WoW: Could Deathtards Be the Worst MMO Blunder of All Time?

by Wolfshead on May 12, 2008

Raphael: The Knight's DreamLast week, Blizzard finally released more information about the upcoming WoW expansion Wrath of the Lich King. We now have more details about their plans for the introduction of the first hero class called the Deathknight or Deathtards as I like to call them. It seems that anyone with a level 55 or greater character on a server will be able to create their own deathknight character. They’ll get plenty of perks too such as a new exclusive quest hub, 45 instant talent points, green and blue armor and a free mount. Previously, Blizzard had hinted at some kind of quest would be needed to be performed by an existing character in order to unlock a special deathknight slot. Unfortunately, those plans have been scrapped in favor of this new scheme.

Those that have read my previous article about hero classes in WoW will not be surprised that I’m appalled at this ill-conceived decision. Frankly, in it’s current incarnation hero classes are a stupid idea that puts many core MMO fundamentals at great risk with a host of unintended consequences. Just as the citizens of Troy were tricked by the Trojan Horse, many will be fooled and deceived by the hero class gimmick. Despite the fact that many people are predictably excited, I believe it could go down as one of the worst MMO blunders of all time.

There are so many things that are patently wrong about this decision that I barely know where to begin. Looking at the mechanics of becoming a deathknight and the power of the deathknight itself, it’s clear there is nothing “heroic” about either. Also, many have rightfully complained about how the lore of Warcraft will be adversely affected by their plans. Blizzard’s cavalier attitude of destroying their existing lore when it’s convenient is a given. That said, I’d like to examine the other reasons why I think their proposed implementation of hero classes is flawed and how it could impact the MMO world for many years to come.

From Hero To Zero: How Achievement and Status Are Being Eroded

One of the most core design fundamentatls of massively multi-player online games is that players are rewarded for achievements. In WoW and most MMO’s, the attainment of rewards equates to status. One can inspect a player and ascertain exactly what they accomplished in order to get the gear they are wearing. Blizzard’s recent problems with the disparity with which rewards are granted in PVP vs. PVE is one example of how this can go terribly wrong and create an acrimonious and divided player community. Players need to know that there is a sense of across the board fairness in the way rewards are allocated to players. 

So what are the status implications of playing a deathknight? The only thing another player can deduce is that you have must have a level 55 or higher character on their server. As we all know, achieving level 55 is very common in WoW these days and it is certainly doesn’t entail any acts of heroism to get. Achievements should not be made so trivial and easy so that they appear to be given away. If they are made too easy then they lose their intrinsic value and become common place. Quite simply, hero classes are all reward and no risk as they are handed on a silver platter to the player. This is a major deviation from the risk vs reward paradigm that has been a cornerstone of a successful MMO.

So what does having a level 55+ character on a server have to do with being able to create a deathknight hero class? Absolutely nothing. There is no correlation or cohesion between the two. Given the present things we know about hero classes, there is no logical reason whatsoever why having a 55+ character should equate one with being a hero. 

Only those players that have done great deeds and completed long epic quests should be able to unlock and play deathknights and be awarded the title of hero.  Status is truly a zero sum game. When everyone is a hero, nobody is a hero.

Dumbing Down WoW: It’s All About Money

Why then is Blizzard throwing risk vs. reward, achievement and status out the window and allowing practically every one of those 10 million subscribers to create an instant hero class at level 55+? Follow the money.

The truth is that Blizzard with all it’s ego and hubris has cheapened the whole notion of what it means to be a hero all because they want to sell more boxes of their expansion. Hero classes are a bullet point product “feature” –  a marketing vice-president’s dream. And Blizzard designers are only too willing to comply with their masters. With raiding and PVE being facing more emasculation, the veil has been finally been lifted on Blizzard true intentions — it’s all about creating a dumbed down MMO experience that appeals to the lowest common denominator out there. They are hoping that allowing you to create your very own hero class will entice you into buying the expansion. Fork over $50 and feel like Arthas! Never will so many have done so little for so much.

Population Explosion: Enter the Deathtard

You think hunters are bad now due to their reputation for being the easy class of choice of new and unskilled players? If Blizzard’s press releases are accurate about their subscribers there could literally be millions of deathtards running amok after the new expansion. Imagine countless scores of wannabe Arthas’s born into illegitimate hero-hood descending like a biblical plague upon Azeroth. Deathknights will be a dime a dozen. After the initial euphoria wears off they will most likely be mocked and derided by the WoW community due to their disproportionate representation in the WoW community.

