MoP-only players riding cloud serpents.

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-14 at 01:41 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Aventhos View Post
    you would see another 1-2mil drop in subscriptions if this happens maybe more. As new content becomes stale, what was once stale, old content. Becomes enjoyable again as people go back for that legendary or that one achievement or those mog gear pieces. Dont discount old content to provide true enjoyment. For example 2 manning blood infusion using a DK and Lock was the best fun I have had in recent years in wow.
    I'm not saying you can't do that, or that old content should be walled off. I'm saying the main route of current gameplay shouldn't go through it. It should be there for those that want it for exactly the reason you say. It is fun going back. Current gameplay should be focussed into current content, however. As each xpac is dropped, the world gets bigger and emptier.

  11. #11
    I would prefer the old content being intertwined together with the new content and/or offer things of interest to the players at the maximum level. It makes no sense that the zones become obsolete the moment you level past them.

    Your suggestion does not completely exclude this possibility, and might even support it in some ways, but I don't see the two ever happening together. The standalone ideas are already something that we'll likely never see in this game. I'm also not that fussed over your suggestion. It seems like a troublesome way of trying to fix some of the issues.

  12. #12
    No. But they need to make it so toons dont start at lvl 1. 90 levels is way too much

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Keoren View Post
    I would prefer the old content being intertwined together with the new content and/or offer things of interest to the players at the maximum level. It makes no sense that the zones become obsolete the moment you level past them.
    Man I'm so with you on this one, but it's impractical for devs. There's just so much old content, locked into an old context; increasingly so with each xpac.

    Rather than look at each xpac worth of content as an interlocking piece of a living breathing world (which I think was the idea at the outset, but not the reality as it stands right now) I think we should look at each xpac as a standalone work; a chapter in the history of azeroth with a beginning and an end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keoren View Post
    Your suggestion does not completely exclude this possibility, and might even support it in some ways, but I don't see the two ever happening together. The standalone ideas are already something that we'll likely never see in this game. I'm also not that fussed over your suggestion. It seems like a troublesome way of trying to fix some of the issues.
    My concern is that as each xpac broadens the virtual world of warcraft, an increasingly larger proportion of game time is spent in empty, hollow, expired content with largely no relevance to anyone besides those rehashing it. Why is there Medium leather on the Auction House? Because levellers harvest it. Who do they sell it to? Other levellers. What do they make with it? Shit people levelling their enchanting can disenchant. What are frozen orbs good for? Not much, it's expired content. You need 'em to make the carpet (they used to be so much more).

    I'd rather see each xpac as being something like vanilla- a current context for the totality of play; from low to end level, PvE to PvP, relevant skills and economies, and so on. Prior expansions should be shelved chapters in WoW's history- something you can go back to, but that isn't an integral part of the current game. To focus the game on the current xpac; instead of diluting it with an immense grind through abandoned zones. That's what is so great about this new gathering thing in 5.3, where you can skill up on ghost iron (and MoP herbs). Ghost Iron is the only relevant mineral (apart from trillium) in the game. Copper, tin, bronze, iron, mithril, thorium, fel iron, adamantite, cobalt, saronite, obsidium, and elementium, exist only as a very very long bridge to ghost iron (with the exception of a few transmog sets). They don't interract with current gameplay at all. Nobody in Pandaria will ask you for gold or silver bars.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by composemail View Post
    I think the aim of an xpac is to remain fresh and interesting for as long as it's life cycle. Just like in Vanilla, if you were sick of Azeroth... well, tough shit that's where the game is. Then BC comes and you play that, if you're sick of outland, uh sorry? Same with Northrend. What I'm pushing for is for xpacs to be like episodes- in a current xpac you play that xpac's content, that's where the gameplay is. Old xpacs are 'archived' for those who want to go back and check it out, but the gameplay highway doesnt run through them anymore.
    And i get that an even agree partially with you, but not in a game with almost 100 levels and not so many zones to go through that leveling experience. If we focus in Pandaria, your proposal would be to play more than 80 levels in just 3 zones. Sure it can be done, but the risk is you get tottaly tired of the new continent before reaching max level or that they have to make you level so fast that's it has no longer sense.

