Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Played Lately: World of Warcraft

  • Now that I've hit level 70 on a second character in the current favorite, my thoughts automatically drift to the conundrum that in endgame content. The primary motivational driver in massively multiplayer role-playing games is gaining experience to increase your level. It's a strong motivator because it's easy to implement, easy to follow, and easy to expand when necessary. That's why just about every expansion pack ever released features an increased level cap. They're just hanging that carrot on a longer stick. But what do you do when you hit the level cap. I've already done so twice in WoW and each time it has made me reevaluate what I want to get out of the game.

  • The endgame, then, is really about finding alternate ways to advance your character. In many games, the secondary driver of advancement is upgraded equipment, the "phat lootz" and "purples" that improve your abilities without adjusting your level. In WoW, there are three primary ways to improve your gear: crafting, PvP, or raiding. Everquest 2 has an Alternate Advancement system in place to improve your abilities after you've capped out, though they introduce you to this quite early. Like gear improvements, they put you on training wheels for this endgame content while you're leveling so you know what you're doing once you hit the cap.

  • Some people will tell you that the endgame is the "real" game and leveling is just preparing you for that. It's a valid viewpoint, and games like Guild Wars readily embrace the concept. However there is something visceral about leveling up that can't be discounted as merely a grind.

  • This is the dilemma I'm facing again. How do I stay interested in the game when I'm running out of things to do on my own? This question has actually clarified a little in the last week so I'll just list what I'm working toward. This shouldn't be taken as a prescription for everyone, but might give you an idea of what options are available. Essentially, I'm doing a little of everything.

  • First, I set a goal to craft a set of Frozen Shadoweave armor. This three-piece tailored epic set is practically fated for my frost-specced mage and I've had a good time crafting the first two parts. The robe of this armor will be quite a challenge since I have to improve my tailoring skill and gather the resources to craft it, but the goal will be well worth it in the end. I did this with my paladin, crafting a Breastplate of Kings, though I didn't get much use of it when I switched to my healing role.

  • Second, I've joined a new guild with people that have similar goals and are relatively helpful in achieving them. My personal goal for the game (and I've probably said this before) is to see the inside of Karazhan. Funny enough, I'm at the exact same stage of my Kara attunement quest as I was with my pally, but I feel more assured of closing the deal this time. Now that Patch 2.3 has rolled out, I'm hoping the Kara will lead into Zul'Aman and more fun, but that is my "stretch goal."

  • Third, I started an new alt, a blood elf warlock named Kesandru. When I got sick of my pally, I returned to leveling my mage. And now I have a warlock in case I get sick of Ashlynh. Again, Patch 2.3 has made the alt leveling experience better, but I'm hoping that I have too much fun raiding so I don't have to move on to a new character.

  • It is difficult to know if I am making the same mistakes as before. Maybe I'll hit my head on the endgame ceiling again and it'll be all alts, all the time. However I'm hoping that I will finally see this endgame everyone keeps talking about. Imagine me being the optimist. First time for everything I guess.

No comments:

Post a Comment