Over representation of one class can be a major headache for a MMO and cause untold problems. This could be easily remedied if hero classes were only allowed to be unlocked by level 80 characters who performed a serious and difficult epic quest. Unlocking a hero class should be hard and non-trivial. Yet it doesn’t have to be as rigorous as the almost 5 months it took in 2003 for one player to unlocking the first Jedi class in Star Wars Galaxies.

The Erosion of the Importance of Leveling

Allowing a player to skip 55 levels of content is foolish and potentially disastrous to WoW. It has the effect of cheating players and their fellow players out of the entire WoW experience. Not only will the deathknight areas be overcrowded, low level areas will become all but empty as everyone levels up their high level deathknights. What kind of message is this sending out to players? It’s telling them that they consider their own game from 1-55 to be a boring grindfest. In fact Blizzard now tells players who cancel their accounts this very fact:

The Truth About WoW

It’s a startling admission that the real content begins at maximum level. Since WoW is a level based MMORPG, it seems counter-intuitive for them to offer ways to players to skip leveling. Leveling should be fun! Each level brings more gear choices, better stats, more talent points and ultimately a wider range of areas that the player is able to adventure in. As well, leveling in WoW has never been easier or faster. Would anyone really complain if the new deathknight class had to start at level one — just like the other classes?

In a few more years when more hero classes are offered players will be faced with the choice of choosing to level up a hero classes at level 55 (or greater) or leveling up characters from scratch. The choice will be obvious. They will chose the path of least resistance. This is setting a horrible precedent for WoW as players will start demanding some kind of fairness and they will demand that non-hero classes be given a break as well. Given Blizzard’s recent self-indulgent foray into e-sports, we may be seeing the end of leveling as a MMO mechanic in WoW. More evidence of this comes from the folks over at MMO-Champion uncovered a possible scheme that would allow a player to grant his friend free levels.

Other Concerns

Deathknights are going to cause a lot of alarm in the tank community — at least what’s left of it. Many paladins and warriors are planning on abandoning their characters altogether in favor of this new class which could create a shortage of warrior and paladin tanks. The enticement of easy PVP rewards has already caused many tanks to respec to non-tanking builds. This makes it even harder for other classes to get groups as the total pool of tanks is depleted.

According to Jeff Kaplan, deathknights will share the same gear pool as warriors which could be problematic. Also, an infusion of tanks will be confusing as it will be hard to determine who is skilled and who is not. At least if you see a level 55 warrior you know he’s played his class for 55 levels and probably has some skill and class knowledge.

Another problem is that players that choose to level up paladins and warriors from scratch will be penalized for doing so. If a guild finds that they need more tanks, why bother leveling up a pally or a warrior when you can instantly create a level 55 deathknight?

Tobold pointed out in a recent article that some players will probably create level 55 deathknights so they can serve as crafting mules. Most professions require that the player attain a certain level before they can train for higher levels in their craft.

One possible good thing that comes out of the deathnight is that it may help to alleviate the current tank shortage. Still, I firmly believe that most players that play deathnights will be more interesting in doing damage then tanking.

Conclusion

Despite the initial euphoria, the current implementation of hero classes is going to be a long term disaster for WoW. This decision has the potential to do great harm to this MMO for years to come as it creates a bad precedent that players need to be coddled and enticed into purchasing an expansion. It also forms unhealthy expectations among players by keeping them addicted to an environment of constant entitlement. Blizzard’s hero class scheme also threatens many core fundamental MMO design principles such as status, achievement, leveling, viability of low to mid level content, class balance and class diversity.  Blizzard’s plans have all the rationality of burning the furniture in your home to keep warm – very little reward for Blizzard and carry significant risk for the long term health of WoW.

As to the idea of hero classes, projoking a poster on the once great FoH forums summed it up best:

If it truly is all that Blizzard says it is and is a HERO then why should anybody play anything else? But if it is balanced and is within reason of all other classes then stop calling it a f*cking hero class. Its just a class.

