Sunday, May 04, 2014

ALPHA :: New Shoes


It is already apparent, if the Wowhead Interview with Ion Hazzikostas is any indicator, that Blizzard is all over the business of clarification for the upcoming Expansion. The man will be doing another interview with Final Boss today, but yesterday's post (from an interview Olivia Grace did on Friday) has given the strongest indicator yet that loot is now not something you upgrade or simply buy from a vendor. As the tweet above suggests, raiding will no longer be necessary for raid 'level' loot either, which is going to come as good news to many people. There's a fair bit of Garrisons news in this interview that we'll be covering at the other place, but for now I want to look at what we could be expecting from rewards come Warlords. Time for some more bullet points:

  • Blizzard publicly acknowledge there are are two kinds of players: Solo who will run dungeons for Raid Finder, and groups who'll engage Heroic 5 mans for loot to prepare for Normal/Flex/Mythic. Heroic Dungeon gear will circumnavigate the need for LFR.
  • There will be no vendors for gear in Warlords. Valor will be used for 'other things'. That means you'll be able to get everything you need from the game world without a farm [*]. This would appear to include Epic crafted gear, which will still require many days worth of work to obtain.
  • Lack of Valor is pushing Blizzard to address loot delivery mechanics. Duplicate rewards may well become a thing of the past as the Bonus Roll system is being made more intelligent. Extra Loot tokens will also be awarded differently, and will be available singly as well as being offered in exchange for a currency. Yes, they'll come from Garrisons.
  • There is an acknowledgement that Dungeons need to be revamped mid-expansion, or new ones introduced with better loot than the 'starter' versions. We could therefore see 'Mythic' versions of Warlords starter dungeons halfway through an expansion as a result.

I can see in this some very clear indicators that Blizzard are indeed listening to long-term criticism of the loot system: how it operates, how you need to work for your items, and how frustrating it can be to have piles of currency and nothing to spend it on. Reducing the significance of currency therefore is no real surprise. It's also no real shock that players will be given access to single bosses if they so require. The phrase that jumped out from even the brief summary Wowhead provided: Raids will give you options to skip just to a certain boss everyone needs. That means, once the 'World First' thing is out of the way, teams will be able to gear and play in a manner that would either allow them to prepare for the next Raid Content, or simply enjoy what they have. Gearing specific characters should become significantly easier, while at the same time casual players should be able to pick and choose the encounters they want for the last item of gear they need.

If this all of this actually comes to pass in Warlords, Blizzard will have people running back to the game in their thousands.

Last one to the Starting Zone SMELLS OF CHEESE.

Personally, I welcome anything that means you can make your own choices when it comes to where your gear is sourced from. Although Guild Loyalty and commitment are all very well and good, the days of only gearing with your raid team for most casual players is long gone: oQueue and Tags mean that if you have the inclination to get out and play, the loot is there for you to take. Giving multiple options for sourcing is sensible, and as long as the loot systems genuinely reflect the ability to be shafted by random numbers that some of us know only too well, then I really cannot see anyone getting upset about these proposed changes.

Keep EVERYTHING crossed we get to play with the changes sooner rather than later...

[*] Nothing to do with the Tillers, obviously.

1 comment:

Chris Whyte said...

"I think if all of this actually comes to pass in Warlords, Blizzard will have people running back to the game in their thousands".

I think you're grossly overstating it. There are just as many systems coming in that are going to turn people off as there are going to turn them on.

Even a cursory glance through the web tells you that people are unhappy about a great many things, and outside of the usual "new-expansion noise" there are a lot of legitimate complaints.

Also, there are a few too many "ifs". Hazzikostas has an MO for ensuring that nothing takes away from raids (he's a hardcore raider himself), so I'd expect something of a u-turn.

Let's hope not.