So I’m sitting here this morning, pondering what to write for my daily post and looking through other’s blogs for ideas to steal inspire me, when I happen across Mend Pet‘s latest post. It’s a celebration of the fact that her priest just dinged 35 and that she’s learned one of the basic tenants of priestly SSing. She also mentions that she’s using the recruit a friend method to level up her little priesty, and I had thought to make a post covering this subject. But then I got to thinking (a common problem), what’s the point of recruit a friend?
Well, the point is to get you through all those annoying early levels quicker and deliver you as fast as possible into what is commonly referred to as “the end game”. Of course it stops at 60 and you have to continue on from there at a normal pace, but the point is that Blizzard wants to get you there as soon as possible. But why? Why shouldn’t people be able to stop and smell the flowers along the way? Blizzard may not have done much with the old world in quite a while, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a pile of crap or anything, it’s just, well, old.
Though most people use it to level up alts or the likes of which, the original point of the promotion is to (wait for it) recruit a friend and bring them into the game. One of my original joys with proto Dueg was the experience of leveling up and seeing all the things that the old world had to offer. But players recruited via this promotion won’t get that, instead the old world will be a blur of NPCs and cities as they level 2 to 3 levels every hour and are quickly thrust into Outland, never to see the likes of Desolace or the Arathi Highlands.
Understandably, players who have already leveled one or more characters to the top level are going to consider any method that gets you through the old world to be a god send, keeping them from hours and hours of doing all the old shit they’ve already done. But for the new people, this method puts an emphasis on the end game, getting to the newest then the hardest content quickly and efficiently. But does this cheapen the old content? Does this mean that end game is the real WoW, constantly evolving away from where it started and making it’s most current incarnation the most relevant?
To a certain extent this seems to be Blizzard’s goal as they’ve stated many times that they want more and more people to experience end game content and to see the raids. This makes sense from a developer’s point of view as why would you waste all this time trying to create these worlds only to have maybe 50 to 100 people see it. But at the same time, it takes away something from the old game, makes it seem like a faded picture to be glossed over in an old album while you download digital pics onto your comp.
Now this makes sense to a certain degree in that you’re not going have people running Molten Core and Blackwing Lair over and over again when there’s simply no lure to do so other than nostalgia. Why should the developers be upgrading the old content or improving areas that have had tumbleweeds blowing through them for a couple of years now? It doesn’t make sense and would be a waste of resources for the most part. But the emphasis on the end game, wanting to include as many people as possible, are starting to take their toll on the psyche of the average player, making them think that in order to be a real WoW player, you have to be a raider.
Even though Blizzard has made a few concessions to the below level 80 players such as the Argent Tournament and the likes of which, there’s really not much to do once you hit that final level other than raiding. You can level your professions or get achievements, true, but there’s only limited rewards there and it won’t make your character’s stats the best they can be. The only way you can truly “level” your character past level 80 is going to be the end game content, raiding and the likes of which.
Now yes, I do realize that there are thousands and thousands of players who don’t raid at all or experience the end game of WoW and they’re a-ok with that. They’re fine with logging on and maybe just doing some fishing dailies or running some BGs and hey, good for them. The game is what you make it and any ambiguous ideal of what’s the true game is nothing more than opinion or discussion. But more and more it seems as though Blizzard is emphasizing the end game and raiding and saying, “This is the real thing, this is where it truly begins”.
Does Blizzard spend too much time and effort on this or should they maybe focus on other aspects of the game? Like most opinions, this question is likely to have about 11.5 million different answers. Some will say the end game is the real game and it’s only right that Blizzard focus on that and could probably do with a little more focusing, because what’s more important than keeping your top players happy? Others still will say that though raiding has it’s place, it’s not everything and Blizzard needs to spread the love a little more. No matter what direction you go in though, I think we can all agree on one thing: Though the end game is fun, the “real” game is what you make of it, and it’s different for everyone.