|Put that building THERE... what do you mean, no? ^^|
Levelling multiple alts in Draenor really exposes the issues this Expansion creates for players who don't mainline one character. Despite the assertions from Blizzard that the Garrison would not be mandatory, the 'concept' becomes almost impossible to ignore especially for those who want to level faster. It provides a pretty inescapable mechanic for those who won't be able to gear in Raiding content: to not take advantage of the downtime most alts will weather to have free items waiting for you on your return? You'd be dumb not to be doing this 'grind' and so there's then the need to pick up Followers, and begin their gearing... and it is not as if you can ignore these things when you see how brutal the 6.2 'end game zone' is for anyone who's not in plate or mail, or rocking a pet class. That's probably the biggest use for the Barracks and a Bodyguard too, and so (yet again) the notion of 'convenience' becomes an essential part of your process, and that's wrong.
All of this is just making me feel that to get the most out of the game with an alt, there really is only one way to play.
|WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T CUSTOMISE THIS?|
The problem is, of course, your alts aren't meant to do End Game except in a Raid. When Blizzard consider alts, I think most of the time they imagine someone with a Raiding Main who rolled some other classes to help out when someone couldn't make the progression fights. It is abundantly apparent they don't grasp the emotional attachment many have to the process of developing multiple characters, despite the fact they keep introducing new classes for people to play. It is as if the notion of having just one favourite pervades everything that is planned in the game: it doesn't matter how awful the levelling experience is, you'll only do it once anyway so it doesn't matter, and because you just want Alts to raid with we'll introduce the 90 Boost and you can skip all the crap to just start End Game. Of all the lessons that need to be learnt from Warlords, the importance of alts is crucial to many people's game play experience.
It's odd, when you watch Developers expound over concepts in gaming that clearly matter to them, how the principles are lofty and aspired to but in practice the reality often doesn't hold up across the widest range of gaming consumers. I don't think for a moment that Blizzard suspected how much of a millstone Garrison mechanics would become to some, how reducing the places that people could congregate and indeed wanted to use would have such and adverse affect not simply on player happiness, but the retention of subs as a result. Because when you're in the middle of a storm that rages around you, things look different. Speaking from personal experience I know how great it would be to have Garrisons working for me across all my family, but the time to make that happen is incredibly prohibitive, and herein lies the bigger issue. Wanting to play an alt depends on having time to do so. Giving EVERYBODY a Garrison was a fatal mistake Blizzard was warned about by many, but deliberately chose to ignore.
|Extra Garrison Followers? CHECK :D|
The reason, I think, is that Blizzard decided people would do the work, and so this has been the case for many, but not for everyone. I know the gold millionaires from this system, I've seen their spreadsheet and their graphs to prove that yes, if you play the game obsessively in any capacity, you will always end up at an advantage. But for most there is no desire to do this, the cyclical nature of sub gain and loss a true testament to how MMO's are now played in passing by the majority and kept alive by the same core of committed players. The key for any developer therefore should be how to retain more at the core and lose less to the seasons, and in this game that means finding a way to make all the stuff that's not Raiding more interesting and repeatable. because for everyone who'll buy the upcoming L100 boost (it's Soon (TM), people) there's at least one person who'll be levelling the old fashioned way. In Draenor, that's becoming less and less attractive with every repetition I do. Even with potions and easy XP, this has stopped being fun, and now it's becoming a chore.
Of course, not knowing anything about new process means that when we finally do see what's in store, there'll be a whole unique timescale to accommodate in terms of learning and understanding what's been presented. For those of us who are traditionally slow learners, this is something generating some nervousness. I have to hope Blizzard truly have learned their lessons from Warlords, and that what we get isn't just the company ignoring the good that they've created in the last few years and desperately attempting to throw everything at the Broken Isles and hoping some of it sticks. Sometimes it isn't about offering something for everybody, it's finding the right elements that appeal to a wider range of tastes. The levelling experience from 90-100 had a huge amount going for it, but after seven runs, there are holes that could be filled with other things.
It's not simply variety, after all.