My ideas for new content beyond WotLK

Yesterday, Tesh said;

This is tangential, but when I step back and look at the bigger picture, I am deeply concerned with the “game starts at 70″ mindset. It does not bode well for the long-term viability of the game, especially as it relates to this sort of problem. If the game gets ever more noob-unfriendly, and actually changes substantially at the “endgame”, it’s not going to be something people stick with, or even bother with in the first place.

You’ve got a great point, Tesh.

Frankly, this is the kind of thing, where if Blizzard thought outside the box, they could change things up dramatically.

What are we worried about? What do we already see happening, and expect to only get worse?

More and more, if someone new starts the game, they play level 1 to 70 mostly alone, and hen they hit 70 they join an old established community that expects everyone they meet to have the same experience and knowledge. The early levels are not as alive, as most folks in them are people leveling new alts.

So, how do we entice people to LIVE in the early content and make it their home?

How do we encourage greater activity in the earlier zones?

Well, how about this? They could add 4 brand new classes… but not classes that require a level 70.

Instead, these classes would all be part of a brand new faction… humanoid agents of the Bronze Dragonflight recruited to work behind the scenes, going on new missions woven into the existing game from level 1 to 40, that are intended to repair events that were created by normal azerothean heroes, and are being disrupted by the Black Dragonflight.

The 4 classes would start at level 1, would level up to 40 and cap at 40, with new instances that would require certain rep levels or previous parts of one huge chain to complete, and that could only be entered at ALL by players of the appropriate level.

The quest line could focus on existing quests normal heroes already have done and know well, showing you having to perform tasks taht had to be done before the heroes could do their bit.

I envision things like, your having to foil a plan by the Black Dragonflight where they led Hogger off to a far corner and fed him poisoned corn that put him to sleep so the brave early adventurers would never test themselves against him… so you have a quest to find Hogger, and in the disguise of an attractive female riverpaw gnoll, wake him up and lure him back to the right spot in the woods… just in time for the adventurers to come along and kill him, as had happened in the original events.

If done with the right reverence for the original quest chains, and some imagination, it could lend fresh life and joy to content so many feel is old and tired.

Capping leveling to 40, and giving the classes their own isntances and even raids that only level 40’s or lower could enter, would absolutely bring a vibrant new life to the fray.

And if you added some more useful crafted patterns… those professions you leveled to get stuff at level 70 might find a new use.

A game within the game, an entire lower level tier of content, a shadow organization working behind the scenes, heroes that fight not for glory or honor or riches, but to strive to save the world from breaking apart, and who cannot gain glory for if anyone were to know of them, history would be changed.

I don’t know about you, but I would be very excited to create a new level 1 of a new faction and totally new class that had it’s own quest lines and content that would cap at 40, that I could play some totally new stuff.

Take some of those NPCs and shops in the capital cities that seem to have no real purpose, and add quest lines to reveal that some are hidden agents working behind the scenes, trying to prevent cataclysmic events from happening, all while the regular heroes go about thier business as normal, oblivous, doing great deeds that create the history you are trying to preserve. Watch as they level on to greatness and the 80’s, traveling across worlds while you remain bound to duty, working thanklessly to save the world.

C’mon, screw level 80 raiding, I’d be all over doing the 1 to 40 leveling while looking at the world with new eyes.

Why cap at 40? so that it has no effect on end game raiding or professions, and forces players to enjoy themselves in the mid range areas, doing slightly less great deeds that still feel epic in scope.

You could have twinks from HELL, entire classes of weapons or gear that require ‘Bronze Dragonflight agent’ faction to equip, that would prevent the uber stuff from going past 40.

Ah, I love this vision of a revitalized level 1 to 40 world.

18 thoughts on “My ideas for new content beyond WotLK

  1. Tesh linked to this one recently, a post from July 2008.

    Almost two years later, and it’s linked to? You send readers to this? You hate me, don’t you?

    I find it funny looking back on this now, how I proposed adding a second layer onto the existing game, never imagining that they’d do something a whole lot more drastic on their end; reboot the entire original world, wiping it from scratch.

