After watching Blizzcon 2011 a few weeks back, a lot of into was left out in the air about the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion. Many things can be summed up in a few words. Other things, like the following, spun off into rants on their own accord and therefore deserved their own posts.
Today we’re going to start off talking about the new zones, then spin off into why they’re so important for Azeroth when the old world simply won’t do.
New Zones: This aspect is the foundation of our expansion, Yet many of it’s elements are often overlooked. Of course, we need new zones to level from 85 to 90. What makes our new zone, Pandaria, unique to other expansions is the fact that a player will be unable to fly here until level 90. This means more time will be spent running around on the ground, and more opportunities for world PVP. For those of us from early BC days (or were always poor) this should bring back a lot of old memories. Flying over the world fails to do it justice, and cheapens the experience of the game, the grind, and leveling. In my own experience, I feel more accomplished when the level is difficult to obtain. In addition dungeons will scale 1:1 in the zones they are in (no longer just a portal) so the places are going to be HUGE.
It was also brought up that there will not be a ‘central hub’ where everything will be located, unlike Shattrath or Dalaran in previous expansions. Instead, NPCs and quests will be located at a variety of smaller hubs spread out throughout the zones. This again means more travel and more chances to interact with other players. It was also said, though very little, that the hubs may be conquerable. This means that one faction controls it until the other one takes it from them. This would be a fantastic way for World PVP to start up, and to get people out of central cities.
This element may very well be the best thing I’ve heard out of Blizzcon this year. Join me after the jump on why.
Having conquerable Hubs isn’t a new thing. It’s been done before and it’s failed before. However, it’s also been done and excelled. I’ve seen this done in a previous MMO I enjoyed, Dofus, and it completely revitalized the game play for PVP’ers and PVE’ers alike. Indulge me for a moment: Think about your Molten Front dailies. They’re the same thing everyday, never a change, never difficult, always there. Now, consider only being able to do them if your faction controlled a portal leading to the Front. Consider Hyjal’s current key points/Hubs (Nordassil, Sanctuary, and Rest) being conquerable, each with it’s own portal. The more of these Hubs your faction holds, the more dailies are available to you. Therefore the more hubs you hold, the more dailies you can do, the more daily rewards you can get each day, and the quicker you get daily reward content.
Ideally, this means that the hubs will constantly be at war between the two factions trying to be able to do their dailies. Maybe with as little as a 15 minute time limit between possible faction-changes. Players would need to band together to both take and hold the hubs so they can do dailies. Heck, the dailies you get while there could be able rebuilding the zone your just trashed while taking it over.
The idea of PVP zones for PVE content isn’t new to WoW and has been touched on in zones such as Tol Barad, Halaa, and Wintergrasp, but really didn’t have that large of an impact on PVE. A player could simply do ‘what was available’ and be satisfied with it. In the case of Tol Barad, it was 6 more Tokens a day. If we were to consider each of our Hubs in the example above having 6 quests, a player could do a potential of 18 quests a day if the faction held all three. On the other hand, if your faction failed to have any hubs you’d have no quests to do.
Now think me not a fool, I realize that if one faction always holds all of them the opposing faction will never progress and people will simply not roll on that faction or play elsewhere. Having non-conquerable areas with very few quests (3 perhaps) would suffice and push those to at least try. Given the current balances of alliance-horde on most servers, I don’t foresee one faction holding all of them all of the time throughout the day in most cases.
I feel this option would be plausible given Blizzard’s decision to introduce an additional, easier, difficulty to raiding using the Raid Finder. They recognize that there is a group of players who want to do end-game content, but simply can’t with the current raid options available. Having a non-conquerable hub would adhere to those players. Blizzard has said they are also reworking how resilience works as a base-stat, to assist those players starting into PVP, without making it completely dependent on who has the best gear. This change in addition to the hubs can work together to ease players into PVP outside of battlegrounds, where they currently wouldn’t dare to venture.
Given the recent hints and speculation that has been dropped; The conflict between Alliance and Horde will erupt during the Mists of Pandaria expansion, if not sooner. Currently being an Alliance or a Horde player makes little difference as you rarely confront members of the opposing factions outside of Battlegrounds. Few players outside of perhaps the RP-PVP servers will make the effort to stakeout and kill members just because the story line tells them to do so. If a player doesn’t want to PVP, they simply won’t.
Making some PVP a requirement to advance for character in-game should also be a requirement. World of Warcraft is still a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. Even if you choose not to play a role, you need to divulge into the story a little bit and live in Azeroth. If the world is at war, it’s time for you to take arms and fight for your side. This isn’t World of Peacecraft.