ToGC, and Hardcore Raiding in Wrath of the Lich King

I apologize if this entry seems rushed. That’s because it is. With the release candidate up on the PTR for 3.3, I feel I need to provide criticism well before Tuesday, on the chance we could see 3.3 hit the live servers next week. I feel there are things Blizzard has not considered carefully enough.  Things that have driven some of us away from a part of the game we used to love. So there aren’t any links to help clarify terminology, and explanation is minimal.

To be fair, I think the raiding game is much improved. I like how raiding has become much more accessible with the separation of difficulty between normal and heroic versions of each boss. I like the way Ulduar was designed in terms of the presentation of its story within the dungeon. I love the artistic atmosphere of Ulduar. I originally thought I wouldn’t like it, because I’m not a fan of the old god storyline, but it took me by surprise. I also thought some of the hard modes were well-designed (even if some of them needed to be re-tuned).

But then ToGC was released, and it was like taking one step forward, then a few steps backward. I honestly like that the normal and heroic versions of the instance have separate lockouts. It allows you to experience the normal content, without ruining your ability to attempt the harder versions of each boss. It also promotes a more linear progression route, without hindering a person’s ability to experience the (potential) beauty of a dungeon and the resolution of its various story arcs. And on a very basic level, I actually like the design of the heroic versions of a few bosses. However, everything else I dislike.

I dislike the concept of limited attempts on heroic. Creating an artificial pacing mechanism that limits the time people want to put into various areas of the game is a mistake. And the mechanic also turns what would otherwise be well-designed encounters into frustrating experiences. I dislike how rushed the instance feels. Not artistically, as I don’t actually care that most of the dungeon is just an arena in which to face bosses, but how the encounters were buggy and poorly tuned at release. I also dislike how poorly the Anub’arak storyline concluded, which contributed to a feeling that ToC was rushed.

Some of these issues I think Blizzard could stand to further evaluate. With Icecrown Citadel (ICC hereafter), they’re removing the separation of heroic and normal versions, and I feel that’s a decision that has its ups and downs. They’re still planning to use attempt limitations. Sure, they are making it so your available attempts go up as time passes, but I think they should have explored other options for heightening competition. That said, we are at least taking some more steps forward. It appears ICC will have the most epic storyline presentation for a raid instance to date. And the artwork and atmosphere is comparable to the likes of SWP and Ulduar. What’s more, Blizzard has recognized the fact that achievements like Insanity and Immortality have potential RNG components that could be frustrating for various content, so they are shying away from putting emphasis on them.

But there is, in my opinion, a better way to implement pacing mechanisms that challenge top guilds while allowing mid-level hardcore guilds to do what they want to do on their own time. There is also, in my opinion, a good way to separate normal and heroic versions of the instance without ruining gear pacing for heroic progression. And these are things I feel we, as a community, need to discuss and debate.

Limited Attempts

Imagine you’ve just picked up a new Zelda game. You’ve got the week off, and you’re ready for marathon sessions to beat the game. Like the good gamer you are (yeah, right), you’ve refrained from buying the strategy guide. A few hours into your first playing session, you hit the first boss in the first dungeon and you’re ready to begin figuring it out. The first time, you die because you’re not sure what to do. The second time, you die because there are a couple subtleties you missed. The third time, you die because a new phase takes you by surprise. The fourth time, you die while trying to figure out what to do in the second phase. And the fifth time, you die because of the subtleties of that final phase.

After the fifth death, the game bumps you outside the dungeon. When you try to re-enter, a message pops up on your screen sayng, “You’ve exhausted your attempts at clearing this dungeon. Better luck next week!” At this stage, most gamers experience a sense of disappointment. Being unable to play a game on your time can be frustrating. This is the way I felt whenever we’d run out of attempts in ToGC. You’re not stopping because you’ve exhausted your raid schedule. You’re not stopping because you’ve cleared the instance. You’re not even stopping because the content seems impossible for your guild. You’re stopping because an artificial pacing mechanism forces you to do so.

Limited attempts can also ruin encounters that would otherwise feel well-designed or enjoyable. For example, if attempt limitations were removed, I would probably enjoy the Twin Valk’yr encounter. I think, on a basic level, the RNG component to orbs is what makes it a challenging fight to defeat. It’s similar to the way the RNG components of Kil’jaeden and Archimonde were what made those fights challenging, as well. But when a random situation generated can potentially ruin your attempt count, I find the encounter annoying. When you have to stack for battle rezzes just to have a decent shot at Insanity every week, I cringe. When you have to wait for various cooldowns just to limit the loss of your attempts, so you can progress on Anub’arak, I get annoyed. Without limited attempts, and attempt-based achievements, these feelings disappear.