    As the game grows we need more shortcuts, there is a point that the xp reduction from level to level no longer works for many people, i don't care if you can reach max level in less than a week, the point is that is boring as hell for some people, because we have already gone through that process so many times that it's no longer a fun part of the game and replacing that experience with 3 phased or dynamic zones won't fix it. It would be good to have them just as another way to level up sure, but i preffer that they leave that alone and think about more drastic shortcuts for veteran players to get their toons to max level.

    At this point i'd love to try a mage, but i won't, simply because my interest is in a level 90 mage, not in leveling a mage, i hope you get my point with this. The fun for me is no longer in the process of leveling, the fun is at max level.

  15. #15
    Why not just have all toons start at level 60 or 70 or even 85?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Geckoo View Post
    And i get that an even agree partially with you, but not in a game with almost 100 levels and not so many zones to go through that leveling experience. If we focus in Pandaria, your proposal would be to play more than 80 levels in just 3 zones. Sure it can be done, but the risk is you get tottaly tired of the new continent before reaching max level or that they have to make you level so fast that's it has no longer sense.
    Well, midway through my rant I sort of shifted opinion that basically the whole of Pandaria could be handled in this way, as world questing is very much a levelling thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geckoo View Post
    As the game grows we need more shortcuts, there is a point that the xp reduction from level to level no longer works for many people, i don't care if you can reach max level in less than a week, the point is that is boring as hell for some people, because we have already gone through that process so many times that it's no longer a fun part of the game and replacing that experience with 3 phased or dynamic zones won't fix it. It would be good to have them just as another way to level up sure, but i preffer that they leave that alone and think about more drastic shortcuts for veteran players to get their toons to max level.

    At this point i'd love to try a mage, but i won't, simply because my interest is in a level 90 mage, not in leveling a mage, i hope you get my point with this. The fun for me is no longer in the process of leveling, the fun is at max level.
    This I definitely understand, though I feel is a different problem with a different solution. What your talking about here is the unfun alt levelling regrind. I wrote up a pretty hefty post on this not long ago. I agree, alt levelling kinda blows. They've introduced heirlooms, but they haven't really addressed the problem (grind more on your main to grind less on your alt).

    Some have suggested that Blizz ought to just allow you to have max level alts. Actually not as crazy as it sounds. Blizz is of the opinion that alt levelling is a legitimate way of playing the game that should be retained. I am inclined to agree, but with the proviso that the current state of alt levelling is terribad; I guess I am saying it could be fun, but isn't.

    What I think WoW needs to address the alt levelling problem is a 'new game plus' mode. Heirlooms are sort of that, but not enough. In new game plus mode, you get to replay the game in a new way. First, create a 4th spec for every class, but offer it only to level capped players and their alts via a heroic questline not unlike the green fire quest chain. Second, put some daily levelling quests that payout a bunch of xp (maybe skipping you forward 3-5 levels all at once). Also, add in some cool achieves, mounts, sets, and titles accessible only by alt levelling, or alt levelling certain classes (e.g. class specific titles 'arch-mage', 'shadowstalker', 'tracker', etc). Finally, especially with the aforementioned daily alt levelling quests, up the difficulty- make levelling an alt to 90 goddamned hard, it's like playing on nightmare/inferno mode, slap 5 levels onto all the enemies.

    If levelling an alt was way more challenging than it is, could be done way faster, and involved a new spec/gameplay style, and a bunch of aesthetic exclusive rewards not only would it become viable for guys like you to level that mage you wanted, it could even be fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeverStop View Post
    Why not just have all toons start at level 60 or 70 or even 85?
    Why not 60 or 70? Because it's the same problem cut short. Starting at 85 is a similar option (in that it limits current play to the current xpac), though it cuts off a significant part of the 'progression' which I think is a major part of the 'hook' of WoW. Working your way up, getting better, learning more abilities, etc.

  17. #17
    Herald of the Titans UnifiedDivide's Avatar
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    But... I like seeing my environment change as I get more levels
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by UnifiedDivide View Post
    But... I like seeing my environment change as I get more levels
    This is a superb point. Absolutely this is a major drawback in what I am proposing; that said, I still think gringind through 85 levels of uninhabited empty outdated content is worse, even though the scenery is nice.

    I think this comes down to making sure a new xpac has sufficiently varied scenery between zones. So while you don't get the drastic change of Outland to Northrend, you do get Jade forest->Valley of Fourwinds->Karasang Wilds, and so forth.

  19. #19
    When this game stops making money that produces new content then this game will sit with no new content.

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