Regional FlagQuestion about design prioritySource
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#0 - 2010/10/19 09:48:26 PM
I understand the argument has been made several times that balance at level 85 is most important, or what we should all care most about. I don't disagree, but I am wondering if this axiom has been taken too far in the 4.x patch. Specifically:

1. Since Cataclysm represents years of development time invested in retooling the 1 thru 60 experience, does it really make sense to introduce game mechanics changes which destroy the balance in the 1 thru 60 games?

2. Since new customers will receive their introduction to WoW by starting at level 1, and progressing through vanilla, outlands and northrend, isn't it important to make sure the game mechanics are working well and that the challenge level is appropriate in those level ranges?

3. Since current customers will have been parked at level 80 for about two months (from intro of 4.x patch to launch of cata), isn't it important to not completely disrupt their game experience during that time?

I feel like I am not understanding something about Ghostcrawler's thinking if he feels that none of the above points is meaningful. I'm not adverse to change and I felt that, on the surface, all of the Cataclysm changes sound very positive to me. So I can at least say I think the designers' hearts are in a good place. But seeing the result in the short term is disconcerting. Rogues are soloing five-man instances in vanilla, at level. As an experiment, someone in our guild did scarlet monastery at level on a non-twinked rogue alt, and I believe he said that it required a total of two buttons.

Which brings me to my last question.

4. If one of the things Cataclysm will accomplish is to bring back some element of challenge and player skill to WoW's PvE, a change which I believe most everyone welcomes, is it logical to precede that patch by nerfing the difficulty of the entire game dramatically? Is it good for a new player to go through all of WoW from 1 to 80 being able to solo five man content because it has been trivialized, and then get slammed in the face with meaningful challenge upon turning 81?

In summary, I don't think the spirit of any of these changes has been bad. But they have been disruptive to the level 80 game, resulted in the difficulty of nearly everything outside of ICC to be absolutely trivial, and that have wrought sheer havoc on the 1 thru 60 game. So does Blizzard's design time simply disagree with my observations? Do they acknowledge and plan to address? Or do they really mean what they say - are they simply going to ignore it under the auspice of "its not level 85 so it isn't important really"?

Blue Poster
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#20 - 2010/10/20 04:50:57 PM
We are going to spend some effort adjusting numbers for 1-80. It's not as big a priority as 85 because frankly, more players care about balance at 85 than they do lower level balance. As some folks have pointed out, inexperienced players almost by definition, don't place a premium on balance, and experienced players tend to not worry about balance much until they're at max level since things are changing so quickly.

Rather than adjusting everything independently, we tend to focus on max level and then work backwards from there. It doesn't help to nerf say rogue damage by 5% from level 1-60 if we then find we also need to nerf it at level 85 and then buff the 1-60 numbers to compensate.

There is some goofy stuff going on at lower level, but we'll get it all straightened out. After spending so much effort revamping the old zones and quests, we don't want the leveling experience to be an odd one.