I understand the desire to heighten the competition for the top guilds in the world. But even people I know in Might (who ranked number two in the world on Immortality), who are former members of Lunacy’s raid, dislike the concept of limited attempts. While it definitely separates the skilled guilds from those who merely brute force their way through content with insane raid comps, bloated raid schedules, or a combination of the two, it has the very detrimental effect of forcing people to stop raiding the content they want to raid and return to content they’ve already exhausted and find boring. Some even choose to simply stop raiding for the rest of the week.

This isn’t at all good for mid-level hardcore raiding guilds (those ranked between 50th and maybe 200th in the U.S.). Most people at this level find normal modes uninteresting and nothing more than content that serves to supplement gear. Their enjoyment is obtained primarily from progressing, and the majority of their progression time is spent on the heroic versions of the newest dungeons. But there’s nothing more anticlimactic and disappointing in a given week than having your attempts run dry. If the first time you reach Anub’arak, you have two days left in your raiding schedule, but only five attempts, it’s quite disconcerting. You want to put in time on that content, but you can only put in so much because you have limited attempts. As a result, people lose a lot of the enjoyment they obtain when raiding such content.

I’d rather Blizzard not risk the well-being of mid-level guilds for the sake of a group of players that don’t even comprise 1% of the raiding population. Who cares if a guild wants to spend 16 hours a day to be number one in the world on an instance clear, when it means mid-level guilds could be happier overall. Some of the guilds that don’t spend as much time as those that do to achieve high rankings often don’t care whether or not they rank well in the world, anyway. And you can still have achievements Immortality, anyway, without limiting the attempts a guild has in a given week. You can still reward guilds for clearing an instance without wiping, without limiting others’ attempts. And there are other mechanics and accomplishments that can heighten competition for guilds, without limiting the raiding time for others who don’t care about such competition and only care about personal progression.

I’d rather see Blizzard overtune bosses initially, then slowly nerf them by doing something like decreasing their health and damage done by 1% each week, instead of limiting attempts. (Obviously, you’d have to set a floor per encounter to keep it from falling over dead by default, and to prevent it from becoming too easy, however.)

Insanity and Immortality

Personally, I’m okay with the inclusion of Insanity and Imortality-based achievements, so long as the raiding community can decide whether or not such achievements are major progression points. I think Immortality is too RNG-based to really be a basis for ranking guilds sequentially, even though accomplishing the achievement is definitely a testament to a raid’s skill (and composition). But because RNG can contribute to failure in that area, it is not something I believe you can use to make a distinction between the first and second place guilds. One guild could have had vortexes during the downtime between each mass orb spawn in their first week of seriously trying Immortality, while the other could have had vortexes during orb spawns that same week. The high-end community is typically smart enough to recognize these realities, and it is usually reflected on sites like WoWProgress.

I definitely think people shouldn’t be rewarded with gear for achievements that are highly dependent on RNG, in any case. A mount for Immortality is fine. But I’d like to see more rewards for other, clear-cut testaments to skill. I would much prefer people get an extra piece of loot for doing a speed kill of a heroic boss. I’m also fine with rewarding guilds for not losing anyone on a specific fight. This would give guilds multiples ways of exhibiting their skills and heightening competition, while minimizing potentially frustrating situations that individual encounters can often create. I’m not saying Insanity falls into the category of RNG, I definitely think the achievement is doable nearly every week, because you can counter the RNG with things like battle rezzes and raid comp. But Immortality definitely has a very high RNG component to it. But less emphasis on rewarding achievements susceptible to RNG is needed.

The interesting thing is, however, that you would need to separate achievements based on whether or not you’re doing the normal or heroic versions of an encounter. For example, a speed kill achievement of Yogg-Saron exists. However, that requires you to forego doing the heroic version of Yogg-Saron. So this why I also advocate putting the normal and heroic versions of a boss on separate lockouts. Or, alternatively, they could change the parameters of an achievement for each version–that way, you still get the achievement, without having to sacrifice your ability to do the heroic version if that’s what you would prefer. Such deserves more discussion in the “normal and heroic difficulties” section.

Heroic and Normal Difficulties

I’m a very big fan of the concept of having normal and heroic versions of each boss. By doing so, you can make raiding accessible at the normal level, and allow casual players to witness the development of various storylines, while maintaining the ability to challenge guilds with a hardcore disposition and creating more enjoyable content for them through heroic modes.

