Hello folks, I hope you have had a happy easter and that most of you didn’t over indulge with the easter eggs! Anyway I have been a tad slack around here so as to make up for my slack I intend to post 1 post a day for the next five days. Lucky for those of you who follow my ramblings!

threesomewfront
Anyway I (like many) tend to keep my eye out on MMO-Champion, Wowinsider and other sites for news when I came across this quote from Ghostcrawlers twitter account in the middle of a discussion about alts …

Player: It’s not about not playing it, it’s about the burden to repeat everything that the player already did.
Ghostcrawler: But isn’t that what an alt is all about – replaying the game through a different view? Otherwise we could just offer class respec. (Source )


Both of them I admit are onto something, but I it is something I think that needs expanding on, something twitter isn’t equipped to handle. Yep its time for one of my rambling explanations on my point of view. When I first rolled my main alts .. the Hunter, the Shaman, the warlock, and the mage waaaaay back when I had finally hit 70 on the Druid there was one reason and one reason only I rolled these alts. It was to experience the difference in classes, and that for me wasn’t the play style or gear or spells .. no for me the difference was about experiencing quests and storyline on those characters that I could not experience on the Druid. I wanted to learn the ways of the shaman as I mastered each element, I wanted to become a master warlock as I went out and tamed each demon as my supremacy became complete.

This I did, at least at first .. and then Blizzard killed the reason I had for rolling alts. Which left me with only back-burner desires to keep playing them .. other toons for secondary guild raids, vehicles for levelling professions the druid didn’t have and a way to escape into anonymity when I needed it (which Real ID killed but that is my fault for friending so many).

Anyway getting back on track Ghostcrawler says “isn’t that what an alt is all about – replaying the game through a different view?”, and the answer is well yes, it was, but no, it is no longer. I always did every non-class quest on the druid, still do, I am kind of pedantic that way .. and there are a number of players out there like that. So when my alts come along its no longer a different view, I am doing exactly what I was on the druid .. except Oh I may shoot lightning, arrows or fel fire rather than great blasts of solar and lunar power.

The player questioning Ghostcrawler is right, it is a burden, there is at this stage very little that differentiates one class from another, and in the end these days apart from professions, everything you do with an alt is basically a repetition of what you have done with your main .. and by the time you are on your third, fourth or fifth alt, yes this can be a burden.

At this stage they might as well offer a class respec, because levelling a new class is so easy it’s not funny, and you can easily reach high level and no nothing of how to play a class (my ret paladin is a perfect example .. at near 80 I still just mash buttons randomly until one highlights, and he still managed to do mid-high dps for his dungeon levels in groups), you are not experiencing anything new on that character that you haven’t seen before, and in the end there is very little unique to one class that makes it truly stand out from another .. unless you rolled a class that can fill any roll, and then the difference comes about with your options on how to play group content.

So what is the answer? In my humble little opinion Blizzard should take a look at what Bioware did with SWTOR, now there is a game who I love questing with alts on .. even alts of the opposite faction! Why. Not the generic quests, once I did them once it was fine I saw the story. Not the dailies, good lord those are worse than WoW, take longer, less rewarding in feel. It wasn’t the dungeons or raids, while fun they are very similar to wow in how they play out. No what makes SWTOR so great for levelling is the class storyline.

swtor2

Levelling your Sith Inquisitor from a Slave to a member of the Dark Council and the road between is incredible, and the options you can choose from make replayability when you play the other half of the class (the Sith Assassin) exceedingly easy. The same goes as you visit the underworld of the galaxy as a Bounty Hunter or a Smuggler, the hidden world of Espionage as an Imperial Agent or the Sith Warrior. Levelling and revealling the story plots for each class with SWTOR is fantastic and more than anything is what keeps me subbing to the game. (Yes, I level slowly there because I play wow so much).

Now I realise that the sort of character progression that is used in SWTOR is not going to translate that well into Warcraft. Because let’s be honest, when Jo’diem Soulscourge became Darth Nox and took his seat on the Dark Council it was natural that you (the player) became a central lore figure .. its how the game was built. In Warcraft you are not a central lore figure. You are a mercenary, either a lone mercenary or if guilded part of a mercenary guild /troop, and while you may be well-known to central lore figures, as far as history is concerned you are not a name or a face that will be remembered.

There are though ways to make decent class quests into part of the storyline .. especially now that we have scenarios, and (this is important) vehicle mechanics. The combination of the two would allow us to touch a part of a classes storyline or being in every level or zone. Right now zone progression is very, very linear, but class questing would bring back a reason to level alts even if at end game there isn’t much to do on them.

Lets look at Pandaria, you have 8 zones now plus Thunder Isle and the land that time forgot where Dinos will smash you flat. But unless you level 1 horde and 1 alliance there is virtually no story or perspective difference between levelling one toon or the next. What if though there was?

As a Horde when you land (crash) in the Jade Forest and the Horde commander gets you running about like a loon what if they took in your special talents? What is as a Mage there was a quest to prepare a portal that activated between the initial base and Orgrimmar or Stormwind as an Alliance? What if as a Warlock after seeing the effects of the Sha your commanders ask you if you can look into the possibilities of taming the sha, enslaving it as you would a demon? or as a shaman you find that the sha corrupts the very elements itself and leads you out in a quest across pandaria on behalf of the earthen ring to learn if the effect of the sha can be purged? What if as a warrior, you are put into a series of quests that see facing off as a vanguard or expeditionary force against the enemy? Or a hunter sent out to track down allies, resources or foes?

3tauren
Now while the above ideas are just off the cuff, and could obviously be better and more fully fleshed out .. it’s a start. It shouldn’t be though just for current content, it is something that should keep coming back level after level (or several levels) asking you to flex your abilities, or (using the vehicle mechanics) using abilities in theory that you should have. I would imagine at first it would be training in your abilities (i.e similar to traditional totem or demon quests), and as you character grows in power it would become natural for your faction to put those powers and abilities to their use in whatever field of operation they are currently working in .. be it Silithus, Outland, Northrend, Hyjal, Twilight Highlands or Pandaria.

having realise how much I have already rambled let me try to wrap up succinctly. Yes,  Alts should be about replaying the game through a different view, so give us that different view so that alts really are worthwhile!

Advertisements