With the deathknight hero class, Blizzard seems to be desperately trying to appease potential new subscribers and casual gamers by throwing them significant bones in return for continued subscriber loyalty. Blizzard is starting to be a victim of it’s own success as they feel they must make the game appeal to a wider demographic in a desperate attempt to to get more subscribers. Not only is this a bad trend for WoW, it’s going to spill over into other MMO’s that have rapacious investors that will want their company to emulate Blizzard/Activision’s financial success. Newsflash to Blizzard and other MMO companies: investors know nothing about game design.

To sum up, today at Blizzard we have sound MMO design and management being replaced by a bread and circuses mentality where the concept of earning achievements gets thrown to the wayside. Tempting short term gains have supplanted consideration for the discipline of long term thinking. Bribing your players with potentially destructive features is no way to run an MMO.

 -Wolfshead

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert May 13, 2008 at 10:34 am

I agree with everything you said.
Having said that, do you actually believe Blizzard will change their plans at this point?

By the way, I loved reading this post. Don’t stop blogging :)

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Wolfshead May 13, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Thanks for the kind comments Robert!

Actualy, I don’t believe that Blizzard will change their plans for hero classes. They’ve demonstrated in the past they don’t take public criticism seriously and stick to their own “vision” despite what they claim in this excellent article. An bunker mentatlity seems to have worked well for them and it’s part of the Blizzard culture.

All I want is for the WoW community to step back, take a deep breath and think this hero class feature through. What Blizzard is doing is creating a dangerous trend that has disastrous implications if not stopped dead in it’s tracks.

As a game designer, I can understand the reason for adopting that approach with regard to artistic integrity. You certainly don’t want be polling your customers on every single issue in the game. Yet there comes a time when a company should listen to their customers and critics.

The whole reason I write articles on WoW is in the hope that I can generate some kind of community awareness that will get things changed. It’s quite an uphill battle trying to get Blizzard to listen and change. The problem right now is that WoW is so successful it’s given them quite an ego boost and they are less likely to change course with their MMO.

-Wolfshead

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*vlad* May 23, 2008 at 4:19 am

I think the ‘Hero’ part is aimed at all those people who call themselves ‘Superrogue’ or ‘Ninjaelf’, and are in guilds like ‘Azeroth Elites’:
‘I’m gonna play a Deathknight! It sounds so awesome, an anti-hero who will be evil, but fighting on the side of good (so I can still kill squirrels in Darnassus, after all I’m evil), and everyone will think I am cool because I am a Hero class, and they will envy my IMBAness’.

A reason for starting at Lv 55: Imagine a Lv 1 Deathknight, having to fight Kobolds for bits of candles! How lame that would be?

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ApathyInc May 27, 2008 at 8:53 am

Or MAYBE Blizzard just wants to create a new way for people to have fun in the game without having them to go through the chore of leveling through 3-year-old content….

Did anybody here think about that?

Deathtards are inevitable given human nature. How many new BE Paladins and Draenei Shamans did we see at the start of Burning Crusade? How noobish were a lot of those paladins/shaman even though the class had been accessible for 2-3 years? How many people predicted doom and gloom with Blizzard giving both factions access to those classes?

And what happened? Nothing. It wasn’t the end of the world. BC was a huge success, and class balance wasn’t destroyed.

Are you seriously whining and predicting the end of WoW based on the fact that humans are stupid and that everybody is going to want a Death Knight?

Stop taking this game so seriously, for goodness sake. “Achievements” don’t mean anything in WoW. People play this game to have fun. It is a game. That’s all it is. It won’t matter in five years and a new class starting at a higher not only won’t dilute the content or make some classes obsolete; it most certainly will NOT destroy achievement and value in WoW, since such things are purely subjective, determined only by those who play.

In other news, you have to level a character to 55 before you can make a Death Knight. Id est, you have to experience all your vaunted low-level content at least once before you can even make a Death Knight. That mere fact wipes out half the complaining in this post.

Believe it or not, most people are tired of playing through the same content they’ve seen for the past three years, and Blizzard is trying to avoid them from throwing the game away in frustration. You’re blindingly unaware of the needs and desires of the rest of the community. Blizzard, however, is not.

WoW is not Rome or some eternal society that needs to be saved. It’s an online game. It is not sacred. If you gotten wrapped up in the terms “hero” and “intimidating,” puffery terms designed to get people excited about the game (note also that glaringly few incoming WoWers are going to read the Warcraft II and III class descriptions), and actually thought that the term “Hero class” meant “Totally awesome, noble, more powerful class,” your woe is your own.

