Monday, April 20, 2009

Even more dumbed down

Ok. Here comes. My first thoughts about 3.1.

The game is even more dumbed down. Granted, the legendary bottleneck's to advance First Aid and Fishing were a drag, both of them, but they served their purpose: the infamous Triage showed how 'easy' it is to heal a crapload of people at once to all, and the Nat Pagle quest chain forced people to visit four zones of which they normally would have neglected at least two.

On the other end of the road, the levelling seems to have speeded up a bit again. What bothers me about this is the fact that the much revered and beloved dual-speccing, which has now saved the level capped people from utter and final boredom and allows them to test and run in different roles in the end game instances, is actually going to dumb down the level capping newcomers even more, if possible. The term "n00b" will get yet another meaning.

Just think about it. Dual specs come available at level 40, and within a very short time we'll see that this -now obligatory thing- will become mandatory to all passing that level. Why? Simply because the level capped people levelling their alts have the knowledge to require versatility in the groups they are forming in Outlands. And even before that. This, however, leads to the situation in which the new player, who has been ushered through the already too fast tutorial of learning to play the character class properly, is forced to learn another, possibly completely different way of playing the same class. Shadowpriest bent on holy healing comes to my mind as the first. Feral druid forced to play restoration. The combinations are limitless.

This will either create a bottleneck, where the complexity of the game becomes too much for the casual gamer and they just rush through the content, grouping even less, or they quit, because the compexity takes the fun out of the game.

I'm not too over joyed about the dual specs, and most probably will just ignore the whole thing. I want to play my tank as a tank and my holy priest as a holy priest till my eyes bleed.

The other thing this dual spec causes is the money sink. Formerly the sink in lv40 was the mount: at the advent of WotLK this was lowered to lv30. This is just a minor thing, costing something around 80-90g to learn the skill and purchase your first mount, but to that level it's a HUGE amount of money. Unless you are playing two games at the same time: levelling and AH flipping. Now, add to that the incredible dual spec cost of 1000g: that hurdle will be next to impossible to overcome at that level. Ok, it's pebbles to the player with nth lv80 toon, but for the newcomer (or casual gamer) that is just enormous amount of money. Combined with the huge cost of lv40 talents... just too much.

The earning rate hasn't increased at the same time as the speed of gaining experience. And that is a vast problem which I believe will increase the churn rate.

There is still one thing hindering the playing which they could remove and make the life easier, especially to those who are levelling: take the level restrictions off from the professions. Make every crafting recipe available to all, creating a situation in which everyone could do everything in the two main professions they have. Cheers and celebrations. And at the same time, they could do something about the usability of the crafted gear altogether.

After all, all other restrictions have been taken off already. Time to dumb the game down to bones, right?