The next expansion for World of Warcraft has been announced. I’m not sure we could have really expected anything dramatically different. They’ve hit a formula that has worked. And even though many of us gripe every day, millions of players continue to subscribe, proving that whatever the issues, they’re still okay with the Blizzard’s vision. However, for me personally, there’s nothing compelling about Wrath of the Lich King.
Ten more levels to grind – the best part of the game in my opinion. A few more skills, talents and deeper spec trees, are always a fun thing to contemplate. But beyond that, I mean it’s more of the same. It’s liked watching Titanic – the ride is fun but the end is always the same. In this case, some raiding or not, some PVP or not, some Arena or not, re-grind a new profession or not, etc.
Death Knight as a hero class doesn’t excite me. I would have preferred an extension of my own class. I do understand the nightmare that this would have brought into a game where they are still struggling with class balance. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting it and being rather unimpressed about this type of implementation.
I keep playing WOW because the road to 60, and eventually 70, was fun. I remain however, unsatisfied with what’s always waiting for me at the end. If I was captured by some other MMO I’d hang up my subscription but nothing else that I’ve tried provides the same adrenaline rush, player hype and mania, enviable gear & weapons and crack-like obsession. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that the core aspects of the game aren’t going to change, and I can see why they wouldn’t alter it. Deep changes could be game-breaking and might possibly alienate the existing player base. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. So instead of vertical change, I’d be happy with horizontal movement.
Here are some horizontal changes that I would have loved to see in WotLK:
- Guild Halls – We’ve heard that they will release them when its ready and I’m sure that’s the case. But since the game is going on three years old, I’d rather have them sooner than later, at this point. AC2 had a very simplistic version of Guild Halls that were nothing more than shared spaces that acted as a gathering place. I’ve been in WOW guilds where there are large amounts of guild toons that I’ve never seen face-to-face. That didn’t happen in AC2. Regardless of the level gap, you met everyone at one point or another in the guild hall. I’d like more functionality than that since we’ve waited so long, but just give it already.
- Player Housing – Instanced player housing is a wonderful way for players of all types to spend their some end-game time. It can be a source of pride and a mini game pursuit. I’d like to have housing that provides a slightly buffed rested XP, small + profession buffs that last an hour and a small chance for additional procs on crafting. I’d love to see trophies and lore items added that can be showcased in the halls and houses. And lastly, bring back the small world buffs as those that can be gotten from having certain combinations of lore items in your house.
- Wood Harvesting & Woodworking – In support of player housing, guild halls and carpentry, they should add a profession that harvests and processes wood. Seems like it would be easy enough to do and it would also pave the way for staves to be created by weapon smiths.
- Carpentry - Probably not a money-maker but it could be fun and sustainable with guild halls and player housing. They could enhance the craft-able items with storage containers such as the various sizes of boxes and trunks that are available in EverQuest. Furniture items would be mostly for show and prestige, and since there’s no shortage of epeen in WOW, I think carpenters will make enough gold for the effort.
- Scroll Maker – A profession that is long over due has got to be the ability to make scrolls. I love finding scrolls in the low levels for those small buffs. I’m not sure why they peter out at the higher levels. As a solo player, having a few armor, intellect or stamina scrolls handy is very convenient. Paper making is probably coming along with Inscriptions so perhaps someday we will also get scrolls makers too.
- Lore Master – Ah, the profession of kings would be the lore master. Why for kings? Because the comps would be very expensive and difficult to obtain. WOW has such a rich base of lore from which to pull content, I want to see more of it become tangible in game items. The Lore Master would create items for halls and houses that would add the +damage, +stamina, +resistance, etc. that I spoke of earlier. The buffs would come from hanging lore items in the hall or house. A primary component of these types of items would be some epic ingredient or shard.
In addition to buffing items, I want to see books, collections and media that is viewable in game that contains parts of the WOW lore. Books can be collected one chapter at a time and would reveal some of the lore not current seen in the game. Not all of us played the pre-WOW games but would like to catch up on what we missed. By simply adding more interactive books, scrolls or even image vignettes, they could present more lore in a fun way.
Collections could be fragments of legendary items that could be pieced together purely for display purposes. Famous weapons, whole sets of armor and the alike could be crafted just to be shown off in the player spaces.
- Spell Attribute Points – Making the talent trees deeper raises too many balancing issues so what about allowing us to tweak them with attribute points? It’s similar to how you spend your talent points now except that these let you augment talents in your primary tree. You get a limited amount to spend – ten or so with which you can add accuracy, speed, penetration, reduced resistance to your talents.