There is, however, an issue of how you separate these difficulties. Yogg-Saron I think was an interesting case, having five different levels of difficulty, each progressively more difficult than another. This is in and of itself an interesting design, and I honestly really loved the way Alone in the Darkness played out in terms of challenge and enjoyability. I know caster classes might disagree with me, but it was definitely fun and interesting for me as a healer accompanying the illusion room DPSers and then healing through the crazy damage in phase three.

But I also like the idea of putting normal and heroic versions on separate lockouts. By doing so, you make the heroic content more linear, and this creates a more intriguing grounds for competition, as people can’t skip ahead to other bosses and snipe realm firsts. I suppose you could still have different levels of difficulty even if you separated the lockouts of normal and heroic, though. Yogg4 would be in the normal version, while Yogg0/1/2/3 would exist in the heroic version. And having variable difficulty levels for final and optional bosses is something I support.

But I think in order to make this a reality, you need to design gear with lockout separation in mind. Otherwise, gear inflation becomes a problem. The obvious way to address this issue (to me) would simply be to make gear obtained from the normal version of an instance the same item level as the gear obtained from the heroic version of previous content. The same, likewise, for the heroic version of gear obtained from the 10-man. Gear in and of itself is a big issue, though.

Gearing

I think one of the things I find frustrating is that you often have to go back to older or easier content to get items that are BIS (best in slot). If you want to have a full set of BIS gear for a moonkin, for example, you need the GVH trinket, 2PT8 from Ulduar, and a ring from ToGC10. 2PT8 should no longer be requisite in 3.3, though I haven’t done any spreadsheeting to make sure that’s really the case (and probably won’t, because spreadsheeting moonkin DPS accurately is difficult, as our rotation doesn’t have a solid pattern).

Blizzard really should make every item in a 25-man heroic a direct upgrade from 10-man heroic, and also do the same for the normal versions. This way, 10-mans wouldn’t be requisite for hardcore competition, though they would still provide a way to supplement gear.

The way I see it, item level progression should have gone as follows:

  • 213: Uld10 Normal
  • 226: Uld10 Heroic, Uld25 Normal, ToC10
  • 239: Uld25 Heroic, ToC25 , ToGC10
  • 245: ToGC25

This in and of itself has its flaws, of course. Blizzard wants people to feel compelled to upgrade their gear each time new content is released, so this wouldn’t compel people to go from Uld25H to ToC25 to do so. So some separation between the previous heroic and the new content’s normal version might be called for. But then time spent in the previous heroic might seem wasted, because the normal versions are typically so easy you can PUG them, which is why I advocate the normal version of new content dropping gear that’s the same item level as the previous content’s heroic gear.

Class Raiding Balance

For the most part, I think Blizzard has done a decent job with class balance in Wrath. Yes, some classes have been, at various points, overpowered or underpowered. But more attention is being paid to the issue than was being done in both vanilla and TBC. They don’t always make the right decisions (4PT9 and pestilence remained situationally overpowered for DK’s in raiding all throughout 3.2), but they at least make decisions with much more frequency that before. And that’s more than nearly all other MMO companies out there do these days.

The Raiding Game Overall

Overall, I like the increase in accessibility to raiding. During TBC, a lot of the content in raid instances was exclusive only to a small amount of players. Even after 3.0, the number of people who actually got to see Kil’jaeden was still relatively small. People can surely go back to Sunwell nowadays, but it doesn’t come at all close to the experience of doing it at level 70. The look and feel of the Eredar Twins room holds much less important if people just barrel through the content without even blinking. So the increase in accessibility is a cool thing.

I also think the “gear reset” that happens with new content is a good thing. Back in vanilla WoW, you had to essentially guild hop just to meet the requirements for guilds running Naxxramas. For new players to the game, this was a rather arduous task. So having decent gear readily available to help prepare people to enter or re-enter hardcore raiding I also consider a decent concept.

The basic concept of heroic versions of a boss is also good. Yes, admittedly, it does make the experience a tad cheapened when you’ve already seen the boss and its fundamental mechanics on normal. But I still really enjoyed defeating Yogg0 for the first time, and heroic modes are a great way to accomplish the increase in accessibility I also like. And nothing says Blizzard can’t design the heroic mechanics to be completely different from the normal version, while still maintaining the same artistic and story-based elements that exist in normal. That’s something Blizzard could certainly consider.

