Power Creep in Pandaria -- Part 3

Posted by Daeity On Thursday, December 22, 2011

Here are the first two parts of the series to bring you up to speed:

Power Creep in Pandaria -- Part 1
Power Creep in Pandaria -- Part 2

It was only supposed to be two parts, but I realized another trend while writing those original posts. This was originally supposed to be an addition to Part 2, but it ended up getting so "textful" (as things often do here), that I just decided just to create a new post. :)

The Death Knight

The topic of content consumption got me thinking that this is probably the main reason why Blizzard abandoned the Hero Class format.

Because the Death Knight class started so high level, it skipped all of the starting zones and content. Blizzard would later realize that this was a mistake, and it's probably the reason why they'll never do it again. Their decision, after all, wouldn't have had anything to do with the DK skills or abilities since they can easily be scaled or balanced.

Players liked the idea of skipping a lot of the beginning content, but it didn't benefit Blizzard in the end so that same mistake can't be made again. (In any of their games FYI.)

And the timing seems to work out well too. When WOTLK first came out, they didn't understand the issue of content consumption (or maybe they didn't think it would become an issue due to the wealth of creative material they had already amassed.) It wasn't until mid-to-late WOTLK did they start making changes and adding new features to re-use older content. Then, Cataclysm came out and the entire expansion pack was ALL ABOUT reusing old content. To make their intentions ever more clear; it introduced the new Archaeology Profession. :)

A Belated Solution

There's actually still a way to correct this "failure" and it might be really fun for users and Blizzard alike.

Basically, create an "Origins" story for the Death Knight class where you start at level 1 and show their progression and character development from a simple peasant to a Death Knight.

Since you don't want to take away the instant 55 Level Up, this could be a completely optional "Starting From The Beginning" feature.

For example,

  • You create a new character and select the DK class.
  • You are then given an option for your "Starting" pre-DK class (e.g. a Warrior, Mage, etc.)
  • After some introductory in-game cinematics, or even a brief Level 1-5 tutorial stage, you're given the option to "Skip To Your Rebirth?". (The Origins story stops here, and you just jump to the main DK story.)
  • If you continue the "Origins" story, you're locked in.
  • You start out as a "Farmer" Class earning a meager living on a farm. :)
  • You level the temporary "Farmer" Class until 10, at which point you join the military or a resistance, and you switch to the early level "Starting" class you had previously selected. (e.g. You train to become a Warrior, Mage, Rogue, whatever.)
  • Blizzard could have a lot of fun with a temporary 1-10 "Farmer" class too.
  • At this point (Level 10), you can start doing normal quests and such that have already been created by Blizzard. But, now there will be new customized quests only available for your character that develop the back story. Even every 10 levels there could be missions or special quests that work into the main lore. (Like going off to war, war campaigns, secret missions, rising through the ranks in the "Military" or "Resistance", your family, new lore discovered, etc.)
  • As you rise through the ranks, it finally culminates at your death (at Level 50 or 55) by the hands of the Undead. At which point the main DK story kicks in.
This gives Blizzard an excuse to use some of their old lore and back-history on the Death Knights that they haven't used yet.

Plus, they're not creating a whole series of new quests just for the "Origins" story, but rather bits and pieces here and there (like every 10 levels). Less development time.

Players will go through all old content again, which is what they want. But, they will still have the option of jumping right to their Level 55 DK if they want to.

To encourage players to follow the "Origins" path instead, though, they can offer special bonuses that are made available during the story line: special gear with really cool aesthetics (they will be farmed for transmogrification), new pets (which players will jump at the chance for upcoming Pet Battles), vanity stuff, new achievements, or trinkets that have special visual effects.

I suppose the "Origins" path could also be made available as DLC.. especially with the new Battle.net Balance. :)

If not, at least Blizzard could use it as a test to determine if other "Origin" features could be successful for other classes (Rogues assassinating their way to the top of their Rogue guild before getting kicked out). In order to experience the "Origins" story, players must create a new class. Players may or may not like this, but it would definitely be very cool for the DK class. And, having special bonuses for following this path, however, might encourage many players to do it. Especially the ones who haven't created alt characters yet, which Blizzard already knows.

What do you think? If you guys really like the idea, drop some hints with Blizzard. :)

I think it would be a lot of fun, plus it addresses a lot of the issues they're trying to fix.