Leveling and Azeroth 2.0.?

The key problem discussed through all approaches to current leveling is that it is outdated. The key problem is that it buries itself under its own weight – inevitably so granted the age of the game.

When we talk about leveling, it addresses multiple features. I will need to list its core ideas and try to give my own solutions:

Natural Gating to Endgame (raids, M+, PvP)

Why outdated: Access to endgame activities is gated behind the item level. A fresh 120 has no access to BfDA or Uldir as much as a 100.

Solution: We may just go with ilvl gating from max level.

Natural Gating to Old Content

Why outdated: all expansions except the previous one are perfectly soloed up to the final boss – and are intended to be that way. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a mantid pack lvl 90 in Heart of Fear or a ghoul pack lvl 80 in Icecrown Citadel as long as you take it out with a single Chain Lightning. Level 80 or level 90 bosses have no difference.

Solution: All the past raid content – yes, including the previous expansion – should be tuned into the very same level – say, Pandaria or Draenor level by BfA standards.

The borders between expansions are being washed away. Cata/Pandaria and WotLK/TBC share transmogs, and you could tmog into Ahn’Kiraj gear at level 1, so this too is not an issue.

Learning Your Class

Why outdated: we have character boosts and trial toons, we have major class revamps in random expansions, we have talent system upgrades, and what not. It doesn’t matter if I leveled and played my ice mage through freeze-and-shatter style in Pandaria – now it’s a proc-based, shard-saving thing which has nothing to do with it.

Solution: the entry scenario should teach you the basics like it does now for the trial character. Throw in class trials to learn the basics of group content (positioning, tanking, healing, AoE damage, burst damage, target switching, crowd controls). Throw in training grounds like Serenity Peak for monks to learn the interesting class perks! And after that you’re good to go. Demon Hunter starting questline gives an excellent example of teaching you everything in the course of 2 levels – although the starting experience should of course be less story-based, more training ground based to avoid outdating.

Seeing the Story

Why outdated: well, it is, and it is not. If I were a developer, and I acknowledged that some players come to my game just to bash skulls in PvP, I’d hate them not to be aware of what is going on in my world.

The core problem is: replaying the stories on alts is not encouraging on an N-th number. It’s fun and engaging on your main, although very exhausting (reading all the quests, struggling with shortcuts, ending up in bottomless pits and mob crowds, and having no idea of the whole path). It’s better on second alt, because you go through a now-known path with a feeling of where it ends. It starts to become tiresome at the third and on.

Also, after Cataclysm I cannot return to the old stories, and the world is changing ever since. It was extremely weird to level my warlock in Arathi and hear invisible players looking for group to farm current rares!

Also, a new player could never even leave the capital and level through dungeons only. There is the big world for you.

Sollution: it should work in the same manner as pre-expansion scenarios. The obligatory piece is playing through the current lore once. Complete your Loremaster for the current expansion, and get your access to endgame. Logging in on an alt? Talk to an NPC and say: I’ve seen it before and cut through to the endgame. After this talk, you should get all the credit for content completion: a comparable chunk of reputation, tmog quest appearances and all (but you cannot go back and do the quests then).

So, Where Has Azeroth 1.0. Gone? 

It’s all there in Caverns of Time.

I’ve previously mused about that your current characters – especially allied races, or demon hunters, or Pandaren – have not been able to experience the fall of the Lich King, or the opening of Ahn’Kiraj, or whatever. If you start an alt in BfA – you’re not liberating Stratholme from the undead Scourge. You are being told about it. It’s not your endeavour – it’s a glitch, a trance, a time-travel – name it. You reminisce the stories of the past to understand the feats of strength of your faction (and now we know that lorewise the Horde killed Magtheridon and the Alliance killed Lady Vashj, so it may not be even your faction).

So, how this works: you talk to a Zidormi or any other -ormi/-ormu dragon. She/he asks: what do you like to see (the options are all the expansions) – and you’re transported there through space and time to farm the old raids, see Dalaran in Crystalsong Forest, or an endless battle for the Barrens, or a night elf outpost in the middle of Silithus. Or walk Teldrassil. You can play through any questline that was available during the time (granted you haven’t already done it). And it will scale to your level!

BUT.

The real world, the current world, is now opened for the changes. Any changes.