    Of course, in hindsight, that is a solution that is much smarter than mine. Adding four new classes that, once you hit 40, could never be leveled past that point? What was I smoking? That would only work if they were like the Death Knights, something you had to have played through the whole game to unlock. And creating four new classes? Huge, immense work creating gear and talent trees and a reason for them to exist, something to do in a way that was different from the rest.

    Still, fun times to think that Blizzard was thinking the same thing… “We need more people enjoying the game that’s now four+ years old”


  2. Things I want from WoW:

    1. To BUILD.

    One of the appeals of the previous Warcraft games was the opportunity to build little cities, watch them grow, and turn into dangerous civilizations. I was never very good at stuff, but I enjoyed the hell out of beating the AI. I tell people now that the object of the game and enjoyment I get now is from building each other. It’s great to go out and get upgrades and drool for gear, but… I miss the days of building Arcane Sanctums and Stables.

    I kind of wish there was an opportunity to do something similar in WoW, possibly implementing daily quests and achievements to “open” new buildings similar to the retaking of Dawnstar Village but with far less permanence. Let’s assume we finally get around to rebuilding a home city or something for the Darkspears and Gnomes. Low levels could travel to some remote, but easily reachable area of the Azeroth map, and contribute to building these new settlements. Then some calamity could ocurr every 2 or 3 weeks and we’d have to start over.

    2. To COMPETE.

    We have arenas. Love them or Hate them, they’re a very important part of the game, and becoming moreso, with the implementation of lore, as the missing diplomat has been slaving away in comic book arenas that we won’t see until WotLK. But I want to see other opportunities for competition that don’t involve pwning nubs with the advantages of PVP gear. I like the Fishing Extravaganza, even though I detest fishing. It’s an event that’s fun, for those that enjoy it.

    I’ve mentioned this before, but I think actual races at the Shimmering Flats would be brilliant. Using the operating mechanics of the Brewfest Rams, and using accelerators like the Druid Flightform Aquatic quest, Racing on behalf of the Gnomes or Goblins could win gold, titles, and an array of fascinating RP gear. Shimmering Flats races could also be bracketed accomplishments and win mounts with the prestige of armored Netherdrakes —only they’d be mechanical constructs, and NOT bought from E-Bay card codes. Other forms of competition have a lot to do with Festival Games, and I’m hard pressed to find something unique and creative that could be utilized for solo and/or group play that doesn’t involve more of the same flavored slaughter.

    3. To WORSHIP.

    Now before you get riled up and loud, let me say that my #1 RP toon is a Priest. Right now, he’s not a priest so much as a doctor, and that kind of pisses me off. We all have a few class quests, but between mind blasts and Smites, he never really engages the game in a way that feels Priesty. I want to make pilgrimages to far off temples, gain buffs froom kneeling at altars and sipping from moonwells, and when I meet a “god” or loa or spirit or something resonating with the “Higher Power”, I should be able humble myself and communicate with it rather than pretend I’m a Mage with heals, and pick up grays and a quest item off its corpse.

    The same goes for Druids and Shamans to some extent. Nothing pisses me off more than realizing that in order for me to become exalted with the Cenarion Circle, my druid has to kill thousands and thousands of bugs. I didn’t roll an Arkin Man. Or that the Earthen Ring is the only thing resembling an organized assembly of Shamans, but they’re few, far between, and have little to do with the Elemental Invasions. I did jump for joy over the new Midsummer events though. My shaman loved his battle with the Frost Lord.

    I guess I’m asking for more class quests to be implemented across the board… but more specifically: long, engaging, rewarding quest lines for Priests, Druids, and Shamans to learn much much about the lore of WoW, and our role as mediators and preservers in it. Defeating rogue world-hopping demigods in Sethekk Halls is a good start, but I want to hear voices and see omens instructing me to venture into dangerous places and retrieve relics and perform rituals for forsaken Animal Spirits and ghosts from beyond.

    Hm. That’s all for now. But new experiences in old content is always a good thing.


  3. I think I’d rather see rewards from 1-80 that are useful at 80 and beyond, instead of further segmenting the player base. We’ve already segmented people into those that like pvp, those that are casual, those that are raiding, and those that are doing their own thing; do we need more segmenting on the lines of twinks and lower-level characters?