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Wolfshead May 27, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Or MAYBE Blizzard just wants to create a new way for people to have fun in the game without having them to go through the chore of leveling through 3-year-old content….

WoW is a level based MMO. Levels and leveling are a fact of life. If leveling is a chore as you say then it’s a completely different issue that is seperate from the hero class mechanic.

In fact WoW probably has the easiest leveling of any serious fantasy MMO to date. You can level to the level cap as a solo player without having to ever group. Blizzard even reduced the amounts of experience you needed for most of the low to mid level content making leveling even more trivial then it is currently.

Also leveling in WoW can be done solely done via quests if one wishes. Quests give gameplay in MMO a sense of purpose and immerse the player in the story arc of WoW and the world. Players can also choose various starting races and classes that also provide significant varity to mitgate the “chore” and “bore” factor.

If you despise leveling that’s one thing. This is a level based MMO. If you don’t like the content then hold Blizzard accountable and request that they start updating Azeroth instead of making it a virtual Groundhog day where everything happens the same each day. Asheron’s Call one of the first MMO’s at least had content that changed. Don’t tell me that Blizzard could not afford to hire a team that updates the story and quests on a monthly basis.

Don’t quarrel with me because I don’t agree with the design and implementation of hero classes as it has nothing to do with the fact that you don’t like leveling.

Deathtards are inevitable given human nature. How many new BE Paladins and Draenei Shamans did we see at the start of Burning Crusade? How noobish were a lot of those paladins/shaman even though the class had been accessible for 2-3 years? How many people predicted doom and gloom with Blizzard giving both factions access to those classes?

And what happened? Nothing. It wasn’t the end of the world. BC was a huge success, and class balance wasn’t destroyed.

When a MMO company favors one class over another and essentially gives you 55 levels of powerleveling for free then yes I’m concerned. Having too many of one class is unhealthy for MMO’s. Look at hunters currently, they are clearly the most popular class by far. It’s a well known fact that hunters on a whole suffer because of this due to the fact that because the class is so easy to play it attracts newbies and people who have less skill. Good hunters then have a hard time getting groups and getting into guilds because of the reputation of hunters as a whole. The same thing will happen with Deathknights and other hero classes.

Are you seriously whining and predicting the end of WoW based on the fact that humans are stupid and that everybody is going to want a Death Knight?

I’m saying that Blizzard is making a grave error in that they are eroding the concept of leveling by essentially allowing players to skil 55 levels of content in a MMO where leveling is already insanely trivial to begin with. When leveling no longer means anything it signals the beginning of the end in a level based game. It also sets a dangerous precedent for WoW and future MMO’s as it will give players that expectation that they do not have to earn their status.

Stop taking this game so seriously, for goodness sake. “Achievements” don’t mean anything in WoW. People play this game to have fun. It is a game. That’s all it is. It won’t matter in five years and a new class starting at a higher not only won’t dilute the content or make some classes obsolete; it most certainly will NOT destroy achievement and value in WoW, since such things are purely subjective, determined only by those who play.

Pardon me but who are you to tell me what to take seriously? MMO’s are my passion as is game design. I will continue to write about what I feel is important. Just as I won’t question the depth of your passion for posting your comments here, please afford me me the same courtesy.

Achievment and status are ultimately what MMO’s like WoW are all about. By allowing players to skip 55 levels of content, Blizzard is demeaning the value of the importance of leveling. Also by allowing practically everyone to create a fresh Deathnight they are eroding the concept of what it means to be a “hero”. There is nothing heroic about the deathnight’s unlocking mechanics or the class itself.

In other news, you have to level a character to 55 before you can make a Death Knight. Id est, you have to experience all your vaunted low-level content at least once before you can even make a Death Knight. That mere fact wipes out half the complaining in this post.

You clearly feel that by reaching level 55 that you are now entitled to start new characters at level 55. It’s no surprise that with hero classes Blizzard is catering to people like you. You see low to mid level content as some kind of horric drudgery that you must complete in order to experience the “good stuff”. Good content is always replayable. Ask the guilds that farm Karazhan every week. Ask the players that do the dailies each and every day. Until MMO’s evolve there will always be a certain percentage of repetiveness that players will have to “endure”.

Believe it or not, most people are tired of playing through the same content they’ve seen for the past three years, and Blizzard is trying to avoid them from throwing the game away in frustration. You’re blindingly unaware of the needs and desires of the rest of the community. Blizzard, however, is not.