We may finally alter the world according to the plot without looking back. We can change the dungeon and raid areas to their current state – as Blackrock Depths are now an Alliance-friendly domain of Dark Irons, and Uldir is safe.

We can remove Dalaran from Crystalsong Forest and put a Lich King’s necropolis there instead. We may end all the never-ending, outdated battles and see the world calm due to our efforts: from the exterminated minor trogg/murloc threats to making Eternal Blossoms in Pandaria bloom again.

  • A complete revamp.
  • Azeroth 2.0.
  • A peaceful one – where we have brought peace.
  • And with the new scars and battles where they appear.

And back to leveling, here’s a resume:

  • The game without levels.
  • Every character starts at “level cap” (actually without a level)
  • Every character goes through an obligatory class training scenario.
  • A racial acquaintance might be added in the manner of allied races.
  • You will need to play through the current expansion’s Loremaster once to get access for the endgame.
  • All alts may skip the story and go into endgame afer that.
  • All old content is available through Caverns of Time, tuned 2 expansions back (raids/dungeons)/current level (loremaster)

Have I missed anything? :) Let’s discuss.

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6 thoughts on “Leveling and Azeroth 2.0.?

  1. I could see if you had completed leveling a character to max on your account being able to start an alt at 60. Then setting up a proving ground type scenario made from creatures at the end of Vanilla you needed to beat, if you do you can jump to level 70, then 80, then 90, 100, 110. Having to pass a bronze level difficulty would earn you a 2 hour 50% experience boost. If you manage silver you advance 10 levels. Getting silver awards blue text gear appropriate for your new level. If you manage gold you get a set of epic tier gear.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think there still needs to be a leveling system. Maybe having a max level earned by questing the world and having all new expansions abandoning levels in favor of some ilvl gating system. but just using ilvl gating and making everyone ‘end-game’ only leaves people feeling there is nothing to do. They just figure out the most efficient way to bypass everything and get the relatively few things they are interested in done then moan about lack of content.

    New players would have no engaement with the world or their characters as all journey is removed in favour of rapid progression. If there was some generic rpg story that had the final segment tuned to bringing the player fully into the current expansion it might give the new players more reason to explore and grow into the world than simple ilvl gating.

    For alts of max level players just re-buff the speed that heirlooms should enable max level characters to power level old content by keeping the power level equivilant to the content, ie. scaling, but let the experience bonus propel them significantly faster.

    I agree all the old expansions need to be sectioned off and relegated to CoT and that leaving them at a state of 2 expansion back difficulty would be a good thing for all old content. I also feel as you do that this would open the world for better utilization and immersion to keep old players feeling a sense of progress and new players a sense of relevancy in the current game.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I re-read the alt skip like ‘I’ve seen this before’ and it bumps you through with all the pomp of having completed the content. It’ surely sounds good to players that have armies of alts and want them at ‘end game’ but there is serious inherent danger to the general econemy when we can power full armies of alts with little to no effort. It opens the game to far much potential for abuse.

    In general the game is designed around the base concept of you the player have one character that you play through and you cannot do everything on your own so you band together with others to complete things. It has been the erosion of reliance on others that has the community in such a deep decline. WoW’s current community is now only fostered by RP, Trade chat or to a lesser degree the need for more *skilled* bodies for raiding or M+.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Some brilliant ideas there! Print, fold into an envelope and mail it to Anaheim.

    Maybe stick one of the Loremasters like Cho down in the Caverns for some flavor too. He can show you your epic battles of the past. I think that Cho would like to sit with the dragons over a cup of tea or a brew.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Blizzard doesn’t accept ideas from players – it says so on their website :) And fairly so: most often it’s ripped off from other games and/or something they already thought about.

      Wildeheart has some excellent counterpoints here: I haven’t even thought of economy and abuse issues. Leveling serves as a common and uniting value to so many aspects (like money in real economy), so it’s quite a radical change which may result in many ways we haven’t got an idea. Still, it was fun to explore the possibilities :)

      Liked by 1 person

    • And yes, I’m 100% sure that Blizzard explores every experience and idea considering leveling – from other games as well. For a start, January 2018 was their first step – considerably cutting leveling time. The whole current discussion was actually triggered by their own Q&A: they’re working on it, and they acknowledge the growing problem.

      Liked by 1 person

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