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Nov 28, 2006



Back when I was playing my first character, my first moment was when I went back at level 30 and got revenge on the Son of Arugal.

My favorite parts of WoW have been the unstructured parts. Running an instance over and over again is okay, but it isn't truly fun until something unexpected happens. Whether it's the death of a tank whose help you needed or the summon of an Infernal during a tricky fight, the dance is the most fun when you improvise, not repeat the same steps over and over again.


I am reminded of that scene in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' in the 'crushing room' where Short Round steps on the trigger and ends up saying 'I step where you step'. That is how so many WoW instances feel when you are doing a new one, you step where everone else steps, and don't touch anything.

Then, like the other day, something happened in UBRS on my first time in there. I am not exactly sure what I did, or even if it was me, but suddenly I get charged by a mob while everyone was refreshing. The fight was on, we were all in it, it was tense and went on much longer than one might hope, but we made it through and it was a great experience.

Now obviously everyone wiping due to some nimrod touching some egg he isn't supposed to can be annoying, but those out-of-the ordinary 'cliff hanger' situations can be quite amazing compared to the sterile, controlled instance crawl.

Still, whenenever I go somewhere I haven't been before, all I hear in my head is "I step where you step, I touch nothing'.


I hate that wandering Son of Arugal. It reminds me of the random, sudden, completely unavoidable deaths you were constantly subjected to in EverQuest. If you ever played an Erudite in EQ, you were invariably killed repeatedly by this vicious boss monster in your newbie woods. He had a blind spell, but it hardly mattered, because he only spawned at night, newbies lacked good light sources, and the Erudites were blind as newborn puppies in the dark. They might as well have just sent someone to gun us all down, for no good reason, because that's about what it felt like.

When my character dies, I would like it to be because of the actions (or lack thereof) of myself or my comrades. Random death from above is not entertaining to me. It makes me angry and frustrated.


I tend to think the high degree of choreography required for many end-game encounters is a serious deficiency in the game's design. It effectively removes the player's free will forcing them into the role of a robot performing specific tasks at specific times in an unyielding sequence. As new instances were introduced blizzard pushed this further and further removing most of the 'play' from the encounters and replacing it with 'perform'. I would much rather the design allowed people to improvise as they played, to have fun with what they were doing and be granted some ease from the endless stream of repetitive tasks that the end game devolves into over time.


The current design team's reactive approach will soon mire Warcraft in the same muck as Counter Strike. Played by all, beloved of few, finally just a stepping stone to better games.


The Quastion is: What do players want? And this question can't be answered one-dimensional. I think Blizzard tries very hard to satisfy various kind of players. Casual-Gamers as well as Pro-Gamers and everything between. Sure the content for some is limited but hey I did not find any other game where so many different kinds of gamers play together (or against each other). An endgame-dungeon surely is not designed for people who play 5 hours a week and the lvl 60 dungeons (scholomance etc.) are nothing else than farming for hardcore-players. Everybody has to find (and can find) its own challenge within wow.
So when you get bored think of the casuals, when you think it is too hard and not free enough think of the pros. Perhaps BC and following content brings more variability into the world.


Fel Reavers :p


I think, for me, the real question is can Santa Blizz stuff our stockings with a little more WTF that doesn't involve random death.

While I agree that elements like Arugal's roaming spawn bring something to the game, I'd also like to see some stuff that takes game play in WoW outside the box without the inconvenience of a trip to the GY.

My question for Blizzard (and for you all in proxy) . . . what would that look like?


As a gamer, I love the degree that the end-game of WoW tests your mettle.

As a gamer, I despise the way that the end-game of WoW is so timing dependent in a world of high-ping, and server-side issues.

Take Thaddius for instance. Thaddius is a very-well designed, exceptionally enjoyable fight -- when it works. Now, the main reason it doesn't work is latency. When you have 40 people on 40 random connections, to a server that has in the past been prone to lag, it's a recipe for frustration.

I don't mind failing an encounter when the mistake is made by one of the raid members, or a group of them (in this case, being on the wrong polarity side during a switch). If the encounter is challenging, that is what I want to see. Difficulty by virtue of being difficult and complex is good.

You, as a designer, can shove off, if failing an encounter is dependent on one person being out of sync with the rest of the group because their client hasn't updated yet. Difficulty by virtue of dumb-luck isn't difficult, it is a pain in the ass.


I personally love those Out of Nowhere encounters... It adds some spice to a game that sometimes feel easy. I remember the group of Horde Elite that roams near Loch Modan... I got killed the first time, but after that I've always checked my butt when I roam in that area.

