WoW Factor: A wishlist for 2017 in World of Warcraft

This year has been a pile of garbage and I'll be glad it's over. It's not that I'm convinced 2017 will be any better than 2016, mind you; it's just that I'll be glad that 2016 is gone, since it contains a whole lot of strife and misery and evil. And I could just predict 2017 for World of Warcraft, but the reality is that what I see as the most likely possibilities for the game involve the developers not learning obvious lessons and sailing gleefully into another big content gap, which doesn't exactly make 2017 feel more welcoming.

That doesn't mean that's inevitable, though, so instead of just a set of predictions, I'd rather go for a more straightforward wish list. Forget what I expect to see; what do I want to see? I mean, aside from the Draenei rising to a place of prominence rather than being perpetual victims, since if there was any expansion to do it this would be the one, but I think that whole Light's Heart thing already shot the chances of that to hell.

What do you mean I can't join the raid without TWO Legendaries?!

Less randomness

Random chance, at this point, has gone beyond a weakness for Blizzard. It's metastasized into a full-blown addiction, with the developers waiting in the back alley outside of your department and asking if you can spare a couple of d6 so they can figure out what clothes to wear this morning. And it's mostly defended as a throwback to a particular style of gameplay that may or may not have ever happened.

One of the things that has been said - repeatedly - is that the developers want Legendaries to create that same rush you felt when you got a random world epic in the vanilla game. To me, this is akin to saying that they want me to feel that same rush I felt when I was the high school football star. Because of all the to-do around the Legendaries, this doesn't feel like "wow, that's so awesome" so much as it feels like "wow, finally, that took forever, now I'm almost up to par with where everyone else was months ago." Instead of being an unexpected boon, it's a required catch-up.

Of course, that's assuming the random world quests with random rewards that can randomly be useful or not haven't already frustrated the heck out of you. I'm still annoyed that after being Exalted with the Nightfallen, finishing the campaign quests (and the post-campaign), and mastering the whole Withered training scenario, I still have not gotten my totally random drop to allow me access to the quest to unlock a fox mount. Meanwhile, I got my hidden artifact appearance on my Enhancement shaman the first time I even tried, and I didn't even particularly want it.

For all that we're told that there are luck correction mechanics, why do we need those in the first place? Luck correction mechanics are a counterbalance to a counterbalance. It's much easier to have a better balancing act in place to start with. Not to mention that if that counterbalance never hits 100%, it's not really a counter to anything; shoddy luck is still going to be shoddy luck.

The fun of getting something good with randomness is quickly replaced by the frustration of having "something good" be entirely in the hand of random chance rather than concentrated effort. Rather than spending even more space on this particular issue, I'll leave this as a note that this is a thing that can and should be corrected through 2017.

Better use of reputation

Let me love you. Or your tailor. Not you specifically, Cordana, you're a jerk.Right out of the gate, Legion gave us six new reputations, perhaps the most we've ever seen in a new expansion. But they feel... well, kind of perfunctory. Once you pass Revered, there's not a whole lot to them; they've got lots of toys, one 850 piece at the top, and tabards. That's about it.

The past couple of expansions have had a weird relationship with reputations anyway, since Mists of Pandaria kind of poisoned that well in the eyes of developers. (Yes, that was more a function of how reputations were handled than reputations themselves; I know that, tell them that.) Legion reputations in particular have a weird push-and-pull associated with them, as the developers seem certain that everyone will farm up these reputations more or less just as a side effect, since you need those daily emissary clears.

I'm happy about the plethora of toys, but I'm not happy about how many of the reputations peter out early. I want more transmog sets, which are something I particularly love about the Legion pre-launch invasion rewards and the Trial of Valor raid. Mounts would be nice, too; sure, we're getting new class-based mounts, but why not add a factional option in there while we're at it? Why not let Dreamweavers offer riding sabers for all (including Horde characters) while Highmountain offers kodo for all?

Adding these as straight reputation rewards at this point is unlikely, but the additional Suramar campaign (for a mount) serves as a nice indicator of how this sort of thing could be handled. Get Exalted, go on a quest chain, earn some nice cosmetic boosts along the way. It'd make those reputations feel a bit more worthwhile, even if we are more or less bound to hit Exalted status along the way anyway.

We also can guess we'll get at least a few more reputations in the game before the end, for 7.2 at least. I'd like to see those reps be a bit better handled out of the gate, and heck, even bring in some more older reputations to get updated. Sure, we're not really beholden to the Kirin Tor for anything other than rep tokens, but some Kirin Tor toys and appearances would be keen...

After I get my Warden transmog set, anyway. Seriously, I've wanted that since the game launched.

Why did I BUY this?