If that is so then Blizzard needs to allow everyone who has a level 55+ character skip 55 levels of content and create all classes at level 55. Why just the so-called “hero” class?

Good game design means you do not give in to player demands without an exhaustive analysis of the ramfications and consequences of those demands. If Blizzard were to send out a questionaire that said: “Should everyone get a free epic mount? Yes or No.” Chances are the “yes” side would win. Does that mean that it would be good thing for WoW? Of course not, as it would lead to all kinds of problems.

You seem to be forgetting that the unintended consequences if Blizzard were to allow people to roll new classes at a starting level of 55. Azeroth would be dead in all of the low to mid level areas. What would new players do if they see a MMO with nobody else playing at lower levels? Who would they group with to do instances? Who would they make friends with? There’d be nobody crafting at lower levels. The AH would have nothing for sale to lower to mid levels due to all of the players creating deathknight (and future hero classes) alts starting at level 55.

WoW is not Rome or some eternal society that needs to be saved. It’s an online game. It is not sacred. If you gotten wrapped up in the terms “hero” and “intimidating,” puffery terms designed to get people excited about the game (note also that glaringly few incoming WoWers are going to read the Warcraft II and III class descriptions), and actually thought that the term “Hero class” meant “Totally awesome, noble, more powerful class,” your woe is your own.

That last refuge of a scoundrel in MMO’s is to trot out the “it’s just a game” argument in a feeble effort to invalidate someone’s passion. MMO’s can be whatever we want them to be and surely an essential part of what MMO’s are all about is the idea of prestige, status and accomplishment. I feel sorry for you that your expectations for the potential of MMO’s and virtual worlds are so low and uninspired. It’s also too bad that you feel it’s ok for Blizzard to get away with mangling the English language when it comes to the word “hero”. Instead you make me the villain for daring to point out the flaws in what Blizzard is doing.

If getting something for free is your idea of a hero then you are entitled to your opinion. If you feel comfortable playing a phoney “hero” then be my guest. It’s a sad day when Blizzard has to resort to dumbing down the gameplay and offering “welfare classes” in order to attract more subscribers and to satiate the attention defict gamer crowd.

-Wolfshead

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Vayro June 6, 2008 at 7:27 pm

ApathyInc is right, this is a game and the funnest choice will always be favored, who wants to go through all the crap of 1-55? Why would you want to unless u need to level a different type class?Only problem i see is that people will still have to level healers…. which means less healers and more tanks/DPS.

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Wolfshead June 6, 2008 at 10:01 pm

I understand that some people who have leveled up to 55 don’t want to do it again. Yet, nobody is forcing you to create a new character. Nobody is forcing you to have to go through all of that content again.

I think it’s a sad day when people find that having to level a character is a hardship. Shouldn’t every level be fun and exciting? Why is everyone obsessed with reaching the level cap in such a hurry? I feel that by racing through levels players are cheating themselves of the “fun” that they could be having. If leveling is boring then perhaps playing in a level based MMO is not your best entertainment choice.

Besides, choosing a new class or race gives a player a completely new perspective on the leveling experience. The feeling of leveling as a Night Elf is completely different than leveling up a Dwarf. As I have mentioned in my articles leveling has never been easier with lower amounts of experience required and of course the ablity to twink your alts with the very best gear. And let’s not forget the fact that players have more extensive game knowledge which enables them to level up even faster.

What is really going on is that certain people are feeling a sense of entitlement. They feel that just because they made it to level 55 that their new characters shouldn’t have to put in the time to reachying that level. Regrettably Blizzard is giving into them with the hero class that starts at level 55.

It is only a matter of time before Blizzard will allow players to skip leveling altogether and create characters at the level cap. They’ve already started doing this with the PVP Tournaments.

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X August 12, 2008 at 1:52 am

This rant about the Death Knight ruining MMO is a complete joke!

1) -Low level areas will be empty-

If you are a new player, you will most likely join a NEW server that has a low population, thus severely decreasing the amounts of DK’s

And if you have a high lvl main and want to make a new alt like a priest, chances are you are not going to need to group much but rather plow through the game solo. After all you even said this game is very easy to solo through in a quick amount of time.

Furthermore, ever since BC groups have been very hard to find in low lvl areas..pre-BC instances are completely abandoned..I don’t see WoTLK doing much more to damage this.

