Archive for the ‘Game Design’ Category

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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