A better timing roadmap

This is pretty high on my wishlist for 2017. I want to know that as we're roughly halfway through this expansion cycle that the next expansion is being worked on... and while part of me might like to not know the details, at this point announcing the details is pretty vital. I should be able to point and say "yes, the next expansion is coming out in the middle of 2018, thus ensuring that the gap between the end of Legion and the start of the next expansion is minimal."

Yes, we've already had one major patch for Legion... in the three months since it released. That indicates that the stuff in that patch was almost ready for launch and just got slightly held back, and it also indicates that there's no kind of long-form development planning going on to space out releases. It was done, so we get it immediately. And then we wind up with all patches out, no work being done on development, no expansion in sight for a year. We've done this dance.

So let's break that habit in 2017. This is something the company has managed to do before; The Burning Crusade was announced well before it came out, yes, but we had more patches to the game between announcement and release. Heck, that first expansion had the best time-to-launch gap there. It's something that can be done rather than assuming boredom and frustration are simply inevitable.

Fill everything with fel energy.

More cosmetic glyphs

This might be lower on the list, but you know, Vantus Runes are just plain awful. It's not that they're useless (they're not), it's that they're really wholly unrelated to the reason I cared about Inscription in the first place. But that's fine; you can make it up to me by smothering me in cosmetic runes.

I want more options for what my alternate forms look like instead of stopping at "well, your Shaman can be a ghost raptor instead." Let me be a fox, a cat, a stag, all sorts of stuff. Let me inherit the cool visuals of the Nightfallen's spell-fencing madness so I can toss that on Warriors. Or let me really get that thundering Titan-touched Vrykul look going. Let my Druid channel the Nightmare in spells to get that visual going.

In short, let me really work that cosmetic angle. If it has no mechanical effect, let me go nuts with it. I can live with the lack of mechanical impact, but I want those cosmetic options across the board.

Feedback, as always, is welcome down in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Next time around, I want to speculate about something connected but not directly tied in to that next expansion. Will we get more classes after this expansion? Do we need them? Do we want them?

War never changes, but World of Warcraft does, with a decade of history and a huge footprint in the MMORPG industry. Join Eliot Lefebvre each week for a new installment of WoW Factor as he examines the enormous MMO, how it interacts with the larger world of online gaming, and what's new in the worlds of Azeroth and Draenor.
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19 comments
Grez
Grez

I was an altoholic but Legion has cured me of my addiction ... After a wonderful 8 year run I've stopped playing WoW entirely.

DugFromTheEarth
DugFromTheEarth

1. More alt friendly

2. There is a dungeon sickness in the game. Its been there for awhile now. Its called "Skipping and taking shortcuts". Why? Because all the reward comes from the completion of said dungeons, not any of the gameplay that leads up to it. Something needs to be redesigned to make everything in the dungeon valuable to the players time, not just doing the minimal steps to get the completion reward. There are already timed mythic+ for people who want to speed through. Regular/heroic/mythic shouldnt make the player feel like they should play the same way

3. Lessen the rep grind, its a horrible time sink.

Oleg Chebeneev
Oleg Chebeneev

Pirates themed expansion with archipelagoe and naval battles

AzureTerra
AzureTerra

Unshackle crafting progression from Dungeons. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to force people into dungeons just to progress basic advancement needs a smack upside the head with a 2x4

Gevah
Gevah

@AzureTerra agreed, more than that, i think crafting needs redesigning, i'm totally fine if crafting changed to focus on cosmetics and consumables.


rottenrotny
rottenrotny

Quite a few things:


1) Make crafting that isn't Alchemy, Jewelcrafting or Enchanting useful. Obliterum doesn't make crafting 

 armor worthwhile.


2) Revamp the low level experience. It's way too easy and class balance is a mess.


-Allow for players an option to nerf XP gained so they don't out-level a zone before it's story 

completion. Not everyone is racing to level cap.


-Buff the health and DMG of dungeon mobs. The current situation is that if you can't AoE you're doing 

  nothing but running after  the rest of the group. 


 -Nerf the stats on Heirlooms. They're way too strong compared to gear in the game. The XP bonus alone 

    make them worth wearing if you're trying to level fast.


3) Redo all the capital cities to make them usable hubs for all content.


  -All portals, trainers and AHs in each city.


  -Redo the cities and zones in Azeroth that you can't fly in. I'm looking at you Silvermoon and 

    Quel'Danas.


4) Add an optional level scaling system to allow for high level players to do low level content.


5) Non-timed Mythic+ dungeons that are quite hard and offer loot on par with Mythic+10ish and beyond.


  -I hate the GOGOGO attitude and Mythic+ only encourages this. Make them hard with no timer. Put value 

    on CC and strategic pulls rather than zerg zerg zerg and if you can't AoE like mad you're not coming.


6) Vanilla servers. "Blizzlike" with no LFR, LFD nor any of the modern conveniences apart from maybe modern system, interface, UI etc options.


7) "Pristine" servers. No LFD, LFR, no CRZ. Single server communities. for each type: RPPVP, RPPVE, PVP, PVE.


