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?
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Just for fun, I’m going to ramble on about scaling this morning.
Call it scaling, sliding, normalizing, whatever you’d like. What I’m going to talk about is increasing or decreasing the effective power of an opponent or a player to make a fight ‘fair’.
The first time I ran into scaling was in City of Heroes. They had a sidekick system that incorporated scaling. The idea was, you might be a long term customer with a powerful character, and a friend decides the game sounds fun and they want to come in and give it a try. The problem? Your friend wants to get in and start playing with you right away, but they’re level 10 and you’re 50. What to do?
The sidekick system in City of Heroes let you group with your low level friend, and the low level friend would have their effective power levels raised to match yours. They wouldn’t gain any new abilities, so they would have far fewer tools in their toolbox, but what they had would at least be effective, and their health and armor would let them be a viable teammate instead of a boy hostage.
So, that’s an example of a system where the power of the character would scale to match the content you were running.
Now, I’ve been puttering around in the new free-to-play MMO, Neverwinter, which is still in beta but is pretty awesome.
Why is it awesome?
Unlike almost every other free to play game I’ve tried, Neverwinter hasn’t been shoving their cash store in my face every time I turn around. Instead, I’m having fun playing the game, and the store is enticing me to buy neat stuff to enhance my play. Not, you know, stuff to buy just so I can have any kind of playtime at all.
In Neverwinter, there are scenarios, dungeons, instances, whatever you’d like to call them. There are those designed by the game company, and there are also player-created instances in what is called ‘The Foundry’, which are also, yes, free to play. And if you so desire, you can create your own scenarios too.
The interesting bit here is that the instances are not gated by level. The monsters and treasure within the instance will scale based on the level of the player that enters, so loot in chests will be level appropriate, and the opponents will also scale to match you. The difficulties come in the instance design. If someone stacks a bunch of bad guys in a small room with no place to maneuver, well, it’s going to be a hell of a challenge. The design of the instance determines the difficulty, and even how many people are needed to play in it, rather than the level of the characters or villains.
So, an example of a system where the character stays the same, and the content of an instance scales to provide an ‘appropriate’ challenge.
Where I’m going with this is simple.
What would it take to add scaling for the old content in World of Warcraft?
I’ll talk about why I think it would be a good thing later, for now let’s just talk about what would have to be done to implement something.
In my opinion, the highest hurdle would be the scaling technology itself. No sense talking about it if it would cost three years of serious programmer time to get something into beta.
Surprise! In World of Warcraft, most of the technology needed has already been implemented.
Blizzard is using scaling in the game already, and seems to be following the ‘scale the player power to match the content’ concept.
The first piece we can see comes from Heirloom items. The tech is in place to be able to scale the ilevel of gear up OR DOWN based on the level of the player.
You get an Heirloom, whoever you mail it to can equip it, and it will scale up or down, no problems. Right now, it scales based off of a character trigger – what is the level of the character equipping it?
In my opinion, it’s a short step to changing the trigger so iLevel scaling could change based on the recommended level of the dungeon or raid you were zoning into.
That brings us to the second piece which is already in the game, Challenge mode dungeons.
The Challenge mode dungeons are all level 90 dungeons that you cannot access until you’ve completed them on Heroic. They do not incorporate any character level scaling, but they do scale your equipped gear down to effective iLevel 463, except for the trinkets.
They also do other things upon entering them, such as deactivate Sha-touched gems and Tier bonuses. A complete list of what gets changed when you enter a Challenge mode 5 person dungeon can be found at Wowhead New’s awesome guide here.
The important bit here is that the tech is in place so that when you specifically queue for one of these scaled dungeons, and you zone in, your gear gets ‘normalized’ to an appropriate power level for the dungeon or raid you are doing.
So what puzzle pieces are we missing for the tech?
Only one thing, really. When you zone into a dungeon or raid, if there was a mechanism in place to detect your character level, and to scale your base character stats down to the ‘intended’ level of the content… well, that would cap the package, wouldn’t it?
With that one additional piece of tech, you could zone into, say, Ulduar 25 and as you zone in, your character base stats could be adjusted down to level 80, your gear iLevel could be scaled down to 232, your hit/expertise percentages against raid bosses would be maintained at whatever your previous level had been, and lo and behold you would now be able to do old content scaled to the appropriate ‘challenge’.
So, it’s a possibility. The tech is not that impossible to imagine.
