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Does Warlords Need More Pruning?

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One of the major iterative design processes that underpinned Warlords of Draenor's overall direction was simplification. With the removal of old stats, various forms of crowd control, class abilities, guild leveling/bonuses, reforging, and more, Blizzard hinted that they wanted the game to evolve to a place that was more accessible. Is there more to come?

 

Looking at some of the other changes that have been made so far with this expansion, there are certainly possibilities. The challenge for the developers, of course, is balancing things that demonstrate character progression or significant time investments with long-term game health and playability.

 

So, what are some further adjustments that could be considered in the future? Here are a handful of examples:

  • Mount riding skills/passives. These seem largely redundant in an era of character boosts; with no ability to fly in Draenor, all of the riding passives seem largely obsolete.
  • In-game languages. These are functionally an adorable artifact of the game's much more RPG-driven roots.
  • Gathering professions. These have been made almost entirely redundant by the Garrison, and it certainly feels as if Blizzard has a long-term vision that would eliminate them altogether based on the Garrison implementation.
  • First Aid. An entirely separate secondary profession whose purpose is the creation of a singular item (and could be obviated by making Healthstones heal for the same amount as Healing Tonics) seems absurd.
  • Profession features like Prospecting and Smelting (and, long term, Milling and Disenchanting). Neither of these function on modern materials anyway - a minor update to deal with old world recipes/materials would eliminate them outright.
  • Deprecated currencies. Many old currencies are already no longer functional, and eliminating the clutter and confusion of currencies from non-current content would be a welcome improvement.

In addition to wholesale removals, there are certainly places where intelligent tweaks could be made. Efforts to consolidate or limit the effects of absent buffs for groups/raids, consumables, etc. have progressed steadily throughout Warcraft's history, but a number of them still have bizarre places in the game. With the irrelevant cost of materials for things like Savage Feasts, the time wasted by players to utilize them after wipes feels strange (and flies in the face of mechanics like the major cooldown reset, which explicitly eliminates the stand-around-and-wait effect!).

 

(As an aside - Draenor Perks feel like the type of feature that is absolutely designed to be removed eventually. Those level-driven random upgrades could easily be unlocked and treated as a baseline part of the affected abilities as early as next tier.)

 

Would you like to see further pruning to clean up some of the game's bloat? Are there features or inclusions that seem redundant or unnecessary to you that aren't mentioned here? Let us know what you think.

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Just the other day I was considering this.

 

Profession levels feel largely obsolete in WoD. All of the relevant crafting products can be learned and created equally by new and experienced crafters alike. The only differences I was able to find are that daily cooldowns produce more at higher levels (a system that doesn't actually reward the time you spend with a profession, rather it rewards the amount of money you have to drop on leveling it) and the existence of old-world items that very few would craft.

 

As you pointed out, "Draenor Perks" feels like a feature that was added only to be eventually removed. It adds needless complication to your spellbook and makes abilities work differently from when you learn them only for the sake of making the leveling process feel rewarding (going back to cast time Rebirth while leveling a new druid was a pain, and I had gotten so used to it that I didn't understand why it wouldn't work at first). I can't see them continueing to add perks for expansions to come without making some of these effects baseline. I don't want to have to fish through a page of 12 passives to remember why an ability is different.

 

This isn't quite a feature that needs pruning, but realms have begun to feel like an archaic feature that Blizzard continues to try to breath life into. Whether it's for the sake of nostalgia, comfort, familiarity, or money from realm transfers -- the artificial division of players that realms provide feels more and more out of place with each expansion as the World of Warcraft grows more interconnected. While realms and guilds have provided a sense of comradery and companionship in the past; it now feels like you are explicitly excluded from certain activities if you find a cross-realm group that you like (you can raid heroic, but can't raid mythic -- you can join parties, but can't join the guild).