2) Achievements

I somewhat agree that the “achievement” of leveling a char up to 55 will be erased, but keep in mind that by creating a DK it means you have already been through 1-55 once, thus at least having given you the experience and training that comes with those beginning levels.

Don’t forget that the DK has 25 very LONG levels to go. 60-70 is no cakewalk, and I am very sure 70-80 isn’t either!

3) It’s all about the money

OF COURSE! Last time I checked Blizzard wasn’t exactly a non-profit organization!

If you are going to bring in the “greedy company” argument, you might as well mention almost every company in the world. WoW is catering to 9 million people, and I’m sure many of those aren’t HARDCORE MMO players! I played Lineage 2 for a long time and trust me, the Hero system in that game was the hardest achievement in MMO history. One person per server could become the hero in his class. ONE! This was of course after achieving maximum level which took several expansions to do, because everytime you died you lost 10% of your total EXP, sometimes even making you LOSE ENTIRE LEVELS..

Implementing things like these would alienate many casual MMO players, thus making Blizzard lose a great deal of cash..so yes money plays a part in these decisions..but accesibility is as much a part of that..

Now if you really want to gain that honor and pride of wasting your time by leveling and leveling and leveling and leveling new characters, by all means try a more hardcore MMO, meanwhile I’ll stick to my easy-mode MMO that is actually fun

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Wolfshead August 12, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Some responses to X’s comments:

Allowing a player to skip 55 levels of content will certainly contribute to low to mid levels feeling more empty. Would you not agree that MMO’s that feel empty are a bad thing?

You seem to be saying that just because low to mid level areas are already empty that even more emptiness is just not an issue. I disagree with this. Just think if players had to start their Deathknights at level one, just like all of those new Blood Elves and Dranei who created their characters since the release of the Burning Crusade? Those low to mid level areas would be teeming with life again. We already have far too much of the WoW population sitting at the level cap as it is.

My comment that “it’s about the money” is that the Deathknight class is a GIFT to existing WoW subscribers given to them when they purchase the expansion. It’s an incentive pure and simple. Most people don’t complain then they get something for FREE. It’s human nature.

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Wolfshead August 12, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Now if you really want to gain that honor and pride of wasting your time by leveling and leveling and leveling and leveling new characters, by all means try a more hardcore MMO, meanwhile I’ll stick to my easy-mode MMO that is actually fun.

I never realized that leveling characters in a level based game was such a waste of time and such a hardship. I never realized that honor and pride doesn’t count for much in an achievement based MMO.

Sarcasm aside, I just wanted to thank you for proving my point about what Blizzard is doing. You are exactly the type of person that Blizzard is making WoW for.

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X August 14, 2008 at 10:58 am

“Sarcasm aside, I just wanted to thank you for proving my point about what Blizzard is doing. You are exactly the type of person that Blizzard is making WoW for.”

Your argument just went down the drain!

You complain about Blizzard the whole time, even calling the death knight is the worst MMO BLUNDER of all time! Yet now you acknowledge that Blizzard is catering to “people like me” who have been through the worst and most tedious of MMO’s and frankly have grown bored of grinding. I came for end-game content, which is exactly what Blizzard themselves say what the game is all about. Droves and droves of Lineage 2 players, in fact, everyone in the entire server but one person, got to feel end-game content. And I was not that person. Meanwhile WoW gives you easy leveling so that a majority of players can enjoy end-game content.

You seem to stuck up with the word “level-based game”. There are some games like Tibia, that is COMPLETELY about leveling, since they don’t have a level cap, thus making it a huge competition. Meanwhile most people (who have somewhat of a life) don’t buy a game to sit and grind all night every day of the week, but rather buy a game to be entertained. And the entertainment from WoW, in most people’s opinion comes in end-game. So why make that wait SO LONG?
Now if you think WoW is a game for wimps and baby-MMO players, I’ll send you my Lineage 2 account and you can have fun grinding for about a year and a half.

OH and I suggest avoiding a game called Darkfall this year which will completely remove the leveling system from MMO’s and instead implement a purely skill-based gameplay

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Wolfshead August 14, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Your argument just went down the drain!

Making statements like that proves absolutely nothing. In a previous comment you called one of my articles a “joke”. If you want to disagree with me then fine do it, but prove me wrong and do it with an intelligent rebuttal instead of posting thinly veiled hostility.