Blizzard could, if they chose to, implement a new system where you could do old content through the LFD/LFR system, and when you zone in with the group your effective level and gear would be scaled to match the challenge.
If they chose to.
What is the one big reason why they might like to implement this?
To expand on options in the Looking for Group tool for dungeons and raids when leveling.
For a big bonus, to give us more options for randoms when level capped and seeking fresh possibilities for weekly Valor Points.
If you could queue for ANY dungeon or raid content, where you can queue for it now instead of when you finally ding 90, where you would have to use your class abilities to some extent rather than outgearing and facerolling it, and IF you received Justice Points, Valor Points and experience points for doing it just like the current leveling dungeons… wouldn’t that expand the leveling freshness a bit?
Think about it. You wouldn’t just be matchmaking with people who are within the same three levels as you when trying to do Sunken Temple. You’d be queuing with anyone your level and above who’d like to get a run in, and everyone in the group regardless of level is going to have their effective power scaled down to put you all on the same playing field for that run… except for how many buttons are on your bar.
Why would you expect to get Justice, Valor or experience for such a run? Well, the whole point would be to make the content a reasonable ‘at level’ challenge, and suitable for LFR/LFD queuing. It would seem reasonable to expect to get some XP from the kills, some JP for the bosses and maybe a 15 or 30 Valor Point random queuing quest reward.
But there is one last big hurdle to it, and the reason why this isn’t an “I think they will do this” and more of an “I wonder how they would do that”.
What to do about loot?
Right now, when you do randoms leveling up you get a loot bag on completion of the run, with some random blue quality gear of the appropriate level for the dungeon you ran. The iLevel of the gear is based on the level of the dungeon, not your level. It doesn’t matter much because once you level past that dungeon, you can’t queue for it anymore.
What if they added loot bags to the random LFR/LFD system for old raids and dungeons? Bags with a piece of loot based on your actual character level instead of the level of the dungeon or your effective character level? The gear is already there, a wide range exists from those dungeon bags. Tie the bag quality into your level when you queued rather than the level of the dungeon, and you would get a level appropriate something for doing older content.
But is that enough incentive to get someone going through an entire raid? Some of those would take megatime.
But there is something else already implemented in a similar context that could be expanded into older content in LFR/LFD.
Achievements, Titles, Pets, Mounts and fancy transmoggable armor sets.
They have already implemented this in the Challenge mode dungeons, so the model is there.
If there were special achievements for doing older scaled content through the Raid/Dungeon finder tool, if loot was handled the way it is in LFR right now so you’re not competing with the other players, if there were pets that could drop on bosses, mounts to earn for completing raids or achievements, gear pieces that were specially colored old Tier or Dungeon sets…
Yeah. I think that just might be a complete package.
You could even implement a class-specific easter-egg hunt.
If you played in Vanilla WoW, do you remember the Sunken Temple quest lines?
Each character class had a quest you could get in Ungoro Crater, that led you to Sunken Temple, and as a reward gave you something really useful for your class.
What if a quest chain were added in the game, that asked you to visit all of these places through the Scaled Content LFD and collect items from them? Gather all the items, turn them in and get something appropriate for your class.
It wouldn’t have to be anything big or crazy, but it would be fun to have that class quest for a tasty item or RP flair. Mages could go collect shards of energy cast off from some of the big battles, charging a special Mana Gem. Warlocks could collect Shards of teh Souls of powerful bosses they defeat along the way. Rogues could pick pocket trinkets from bosses in various locations that had… personal meaning for the person sending you out to get them back. You get the idea.
I’m just musing aloud here, I’m not trying to prophecy or suggest something, and I don’t believe it WILL happen… but it could happen, and it would be fun.
The most interesting thing about this to me, is that by using the LFD/LFR tool as the gateway to run these, it allows Blizzard to leave all of the existing content untouched. You could still zone in and solo the old runs, get the chance at the original loot lists, work on original achievements and Legendary questlines, drops for the Raiding with Leashes pets, all of it.
The only time you would be zoning in to old content that scaled for an appropriate challenge would be when you intentionally sought one out on the LFD/LFR tool.
And finally, and to me the most fascinating part of the whole thing… by scaling the players to the content, you leave in place the option for Blizzard to tweak up or down the effective iLevel of the players. If a particular dungeon or raid became a severe chokepoint, then they could tweak the effective scaling of ilevel up or down as they felt appropriate.
