Friday, 7 October 2011

Your Character and You

Motivated by the comments..

A fascinating piece of Fan Art just added to the World of Warcraft site gallery. Always a viewing pleasure.

Now, tell me. What does your character mean to you? When you first made the choice of what race, and secondly class, to play (or in reverse maybe), what journey did you have in mind ahead of you? For myself, and many, it was the start of an adventure. Or maybe you hadn't really given it much thought, just went in head first.

Though it wasn't until recently that this got me thinking. After you get really stuck into that character, whether it be high end PVE raiding or PVP, you may have an urge to do the same on another class/race combination. Mean, of course you have, at least at some point along the line. But, there's a but, are there lingering factors which keep you at bay, from bringing forth a new character into Azeroth? At least with the intent to mimic the activities which are already being played out on your 'main toon'.

Lets look into this more. Picture it. You've finally cleared the Firelands, steadily working your way through Heroic Modes and you'd like to switch it up a bit. So, a new 'alt' character comes to mind. You work your way through the leveling process, in whichever way you desire, it wasn't too bad. Maybe not as fun as the first time, nonetheless, but nothing unbearable, at least not for those who haven't levelled many before (even more so). Sitting at the level cap in your greens, you think where and what first. Of course, just do exactly what your first character did. Whether that be grinding Heroics or Battlegrounds and working your way up through the chain, I.E.  5-mans -> raiding.

Now this is where the dilemma for some comes in. The 'inconvenience'.

Especially for those on there third, forth, or however many'th alt character, the situation and feeling occurs.

Why should we have to re-do everything that we have already done on our first character, just to be able to play a different character or, more specifically, class. Mean, we've proven that we can overcome these 'challenges' or grinds, which are considered more so for most players, already. So why again?

Let's take a look at some comment's and feedback that have picked up since my previous post on class feedback and homogenisation, to build up a better image.

"Warcraft took a different route, where you not only choose, but commit, and if you later choose to try a different route, all your previous work is essentially discarded." (HomeSchool)

Okay, I can see your point...

"So, unfortunately, the choice can lead to a dead end."

Well, how else could this be confronted?  What other options are out there..

"Final Fantasy XI, regardless of its many flaws, had an answer to this. In their class system, any character could play any class. Each one had to be leveled from level 1, and each had its own class-specific armor, so in that regard it was no different from leveling multiple characters.Where it DID differ was that if your group was capped out on your class or role, you could always switch to a new role."

Right, I see where this is leading. I think Rift has taken a similar approach? Anyway, this is Warcraft not any other MMO.

What if? What if we were able to, once we had a well established main toon, make the transition between one, or more, character to another, somewhat, smoother.

By this I impose, the sharing of particular 'accumulations' on one character with your others (or at least those applicable). Those in question would be the likes of; reputation, certain currencies and mounts. There's an endless list of items that players would like to be able to pass between characters.

The idea which has been suggested is - 'less Soulbound and more Account Bound'. Such as heirlooms are, which could just be the start.

When looking at this particular mind-frame, I tried to take a glance through the eyes of Blizzard.

In my view, this very idea, is actually against the creators original intentions. Although small changes have been put in place to suggest a shift in recent times. I see the very concept of a unique hero being just what Blizzard set out to enforce in players, at least when each character is concerned. The feeling that every character has it's own meaning, it's own individual value. That starting another would entail a whole new adventure.

There are a number of ways in which you can perceive the design. Whether it be Blizzards way of creating a rich a dynamic world, full of re-playability, or, for some, a way to keep a hold of players subscriptions.

Mean, I can understand the theory behind it. Being able to focus so deeply on one character, always being able to find a way to progress him/her. Then when you feel it's time to try your hand at something new, the whole experience is there once again. Though this 'process' has actually become catered for those wishing to catch up with their main character, with the use of Heirlooms etc. On the same hand, I also see some benefits for players with this method.

Being able to spend time to learn a class, rather than being instantly max level without much knowledge. "All the gear, but no idea" comes to mind.

Although, I do indeed see the drawbacks that this holds for a lot of players. Especially those with multiple alts and/or servers. So where do we find a middle line?

What are your thoughts. Could "account bound" be the way forward? Or should ever character require just the same time and effort invested as every other? Just where is the comfortable medium between the two sides.

Now, with that, I'd like to pose another 'food for thought' in place for my next topic to come. Revolving around a comment suggesting PVE and PVP, can not co-exist equally in WoW. Maybe that one is just side game, namely PVP. What's your view?

Thanks for reading, make sure to leave a comment

Keep Posted - Follow/Comment/Subscribe

- Jamin


  1. Wow's approach has long been to play more, not better. That's not to say they haven't made many excellent convenience changes, such as heirlooms, dual speccing, faster mails to yourself, and so forth, but nothing they've ever done made you have to play less.

    The reason is, of course, obvious, but it does reveal a somewhat predatory business practice. Why make dailies that take a month to get all the goodies? Why not make the dailies fun so people will want to do them? Why not provide the goodies sooner, but have other rewards for continuing the process? Why not have every faction work like Therazane, where the important items are account bound?