    If you had items that could be upgraded into close-to best in slot pieces every 10 levels, that could only be obtained via lower level dungeons (and not quests – actual dungeons) – you’d get a lot of people, alts and mains, running these things regularly. If you like, make it so that the quest is only available to be turned in within a given level range and make the dungeons they exist in have a level cap. You’d have people running these things all the time for these drops, forced to do groups within their level range to get items that they want later that don’t become immediately irrelevant. That would help the raiding community, the casuals, and those that don’t want to level all that fast.


  4. A few things:

    One, yikes! What have I started. 😉 Actually, I’m intrigued and flattered that my offhand comment could be a springboard for something interesting. I’ve been very interested in MMO design lately, and WoW is fascinating to dig around in. I’m firmly convinced that, like an economy, a game needs a healthy “middle class” of people who are happily mucking around in the world, happy and even excited with exploring, stories and mid-level rewards. (BRK’s “100 feathers” quest made me smile in that regard. I think the goodwill generated thereby is exactly the thing that needs to be tapped into by design.) These are the people that carry the weight of making WoW an actual “world”, and a fun place to spend time.

    They may or may not have raiding ambitions, they may be casual or hardcore, whatever… but they are happy to be “alive” in the world, puttering around with a little hunting, a little farming, a little crafting, a little mini-raiding, or all of the above. They make the world more interesting for everyone else. We need those players, and we need them to feel wanted (important and appreciated), rewarded, and happy just doing what they do. (And not feel like second-class citizens because of the “endgame” and LeetLoot mentality.) Some players do that anyways, but if the game design encouraged that, it would be a much better world.

    Two, I really like the core concept of a “shadow” game experience, and the idea of “expanding horizontally”. The lore of WoW is ripe for deep storytelling, but so much of it is just a “road to raiding” these days. In line with that, I like the ideas to make unique items spawn only in “Dragonflight” (but be usable at various times). I love the idea of “background” quests, that play with alternate storylines, or stories that manipulate things behind the scenes. It’s especially enticing if there’s some sense of peril; that if a mission fails, Bad Things can (and do) happen. That sense of consequence is something that can lend emotional heft to quests. Even if it’s some sort of “time fracture” instance or something that plays like Groundhog Day (or is a layered experience, even), there’s a lot that can be done to make the WORLD of WoW more interesting, or more accurately, to poke around in an already interesting world.

    Three, I like the concept of making an “auto scale” for high-end players to step back into areas, but be appropriately balanced. This could serve as a “mentoring” system, it could serve as an introduction to the current “endgame”, and it could just allow players to step back in time and enjoy any new midlevel content. At the same time, I understand the impetus for making a new “faction”; it’s a fresh start, and a way to make the new parallel content feel more unique and allow it to stand on its own, rather than as a sort of red-headed stepchild/farming ground. Perhaps a bit of both would be a good thing. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about the game to think out all the ramifications of both sides of this concept.

    Short story long, I really like the ideas rattling around here, especially as they can go a long way toward revitalizing the midgame. I think that’s very important for the health of WoW, economically, socially, and for the long-term commercial viability of the game. (Whether or not Blizzard wants WoW to last for a long time is up for debate, I suppose.) I love the Ender’s Shadow/Quantum Leap shadow story/story fixer concept.

    And, well… even seeing that spark of excitement at the very idea of revitalizing the world of WoW makes me think that it’s something well worth investing time and energy pondering on. I think Blizzard would be well-advised to tap into that interest. Thanks for taking my comment and running with it in the spirit intended, BBB. (And for taking it farther and in more interesting directions than I was thinking of. That’s the beauty of a world rich with lore, and the people who are interested in it.)


  5. It would simply be a new game. Instead of “the game starts at level 70” it would be “the game starts at either level 40 or level 70, depending on which race/class combo you chose”. People playing the new races/classes wouldn’t take their time to get to level 40 and experience content, they would powerlevel to 40 to start raiding, just like they do now for 70.

    I actually don’t think this is a big issue, however. People who enjoy solo content have plenty to do: PvP, dailies, professions, and as many alts as they can handle. Honestly, I think that the ease of leveling, and therefore the ease of creating alts, provides enough content for the majority of solo players. For those whom it doesn’t, it still gets them to play for a number of months before switching games, which they would likely do anyway if they aren’t into the social aspects of the game.


