Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Better off Dead?

The obligatory Money Shot, with attentive hound looking on...

Yes, I has THAT sword. After several hours consideration I decided to go with the 2H version (Quel'Delar, Ferocity of the Scorned) as much for the stats as for the fact it felt that's what this sword would have originally been. That made a difference too, in the end, because what doing this Questline did was make me think. It also made me wonder about the future of Raid Instances, and actually how great it would be to NOT be able to go back and do the same 10 and 25 man places again and again. Suddenly, I have a great desire for closure.

Arriving at the Sunwell, where much has changed since my last visit.

Without giving away the contents of the Quel'Delar questline, there's a point where you need to return to the Island of Quel'danas, and gain access to the Sunwell itself. This of course is going to cause a problem with the way Blizzard's basic game mechanics operate, or at least it would have done before the days of Quest Phasing. Arriving at the Island with the sword in tow there are no demons any more, no vampiric Blood Elves ravaging the countryside. There is reconstruction, with the Shattered Sun Offensive working hand in hand with the Blood Elves to rebuild the island. Yes, the Horde and the Alliance are co-operating, which rather nicely mirrors the joint efforts of the two mortal races in Icecrown to take out Arthas. The quest giver at the entrance to the Sunwell even mentions how this holy Blood Elf shrine was recently returned to them thanks to the SSO, and it's not a place for Dwarven visitors or tourists. So, as it is documented that the Sunwell has been freed in this timeline, I can gain access to it and throw in Quel'Delar, thus completing my quest.

Maybe it's because I've just completed the Sunwell proper in the last seven days, but part of me now thinks it could be time to close off instances to people like this. Yes, I know in many cases there is reputation tied to areas that people like to complete, and certainly thanks to the WOTLK Expansion there are achievements that you can get that maybe you weren't geared for when you ran the place at original difficulty. However I've always thought that doing that is a bit of a sham: it's great to be able to run through Naxx for The Undying with your ToTC gears, but you're not doing it the way it was meant to be done, are you?. When all is said and done, it should be about completing the content at close to a relevant level, at least for it to maintain the original difficulty envisaged by the Devs.

This then throws up another possibility. If killing the last boss of an instance were to shut it off to you for good, locking you out of achievements and Hard Modes and effectively phasing you into an instance where the content has been defeated, this would mean achieving the last boss kill would lose a great deal of it's significance, at least in terms of being the first people to do it. If being the best meant NOT getting that last boss in Hard Mode, but involved garnering all those achievements BEFORE you went and topped off the Big Bad (and effectively locked yourselves out) it would change the entire landscape of the game. Guilds would not fight to get to the end of an instance first, they'd be slowly picking their way through it knocking off the Hard Modes along the way. Part of me thinks that would be a fabulous idea, especially as if by going and killing the last boss in every instance you'd be the engineer of your own closure. Oh, and if the last boss doesn't give the best loots but instead gives you a unique item (like a title or a tabard, or possibly a pet) then let that be all he gives. If the Big Guilds want to make sure they don't lock themselves out let them just keep doing the Raid Instance minus the last boss until the last few weeks before a new patch... No longer is your Kudos measured on who killed X first, but on how long they waited until they did :p

This method would also have benefits for the Devs. If they continued to follow the 'gated content' model they have with ICC it would allow for more testing between wings. It would extend the life of content significantly, as people wouldn't simply be constantly just aiming to get to the end boss first. Plus it would create a lovely continuity in the Game World. Those that were new to the Community could still do the content, the only problem of course would be you couldn't get your friend who'd already completed it to run you through it. However, would that really be so bad? Your friend could re-roll a new character and start again. There is nothing to say you'd have to go do the content at it's relevant level either (especially looking at the 60-70 raid content) If you wanted to farm rep for a Faction, just make sure you don't kill the end boss in the Instance you're farming. Simples!

The Holy Shrine of the Blood Elves, with some Dwarf and her Dog causing trouble.

Of course, Modern Gaming doesn't work like this. It's all about instant gratification and being able to do what you want, without being restricted by issues like continuity. It's only people like me who yearn for being closer to reality, where being finished means just that, it's done and you can move on. When all is said and done, it's very much like asking if we could lose a fight in Warcraft now and again, and that really is unlikely to happen in Azeroth. It's a shame though. Maybe one day I'll kill a boss, and they'll actually end up staying dead... :D

1 comment:

OldRolandGuy said...

Why does everyone like randoms? Doesn't everyone get a frisson when they click 'enter dungeon' on the 'your party is ready' screen?

Because they're random.

That is to say, there is an element of chance involved, and the challenge is in pitting your skills against the instance combined with the luck of the draw in terms of the team makeup.

Why do I mention this?

Because people like randomness and unpredictability. Within boundaries. After 5 years, some people are bored of running the same instances the same way.

So, and bear with me here, why don't Blizzard pick up on the current Gearscore Obsession (which to a certain extent they have anyway, with the selection of group-appropriate random heroics. Want Nexus / Utgarde Keep? Equip your fishing gear before joining the LFG Tool!) by having content difficulty that scales according to some magic factor based on group ilevel and character level? So even Boosting would be nerfed. Something in the AI could allow for the boss' attacks (which in turn could be random) to hit the L10 warrior for 10% of his HP just like the L80 druid.

That would keep all content current. You could run Deadmines with 5 x L80s and still be challenged! VanCleef would have 1.2million HP and hit like the same relative truck that he did at L17.

Character level would serve as the storytelling/lore/gating tool, so you couldn't go to ICC at Level 10 and have it scale down to you, but you could go to Blackrock Depths at L80 and still be challenged in getting to the Emperor. And be rewarded appropriately.

My 102 cents anyway.

I'm sure this would be easier to implement than the End-Boss-Kill-Shuts-The-Raid described above. In a guild like our own, imagine how upset the 4 people who missed out on the 10-man bosskill would be now that they had to start over with 6 of the original Progress Group's alts! That's on a par of hardcoreness (is that a word?) with Diablo's hardcore if-you-die-you-reroll-from-scratch mode :D