I also had to escape to Elite Treant in Ashenvale a couple of times, I even had to help someone to not die from him. I managed to pull the Treant and the other Horde player managed to escape. As a druid, I survived/escaped too... But this was tight...

Those moments helps you feel the game! Like in real life, you learn the places where you don't want to be!


Honestly, what I think WoW needs is more low-level content. When you think about it, how many characters are ever going to be 60th/70th level? And how many are going to be 1st? Every Tauren has to do the same Mulgore quests. Every human does the same stuff in Elwyn Forest.

But that's not quite what you asked. Allow me to brainstorm with no attention to how tough any of these things would be to implement...

I think that better personalities for NPCs might be a big help--even something as simple as having a vendor's greeting text vary based on the character's rep with his/her faction. Have it be possible for a certain NPC to just take a liking (or disliking) to a certain character, and have the interactions reflect that.

More events tied to real-world time, ranging from stuff like what we already have (holidays, certain types of fish that are only catchable during the day or during the winter, timed quests) to more elaborate things like the fields in Westfall having crops in them during the summer but not the winter, or some of the areas having seasons--it makes less sense to note that Azshara is "stuck in perpetual autumn" when Dun Morogh is always winter and Elwyn is always early summer. Or maybe an instance which can only be entered for a short period of time each day (which, of course, would just happen to be during that server's peak hours, but still).

Retire some of the old quests and put in replacements. If you think about it, it's depressing that the numbers of the [insert bad guys here] never actually go down, no matter how many people do the quests.

Allow people to choose the skins for their armor (and maybe weapons). This could be anything from "pick from every possible shoulder model" to "here are three options for what your [Beaststalker's Bindings] can look like". This leads to less of every 60th mage looking the same as every other 60th mage. And make sure that there's an option that isn't cleavage-baring for females, because some of us want to look badass rather than sexy, thanks. Actually, just better appearance customization in general.

Make it possible to use items that have been damaged till they're red...but every time you do, there's a chance it'll break irreprably.

I'm still not sure this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but at least here I can talk about this sort of thing without people looking at me funny. :)


Others may feel differently, but I've always thought that the 'WTF' moments in MMORPG games should come from encounters with other players. The number of hours you can expect to play an MMO for is orders of magnitude bigger than a standard single player game. Developmental flourishes - WTF moments - although welcome, are by their very nature limited in number and therefore in longevity and re-playability. "WTF" can quickly become "Oh, that's that overpowered NPC I read about on the forums" or "There’s that same guy that killed me yesterday".

If you have hundreds or thousands of players within the same world, it seems to me ridiculous not to take advantage of that fact. I would like to see situations where players, alone or in groups, can do missions with conflicting goals (e.g. you get set a mission to go and collect valuable artefact A, another player gets a mission from a different faction to kill you before you do etc.). If you lose to the other player, far more likely than losing to a generic AI controlled goblin, failure wouldn’t have to be absolute – it could just take a bit longer to complete a mission, or you might get a smaller reward.

PVP should not be confined only to arenas or designated zones where carefully choreographed strategies and tuned setups are the key to victory, although there is a place for this. In my opinion, people should be working with and against one another at an earlier stage in the game, before the immersion factor fades away, in situations with contextual meaning (e.g. taking a fortress from a group of players sent by an opposing faction, instead of going out into a field and randomly much weaker players and stealing their loot). If a game can provide sufficient tools for players to improvise with, and situations where they have to use these tools in different ways to compete against unpredictable human opponents then I think the result would be a far more fun, vivid and compelling game. WTF moments could go from being one per game to one per evening or even one per minute.


One thing I like about the Son of Argul is that, even on an RP server, he teaches you to watch over your shoulder.

It's not quite a WTF moment, but one bit I like in WoW is the caravan quest in Desolace. The caravan wanders the road, and at one point the merchant yells and offers a quest for caravan guards past a centaur camp. This is a nice interactive part of the zone that is only available at certain times. I would like to see more moments like this. In general, it would be great to see more of the overland caravans that presumably run from Desolace to Ratchet.


We need more quests like the Test of Faith. Even though I now know what happens, it still is a fun quest.

Little WTF moments such as that make the world that much more enjoyable.

And it helps if my previous post was in the right end-game discussion thread :)


Carrie S Said: Honestly, what I think WoW needs is more low-level content. When you think about it, how many characters are ever going to be 60th/70th level?

[other stuff...]

I'm still not sure this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but at least here I can talk about this sort of thing without people looking at me funny. :)


Well first of all, I'd say a huge portion of the playerbase will reach max level. There is probably research and statistics to prove me wrong, but that's at least what it "feels" like.

That being said, I am looking at you funny. Not because you're suggesting the things you suggest, as they are all great ideas and would make a great addition to an MMO.