I dunno. Maybe there is some glaring flaw I’m missing, but the whole thing seems technically feasible, it would benefit the majority of players in the game right now by adding more options, you could return to having a challenge in old content without it necessarily being a brutal slog, it would not require the creation of new zones or raids or art assets, except for mounts or Tier recoloring (or new gear sets, if they felt like it), and it would continue to be relevant regardless of what future level caps may climb to become.
So, what do you think? Does any of that make sense? Would it be fun? Is it a horrible idea? What do you think, my friends?
Oh, and happy Wednesday.
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Are we really going to go through this again?
Francis sits down and opens his browser to the homepage to catch up on the latest news from MMO Champion.
“Oh my God, WoW lost 1.3 million subscribers since last quarter! I knew it, I knew it! I’m bored, Bob’s bored, this dude I hang with in guild is bored, so WoW MUST be dying, it’s all over, this is the death spiral down the toilet bowl, I bet Blizzard won’t ever even put out a new expansion, because WoW is so dead! I knew it, I’ve been saying it since Pandaland released, this game sucks, man.”
Joey wanders into the room, holding a Red Bull. He’s been Francis’ roommate going on four years now, and he’s used to hearing shouting coming from the game room. Joey sees Francis has MMO Champ up on the screen. Again.
“Hey Joey, are you going to go to Blizzcon this year?”
Francis spins his chair around, scraggly facial hair bristling in frustration. “No, the damn tickets were sold out 5 seconds after they went on sale, and I couldnt’ hit refresh fast enough to get in the queue. Totally sucks, man. I so wanted to go and get drunk with the rest of the guild, most of them are going to be there.”
“Whoa dude, the rest of your guild got tickets?”
“Naw, but a bunch of them are going anyway, there’s gonna be a lot of parties and stuff with people that play. All sorts of parties away from the con. I ought to go anyway, man, like, I might be able to meet Anne Stickney and get an autograph!”
Let’s get down to the core fundamentals, here.
“WoW is dead”, and “Blizzcon tickets sell out in 5 seconds” are not necessarily mutually exclusive headlines.
A reasonable person might want to take a deep breath, and try not to read too much into the subscription figures. Just maybe kinda possibly.
When something like subscription figures are released, you have a fine example of news that can be used by anyone to trot out their own personal opinion and spin some kind of bullshit about the numbers proving whatever they happen to believe in.
Before you get too caught up in the whole thing, here’s what I think we could all stand to do.
Stop, take a nice cleansing breath, and ask yourself this simple question.
“Am I having fun playing WoW?”
If the answer is yes, then congratulations. The numbers don’t mean shit to you. You can go. Toddle off, have fun, see you in game.
If the answer is no, and you want to blame something outside of yourself for the lack of fun, then congratulations are also in order. Now you’ve got some numbers to ‘prove’ that however you feel about the game, there are 1.3 million other people out there who share your feelings, and that’s why they quit.
Oh yeah. World of Warcraft is dead. Stick a fork in it.
And while we’re at it, for those of you going, have fun at Blizzcon, I wish I was able to join you! I’ll be watching from the streaming online video feed, so wear a bear tank shirt for me!
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Welcome to another fun filled edition of the Cub Report!
In this episode, we find out what happens when I give the Cub my old computer.
A short while ago, the Cub’s computer took a data dump, and left us scrambling to come up with a replacement.
We ended up getting me a new computer, and passing my old one on to him, leaving us both with an upgrade.
The only thing I had to do to get the computer set up for him was to install the backed up Minecraft game/world saves for him.
So, hey, Portal is on the desktop, he played that a bit. And it had World of Warcraft, of course. And I installed a painting program for him to get his art on.
Over the weekend, he was bored, and asked me what this other icon on the desktop was. Starcraft II? What’s that?
More importantly, can he play it?
Sure. Why not? He’s ten, he can give it a shot.
I explained to him that it wasn’t a World of Warcraft style of game, instead it was like a science-fiction version of Warcraft III, which I let him play a bit a year or more ago.
“You make a base, fortify it, build armies and go out to smash other bases.”
Okay, cool. He’s excited, he wants to try it.
I set him up with a fresh start in Campaign mode, and let him at it.
He did a few missions in campaign mode, but he didn’t really care for it.
“Is there any way I can just do a battle? I build a base and the bad guys build a base and we fight?”
Why yes… yes there is.
I showed him how to set up a match against the AI, the different variables, how to browse Blizzard maps, what team AI was and all of that.
Then I let him go to it again.
