“The Alliance needs heroes like you more than ever.”
Design, Art, Problems, Solutions
Today’s Date is: Dec. 6th, 2016
Almost all of Art Making is along the lines of problem solving. You have a concept and a goal and then need to figure out how to get there. Along the way you have to solve the problems in trying to reach the goal.
Going into Legion, there were some inherent problems in the design which were making players unhappy. I think, in all, players are very happy with the story and the pathways to learn that story. The bulk of the problems have been in the execution.
Problem: Long Cue Times.
Solution: Cross Server Realms.
Still a Problem: Overlapping the realms didn’t work, the wait times are still too long.
Solution: Make everything go through group content.
By making everything and everybody go through Dungeons and Raids (and sometimes PvP), we don’t have the issue with long wait times. I remember two hour waits and now it is down to thirty minutes or less. Is that acceptable? I don’t think so, but it is an improvement.
Problem: Lack of Content
Solution: Call repeating content “content”. Run 80 dungeons (which I think is lazy design), collect 1000 shards etc. Design some very long term goals: artifact power and knowledge, order halls — and heavy use of RNG.
Solutions Part II: Don’t let there be an immediate reward of value; either delay the reward for a week (Mythic Plus cache) or rely on RNG upgrading to Titanforged.
Problem: The Squeaky Wheels
Solution: Placate the high-end and most vocal players; give them what they want. And give them forums for a shoulder to cry on.
Problem: Too Many Hunters
Solution: Take one spec and make it melee. Screw up the most favored spec, Beast Mastery, until a later patch after many players have changed to other classes. Keep MM viable so it is not so terribly blatant.
Problem: Alts Supporting Mains
Rationale: Players are too independent.
Solution: Push every Profession through group content. It is not impossible, just a greater challenge — and a longer time played challenge.
Reality: 7.2 with flying will make it easy for the Alt Army to rise again!
Problem: Lack of in-game Guild Support
Solution: The designers didn’t even try. This is a social game.
Problem: Unclean Play Space
Solution: The Silence Penalty
Comment: Home Run!
Criticism: The solutions are too black and white. There is too much RNG with few or no guaranteed rewards; this is discouraging. Forcing the majority of activities through group content is tedious, repetitive and not enough side-games (pet battles are fun but it’s not enough).
Expectations: I think that we’ll see less forced group play in future patches. Players are now used to running the same stuff over and over, the hunter bulge has dissipated and the high-end guys (the mollified squeaky wheels) will finish quick on the last Raid and go play Skyrim.
Worries: I fear that raiding is being neglected in favor of dungeons. I worry about making the dungeons harder to keep them relevant; a player wants to be over-powered eventually and bulldoze over past painful hurdles. I worry that simple gearing up will become too much of a time sink even with future catch-up mechanics.
Conclusion: It is still a great game! If having 80 dungeon quests means everyone gets faster cue times, I can support that.