  6. I’ve been lamenting to my friends that I wish there was a button I could press that would cap my character at level 20. Anything at the bottom of a BG group that’s able to run exp giving quests and dungeons without levelling up.

    On an old Mud I used to play, you could do something very like this by choice. The experience system was that you lost 50% of your TNL (to-next-level) every time you died until you passed your racial TNL. After that, there was a different modifier that would increase your TNL upon each subsequent death. That meant you could *stop* leveling at any point by choice just by dying repeatedly and getting your TNL into the hundreds of thousands. An exp debt like that could be worked off with ridiculous amounts of effort, but it would take a long time. People used it to twink out their level 50s to be able to help others with their last push to Hero at 51. ((Sort of like making a battleground twink, but with enough exp debt that they’d just never level out of the bracket))


  7. I would welcome this into the game, or something like it. They really need some way to give the game more replay value for players who enjoy the leveling aspect of the game more than end game content and at the same time make it more welcoming to new players. Something along these lines would really breathe new life into the lower level content.


  8. Honestly,

    Interesting idea, but I don’t think it helps out new players much. A new player isn’t going to want to play a toon that stops at 40. I guess they would benefit from the activity in the lower zones though – although there would be even more twinking and inflated prices for lower level items.

    If this was implemented I think I would want my Dragonflight character be able to benefit my level 80 main. Maybe certain max level patterns/recipes/items/components only drop in the capped instances.


  9. Y’know, despite being an avid end-game raider (currently exploring Black Temple and Hyjal Summit with two characters) and enjoying the theorycrafting and minning/maxing that goes along with high performance, I really despise the mindset that the game begins at 70. I’m also a roleplayer, which means that I thoroughly enjoy interacting with other people and weaving stories with other players.

    I know of one gentleman who has been playing since the game was first released. He somehow managed to avoid hitting level 60 on his highest leveled character until after The Burning Crusade was released. I saw him as recently at a month ago and he’d yet to have reached 70. And yet, he’s found the game enjoyable enough to continue playing, continue interacting with others, and organizing cross-realm events on the Feathermoon US roleplaying server.

    You’ve got an interesting idea there, Triple-B, but I’m not sure if I like the idea of putting further constraints on people — even if they’re self-imposed. Instead, I think that people should continue to play the game as it appeals to them without realizing months down the road that they’ve made a mistake. Roleplaying fills that niche very well and I have no shame in admitting that I have characters with weeks — if not months! — of time-played and yet to have acquired their mounts!


  10. Yes I am and always will be a pen’n paper RPG’er. But I really did enjoy running around with BBB, Dax, Kem and other friends I made while playing.

    But a good portion of the reason that I quit playing WoW was the seeming endless, somewhat repetitive climb through levels. By the time I hit 60 with a character I was BORED! And the idea of climbing another 10 levels just to get to the cool stuff was not enough of an enticement to continue.

    I would love to see a layer to WoW where 40th (which isn’t all that difficult to hit) became a point where you could get into some really fun plot lines, instead of merely a rest stop on the way to 70.

    I would seriously consider starting up again.


  11. The Caverns of Time: Low Level Instances

    CoT is the ideal way to do this, imagine going into an instance and having your abilities capped at a lower level, so suddenly you are using your level 40 abilities in the instance, remember that feeling that Jania Proudmoore has more abilities than your mage, well thats what you can have, defense of areas and quests where you are a level 40 effectively, but with level 70 stats (the huge health difference between a named character and a grunt).

    Or going back and being given a random class to play in the same way CoT:Durnholde makes you all human.

    “We warn you travellers, this time zone has been corrupted, not all is as it seems”.


  12. I love this idea. Given how mammoth a task it would be to create essentially a whole third faction in the horde-alliance dynamic, four classes and a brand new set of quests from 1-40, I’d be happy to see this as the expansion after wrath. It would revitalise the game. I have 3 toons in Outlands, and between them they’ve run maybe 10 old world instances, so getting to see the old ones in a world with enough people to find a group would be absolutely brilliant.

