Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gear: The Only Displayed Accomplishment?

Last night a friend of mine said in Ventrilo that he was bored of WoW. This person has only played WoW for 2 months and has already dinged 70 on his first and only character, a Shadow Priest. This is the type of guy that will *NOT* roll an alt to check out other classes, he hates leveling.

He is discouraged about BG's because he's always targeted first, and usually goes down fast. Arenas would solve some of the BG dilemma, but his teammates are always raiding.

The last MMO this person played was Ultima Online, and he said something that struck me. He said, "There's nothing to do in this game after level 70, it's all about getting better gear".

Playing Ultima Online myself, along with *many* other MMO's in-between, I know where he is coming from. Too understand this on a high-level only, I think it can be boiled down to one word, accomplishments.

People like accomplishments, and like showing off their achievements even more. In World of Warcraft your only displayed accomplishment is your gear, therefore all game-play is centered around achieving gear in one shape or another.

Since I mentioned Ultima Online, it will be our comparison for this discussion. In the world of Ultima Online there were many displayed achievements that could be seen by peers throughout the world. I will list some below... (I'm not comparing which game is better, or advocating UO, but instead showing other means of achievements found in MMO's)

1. Veteran Rewards - This is a simple idea that shows a players age in the world, and the rewards were things that could be seen by other characters, such as special mounts.

2. Titles - Ultima Online had titles based off fame and karma. Your fame increased by the amount of monsters you killed, and your karma increased / decreased by your actions in the game, such as attacking another player.

3. Houses - I've never seen more unique player designs in a game than found in player created houses. Not only can players design their own home with walls, floors, & roofs, but they can decorate the inside as well to add even more customization.

4. Rare Items (not gear) - In World of Warcraft a "hard-to-get" item would be an epic piece of armor that would only be displayed on your character. In Ultima Online, you could also acquire rare items that were displayed in your home. The rare items offered no statistical bonus, but allowed players to display their achievements.

5. Character Customization - It's obvious that if you're not wearing a matching armor set in WoW, then chances are you look like a clown. In Ultima Online you could dye any piece of clothing to cover your armor. On top of that, you could purchase a special "neon" hair dye from a vendor for 500k, a substantial amount of gold at the time. The neon hair allowed players to display their "achievement" of 500k gold by dying their hair a special color.

6. Vendors - I know the auction house is a great idea, and adds to WoW's awesome accessibility, but it lacks the ability for a player to display achievements. In Ultima Online you could set your house to public and place vendors. This allowed some players to create grand shops known server-wide and were a great sign of accomplishment.

7. Crafting - World of Warcraft sort-of has this feature, but not to the extent of Ultima Online (and especially Star Wars Galaxies for that matter). In both games your name is attached to created items, but without a vendor option, there's not much notoriety on the items you create in WoW.

8. Guild Wars - (no this isn't referring to the game) In Ultima Online you could declare war on other guilds, this allowed achievements to players by defeating another guild on your server. The achievement was displayed through word-of-mouth, but it was still exhilarating to be in the winning guild in a war.

These are just some examples of accomplishments, other than gear, that can be displayed to peers in an online world. Looking at recent titles, such as LOTRO, you find "displayed accomplishments" are very popular. LOTRO has a simple "Titles" feature that allows players to earn a plethora of titles, some statistically advantageous, some just for show.

The reason the raiding feature in WoW was so popular pre-BC was because it was the only way to acquire a "displayed achievement" in World of Warcraft. I would like to see WoW, and other upcoming releases to learn from LOTRO and games before it that provided various means to display multitudes of achievements found throughout the game.



Sylvina Solaris said...

City of Heroes/Villains offered some similar things... there were hidden 'badges' throughout maps to get special prefix titles to your name, there were also 'achievement' badges you got for doing a certain quest, killing a certain mob, or flat out slaughtering 1000+ things, it was a HUGE thing for me because I'm a collector at heart and wanted to get all the badges. Something like that would work out great in WoW. CoH & CoV also had secret bases, that you could raid with your supergroup... so it'd be group vs. group (Heroes vs. Villains) and you could buy laser turrets and other fun cool stuff to help defend your awesomely designed (by those in the guild/yourself) base.

Some other things exist in WoW that are worth noting to be 'non gear based':

Factions - Those are fun, I enjoy grinding faction, and not really for gear, but for kicks, but hey, you get a cool tabard for exalted! You get that sweet parrot/pirate outfit for Bloodsail too.

Pets - All the little non-combat pets, there are so many now, somebody on my server is collecting them all, these are a blast.

Titles - Blizzard is slowly working into this, but it seems to only be PvP oriented at the moment.

Granted, there are definitely not a LOT of things to do, but there are still a good handful of non-raid related things you can do end-game.

Warpcurse said...

Now I really miss good old UO, I loved the whole PVP system and the openendness of that world.

I agree though that besides PVP, gear grinding is all you do in WOW.

Isthla said...

There are WoW mounts you can only achieve at 70, some of which include the Netherdrake, the Nether Ray, and Fiery Warhorse.

Keystone said...

Those are three things in WoW, other than gear, that are displayed accomplishments...

1. mounts
2. tabards
3. pets

Wow needs more items like these that can be displayed, or an interface to display already current items (guild housing).

I love collecting items, but showing off my collection is what makes it rewarding. I don't think my Marvel cards would be as cool if only I could see them.

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