Edited by Deathshiver

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This isn't quite a feature that needs pruning, but realms have begun to feel like an archaic feature that Blizzard continues to try to breath life into. Whether it's for the sake of nostalgia, comfort, familiarity, or money from realm transfers -- the artificial division of players that realms provide feels more and more out of place with each expansion as the World of Warcraft grows more interconnected. While realms and guilds have provided a sense of comradery and companionship in the past; it now feels like you are explicitly excluded from certain activities if you find a cross-realm group that you like (you can raid heroic, but can't raid mythic -- you can join parties, but can't join the guild).

The problem here is actually physical - the load that the servers can take is only so much, and once it gets to be too much everyone starts to get lag, and you can see an example of this with the launch of warlords.  The advent of cross realm zones and connected realms are improvements on this technology, but it is still limited in what can be done.

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The problem here is actually physical - the load that the servers can take is only so much, and once it gets to be too much everyone starts to get lag, and you can see an example of this with the launch of warlords.  The advent of cross realm zones and connected realms are improvements on this technology, but it is still limited in what can be done.

Yeah, I totally get that. There's clearly physical reasons for realms, but their inter-connectivity is still divided. What physical reason is there for not allowing cross-realm mythic raiding? There are alternative approaches to a lot of things in the game that won't require this artificial division which can only be overcome with a paid transfer. It's this separation of players that I feel is archaic from a time where the technology to play with other realms didn't exist.

Edited by Deathshiver

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Yeah, I totally get that. There's clearly physical reasons for realms, but their inter-connectivity is still divided. What physical reason is there for not allowing cross-realm mythic raiding? There are alternative approaches to a lot of things in the game that won't require this artificial division which can only be overcome with a paid transfer. It's this separation of players that I feel is archaic from a time where the technology to play with other realms didn't exist.

There isn't a physical reason for not doing cross realm mythic, and they did do that with the end of SoO.  However, as for doing it for Highmaul, there is a blue post explaining why they don't:

 

Mythic is a different concept from all other difficulties and it's not meant to be PUG friendly.

Not enabling cross-realm mythic is a design decision. Enabling this option would imply that this content should be doable by PUGs, and because it clearly isn't, it would only lead to frustration, complaints and nerf requests.

What is happening is that some players are finding mythic Kargath to be doable with very good PUGs, but we have to keep in mind that this is only happening because he's the very first raid boss from this expansion, so he's a bit more accessible than the rest.

When Blackrock Foundry (our next raid tier) launches, it's unlikely that the difficulty level from the first boss will be proportional to Kargath's when compared to the rest of the bosses of each respective tier.

Also, we're likely going to enable cross-realm mythic Highmaul when the next tier arrives.

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There isn't a physical reason for not doing cross realm mythic, and they did do that with the end of SoO.  However, as for doing it for Highmaul, there is a blue post explaining why they don't:

That was the entire point I was trying to make. It's not like the players on one person's realm are inherently better than cross-realm. As an example, I'm really good friends with a number of players on Cenarion Circle, all of which are mythic-ready raiders that I raided with a little over a year ago. Unfortunately, my characters are now on Area 52 because I transferred to play with a friend. Without another realm transfer, I can't play high level content with them. Them being on a different realm doesn't inherently make them pugs or not capable of mythic as Blizzard would suggest to you here. Why is it that when you join a random group with people not on your realm it is worse than joining a random group with people in trade chat? The division here is purely artificial. The reason it implies that the content is doable by pugs is because the only content currently available cross-realm is pug content. Rather than reinforcing that the only good groups are the ones on your server, Blizzard should be trying to improve the resources that allow you to find a perfect group suited to you. It's an archaic system that, for one reason or another, they want to keep around.

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I haven't had the opportunity to play WOD yet, but it sounds like professions are in a weird place. The thing I wish for WOW's future is for professions to be more customizable. I am an artist in real life, and I wish there was a way to express that through the game. Imagine how cool it would be if there was a new profession like Sculpting, or Painting. I also feel this way about blacksmithing or leatherworking. The ability to design patterns into cloaks or shoulder pads or whatever would be so awesome.

 

Imagine walking into someone's garrison (if that becomes an option someday) and seeing a badass statue. Someone would be like "Whoa man where'd you get that?" You could then casually smirk and be all like, "Oh yeah, it's an Oddin." And then just smoothly walk away like a boss. XD

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