You complain about Blizzard the whole time, even calling the death knight is the worst MMO BLUNDER of all time!

Yes I complain about Blizzard a lot. That’s my right and when I do it I present my opinion backed up with arguments that I feel support my position. While that article probably had a bit of hyperbole in it’s title I still stand firm in my assertion that allowing players to skip 55 levels of content is a mistake and will lead to many problems which I’ve already discussed thoroughly and quite adequately in many articles.

Yet now you acknowledge that Blizzard is catering to “people like me” who have been through the worst and most tedious of MMO’s and frankly have grown bored of grinding.

You made statements that said leveling is a waste of time. You also denigrated the notion that levels mean something by mocking anyone that would attach a feeling of pride or honor to attaining those levels. In a level based game (which WoW most certainly is) I find that a very absurd thing for you to say and I will not hesitate to call you on that. I feel sorry that you don’t enjoy leveling as many of us do seem to enjoy playing MMO’s at *all* levels. For some of us, MMO’s are not a mad race to get to the finish line of the level cap.

Just because you have “grinded” your way through previous MMO’s doesn’t entitle you to a free ride in WoW. We both agree that WoW has the easiest leveling requirement of any MMO to date. Why then do you feel that leveling is such an onerous hardship?

I came for end-game content, which is exactly what Blizzard themselves say what the game is all about. Droves and droves of Lineage 2 players, in fact, everyone in the entire server but one person, got to feel end-game content. And I was not that person. Meanwhile WoW gives you easy leveling so that a majority of players can enjoy end-game content.

In a level based game end game content comes at the “end” which means the level cap. You seem to want to skip the start, the middle and go directly to the “end”. Again I completely disagree with that sense of entitlement. Nobody should get a free pass to the “end”.

You seem to stuck up with the word “level-based game”. There are some games like Tibia, that is COMPLETELY about leveling, since they don’t have a level cap, thus making it a huge competition. Meanwhile most people (who have somewhat of a life) don’t buy a game to sit and grind all night every day of the week, but rather buy a game to be entertained. And the entertainment from WoW, in most people’s opinion comes in end-game. So why make that wait SO LONG?

Again, I will say it: WoW is a level based game. How can you you as as WoW player not understand and realize that basic fact? It’s been that way now for 4 years and somehow 10 million people accept that and play the game religiously. Now suddenly Blizzard feels the need to allow players to roll a hero class and allow them to skip 55 levels. Can you not understand why that is a decision that would concern players? In my articles I have tried to explore all of the unintended consequences and ramifications of allowing this. Yet you call my articles a “joke” because I have dared to question Blizzard’s decisions.

Now if you think WoW is a game for wimps and baby-MMO players, I’ll send you my Lineage 2 account and you can have fun grinding for about a year and a half.

Many people including myself consider WoW an entry level MMO. There is nothing wrong with that as there are people like yourself who seem to have grown tired of “grinding” who want a more casual MMO that doesn’t require extraordinary amounts of time to invest in. While WoW caters to casuals, it also caters to all kinds of players throughout the spectrum from casual to hardcore. Just because WoW is a casual MMO doesn’t mean that they should be immune from criticism from the player community if they start to devalue the whole notion of leveling which is a fundamental mechanic of MMO’s.

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JR October 20, 2008 at 4:18 am

“Now if you really want to gain that honor and pride of wasting your time by leveling and leveling and leveling and leveling new characters, by all means try a more hardcore MMO, meanwhile I’ll stick to my easy-mode MMO that is actually fun”

Please tell me which mmo you mean. I want to play it.

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Mark May 30, 2009 at 1:14 am

Leveling up new RPG characters is only meaningful in a dynamic world. Imagine if you are playing D&D, you finish the campaign, so everyone starts new characters, then your DM promptly takes your new characters through the exact same Campaign you just finished-that would suck. I agree with you that RPGs are about leveling, but not in the context of a static world like WoW’s. That’s rolling an alt in an MMO, so yes it is boring, and anything the game designers do to relieve that boredom should be applauded. Though I give wow credit for having enough alternate zones of equal level that you’d have to have 2 or 3 alts to be bored and underwhelmd by everything (I have 8 post 50 characters-so yes if I had to level a Deathknight from level one I probably wouldn’t play it). Furthermore both Blizzard and the above poster pointed out that having Deathknights running around Elwynn Forest at level one makes no sense whatsoever from a lore or continuity perspective.

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