An end game for the rest of us?

I have a few initial initial thoughts on Blizz’s new end game experience, to be rolled out in Legion.

I am intrigued by the new World Quest approach to end game play. It definitely seems like Blizz took to heart all the player comments about the major shortcoming of WoD, that is, that once you finished leveling the only productive activity available was organized raiding.

World Quests, at least in theory, might be a good answer to this. I like the idea of logging on, seeing what is available by looking at your world map, and planning what you might like to do for the evening. I also am ok with the concept of an Emissary, someone who will give you extra stuff if you focus on World Quests in a certain area. And I like the idea that the World Quests will involve several game activities, such as killing bosses, doing profession-related things, pet battles and world PvP for those so inclined, etc. And I really like the idea that this is structured so that it will provide challenge and reward commensurate with your advancement in the game — that is, Blizz has said that World Quests will continue to provide motivating rewards even for players who are geared up. I definitely like the concept.

Of course, what I am worried about is the actual implementation.

First, the idea of “voluntary”. We are told that no one will be required to do PvP or the like if they don’t want to, that there will be plenty of World Quests to choose from. But what if the Emissary wants you to do quests in an area that has only 4 offered, two of which involve activities you hate (PvP and pet battles for me)? I know nothing forces you to take an Emissary quest (do 4 WQs in their preferred area), but if you have to do 4 and 2 of them involve activities you detest, are they really voluntary or is Blizz funneling you to these activities? It’s a fairly minor concern, but still a concern. I would like to see Blizz provide a true selection of WQs for every Emissary quest, so that players could really have a choice.

Second, the rewards in terms of level. To carry out their intent of making WQs of continuing interest to all players, it seems like the rewards would have to be quite high. For example, if they are remain relevant to hard core raiders halfway into the expansion, they would have to award pretty high levels of gear, high amounts of gold, really cool mounts, and the like. Even early in the expansion, there must be something that will keep players engaged in these WQs — and that is typically gear. (Think about the WoD world bosses — everyone ran them every week until they got that once piece of gear they needed to progress, then they stopped.)

To be honest, I do not see Blizz continuing to offer raid-level gear from WQs throughout the expansion. For one thing, there will be a howl from some sectors that “No FAIRRRRRRR! Everyone should have to do high level raiding to be as cool as I am!” For another, unless there is a way to keep getting ever-increasing gear levels from the quests, people will stop doing them.

Third, the rewards in terms of drop rate. It is one thing to offer as a possible reward cool things like toys and mounts and great gear, it is entirely another thing to hit that sweet spot between “Everyone gets one” and “After a year of Legion, no one on this server has ever gotten such a drop.” Of course, there are a few people who will doggedly keep trying for years to get a certain drop, but most people will give up and consider it practically impossible to do. So I would like to see Blizz do something decent with the RNG for WQ drops.

While I like the innovative potential of WQs, I would like to see Blizz also be innovative with the loot mechanics. The easiest thing would probably be to give some sort of token or currency as quest rewards, then have a vendor where you could buy really cool stuff with the tokens. Barring that, because Blizz has seemed to think that is a terrible idea, the WQ loot system needs to be a smart one.

  • It needs to have a strong bad luck streak component, so that if you get nothing decent after X number of quests, your chances go up measurably for every quest, and this needs to be per character.
  • It needs to have an “already got it” component, so that if your character already has gotten a certain reward, you can no longer get it again (unless it is something like gold). No more Left Sharks, for crying out loud!!!
  • Gear awarded as loot needs to scale with your equipped level. For example, if you have a level 760 helm and you get a helm as loot, it should be greater than 760. If your equipped helm is 780, it needs to be higher than that, and so forth. And by “higher” I also include secondary stat improvements, because one of the most frustrating things about WoD was getting a higher level piece of gear that was less useful to you than your old one because the secondary stats sucked.
  • You should always have a choice in your loot when it drops, for example, a mount, a toy, or gold. Gear, or materials, or gold. Even gear slot choice — helm or shoulders or legs, for example.

I have not even touched on the possible implementation frustrations with profession WQs.

The skeptical side of me knows that Blizz has frequently destroyed good ideas by incompetent or clueless implementation. But the optimistic side sees a lot of excellent potential for World Quests as a way to give players a choice in the end game. I am really hoping Blizz can actually pull this off.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

3 Responses to An end game for the rest of us?

  1. I’ll be curious about the world quests — how worldly are they? My guessing is the Broken Isles world and not the Azeroth world (or my world which includes Dreanor and Outlands). If they included my freedom of flying in Azeroth, I’d be stoked.
    I like world bosses and you are right. The best, fun ones for me have been Ordos and Kazz; a lot of interest for a long time and big groups for easy kills — with gear that I want!
    It will be a delicate balance between fun and exhausting, I think, to run all around the darn place to kill stuff.

    • Fiannor says:

      That is an excellent point about the flying. Without an efficient way to get to World Quests scattered all over the map, I for one — and I think there will be many like me — will lose interest quickly in the activity. The pain of galloping for minutes at a time, having to stop every few seconds to fight ridiculous evil weeds or other nuisance mobs, is just not fun in anyone’s book, if their goal is actually just to get to a quest location. Blizz can blather on all they want to about “immersion”, but the reality is, after you reach level, it is nothing more than time-wasting harassment.

      I have seen a reference to a half-baked rumor that the current plan is for flying in Legion to become available in 7.1, but I am still trying to track that down. My prediction all along has been that Blizz intends to withhold Broken Isle flying until 7.2, so we will see.

      But you are absolutely right, being ground bound for months and having to spend forever just to get to quest locations is horrible, and unless the rewards are extraordinary — which I do not expect they will be — it will just not be worth the effort. It will be another example of Blizz’s inability to mesh ideas with reasonable implementation mechanics.

  2. Oh, I think flying is a long (long) way off. Gated by Loremaster alone, we may not see all of the zones open to us for a long time.
    There is this crazy urge in me to “keep up” when starting new expansions. I feel a need to be ahead or even with my mates and not missing out on something that might be important. If something is painful to do early on, I’ll skip it and move on to the next thing; trying to bypass that painful event — if World Quests prove to be painful early on and no fun, I’m off to cue for dungeons instead.

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