Legion: Game Design

“The Alliance needs heroes like you more than ever.”
Jaina Proudmoore

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.

6 thoughts on “Legion: Game Design

  1. 80 dungeons are my current Basilisk eyes quest. Except I know I have to run 80. And that number is just too daunting to me. I can count on both hands the amount of dungeons I have run. Well maybe a bakers dozen. But that’s it. My take is they are making a decision. Which is more appealing to unorganized content. World or Instance. I foresee some radical ideas in the next two years to come along.

    And the comment about guilds? That’s been such an issue for so long. And I gave up long ago at trying to suggest things.

    Overall impression of past few years? They are listening to people with big twitch/YouTube/twitter follower counts. The average Jane or Joe is barely a whisper on the wind to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am frustrated with 80 by all means. My main which is on the quest has an excellent count of 3/80. I think I’m just gonna puke of dungeons.

    Like I always said: don’t hide LORE beyond the tedious or hard content. Yes, I will beat all LFRs and see all the lore, and I will never know what happened to Illidan. Is it that unimportant?

    There’s one more artifact weapon quest with Kalec. He sends me to Mythic Dungeon – I’m off the race. And I read you will also have to run raids other than LFR on this questline. So even when mythics become available in group finder, I still gonna pass. At least it’s not about lore, improving your artifact which seems fair.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I took Kalec’s quest, got to Senegos and found out that the next step was a Mythic, and said NOPE. Perhaps I’m being a little bit sour-grapesy, but I’m not all that fond of most of the Balance of Power weapon designs anyway… except for the Disc Priest and Arms Warrior — but I’ll just have to live without them, the way I live without PvP stuff and high level raid stuff.

    Having to get 80 oojimmies out of dungeons for the History of Illidan questline is why I only intend to pursue it on ONE character. THat character has to be my DH, for teh lore ‘n’ RP an’ stuffs, so I’m not much looking forward to the eons in the LFD queue.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The 10 a week is my bug bear, I’m finding tons of the shards/fragments drop from mythic plus dgns so i can run 2 or 3 and be done but it’s still going to take 8 weeks to complete.. what a ridiculous length of time. It certainly works to break continuity in the story line.
    While I love the story in this expac more than any other Ive played through the RNG in every single thing you do from gear through to profession rankings is starting to become annoying. In my mind this is the RNG expac. And for the first time ever I feel this is more of an alt friendly expac than a spec friendly one with the artifact power/weapon model. atm.

    Liked by 1 person

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