He got his butt handed to him by the enemy in his first match. He was kind of upset.
So I told him that if he’d like, I’d replay the battle, and show him some of the things I do to defend my base, build resources and kick butt.
I sat down, he had Terran set up against Terran on a 1v1 map, and I showed him how you can set up your SCVs to harvest minerals and gas, build more SCVs to farm faster, send an SCV down to another nearby mineral site to start a second command center and bring in more resources, and have a couple SCVs off on their own building missile launchers, barracks and bunkers with Marines around the perimeter.
I showed him how to group armies with Ctrl+#s, I introduced him to the concept of avenues of approach, and how to upgrade weapons and armor and perform research.
I showed him how some forces can only attack ground targets, some can only attack air, some reveal the surrounding area, and some units can attack both types.
Then I built a force of 5 Battlecruisers and turned the keys of the kingdom over to him.
He likes Battlecruisers.
He played several more AI matches over the weekend after that. He tried some of the 2v2 maps, with an AI on his team and two AI opponents, and also one match with two AI buddies on his team with one lone little AI victim.
Does everyone do that at some point? Set up a completely one sided and horribly unfair situation where the poor bad guy is just screwed right out of the gate? It’s not fun to actually play, but it seems like a rite of passage for an RTS game, gives you plenty of time to build up impregnable defenses, a ridiculously large and overpowered army, and then have the AI bad guy die because your two AI allies lost no time in zerg rushing him?
Anyway. He had a lot of fun.
He loves the battlecruiser, he likes the looks of the Thor but I don’t think he’s built them much. So far he seems to go for dominance of the skies rather than open-field tank battles.
He likes the Viking, he asked me if I knew that the Viking was a flying gunship that can land and transform into mecha. Very cool. Also, there are medic ships!
I came in on him last night, he was whooping it up, I wanted to see what trouble he was up to.
He’d started a 1v3 battle, with 3 Terrans against his one Zerg force.
When I popped my head in, he was grouping zerglings into armies. Lots and lots and lots of armies. And giggling.
“I’m going to send THIS army to scout the enemy camp, and THIS army to attack his weak point, and THIS army to cover the way to the enemy base so I’m not surprised, and THIS army to defend my ramp here, and THIS army….”
Okay, so, note to self. Do NOT buy a second copy of Starcraft II. I can just see getting my butt zerg-rushed from thirteen different armies while still trying to finish building my first barracks.
Also, those giant things that Zerg can make that look like dinosaurs? Why can they burrow? He was building them, burrowing them and giggling.
Why? Why make something that massive a sneak attack? “La la la, walking along the trail, all is quiet, HOLY CRAP INSTANT MUTANT RHINOS ARGGGHHHH!”
My son likes the Zerg more than the Space Marines?
That’s just wrong, man.
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Ah, you feel that?
That wonderful time dwellnig in the trough between the waves.
A new patch comes, content gets dumped in the water like chum and we scramble to tear it up and get it all down…
That’s over now.
Now we glide idly through the game taking a nibble or two, relaxed and happy, digesting the last big meal, letting off a burp or two knowing we’re going to get another dump of chum in just a few weeks.
Maybe you’re in a different place right now, but that’s how the cycle feels to me. A patch comes, new stuff to do and shinies to pursue, and the server slams the twin Evinrudes full throttle chasing after it. We all thrash around overfishing the same small holes until everyone hits their limit for the season, and then we get to relax a bit before the next tourney.
Perfect pacing, thank you. Having just a little time to enjoy our success gives us a palate cleanser before the next patch brings fresh fish.
Patch 5.2 has been good, but the thrill has trailed off. The raid is out in full and it’s been good… but it has lost that new raid smell.
New raid smell. Need to get me a can of that, spray it on the seat cushions.
I like where we are at because we know the lull will definitely end, and soon. We don’t have the empty wasteland of nothing to do for the next eight months staring us in the face.
I’m spending my time chilling out and finishing off some of those Pandaria reps that were so two patches ago. I’ve been doing the farm assignments to get reputation each day, and I had the bright idea of patrolling the Valley of the Four Winds for Dark Soil, to try and get Best Friends with everyone.
I figured by this point, everyone who just had to have everyone as Best Friends did, so I wouldn’t have much competition for the Dark Soils.
