Thursday, May 1, 2008

Played Lately: World of Warcraft

  • Welcome to part two of my World of Warcraft rant. All of this stuff I would have included in the earlier post if that hadn't become so leviathanish. (It is so a word!) Plus I was really tired of all the typing because I am very, very lazy.

  • Earlier this month, Cameron Sorden at Random Battle posted an article about how gleefully Blizzard likes to give up their old high level content. There are many instances in Azeroth that I and many others have barely seen and many in Outland that will be abandoned when the next expansion is released. Cameron suggests periodically renovating these high level instances to be challenging at the current level cap, much like the Burning Crusade heroic instances. It's a great idea and I fully support it. However, I would like to make a suggestion in the opposite direction.

  • Blizzard should institute a solo mode for low level instances.

  • With patch 2.3, the leveling game from 1 to 60 was accelerated to facilitate new characters reaching the expansion content faster. As part of this, all outdoor elite areas were downgraded to allow solo characters to complete them without waiting and waiting for a group that will never show up. These are areas I very rarely adventured in before due to my inability to solo through them. With that update, I was able to see many place I never had before, effectively expanding the low level content for me. It is this template that should be applied to adding a solo mode to instances. And it would have the same effect.

  • For one thing, Blizzard really want people to move quickly to the level cap and has little interest in expanding the early game for people who enjoy playing alts. Retuning an instance once every few months would give solo players more options in the leveling game without having to add new assets to the game. It would allow more people to experience outdated content and it would provide an incentive to explore unpopular instance. On my most recent play through, I only ever went to the Deadmines, the Stockade, Zul'Farrak, and the library wing of the Scarlet Monestary. A solo option might have seen me in Razorfen Downs or Maraudon or Dire Maul. There is a lot of great stuff out there. It is a shame to let it go to waste.

  • Sure, you would probably want to kill the bosses' loot tables. Just make sure there are a few good, easily accessible quests that take you through the instance with decent rewards for making it to the end. Or really, who even cares if you soloed decent gear if you're getting it at level 37.

  • There was a post over at Mystic Worlds that gives a fresh take on why people play multiplayer games alone. The conclusion is not all that new, though. Solo players are here to stay. The more reasons you give them to play, the longer they will play your game instead of someone else's.


  1. I absolutely, heartily agree. I'm a new player... and so often I hit the 'instance barrier'.

    After completing a series of quests, leading to a climatic battle with the bad guy.. oh, he lives in a instance, so much for that. Every major plot line seems to be anti-climatic as a consequence, the villain always out of reach. I prefer generally to play on my own, but even when I AM in the mood to find a group theres never anyone willing.

    A solo mode would be a great idea.

  2. Thanks for bringing up the point. Seeing more of these stories to the end would make a much more satisfying experience for solo players.