    They want you to play more, not better. It's good business sense, but turns us all into rats running a wheel. Excellent post.

  2. Stubborn

    Think to an extent I can agree with your first comment, if not wholly. It's this very concept that is pushing me out..

    However the only argument I can see against it, is the situation WHEN you are at the gear cap. For example all of this seasons PVP gear, so you can literally log on just to play. That's WHEN you get there. I just ask myself is all that time really worth it..

    Thanks for commenting! Made my day,

    - Jamin

  3. The way I see it, the classes are distinct enough one can easily argue against account bound achievements and things. If one didn't get all their achievements playing a certain class, then they didn't 'achieve' playing the game with the strengths and limitations of that particular class, or in the role of that class. E.g. why should players have achievements earned on a dps toon also apply to a tank toon, even though they never really tanked?

    However, I completely agree with the idea of certain things applying across all toons on an account. The reality is that Warcraft is such a time intensive game that it's simply unrealistic (and sort of mean-spirited) to make things like rep and mounts not apply to more than one character. It is reasonable to want to make alts and invest in them, but for most players (casuals) it is untenable. Really, is the differences between classes so important that my subsequent toons can't benefit from the years of my life I won't get back grinding for rewards?

    I still love my main very much, but it was an agonizing decision to limit my game to developing just the one toon, when I didn't know the difference in abilities of each class to really make an informed decision. Sure, one can read up on it, but the kinesthetic and aesthetic experience of playing a full-fledged lvl 85 character is something that must be experienced to really assess accurately.

    If more rewards were shared across characters, there wouldn't be players like me who have a stable of alts at 85 who will never see the light of day again because I don't have all day every day to pour into gearing them up and stuff. It would allow me to enjoy the game multidimensionally, and god forbid, feel like I have the time to learn different roles like tanking and healing without prematurely committing (or committing) to something I don't want to do.

    More choice, not less, I say!

  4. @Mikado

    You make some brilliant and very strong points in your opening comment! Heck, that actually makes real sense. "You've DPSed it, but can you Tank it?!"

    Though I'm with you when it comes to reputations and all that. Also, as can be seen with my latest post, yes, the time-investment is unreal at times (if not the majority).

    Commitment, as you say, is the deciding factor here.

    Thanks for your comment, stop by again!

    - Jamin

  5. Oh god yes please - account bound achieves would make my day. I have my 'main' - a warrior with over 10k achieves, but to help fill a shortage in our healing team, I rolled and levelled a shaman during wrath, and have been raiding on that toon ever since.

    Doing 2 lots of molten front dailies (for the gear on the shaman and the achievements on the warrior) was not fun at all!

    I agree a lot with Mikado as well - I've healed through guild achieve runs on current content, I'm pretty sure I can dps them too, why do I then have to organise a re-run for alts (which is usually harder due to the lower gear level).

    Bottom line I think is that the system has not aged well - in the early days (I'm a wrath baby) I could imagine that it was easy (easier?) to switch and play catchup on achieves, although I'm sure there were still things that were painful.

    Now days - people have 10 85 toons full on their server of choice, and have had enough time to become skillful at all 3 roles - and probably have enough decent gear to help out in normal mode raids on multiple toons. So why restrict people to just the one class? Link the achieves to the account, and players are given more flexibility to enjoy wow the way they want, without being punished for their choices.

  6. @Anonymous

    Ah, a view from the far side of the spectrum. Mean, that's A LOT of achievement points!

    Well, before wrath, achievements didn't exist. With that, tasks were not set by the in-game achievement layout, so there wasn't as much of a reason to perform all these now-usual activities.

    Good and interesting to see a point of view from the far end of wanting this 'account-bound' ideology.

    Your comment is appreciated,

    - Jamin

  7. Well! I didn't expect a post to focus on my lil' ol' comment. Quite the surprise.

    I appreciated the attempt at Blizzard's perspective. Looking at the early days, things were SO severely intensive that hardcore didn't mean "very skilled", it meant "on the game 10 hours a day". Everything required that kind of investment of time. Alts were a serious decision, because you were committing to them - those little characters were your LIFE. (Or they sat at level 10 forever.)

    But now? Blizzard seems to have shifted away from that mindset. Leveling has been streamlined and sped, so you can reach level cap in a fraction of the time; costs have been cut; everything's on vendors and trainers and the AH in a convenient core, like Wal-mart gone Warcraft. (War-mart?)

    So I would challenge the perspective and ask if that's still what Blizzard intends? Do they really want you to spend your time on the grinds of leveling, reputation, and dailies, or have they shifted entirely to a focus on giving you the experience that will keep you playing (and paying?)

  8. @HomeSchool

    Well, like I say, I appreciate every comment I get :)

    I agree, that they have slowly moved away from that concept, from the early days, a lot more than any of us can notice I think.

    Got another post in the works which should expand my new point of view. So stay tuned,

    Thanks for stopping y,

    - jAMIN


Please leave a comment, good or bad, all views are appreciated greatly!