But the raiding game needs tweaks–some serious, some minor. I think limited attempts need to go, and better concepts need to be employed. More consideration in hardcore content needs to be given to mid-level guilds.

ToGC’s failures and the resulting frustrations of people need to serve as an example on which the raiding game can be improved. While I am no longer planning to be involved in that part of the game, it’s still important for the game’s overall health. Let mine and others’ frustrations, criticisms and praise serve as something for Blizzard to consider for the future development of WoW. By voicing out opinions, we can help Blizzard design Cataclysm to please as many people as possible.

Is It Time to Renovate Old Outdoor Leveling Content?

I’ve been leveling some fresh characters, in preparation for Wrath. The last character I leveled from scratch before this batch was my shaman, a year and some months ago. I did this through the draenei starting zones of Azuremyst and Bloodmyst. These two zones are dense in quests and provide a fluid and effortless progression through the first twenty levels. They also provide ample background for the draenei’s crash on Azeroth. Regardless of how silly dimensional spacegoats may seem, Azuremyst and Bloodmyst are decent examples of what starting zones should be.

Playing a priest through Dun Morogh and other early Eastern Kingdoms zones, I remembered just how poorly designed the classic leveling content really is. Slogging through the old world is excruciating. So much so that it drove me to delete my priest and sign up for the recruit-a-friend program. Since then, I’ve managed to level a warlock and a priest to 60, and I’m now working on a hunter and a rogue.

The experience begs to question when the old world content should undergo addition or renovation. Considering the absolutely positive leveling experience Wrath has to offer, I believe that time is now. And phasing could be utilized to minimize the work that would be needed to refine the content.

Quest and Objective Density

I have to run all the way up there?The old world lacks a high density of quests and objectives close in proximity to the hubs from which the quests are obtained. There’s a quest with objectives in Westfall that you have to pick up from Stormwind of all places. If you forget to pick this quest up while visiting Stormwind for training, it’s arguably pointless to go back and pick it up. Then there’s a quest you pick up at the lighthouse (a quest most people are unaware of, unless they check Wowhead) that requires you to literally travel the entire length of Westfall’s coast to kill all of the murlocs required to complete it. Perhaps the zone that highlights this problem the most is Alterac. Pretty much every quest you get that has objectives in Alterac is not actually picked up in Alterac. Rather, it they are picked up in Southshore, in Hillsbrad.

Consider Redridge, the third human zone in leveling progress. The Dry Times, Price of Shoes, and messenger quests require you to travel around to Stormwind, Goldshire, Sentinel Hill, that stupid little dwarf camped in the hills of Westfall (who requires you to obtain five hops), and then Darkshire. You get a total of 4885 experience for all three of these quests, or roughly 23 percent of the experience required to get to level 20. That’s 23 percent of a level in about an hour, meaning it would take about four hours to level if somebody did only these types of quests. That’s far too long for level 20. Furthermore, the type of travel required is not fun whatsoever.

What’s even more baffling in regards to Redridge is that the Price of Shoes is required to open up three other quests in Redridge. You must fly to Stormwind, run down to Goldshire, back to Stormwind, and then fly back to Redridge (or hearth back to it) if you want to do A Baying of Gnolls, Underbelly Scales, and Howling in the Hills (all well-designed quests).

In my opinion, the objective for the Price of Shoes should be moved to Stormwind. Grimbooze Thunderbew, the dwarf that gives a keg required for Dry Times should be moved to Sentinel Hill, and the Darkshire and Goldshire portions of the quest should be removed entirely. I also think the Messenger to Stormwind and Messenger to Westfall quests should be removed, while Messenger to Darkshire serves as a quest meant to usher someone to Duskwood as the next zone in progression after Redridge.

It would also help a leveling player if the zones actually had a fluid and logical line of progression to begin with.

The Fluid and Logical Progression of Quests Through Zones

Here to there, over there, back to here, back there, and finally there.Because some of the quest hubs in classic leveling zones aren’t very dense, a person doesn’t always get enough levels to progress from zone to zone in a fluid and logical manner. Some of the zones aren’t even designed with tight level ranges in mind. Stranglethorn Vale, for example, contains quests in a range from 30 all the way up through the mid-40’s. That’s fifteen levels for one zone. This wouldn’t be a problem if a person could actually stay in the zone all the way from 30 to 45, but it is pretty much impossible without being on the recruit-a-friend system.