Each suggestion would make an MMO much more in depth, adding life, breath and a general undertone of adventuring in a real world that will be there whether you log in or not. Affecting your surroundings and how NPC's react to you is something that has rarely been done well and would truly be a breakthrough.

I guess I'm looking at you funny because you're suggesting these ideas for implementation in WoW, one of the most un-world-like MMO's out today, and I guess I figured everyone knew that.


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How.... ironic.


I'm pretty sure there's more than one Son of Arugal (outside of SFK, I mean).

I find some fun WTF moments result from bad pulls. If you get two groups of mobs in an instance, it can be exhilirating for your group to make it through (and bonus if you do it without anyone dying).

Other variations to really spice things up include using fewer than 5 players, or an uncommon class balance. Recently I got to go on a run with two priests, where I did the healing and my friend finally got to DPS for once. He was thrilled.

Of course we did have a lovely WTF moment when he mind controlled a mob in Scholo that had an aoe shadowbolt attack on auto-cast... so we ended up with 3-4 groups and a nasty wipe but man, it looked cool, and it certainly wasn't the usual run...


I'm not sure the endgame is quite as predetermined as people are implying. Tell your scout on the Ossirian fight that she's on strict choreography with no deviation from a pre-planned set of movements. That one requires a ton of quick reaction from every player in the fight.

Skeram's pretty random too. More so when the fight starts to break down --

And there's the real key. If you've done a particular fight a million times, then yeah, it's gonna be boring. A lot of endgame fights are going through the motions. The new ones are invariably exciting.

I don't think you're looking for a different kind of content -- I think you're looking for more new content.


"One thing I like about the Son of Argul is that, even on an RP server, he teaches you to watch over your shoulder."

Amen to that. Sudden interruptions to the trance-that-is-grind help make the world pop a little more brightly. These are the moments that create stories for players - the stories aren't always *happy*, but we can all chuckle a little bit about the first time the Son of Arugal strolled across our path.

What did you do when the Son of Arugal came your way? Run? Call on some friends? Swear an oath of revenge for a later day? Dig in, and emerge victorious despite the odds? Die miserably?

All of those are worth the telling, and in my mind that makes them worth the doing.


...And how many times did Mor'Ladim kill you while questing at Raven Hill?
These random moments actually bring life to the game world - without them all you have is static spawns.
I'll note as well that up until you have been ambushed by either of these two mobs you've been questing in faction-held territory for the most part - both of these mobs are in/among the first 'Contested' zones, where you can be attacked by players of the opposing faction (on a pvp server). I like to think of them as passive reminders to the players that they have to watch their backs as they contimue to quest.
Along the lines of 'are you still paying attention? Good, cos Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore'.

When trying to figure out why WoW is so appealing to so many, and so accessible, this kind of design detail is often overlooked.



Well first of all, I'd say a huge portion of the playerbase will reach max level. There is probably research and statistics to prove me wrong, but that's at least what it "feels" like.

Not "how many players". How many characters. I have 12 WoW characters. One of them is 60th; none of the others is over 30. Given that I absolutely refuse to play Forsaken, that means I've been through each starting area twice, and some of them three times.
Adding variant, valid low-level quests would make me a heck of a lot more likely to play another tauren, for all that I love their look.

More low-level stuff=average more characters per player=average more play time per player=average longer account retention=more money for Blizzard.

I guess I'm looking at you funny because you're suggesting these ideas for implementation in WoW, one of the most un-world-like MMO's out today, and I guess I figured everyone knew that.

Oh, I do know that. But I like WoW, if for no other reason than it's so darn pretty, and I'd love to see it become more world-like. The fact that it's so un-world-like just leaves lots of room for simple improvements, IMO. :)

One of my absolute favorite things about the game is that, with a bit of experience, it is possible to predict with decent accuracy which herb is producing the little yellow dot, based on where the dot appears on the minimap relative to the surrounding terrain.


Cheers to the Son of Arugal! No. Let me restate. Cheers to Blizzard for putting him in a lowbie zone. Everyone knows that bullies and predators prey on weak targets, so in my mind, he adds a bit of realism to the zone. I like the uncertainty of knowing he lurks.

What annoys the crap out of me, however, are the wolves or bats or yeti or whatever that I have to fend off every ten steps I take off the open road. That, to me, is far more frustrating than the loner random mob roaming the land. On the other hand, maybe that's the cost of taking a shortcut. Aggravating nonetheless.

And cheers to Carrie S. for some great ideas on how WoW could improve, implementation challenges aside. The different armor skins is particularly desirable to me. My endgame druid looks exactly like every other endgame druid and that's boring. It would be great if I could identify a player familiar to me just by the skins he/she selected, as opposed to the floating name above the head.