8) Ditch legendaries entirely. They're either OP or just stats and cause too much of a balance issue.


I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting but this would be an excellent set of things to make WoW a much more enjoyable experience.


Blizzard, feel free to contact me for employment as a game director. Kthx.


Kaiser Sosey
Kaiser Sosey

@rottenrotny A friend and I were having a similar discussion the other day. Currently leveling a Rogue through and the story at this point through to level 65...I can't tell you what the hell is going on. Low level Leveling experience needs a total rework. Especially to someone new to the game, it just makes no sense at all to them. 


I think maybe they need to take a SWTOR approach to leveling in lower zones. Highlight the MAIN story quests and allow those to level you through. Or like your suggestion here. It feels so broken now, anything would be an improvement. 


 Putting crafting progression behind dungeons is just plain dumb. I get what they are trying to do, but instead people are just giving up on their profession. 


BritoBruno
BritoBruno

@rottenrotny 1- Agreed. Professions shouldn't be the entrance to heroics or such, as they were before. BS should make worthwhile raiding equipment. Only the higher tiers should be better. The crafting tho, should be hard to achieve.

2- Agreed.

 2a) No. They're selling boosts. Monetize the race, nerf xp across the board.

 2b) Agreed. Revamp dungeons to require cc and healing, and not just driving through them and outsustaining everything.
 
 2c) Agreed. They should be a high tear green, Not a "blue with purple stats".

3- Agreed.

4- Agreed. While at it, revamp a bit of the content to be events, or downscaling does nothing.

5- I can't comment on it.

6- No. Focus on the game they have. Not on the supposed server they MAY launch when pigs fly. I love Vanilla with a passion, but let's give feedback, shall we?

7- I can agree with that. With diminished xp, and revamped low level content, it would be great.

AndWhyNot
AndWhyNot

My only wish, is for Blizzard to open Classic and or Legacy (pre-Cata of course) servers. 

MasoodVoon
MasoodVoon

@AndWhyNot would be cool if they had progression servers which upgraded periodically to new expansions.

Fatslapper
Fatslapper

"One of the things that has been said – repeatedly – is that the developers want Legendaries to create that same rush you felt when you got a random world epic in the vanilla game."


The problem with the current game is that acquiring gear isn't exciting at all. The game showers you with gear now and players are used to getting upgrades or their best slot pieces eventually, and because players perceive Legendaries as mandatory now, having them randomly drop aggravates the player population that is used to acquiring gear easily. 


In the older versions,  gear was much harder to come by, you could wear a piece of gear an entire expansion sometimes not getting an upgrade for that slot. I actually like the older style much better were gearing your character took longer and gear, at least upgrades, were harder to come by. 


Now the game just feels so shallow, it doesn't feel like an MMO anymore, plays more like Diablo with simplified classes and just endless levels of RNG loot being thrown at you, which for an MMO really cheapens the gearing process for the player. 

Karl_Hungus
Karl_Hungus

@Fatslapper 

Yes, instead of creating engaging content worth repeating, they opted for the Diablo approach and hope you get addicted to the endless waves of worthless loot, praying you get the two out of dozens of legendaries that make your class/spec playable. Unfortunately, they forgot one key element to Diablo and that's the overpowered classes that make smashing and grabbing actually fun. I don't care about loot in Diablo. Never did. For me, it's always been about being a megalithic badass destroying wave after wave of demons. WoW can't even come close to that kind of play and never will because it wasn't built from the ground up for it. Blizz shoehorning in elements from Diablo as an afterthought is a shortcut around thinking and creative design. 

Legion's dungeons were passable the first time through. Now they're just flat out nauseating. And yet, if you want to be a competitive player or if you merely just want to progress your character, you have to grind mythic+ dungeons all day and night, praying to RNGesus for the random drops you need. And you also have to do these dungeons without the convenience of the dungeon finder, which means building groups the old fashioned way, with all the elitist toxicity that goes along with it. The common phrase used in building these groups is "big dick". Everyone says they need a big dick tank or big dick DPS. That's the kind of mentality you have to wade into if you want to grind these dungeons the way Blizzard expects you to.

Karl_Hungus
Karl_Hungus

Less randomness is at the top of my list to the point where I'd forgive every other fault/shortcoming were it fixed because it's greatly affecting my longevity with the game more than anything else.

JudgeDavid101
JudgeDavid101

Official Vanilla and / or legacy realms. Happy New Year, Blizz.

Ppiper
Ppiper

Legion finally cured my WoW addiction since beta. Sadly, the divorce is final.

ManastuUtakata
ManastuUtakata

@Ppiper 

On the other hand, Legion gave me a second honey with WoW. Never thought I would see that! o.O

ManastuUtakata
ManastuUtakata

Edit/Erratum: Legion game me a second *honeymoon...proper.