Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Retro-Server Concept for Blizzard

Set the time circuit for December 8, 2009.

Klepsacovic over at Troll Racials are Overpowered has a post up about Buying Classic Content.  The post is a continuation of a prior discussion dealing with idea that Blizzard could offer some way for players to experience older content with the original game system intact, instead of using Blizzard’s current model, where any older content (that has not already been removed from the game) may only be experienced via the current game system.

Klepsacovic’s musings as to the challenges of implementing such an approach, and the economic viability of doing so mirrored some of my recent thoughts with respect to WoW creating retro-servers.  Although Klepsacovic ultimately concludes that the challenges and economics make it highly unlikely that Blizzard would allow buying classic content, I am not sure that my idea for a retro-server suffers the same fate.

In order to be successful, I believe that a retro-server would need to have the following features:

  • Patch 3.3.0 game system.  Keeping a single version of the game operating at all times would limit the developer resources needed to keep the game running, at the cost of some authenticity in the experience.  Also critical for add-on support.  Patch 3.3.0 would incorporate all the advancements to the game through the opening of Icecrown Citadel.
  • One server only.  Community and player volume would be critical features for this type of server to work, so you would need to pack people in.  The server would probably be a PVP server.
  • No inbound server transfers; all toons start at level one.  Even playing field helps people build relationships since you won’t have a flush main sending you gold and supplies.
  • Original experience point progression.  Most of the people playing on such a server would be familiar with the old world, and aren’t playing to skip to level cap.
  • Level cap is 60 for first four months, 70 for 2nd four months, 80 for last four months.  Time pressure of content only being open for a short window before becoming obsolete keeps people engaged and moving through the game.
  • After 1 year, the server closes.  All good things must come to an end.
  • Static Pricing.  One time fee for the entire year of gameplay on that server: $100.

I think a retro-server with these features could be easy enough for Blizzard to maintain while providing players with the ability to relive what many consider to be the best years of WoW over the course of a single year.

Are there any features I missed?  Are there any major issues with the approach?  Will Blizzard pay me a percentage of each subscription for coming up with such a FTD idea?

Vess

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Is it December 20, 2011 Yet?

As you may know, my WoW playing days ended back in February of this year for a large number of reasons having mostly to do with gameplay.  Given the information that has been released regarding the next Warcraft expansion, it seems highly likely that I will not set foot on Azeroth again.  (Unless Blizzard decides to implement BC and/or Wrath gameplay servers, in which case I probably would resub.)

Since my departure from WoW, I have dabbled with a few other games.  I played DCUO for a couple of weeks, but never was comfortable with the awful targeting system and confusing maps.  After that, I gave RIFT a try.  While I enjoyed RIFT quite a bit, my friends eventually abandoned the game, and I followed suit.

So now, the wait is on for Star Wars: The Old Republic.  And the release date for SW:ToR can’t get here soon enough in my opinion.

Although I have high hopes for the game, I think it will be enough if it can deliver a WoW-like experience without repeating the missteps that Blizzard has made over the past couple years.  Things like:

  • Redesigning the game system every two years;
  • Implementing cross server grouping tools that enable ass-hattery and destroy the community;
  • Eliminating the challenge in the game to encourage new subscriptions;
  • Phasing the majority of the game world which severely limits cooperative play;
  • Making quests follow a linear progression that removes any type of exploration from the game;
  • Streamlining the leveling process so that players immediately reach endgame;
  • Not separating PVE and PVP abilities when necessary to balance the game system;
  • Rewarding players for time spent playing instead of playing well; and
  • Forcibly congregating the entire playerbase in one location.

That may be a pretty tall order for any new MMO, but hope springs eternal as they say.

As the launch date for SW:ToR gets closer, I will be transitioning this blog from a WoW blog to a SW:ToR blog.

Until then, may the force be with you.

Vess

World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria – Wherein Blizzard Declares War against Generation X

Just yesterday, Blizzard unveiled the details of their upcoming fourth expansion for World of Warcraft, entitled Mists of Pandaria.  You can view the trailer here.

In short, WoW 5.0 is going to be all about kung-fu pandas and Pokemon.

I am just at a complete loss as to how Blizzard thinks that this new content will be of interest to gamers from Generation X.

Kung-fu pandas and Pokemon are not going to keep the vast majority of WoW playing Gen X-ers subscribing, and they sure as hell aren’t going to entice ex-WoW playing Gen X-ers to resub after quitting in droves during Cataclysm.

I am not sure what those of us born between the years 1965 and 1980 did to offend, but I can’t help but feel that Blizzard’s decision to forsake this demographic will significantly hasten the demise of WoW.

Vess

A collection of opinions by other WoW bloggers can be found here.