The result? Yep, true story. Some nights, I’d do a pass and end up with 15 Dark Soil items to turn in before going back for another round. Only took a week of flying around to get ‘em all. My farm looks mighty purty now, and I like the chickens. Wish I could click one, kill it and have chicken to fry for my dinner. Ah well, as long as Dog gets to have a fresh chicken snack pack, it’s all good.
I just completed exalted with both Golden Lotus and Shado Pan last night, too. Yes, both. It was the first time any of my characters reached exalted with either of them.
Completed Cloud Serpent a few weeks ago, too. After all, why not? I’ve got some time now that the Isle of Thunder is completely unlocked.
Now that I have the rep, sooner or later I’ll have all of those tigers, cloud serpents, cranes and goats. New mounts are a grand thing. My low level alts will look nice on the back of a blue Shado Pan tiger.
I’ll tell you something. As nice as pet battles and scenarios are, I love having those faction reputations to pursue in my free time.
It’s not the Valor or Justice gear. Those are a joke. They are perishable items, and most of them were stale at their price points on the day they were released.
No, the reputations are fresh and tasty because most of them have FUN stuff to get, stuff that has nothing to do with gear or game performance.
By all means, Blizzard. Give me some factions with a cool story arc and daily quests, and a quartermaster with pets, mounts or attractive transmog gear.
You can keep all the Valor and Justice gear, get that off the faction quartermasters. Stick that somewhere else. Just put a gear vendor in a capitol city that isn’t gated by reputation levels. Valor Points are gated by a weekly cap anyway, so why put a rep level gate on top of it? Just put all the new Valor gear for a tier there at once, and let me decide which single piece I’m saving my Valor for first. I don’t think that having all the items available to pick from is unbalanced when you are still limited to only one item per two to three weeks of capping Valor. Oh no, if all the gear is available from the beginning, then in twenty weeks I could have it all without grinding Rep! Oh noes! Yep, that’s too damn OP. For sure, dude.
The game should feel challenging and reward a certain amount of dedication without feeling gratuitously punishing. What feels punishing is subjective, but I said my piece on Valor Gear vendors, and now I’ll drop it.
Back to the point of factions, daily quests and reputation.
I love having these in the game as filler, without being tied to necessary gear upgrades. I like not feeling that I have to grind that rep every day to stay on top of where my gear should be at.
I might not do the faction today, I might not spend every waking moment grinding rep. I might have a raid instead, or real life, or whatever. A week long family vacation, maybe.
But when I’m queued and flying around bored waiting for something to pop, I’ll go to your faction hub and do some quests, smack some Mogu around and take their fruity pebbles.
I know I said it at the beginning of the expansion, and it’s holding true. I love having faction daily quest hubs that are story driven with actual arcs and new quests at various rep levels along the way, and end in some kind of story reveal or special quest that wraps it all up for you.
A new mount, pet or transmog item for a final reward is the sweetest prize ever. That Onyx Cloud Serpent for Shado Pan? Beautiful mount, and getting it felt like a prize that enhanced an already great final faction quest rather than being something I ground to get for a better ilevel.
I’ve even come around to appreciating the Order of the Cloud Serpent gating the training required to fly one. Although I still think the training should be account bound. You raise one yourself, it’s special, and you fly it for a while, but there are other, special cloud serpents out there waiting for you.
I haven’t reached exalted with August Celestial on anyone, but I’m looking forward to that as well.
I like the direction Blizzard has gone with Factions. My only worry is whether they can maintain the quality of the faction quests and story arcs. They have set the standard very, very high.
The completion of each Faction story arc have become some of the best moments in the game for me. The final Klaxxi reveal, the defense of the Black Ox for Shado Pan, the defeat of the Bloodletter and the battle on the steps of Mogushan Palace for the Golden Lotus. The whole sequence with Operation: Shieldwall.
I find myself doing the factions to see what will happen next. And isn’t that what you want from the people playing your game or reading your story? To keep them looking forward to finding out what happens next?
Oh, and the final ceremony of the Order of the Cloud Serpent! That was steller! Alex loved it, too, when he completed it. And the fact he could go tame serpent hatchlings. :)
That is what it all comes down to. That is the cycle I’m enjoying, all boiled down.
A new patch comes with content for boosting your gear and power. We tear into it and burn through as fast as we can to stay on the leading edge of Valor gear and LFR drops. But when the patch is been and gone, when we enter the lull, it is the faction daily quest hub that I fall back on, with progression at my pace, a story to look forward to, and a cute fun reward at the end of it.
Please Blizzard, just keep on doing what you’re doing. Only more so.
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