What bothers me most is that many think you should be able to go from Elwynn Forest, to Westfall, to Redridge and then Duskwood, and so on. But you almost always have to supplement your leveling with quests from other zones miles away, before you can move on to what you would think is the next zone in line. When starting a new human character, I’ve found I always have to go from Elwynn, to Westfall, briefly into Loch Modan (a dwarf zone), back to Westfall, then to Redridge, and Duskwood, but I always have to supplement the middle of Duskwood with quests from the Wetlands (another early dwarf zone) before I return to finish it off.

I don’t mind travel between zones, so long as you’re traveling to a zone such that it serves as the “next place in line.” It would be great if you could simply go from Elwynn, to Westfall, to Redridge, to Duskwood, then Hillsbrad (maybe a boat that takes you there, so you don’t have to ride through several other zones), Arathi, Alterac, etc. I shouldn’t have to go briefly to Loch Modan or the Wetlands if I want to level smoothly through the human zones of Elwynn, Westfall, Redridge and Duskwood.

TBC Didn’t Justify Changes to Old World Questing

Blizzard hasn’t ignored the problems with its classic content. They did lower the experience required to level from 20 to 60, and they did add quests to Dustwallow for those in the upper 30’s. While they did commit some resources to these changes, they chose not to use their resources renovating any other classic zones. And, truthfully, I think they were right not to do so.

While The Burning Crusade did offer some major advances in quest density and zone progression concepts, it did little to innovate the way we quest through content. Yes, TBC did introduce bombing runs, the Ring of Blood, and questlines with small cut scenes like those involving Akama and Illidan in Shadowmoon Valley. But such quests were few and far between and they weren’t innovative enough to really justify a complete renovation of the old world.

However, I’m one to think Wrath of the Lich King does justify more renovation of the classic outdoor leveling content.

Why Wrath Justifies Changes to Old World Questing

I’ve quested my way thoroughly through Northrend. I’ve done every zone, and 90 to 100 percent of the quests in each. Furthermore, I have done the death knight starting area. So I have enough experience to understand the big picture and what the potential quests can offer using the technology introduced in Wrath. In a word, it is fantastic.

You have a quest that puts players on the back of a horse with literally hundreds of worgen chasing them. To manage their escape, they have to throw fire bombs at them from the back of a horse, while an NPC escapee is at the reigns.

There’s a quest puts players on the back of a giant frost wyrm. Players use this wyrm to devastate a swarm of the Scarlet Crusade’s armies.

Another quest provides people with two hot burning irons to torment a member of the Scarlet Crusade into giving them information about what the Crusade calls “The Crimson Dawn.”

One specific questline opens with an epic cut scene: a battle at the gates of Icecrown. To avoid spoilers, I won’t tell you what happens. I will note this quest leads to further developments that explain the diplomatic complexity of the resulting situation, followed by a huge battle inside the Undercity itself, complete with highly notable NPC’s and soldiers at your side. This is not the same Undercity Horde players know and love. Yes, the players participating in this battle are technically in the same zone as those who would simply access their banks, but they cannot see the people who are on this quest, nor can the people on the quest see those who are there normally. This is an example of “phasing,” a new technology included in Wrath.

At this point, it is easy to realize what could be done within classic zones. Phasing technology could be used to add new quests, without changing too many of the existing ones. This would open up the possibility of creating new supplemental leveling content that allows players to stay within a zone for longer, which would also develop smoother transitions from zone to zone. New quests would also progress the story of each zone further or with more depth. And these quests could involve new systems, such as the vehicle system behind siege engines.

Would it be a lot for new players to take in? No doubt. But why wouldn’t you want to introduce some of the more exciting systems to new players early on? Especially when the first quests introducing these systems could help ease them into the mechanics. Overall, it would provide a positive learning experience and hook more players to the game earlier.

Would Renovating Old World Leveling Content Be a Good Business Decision?

It is understandably a large undertaking for the development team to delegate the renovation of classic quests and zone progression. So much so that you do have to ask if the results would be worth the effort. On one hand, if efforts to revamp the old world leveling content cause such a huge delay in new end-game content, old players could end up quitting and Blizzard would lose a large chunk of revenue. On the other hand, Blizzard could be losing thousands of potential customers a year due to the fact that WoW’s leveling content is becoming out-of-date.

Personally, I wouldn’t bother touching old world instances. They are still relevant to leveling and to commit resources to them would be pointless. But the outdoor old world content needs some serious help.

I believe it is more than possible to renovate the old world as sort of a “side project.” Certainly, Blizzard would have to take a few experienced quest designers away from developing new zones and quests, but they don’t have to devote all of them to the renovation project. This would put some focus on both the development of new content, to satiate the veteran appetite, and the improvement of old content, to help retain new players.

