WOO II - Analyses
What Players Want
The business wants to offer a product at the highest possible price and lowest possible maintenance cost while attracting the largest possible customer base. But the larger the customer base for a game, the more differences the base wants to see in their individual play. Here are some thoughts on what matters most.
The current approach has a long history in simulation gaming. Why change it now? The answer lies in two problems: the "level cap" and the "real estate void."
Life Paths Versus Classes
Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) used classes as a technique for dividing up the work to be done by a group of questing adventurers. But Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs)have moved beyond the quest-based format that drove D&D. Life Paths may not be the perfect answer, but they are an attempt to offer those players who want them more choices in the design and play of their characters.
Intelligence, Stamina, Agility, Strength and Spirit (ISASS)
These are not mentioned in WOO II ... nonetheless, they might still exist.
Every MMOG needs a story line. WOO II focuses on the game mechanics and does not propose a specific story line. But the framework for that story, the "meta" mythos, is implied in the mechanics.
"Player versus player" began as fighting in the streets between factions. That old style "world" PvP is, for all intents and purposes, dead. The new style should borrow from the successful dungeon raid format and offer more venues with more interesting play.
Outcast from normal society, Criminals spend their time in robbery and murder. They, alone, can steal from NPC vendors. Occasionally, they are hired by Faction clandestine services to perform nefarious deeds behind enemy lines.
Guilds are not central to the game, but they are useful.
Factions add drama to the game. In actual operation in the current game, however, they only matter in PvP.
Zones and Hubs
The main objective of releveling is to make lower level venues playable for players at all levels. In turn, this should attract players to more venues and spread the players out over the game map. There will be a need to accomdate players of differing levels in many zones. At the same time, the use of Theme Parks and Fun Houses may reduce the need for "major" cities to serve as hubs for player services.
The Druid conundrum
Current game play tends to push characters towards specialization: the DPS raider who pumps out consistantly high levels of damage but has no defense, the PvP "flag carrier" who cannot do damage but is very hard to kill. In the midst of this is the Druid, a generalist character who is good at everything but excellent at nothing. That so many druids exist is a testament to the desire of players to use the class ... which leads to the question: "is specialization a desireable end?"
Bots and Botting
Botting happens when a player encounters a task that he or she does not want to perform but which is required to receive a desireable reward. If this sounds similar to a good definition of the term "work", it is. When game designers make players work instead of having fun, they should not be surprised if the players take whatever steps they can to avoid the encounter.
Update: The Mists of Pandaria
A few steps up, a few steps back.