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An alternate WoW

August 25, 2008

What if there was a World of Warcraft where the amount of content was the same as today, but the max level was somewhere around 20-25? E.g. when a Horde player hit Barrens and completed the quests there, he/she would be at max level.

From there on every mob, every dungeon would have enemies typically level 20-something, with big bosses perhaps into the 30s.

Weapons and armor would have various stats, but with smaller differences than this reality’s WoW. The stats could also be moved around with some work and you could obtain stat modifiers separately.

Only a subset of skills would be available when the max level were reached, but you could earn more and better skills through quests or indirectly through rewards that allowed you to buy more skills (i.e. rewards + money would be needed).

In this alternate WoW the end game would just be about raiding – in fact, almost the whole game would be the “end game”.

Would you play an alternate WoW like that? Would you stick with it? What do you think the guild structure and the community would be like?

This is just a thought experiment combining WoW’s content with some of the game mechanics of another game by some ex-Warcraft developers. Would a game like that have been developed with a different Blizzard?

  1. pizzle
    August 25, 2008 at 22:21

    it could work but the thing is you could probably be more successful in expanding the lvl cap a bit and adding better content at lower lvls to keep them to continue to play but also want them to work for the lvl cap for endgame content.
    You want it to be easy but not too easy, hard but not too hard i know cliche and its hard to actually be able to tell what is the difficulty to put into it and can be even harder to implement it into the game even.

  2. sente
    August 25, 2008 at 23:19

    One of the points here is to keep the level cap low, enough to get people warmed up into the game and picked up the basics. The rest is advancement that is not tied to your basic stats, which are increased by level.

    The “end game” is the whole game, more or less. Instead it is rather the “start game” and the actual game.

  3. August 25, 2008 at 23:22

    The end game is about raiding? The *current* end game is about raiding so other than a reduced level cap, what’s the real difference? It’s still a levels- and gear- driven game, and WoW itself was designed for that and for raiding, not for a horizontal progression scheme.

    Not to mention, level 20 in WoW was the first time you get to see where your class is headed. It’s the first “uber-ding” that gives you an idea of the class’ potential.

    Now, perhaps you could stop the level cap itself at 20 (or any arbitrary number) provided you’re still eventually able to get all the same abilities you can get at level 70 in the real WoW to at least allowed continued advancement and growth of your character. WoW is also gear-based so you’d still need those uber stat-increasing weapons, armor, etc. to compensate for your character’s lower abilities. Then again, everything in the game is reduced so in reality while the numbers themselves are lower, everything is exactly where it is today.

    In a nutshell, WoW isn’t Guild Wars. GW can pull it off because it isn’t based on levels or gear.

  4. sente
    August 26, 2008 at 06:38

    The idea here is to keep pretty much all the content, but take out most of the level and gear relevance from the equation, similar to Guild Wars.

    Almost all content would be available in theory, save any atunements and that you have to get to the location of various dungeons etc. With a very low max level, you would still be on a learning path, but may have started to get an idea what the class is all about.

    Would people play a WoW with very limited gear relevance? What content would they play? What kind of community would there be in a WoW like that? Would there be more of fewer PUGs? Would there be more or less raiding guilds? Would the reasons for being in a guild be different?

    I am not saying it would be a better WoW. Just a different one.

  5. August 26, 2008 at 10:58

    It was sounding interesting right up and until the point you said Raiding was the endgame. I won’t play another MMO ever again that focuses on raiding as the endgame, and don’t care how well it’s sugar coated.

    If you want raiding to be your end game, you need to cater to the mechanics that keep your raiding players paying to pay monthly subscriptions. Their primary motivation is the fancy pixelated gear and stats that give them bragging rights and allow them to one-up other players in competitive PvP. That along with beating content as a secondary objective to establish a reputation in their community.

    I don’t see how your proposal facilitates that, as it strips away much of the grind and annoyances that non-raiders would like to see done away with, while removing the barriers and status symbols that many raiders like.

  6. August 26, 2008 at 15:28

    The raiding you mention though would be more objective based. Not tank and spank then Boss at the end type of raids.
    You would need to take down various equipment or siege weapons, or escort someone within the raid encampment. You would need to deal with traps, and puzzles.
    You could then have conversation pieces that need to be handled a specific way, or you lose the round, etc.

