Following on the heels of yesterdays post, Blizzard can implement scaling but would we want to play that way?
The World of Warcraft game could be boiled down into one concept; bigger means better.
The goal of the game is to reach higher numbers. Higher character levels, higher stats, higher item levels, more gold, topping meters, and on and on. For a game with no end, the numbers are the way we keep score.
I’m not saying that is the way we have to play it. I’m saying that is the way we have ended up playing it. Roleplaying our characters and pet battling and other pursuits are perfectly viable and fun means of playing the game, but that stuff is our attempt to turn a level grind into a sandbox. It works, but it’s certainly not the message we get from the game. Level your character, equip upgraded gear, go look for more levels and better gear. Rinse and repeat.
Content in the game is set to a fixed difficulty level. If it’s the hardest content, it has the best gear rewards for developing the skill and coordination to beat it. By beating it, you get more powerful gear than can be found anywhere else, which enables you to attempt ever more powerful challenges. At some point, what you’re doing is relegated to old stuff, new content and ever better gear comes out, and the people who couldn’t kill it when it was current can get gear through other means to let them go back and give it another try.
Having problems in Mogushan Vaults normal? Go get yourself some iLevel 522 Valor Gear and come back to roflstomp it later.
The entire system is designed to reward you for improving your skill and coordination as a team by giving you the highest level of gear, and then making that gear necessary to take on the next leading edge content.
Blizzard has included other content meant to give non-progression raiders a strong challenge in the past. Like the timed bear mount runs in Zul’aman, the new Challenge modes in Pandaria. Um, maybe other stuff I’m spacing on?
They’ve tried, and it’s been well received. People like their bear mounts.
The name of the game, though, is progression, even in our character power. Starting off low, improving over time, and feeling that difference as your gear gets better.
Personally, I like the way our characters become more powerful in comparison to older content. If you played through content at it’s most challenging, then coming back years later brings both nostalgia for the good times and a renewed sense of being a badass now. In a game with no ‘I win’ ending, it is important to be able to feel badass after getting your lunch money stolen all day by Lei Shen.
With the majority of the game designed around coming back to a challenge after your gear improves, would there really be interest in playing scaling content?
Yes, I know it’s goofy to make up a system yesterday that doesn’t exist, and then spend time today asking if anyone would play it. I’m just getting in on the ground floor! First I suggest the system, and then I tell you why it would never work. Okay, I’m kidding. But seriously, if Blizzard did that, think of the time savings by cutting out the QQ middleman!
I’m interested in this idea, though. Scaling of content exists in other games. Guild Wars 2, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Neverwinter, etc. It’s out there, this is not a dream or an imaginary tale, it’s really real.
If the game you play is founded on the concept of improving your gear to become more powerful, then how does it feel to play scaling content that makes your gear irrelevant? The challenge will always be the same, the only way to improve is to practice and improve your own gameplay.
How does it feel? If your gear doesn’t matter in scaling content, doesn’t that mean your gear doesn’t matter? Without gear to improve your power, what is the shiny dangled in front of you as a reward?
For better or worse, powerful gear is the lure used to get most of us playing the next content to come out in World of Warcraft.
Whether you run a raid to get a drop, or you run content that can’t drop anything that would be an upgrade for you because you can earn points to spend on stuff that IS an upgrade, it’s still doing stuff to get better gear.
Achievements and vanity items like pets and mounts help to give us other goals to pursue, but for the most part it’s more powerful gear. Not everyone runs stuff for pets or mounts, but everyone I know in the game wants gear upgrades, and plays some form of content they don’t particularly like once in a while to get some.
I don’t know. I’m very curious about this whole thing.
What I would like that does not currently exist are twofold.
I would like an expanded selection of content to run while leveling, content that was reachable by the LFD tool.
I would also like a way for players new to World of Warcraft to be able to experience ALL of the content that has been released over the last eight years through a simple to find interface like the LFR/LFD tool.
For a person brand new to World of Warcraft, the game is easy to get into, experience from kills and quests comes rolling in fast, and the journey from 1 to 90 doesn’t take long at all.
Here is my only criticism of it.
You can use the LFD tool to play existing dungeon as you level up, with new ones presented as you outlevel the old ones, but once you’re past that level range, the dungeon is gone forever, and the raids don’t exist at all.
I would like a way for new players to be able to know that the old raids exist, to see them, and to do them in groups without the only real option being facerolling them solo at level 90.
It is only my assumption that the best way to allow a new player to get into the old raids as a group is to scale the raids so you’re not limited to doing them within a narrow level band. The majority of active players are at or near level cap, so my thoughts turned to how to get the old raids viable for level 90s.
Perhaps, before I thought of scaling, I should have gone to the heart of the question;
What could we do to take all of the existing content, all of this awesome stuff Blizzard has spent the last eight years creating, and stick it in the face of players new and old to have fun with?