WOO II - questing and life paths
In a larger sense, WOO II is not a "game" itself, but rather a place that you go to in order to do things, among which are a variety of games that you might play, including:
In the original MMOG, these were blended together so that one character could expect to participate successfully in all four. Over time, however, the needs of each sub-game became specialized, and today:
Possibly the conflicts among these endeavors could be resolved with a sufficiently deep retooling of the game, but WOO II deals with them by accepting the specialization already under way. Each of the first three endeavors is undertaken by characters uniquely suited for success in those areas, while Questing is transformed into a solo endeavor, open to all characters, whose primary role is to promulgate the mythos, the story, of the game.
Players will benefit from the ability to focus on the activities that give them the most enjoyment. That leveling occurs only within a Life Path further supports this goal. Splitting the "story" away from Raiding and putting it in Questing open a new activity that all players can use. Promoting Crafting to a full blown Life Path gives the players who do not want to spend their time in constant combat with a viable, interesting option. And "releveling" lets players engage in the full range of activities that their Life Path offers, no matter what level.
The cost of this reorganization is that in order to experience the full scope of the game, a player must create and manage at least three characters. But many players do this already, and WOO II includes changes that improve character management and make it easy to switch back and forth as needed.
The game begins with a brief tutorial period, at least 1 and as many as 3 levels (levels are more extensive in WOO II, and there are fewer of them), during which the character acquires and learns to use basic abilities. During this time the character is assigned tasks which, when completed, award achievements. The achievements enable the character to acquire basic talents. These prepare the character for, and enable the selection of, a Life Path. During this period, the character also is assigned tasks that uncover parts of the story of the game world - this is the introduction to Questing.
The Three Life Paths
At the conclusion of the tutorial period, a character must choose one of the three Life Paths, and this will be the focus of his or her efforts in the game. Each Life Path opens access to a set of skills that are specific to, and helpful in, that Path, and each Life Path offers the achievement opportunities that lead to an increase in level for the character. (Click on each link below for a detailed description of the Life Path.)
Raiders seek adventure in the world's most obscure and dangerous places. They battle evil opponents as they search for rare treasures, sights and experiences. Their skills improve their chances against monsters, increase their acuity at finding treasure, and help improve group cohesion and survival.
Fighters seek honor, glory and a regular pay check. They battle fighters from opposing factions in a drive for global dominance. Their skills improve combat against other players, increase their tactical and strategic awareness, and raise their pay.
Crafters seek gold and the satisfaction of production and sales. They grow and mine materials which they then refine and form into items or use to provide services. Crafters can sell their goods and services to NPC shopkeepers, but often their best market is found in the needs of other players. Crafting skills improve their ability to generate materials, the speed at which they manufacture items, and their access to the marketplace.
Questors seek the history of their people. Based on fragments of maps and legendary stories, they pursue knowledge to the four corners of the worlds. Questing is a solo activity that may be attempted by any character, regardless of Life Path. Its activities are supported by the basic talents that all characters can aquire.
Attribute Clusters: AUTOCHOOSE
As a default, the game provides templates for player choices based on the basic roles. Within the Raider Life Path, for example, new players would get to choose: "tank", "healer", or "damage", and the game would present them with a limited set of choices representing generally accepted good options for their chosen role.
Players who want to turn this feature off and have access to the full range of attributes in order to to fine tune their characters or create unusual mixes of skills can do so easily.
A "life path" is a collection of skills and objectives. These, along with the character's chosen talents, gear, enhancements and other resources, define the focus of play for a character. Life paths cannot be mixed, but a character may choose to leave one life path and start another (although the player might be better advised to start an additional character).
THE GOAL OF LIFE PATHS is to let players have fun doing what they enjoy doing most ... dungeons, PvP, making and selling things, exploring and discovering new stories.
The conflict that arises between players who want to do ONE of these things to the greatest extent and players who want to do ALL of these things to a lesser extent is resolved by giving the player the ability to easily manage a stable of multiple characters. In general, characters stay in their Life Paths, but it is easy to create and level multiple characters.
Although the term is no longer in use, the concept of "classes" can still occur within Life Paths as a general pattern of talents and skills. This is a reversal from the current game. In WOO II classes do not bring skills, talents or abilities to a character - rather, the skills, talents and abilities that a player chooses defines the class of the character.
Occupations occur within Life Paths and indicate a role specialization. For example, a Raider may specialize in Tanking, a Crafter may specialize in Sales, a Fighter in Healing, and so on. As with Life Paths, occupations are defined by the choices of talents. However, the talent trees are arranged so as to make the selection of occupations easy and obvious.
A player who has already created one or more characters may not feel the need to take a new character through the training levels. Such players should have the option of starting their new character at the first level of Life Path selection.
The structure of the skills and talents trees may make some choices mutually exclusive ... for example, a character may not be able to choose both plate armor and invisibility. The need for this and its exact application will have to be evaluated as the game evolves.
Bonus for Generalizing
It might be useful to give characters who choose to spread their skills over a variety of categories a boost to some of their skills and powers ... or perhaps a bonus skill choice or two. This would encourage generalization ... though it is not clear that this would be necessary or desireable. In general the boost should probably emphasize balance … e.g., a healer would get an offensive boost, a dps raider would get a healing boost.
Damage, Mitigation and Life Paths
The current game evolved to accomodate both World PvP and Dungeon Raiding. As Dungeons progressed, raiders needed more and more powerful gear to be able to kill the newest bosses. This gear then gave them a major advantage in PvP. The solution was to create "Resilience", a PvP attribute that absorbs damage from players.
But this turns out to be backwards. Resilience does make it harder for players to kill one another, but the gear balance has proven hard to maintain. PvE geared players do not do well in Arenas and Battlegrounds, and the huge amount of resilience that veteran PvP players carry makes them nearly invulnerable to newer PvP players.
WOO II deals with this by reversing the trend. PvE damage and mitigation buffs are provided for Raiders. These work only PvE dungeons and they serve to balance the power of the players with that of the bosses they must kill. PvP players play without special buffs, and Battleground PvP is conducted with "standard" gear that eliminates gear-based differences.
The assumption is that Raiders and Fighters need not ever meet one another in combat unless they specifically choose to do so. World PvP has withered in the current game, and the rational thing to do is to dispense with it altogether as a structured activity. If players want to put their character's PvP flags up and duel, well and good, but otherwise, everyone is flagged PvE unless they enter a PvP venue. Among thoses venues are the Theme Parks, which provide easy access to PvP combat for all characters, regardless of Life Path.
In the same sense, Fighters can do dungeons if they want to. They will not have very good luck in higher level venues, but they can use the Fun Houses to get a tast of boss combat, and run "Fiver" No Boss dungeons with their friends.
And, of course, any player who wants to try a different Life Path can do so easily, by creating a character in that Path. Because releveling spreads the play out over all the levels, even a new, low level, character will be able to try out a variety of interesting and enjoyable activities.