One thing I would add if I were the Blizzard King is some broadened recognition for exalted reputation in the zones that factions occupy. It would be nice if that recognition were something more than "Hey you're exalted now. You can buy this recipe." Even something as simple as a NPC /cheer or /kneel as I enter their zone would add flair.


Hm, looks like only one of the commenters plays on a PVP server....

Honestly, starting on a new PVP (or in my case RPPVP) server and progressing with the first wave, I never lacked for those "Morladim" moments ... even when some of the extra tough undead on Raven Hill had different names from that, and upped your honor count rather than your experience if you managed to down them.

A lot of the mid level contested areas are designed to reinforce this, with the quests on the two factions designed to bring them into contact, and conflict. Stranglethorn, one of the easiest and most profitable areas on a PVE server, is perhaps the most difficult and challenging on a PVP server. Along with the restriction on cross faction communication, PVP is a great way of increasing the challenge level by adding unpredictability, while keeping the angst associated with being griefed within limits.

Unfortunately, Blizzard's battlegrounds and end game design completely do away with this effect. End game is essentially all in instances, so there's no PVP threat. The honor system pits you against faction mates, so instead of uniting against a common foe - that you can pretend is evil because they can't tell you otherwise - things devolve into backbiting within each faction.

The upcoming change to the honor system may help with refocusing PVP enmity on the opposite faction. The problem of keeping PVP on a mature server from being dominated by bored high levels ganking newbies is not as easy to solve.


Another great WTF moment was the spawning of Helcular, a level 42 undead who summons adds, in the Southshore cemetery. Most players in that area are in their mid-thirties, and the NPC is quite difficult to beat (though guards usually take him out in the end).

I would love to see a little more interaction with NPCs based on faction, sure. But while redoing lowbie quests can get repetitive, don't forget that "endgame" as we know it will be obsolete in January, when the Burning Crusade comes out. It will be some time before people find themselves up against the level cap again, with nothing to do but grind endgame instances - and even then, the "heroic mode" option will surely make for some WTF moments. 'cause you think you know what the next pull will be... but you have no idea.


I thought Blizzard abandoned the "Hero Class" idea. Is "heroic mode" something different?

Perhaps I was misinformed.


There's a reason there is little early game content. Early game goes by the fastest of all, and generally second and following characters are twinked so it goes by even faster. Even with your one 60 and many 30s, I suspect you have far more time played at 60 than 10.

Furthermore, early game will still usually have the wonder of the game still shiny and drugery hasn't set in yet. Content is more important at high end, where players are much more likely to log off one day, think 'I'm bored out of my mind' and never come back.


Unfortunately, Blizzard seems to be leaning toward removing these elements in order to keep the gravy train rolling along.

Early in release, the quest-spawned rampaging monster in Duskwood actually entered town (if not defeated on the road), often wreaking havoc on low-20s if they did not organize to defeat it. People complained, they removed it, and the grind goes on.


Uh, Gabriel, the mob you're refering to -- Stitches -- has not been taken out of WoW. He's still part of the game, and can still kill people all the way up to the town of Darkshire.


I didn't mean to imply Stitches had disappeared. Stitches still exists - he will not, however, enter the town and attack those within, even if the players in the zone do nothing. So we've moved from:

1. Quest presents challenge that requires communication and teamwork between players to confront.


2. Quest fires, nothing much happens (though I suppose very new players could still be surprised on the road).

The WTF quotient of the encounter has been toned down, in other words.


I think many players get the same sort of... nostalgia? sense of shared experience? as the OP from these sorts of random WTF?! encounters.

Stiches is the first example I thought of - how many of us still carry around the useless arm-bone we got when we went back and whomped him good? I think he strikes a nice balance between the "zomg I just want to turn in this damn quest" mentality and the "ooh, neat thing, let's go look!" mentality that often exist side-by-side in the same player.


I also played WOW enjoying the "WTF" moments and yearn for a more dynamic "World" of Warcraft. I've collected some thoughts on the game and it's somewhat static nature - what do you guys think?



I think World of Warcraft gets old fast once you hit 60. Even on a PVP realm, player vs player opportunities seem limited and don't take long to become quite boring. WoW values the gear grind heavily and devalues player skill in the process. It was more fun getting to 60 the several times I did it than playing at 60. Raiding is mostly static and boring as several commenters noted, unless it is painfully frustrating when you are more than 50 milliseconds away from the realm server. Once all that was left to do was grind raids or honor, I quit. Raiding frequently brings out the worst in players. All eyes are fixed on epics. Yawn.

The fact that it's still the best and most popular MMORPG is sad testimony.


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