Old World Quests Should Better Emphasize Storylines

One of the things that has always bothered me about my first experiences playing a human was that the quests never really did justice to the complexity of the human story arc. Consider the depth of Stormwind’s backstory and its place in the world. To fully explain it would take many pages concerning the history of Stormwind and all of Azeroth.

To briefly explain the the current situation, Stormwind and Theramore are the two strongest human nations remaining after the third war. The rest were either destroyed, exist in isolation, or have largely existed in secrecy.

Stormwind and Theramore are often at odds politically. While Theramore is officially considered the leading nation of the Alliance, and hopes to maintain a truce with Orgrimmar, Stormwind sees itself as the leader of the Alliance’s military in the Eastern Kingdoms and uses the military to impose its own political views (this is especially true in Wrath).

Let’s not forget Stormwind’s internal problems. Its exiled artisans have turned into a band of thieves and assassins called the Defias Brotherhood. With much of Stormwind’s armies away on campaigns in the plaguelands, Northrend and elsewhere, the Defias have managed to take control of much of Westfall, Duskwood and Elwynn. This, along with the general plights of all nations throughout Azeroth, has created a need to hire mercenaries, and this is the primary origin story for all human player characters.

Despite the complexity of Stormwind’s situation in the world, however, much of its history and current politics is not made evident in early the human zones. And for the points that are made clear, they could sometimes be better emphasized. For example, it should be better explained that Stormwind itself exists as a nation recently reborn after the second war against the orcs. It should also be explained why the Defias have come about, and further emphasized why you need to oppose them as a mercenary under the command of the Stormwind Guard.

As an example, human players could start in a more robust area, phased to create a “training grounds” for newly hired human mercenaries. Your trainers could explain the reason you’ve been hired, and that you must earn their trust performing domestic missions before tasked with missions abroad as a mercenary of the Alliance. You could be paid for your service, an effort made to rectify the mistakes made in refusing pay to the artisans that have become agents in the Defias.

Redridge Mountains and the Blackrock Menace as an Example of What Can Be Done

Consider the situation in Redridge. With Stormwind’s forces taxed by the world’s troubles, Lakeshire has lost a lot of support. Furthermore, its trade caravans have been ravaged by murlocs and the Blackrock Clan. To complicate matters, the Blackrock orcs encroach upon Lakeshire itself, and have even taken Stonewatch Keep for their own.

While the killing of Gath’Ilzogg and Tharil’zun, the leaders of the Blackrock Clan in Redridge, serve as a fitting end to the Blackrock storyline in Redridge, it would be possible to add even further developments before arriving to this conclusion. For example, Lakeshire could perhaps catch wind of a potential Blackrock offensive against Lakeshire. In preparation for the attack, a player could be given a quest to collect wood and logs for the construction of makeshift barricades, pallisades and ballistae. That player could then be given a quest that teaches them how to use ballistae. Following this, the orcish army could approach and the player would use a ballista to take out orcish catapults, while other mercenaries battle the orcs on the field. Phasing could be used for this quest so only those defending Lakeshire would see the makeshift defenses and the attacking orcs. Anyone passing through or doing the earlier quests would not be interrupted.

This small questline would then lead to a retaliation by the humans of Lakeshire, which ultimately results in the killing of Gath’Ilzogg and Tharil’zun in Stonewatch Keep. This would better emphasize Lakeshire’s struggle and success in the face of having been forsaken by Stormwind, as well as the Blackrock Clan’s role in Redridge.

It would also provide some supplemental quests needed to help streamline people’s progression through specific zones.

The Argument for Renovation and How to Approach It

I’ve alluded and briefly mentioned the dangers behind renovation. I wouldn’t want the revamping of old world leveling content to halt the development of new and fresh zones and instances. Blizzard must maintain a healthy pace of new content production for it to retain its older players. But I also believe reworking and adding to some the older content would benefit the game and its players in the long-term.

Given how quickly quests and the general gameplay mechanics of WoW are advancing, the renovated content would be much more exciting than what the classic outdoor world currently has to offer. This could lead to the retainment of more new players, meaning guilds would have a larger pool of players from which to recruit.

Unfortunately, however, it’s a fine line to draw. So I believe it should be designated as a “side project” to develop alongside entirely new content. Also, to include both new and old players, perhaps some of the renovated content could be rewarding for both capped and new players.

Everything considered, I think it’s time Blizzard does something to improve one of WoW’s biggest remaining problems.