Monday, May 25, 2009

WoW light - now with less flavor

As it turns out levelling a fire specced mage gives me a lot of time to think on stuff and whilst scorching boars in deathknight peninsula I contemplated the progression of wow over the period that I have been around.

Mind you, I've only been playing this game for euh... about a year and a half or so which to the seasoned wow veteran probably means I am still a noob crawling around in his diapers. But even given my relative short stay with wow I can see a clear move towards simplifying things.

On the one hand there are simplifications that make life a lot more pleasant: Longer self-buff durations, dual talent specialization, gear managers, a myriad of ui improvements right down to simple things like being able to stay mounted in the water (not that I don't want to bash my head against the table whenever I see a swimming cat mount) or color-blind modes for the color-blind.

But in all this simplification I wonder if we're not starting to lose some flavor as well.

Take for example the 'flavor text' that has been disabled for the most part on existing NPC's. You were at some point in the past able to see a simple flavor text that an NPC would use to introduce him/herself with or to give some kind of story vibe to the area you're in. Now, all flavor texts are skipped automatically and apparantly (or I simply can't find it) come hell or high water you won't be able to make the flavor text appear again.
This rarely leads to problems but it sometimes seems like we're missing out on something, something not crucial but still conducive to understanding why the hell we're out here collecting x or killing y.

Another one of those examples is the absolutely gorgeous druid epic flying quest line. You can still pick it up, and most of us that remember it will do so for our druid alts but at this very moment there's generations of druids growing up that will never experience this quest simply because they can buy the epic flight form from the vendor.

There's dozens if not hundreds of other examples that indicate the loss of 'flavor' in this regard and I am starting to wonder if the new wow, the more user-friendly variant, didn't at some point trade in depth and immersion for convenience.

How far are we really from getting a quest helper built into wow that will simply show us what we have to do and dispense with all the storyline around it?

Where do we draw the line between something that is convenient, user-friendly and immersive and something that is... well progress quest?


Lucint @ Bronzebeard - US said...

I have to agree with you in principle. I have been playing WoW since day 1. I've tried every class, though I tend to stick to a mage and druid, but I'm finding a resurgent fun in levelling some smaller toons. As I go through the questlines, I encounter one or two that I missed in my early WoW naeivete`. But what I am quickly seeing is all the levelling buffs that Blizz added.

I remember struggling and struggling on some quests, like in STV or SoS, where some of the ogres and dragons wandering around were elites. Now they're all regular mobs, and doing the quests dont carry nearly the level of satisfaction that I remember.

Also, to some of you newer players, this might not mean much, but to old schoolers like me, they'll get this. Remember when getting keyed for Blackrock or BLW or Ony or even Scholo or Strat meant something? You had to work your ass off to even be able to go into certain raiding instances. Which meant for a player like me, with a real life schedule, I didn't have the time to invest to get keyed, let alone be able to raid. So I always held raiders, and geared raiders, with a certain extra respect. I still have that respect, but it seems like its a whole lot easier to get into raids these days. Get to LVL 80, run some heroics for gear, and you're good to go. I think WoW has lost the feel of the epic long quest lines that have you continent hopping to get a key smelted, only to find out you have to nuke a lvl 80 ghost and his huge entourage just to get in to a 5 man instance. There are still some good quest lines in the game. But I kind of feel like WoW has started to tailor to the casual end gamer. I'm not saying its bad, I'm just saying I can see the change.

Anyone else have those thoughts?

Joar said...

Relatively new to your blog, so I've been going back and reading some old posts. Totally agree with you on this. I still try to do as many of those old epic questlines as I can on my toons - the druid epic flight quest, the Onyxia attunement, the Karazhan attunement, the warlock epic mount quest, the Scepter of the Sands line - all of those were great and required a ton of work, but you felt like you had really accomplished something at the end.
I've gone back and done a few on my Death Knight just because I felt like he had to - like proof of coming of age.

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