    So, what do people think – should the expansion after Wrath be ‘Heroes of the Dragonflight’? Would you be happy to buy an expansion that didn’t raise the level cap or give your main new things to do? Would the raiding community survive without a higher cap and harder raids in an expansion?


  13. I always wanted the option to temporarily reduce your character’s level (and gear) to something suitable for the instance. So rather than asking your high level mates “can you boost me in “, you’d ask them to come along as a peer, facing the same level of difficulty.


  14. The thing is, a design principle of the game is that a level 1 has nothing of value to offer a level 70. Possibly a very small buff, but the downside of having a level 1 in your party is that they would aggro everything in a mile radius. It’s designed this way, probably to impede powerlevelling or suchlike.

    Another fundamental principle of the game is that you only get better over time and as you put effort in. If you encounter something challenging, when you come back to it later it should be easier. You can’t slide down the slope, and you’re not encouraged to want to. The only way back at the moment is to “start again” on an alt, and then THEY slowly improve.

    I’m starting to think that the way to do “heroic deadmines” that keeps getting suggested is to restrict it to characters that are under, say, level 20, and have a mechanism for debuffing level-capped characters down to that (e.g. -99%AP, -95% health). So newbies can play alongside veterans. It should hand out tokens to the downranked characters and normal loot to the normal characters. That way both can get something valuable from it, and both are playing at roughly comparable levels of subjective difficulty.


  15. Its a really odd idea, but thats not to say it wouldn’t work. Interesting.

    Level capping is a simple mechanic to enforce players being in the right range, but I think it kills the solo, short run, and speed runs that many players do frequently. If you have a higher level mate who can help you, is it so bad that they can?

    I’d love to see some extra classes, and maybe releasing them for 1-40 is a way to have them not flood the world. Unlocked in the same manner as DKs is something I’d avoid though, and you’d hope that eventually the cap would be removed so that you could play one through to 80.

    Monk is a class that I’d love to see, and has no storyline friction to resolve, as they are already there. They are also a class that has no inherent good or evil focus, unlike the warlocks and deathknights, who smell evil. When will the Alliance just give in and be evil like everyone else, as there as so many folks on their side who are totally suspect morally.

    Requirements to do runs should be avoided, IMHO, but you could make them highly valuable in terms of story, so that folks didn’t mind doing them. Perhaps also the rewards are tokens/badges too rather than straight XP or drops.

    I’ve got a hankering for the Caverns of Time type scenarios to be used a lot more. And also using those areas in the game that are dead-zones now. The crater of Dalran could have a new instance at the bottom, where some resurgents live. Its accessible to both factions at low level, and has a good reason to exist.

    More factions are welcome, as long as they don’t grind us to tears. The BE and Drano areas were worth doing on an alt as it was engaging, even if you didn’t take the character further. 1-20 is enough to get the themes and message, and I think 1-40 is too far in terms of grind.


  16. I had been thinking of something similar – but definitely not fleshed out as much, or such a great concept.

    What I had been thinking about was the idea of having:
    a) level capped instances
    b) instance capped levels

    Something so that we didn’t race to 80.
    a) You can only do instance “Fred” while at level 73.
    b) You can’t move past level 71, 72, 73 etc until you have done instance “Ralph”, “Dave” and “Fred”

    Something that would slow down the “race” to 80, without making it painful.
    Something that makes us stop and smell the roses.

    Maybe attunement quests for the 70+ instances/raids, that require us to revisit the old <60 instances and raids – which have of course been tweaked.

    Level 83 VanCleef? You betcha!


  17. Expanding horizontally, rather than just vertically. They touched on that by filling out some of the quest chains in Dustwallow Marsh, but yes, there’s so much more they could do.


  18. I do too.

    When TBC came out, I had the option of levelling up my existing Alliance toons. With a fresh game, I chose to experience the Horde side of things – to see their stories in the 1-60 bracket.

    In a similar vein, I’ve taken both an Aldor and a Scryer and like how (to some extent) the early quests in Netherstorm see both sides playing off each other.

    You don’t really even need new classes – though that would bring more players into the fold – just a new faction with rewards might be sufficient.


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