So recently I was playing another MMO. For the sake of discussion, we’ll call it “Build S’mores Too.” You see, the folks behind BST are beginning to make good on their promise of releasing monthly content, or at least have for two straight months after nothing the opening month -which makes sense. After all, there’s more than enough to do the opening month of an MMO. I missed the first event, which was centered around Hallowe’en and according to the rave reviews is unfortunate for me. But, I wasn’t missing this one. Okay, actually, I did miss the kickoff to each phase because of real life. But, I did find time to take part in the actual goings on. Considering I’m level 16 and the content is endgame, or level 80, that is no doubt a head scratcher.
Really it isn’t, because the Build S’mores Too folks are wise you see. They introduced this content for level 80, but any character in the game could take part. See in order to access the content you had to hop on a boat, which took you to the new island. Anyone who went to the island was level 80 while in the zone. What a novel concept! This genuinely floored me. A company taking endgame content, prevalent to their story and lore, and making sure no one got excluded. I’m still amazed. Even after the event the island is still there, and as of yesterday I was still 80 while I was there. I’ve since gained two levels in doing so, which is an equal bonus. Yes, you read that correct as well. Not only did the game boost my abilities to level 80 (though I didn’t learn any new ones in the process), I still gained experience appropriate to my true level while doing so.
This is something our friends at Blizzard could really learn from. Back when they did exciting pre-expansion launch events, the stuff was a tonne of fun. But lower level characters could only do so much. Then you have the joke that was Theramore, where it wasn’t even lower level characters who couldn’t do it -there were 85′s who were shit out of luck because of a stupid ilevel requirement. World of Warcraft events encompass anything but the world. Now, I get that things in Azeroth are very much about endgame. The system there has pretty much always been that way, regardless of whether you like pet battles, alts, or roleplay. The developmental emphasis still remains getting to the level cap and then truly playing the game. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t adopt this philosophy on occasion.
Particularly when it pertains to the lore, and Blizzard wants to make us feel immersed. We all know Garrosh is the big baddy at the conclusion of Mists of Pandaria. I agree that only the truly Heroic (90, ilevel 1 bajillion) should get to face him and bring him down. But what if the Alliance and Horde have to push back the Sha as part of it? I mean, I expect our forces bringing violence and rage to the lands is just going to be a buffet for the dark energies and eventually that’s going to get out of control. Reigning that in could be open to anyone. You’re limited to the region of the battle, but while you’re in that region you’re level 90 regardless. If implemented in the same idea as Build Smores Too, I think things like that could work. The key is that you would have your abilities increased but wouldn’t learn the new ones between your current level and 90. That would likely result in you being able to help out, but still not as powerful as those higher because you may be lacking key spells. Doesn’t mean in a team atmosphere you can’t still succeed.
The bottom line is being able to take part in something, even for a weekend, regardless of your true level is a fresh feeling. It puts an emphasis on the fact you don’t need to race to the finish just to see everything. It can’t happen all the time in WoW, because the game is a different dynamic. But it certainly couldn’t hurt to do some of the time.