    In so many words, you reach the end game quicker, but at end game, the various “raids” would be more story based (omg, a reason to be there in the first place) where your group has clear objectives. You would also be able to hit max PvP level quicker, and the gear would not be the issue, but skill would be the answer. Then the rewards would be learning new skills to try or various other sundries (weapons, armor, etc.)

    Hard to say if WoW would have worked better with GW mechanics or not. But, your argument to me HAS merit, as the goal in WoW is to get to endgame. The PvE just takes quite a while.
    Could you imagine being max level in 3 days (not 3 days played, but 3 days of playing say 3-4 hours a day…so lets say 12-15 hours you reach max) in WoW, and then enjoying all sorts of unique content, objectives, etc.

    The horribly long grind to me is the issue of going back to the MMO (like WoW, WAR, Vanguard, etc.)
    Every time I play Guild Wars, I go for objectives now, and not levels. I logged in this morning for example to complete a quest for Kournan Coins so I could purchase a new Superior Salvage Kit.
    I also am breaking all my equipment down that I find, and saving these materials to make my new armor. I also have come to a mission (story line quest, i.e: RAID), which I plan to approach later today.
    But, I am not worried about getting that next level or rest XP…as I am already maxed.

    Hmmm…(you forgot about making combat quicker too, but, then would WoW be more…difficult?)

  7. sente
    August 26, 2008 at 17:40

    Ok, I must have been quite bad in explaining my “end game” part. The point was to take the current WoW content as is – solo and team quests, single team dungeons, raids, battlegrounds etc; everything that in today’s game is level 20+ and make that available for a level 20 and scaled accordingly. With 20 as max level for a character.

    The importance of gear would be scaled down significantly – good or good enough gear would be obtainable from doing pretty much anything at level 20.

    With the requirements changed as above, what would people choose to play? Raids would only be one option of many different activities in a big smorgasbord.

  8. August 26, 2008 at 21:03

    It sounds like you’re just saying “here, let’s keep Azeroth and the Outlands, but throw away WoW’s game mechanics.” So again, I have to ask: what’s the point? Seeing the same landscapes again? Because that’s all that’s left.

    WoW was designed by ex-EQ raiders. It’s raid-centric. The leveling game that drew most of the players in is not it’s “core game.” Blizzard has said this numerous times. Even with new game mechanics, I leveled enough characters that I have no desire whatsoever to go see those same zones ever again and play through that content again, especially if I know that when I get to the same end, I have the same end-game waiting for me.

    I stand by my point that WoW simply will not hold up to a GW-style horizontal progression. Simply reducing the number of levels, and thereby the power of the bonuses your gear provides, doesn’t make for a new experience.

  9. sente
    August 26, 2008 at 23:54

    Of course, if you have already played through the content it would not be much different. I was thinking from the point of view of a new player that has not played the game to death already.

  10. thisjustanother
    August 27, 2008 at 04:47

    this alternate wow sounds more like guild wars lol.

  11. August 27, 2008 at 15:55


    Right. It just seems the “grind” has been removed in GW. As well, the game has more of a story bent, and not all the Kill 10x filler to get to max.
    Progression is quicker, smoother.

    I would prefer WoWGW myself.
    (PS: Faster combat also please)

  12. October 17, 2008 at 05:37

    Small point of history, Guild Wars was made by ex Diablo / Diablo II developers, not ex WoW developers 😉

    I would definitely rather play such a game. Probably because I played Guild Wars before ever trying WoW, and then could not fathom the interminable grind (not to mention clunky combat, worse graphics imo) put before me when I did try WoW.

    I think openedge1’s twist on your idea, that is more story-based objectives, would be more fun to play. The trick is of course having the story progress from player actions in a non-instanced MMO.

  13. sente
    October 17, 2008 at 08:41

    I do not think anyone claimed them to be ex-WoW developers.

    They are ex-Blizzard and it is interesting to see that Blizzard did not choose to pursue the path that in a way might be a more natural progression from Diablo and the RTS Warcraft, but instead choose to refine the gameplay of Everquest and similar games.

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