What intrigues me about such a mechanic is that it would allow players to customize their talents to suit their particular playing style without offsetting class balance. If you PVP you might want to use your points to reduce a player’s resistance to your spells. If you solo maybe having faster casts would be your preference, whereas someone who raids might want accuracy or penetration. Whatever, it wouldn’t matter because none of these things are game-breaking and with only ten or so points, it’s just enough to add some flavor without knocking balance out of whack.
- Swappable Talent Specs – Storing two specs per character is way over due. Let’s just get on with it already. If they don’t want to go that far, then at least let me store them so that when I want to respect I don’t have to manually build the trees again. Geez!
- Exotic Player Pets – This idea I’m stealing from AC2 and Lineage. I want pets that all players can acquire through questing and raising, said pet. These pets can either be damage, healing or tanking focused, but they can’t be used in BGs, Arenas or instances.
I remember questing to get my Dragon Egg in AC2, running off to place it in the hatching nest and counting the days/hours until it could be hatched. I remember the thrill of summoning it and having it fight along side me. Just about every player at the required level had one but there was a 24-hour cool down timer to re-summon so people used them with judiciously.
Imagine a healing spec priest being able to quest for, hatch and raise a damage dealing pet that can be used to help grind mobs for rep, farming and leveling. I think Warriors would jump at getting one that could do some minor healing for them and I’m sure someone out there might want one that could tank. Again, this can be done in a way that doesn’t upset class balance – can’t be sent in to attack other players, the + damage, healing or tanking would be small – just enough to make it worth having. And it must have a re-summon timer long enough to make people use discretion about when to use the pet. Once it’s dead or dismissed you have to wait for the cool-down before it can be re-summoned.
Look at all the players running around with the vanity pets. I know this type of exotic pet would be a huge hit. I often ran from encounters in AC2 rather than allow my damn dragon die.
- NPCs and Gambling on the Boats. I was so excited the first time I got on a boat and run around below deck. Just adding NPCs would be an easy way to add more flavor to the game. Get rid of the screen transition and add some good ole goblin gambling. If I remember correctly, EQ2 boats don't transition and they don't take any longer than WOW boats to reach their destination. Keep them short and add some NPCs or liven things up with gambling! Yar, I want to play some poker with a Pirate, accuse him of cheating and start an on ship brawl!
- Single-Player and Duo-Player Dungeons – Blah, blah it’s MMO – sure I know this but I still think they could add some dungeons that can be dialed down for single player mode. Why? Because sometimes it would be fun to farm in an instance. Sometimes it would be fun to master a scripted event that I can do by myself and when I want to do it. It doesn’t have to drop anything more powerful or valuable than higher end mobs in the game. It would just be fun to do something that felt like an epic encounter on my own.
- More Live Events - We already know that they possess technology to do this because they did it for AQ and the opening of the Dark Portal. Please do this on a regular basis. This is a world at war, bring the drama please with NPC attacks on the major cities, especially since the player base as practically stopped doing this now. It's so much fun as a newbie seeing these big bad azz NPCs descend on the player areas. It adds another level of excitement and encouragement to level up and join the big boys. Seriously, doing this randomly on a regular basis can't be that hard! I want that encounter playing out on the Outland side of the portal actually happening! Not scripted to jack off with itself, but go after player cities. Please, please bring the drama and war right to our door!
- Hero Classes as Extension of Base Class – Death Knight be gone. I want a hero class that is an extension of my actual class. I don’t want to turn into something else in order to become a hero. Again, balance is a problem but they can think horizontal instead of vertical. Let me have more customization and only a little more power. Give us utility or convenience skill/talents instead of more damage/healing. Faster mount speed, additional hearthstones, access to unique buff food, more flexibility with changing my spec, a couple more talent points, hero-only gear and other things of this nature. Or let me unlock the ability to start my alts at 40 or possess a mentoring skill so I can group my max level toon with my friend’s lower-level alts without diminishing their XP gain. Lots of things that can be done that won’t cause a balancing nightmare.
These are some of the things that I’d like to see in a WOW expansion. I could live off of these activities long after I hit max level and never enter a raid instance, BG or arena. I can be casual and have serious pursuits that don’t involve rolling alts to be abandoned at 60, 70, 80 and beyond. Give me something to cling to when the leveling is gone. Give me a way to progress and customize my character that doesn’t unbalance the game. I’m sure that 70 to 80 will be fun, but I’m not sure that I’m going along for the ride again, when I already know I don’t like what awaits me at the end.