World of Warcraft should eliminate grinds. I should be able to enjoy whatever content I please. No repeating content I don’t want to do just to be able to do the content I do enjoy. And no forgetting about the old content because I want to keep up with the current.
WoW is a game, and the goal is to have fun. I should be able to play the content that I find enjoyable. I don’t really want to run a set number of heroics each week to earn points so I can get new gear. I don’t want to be forced to run raids over and over for the chance of a drop. Sometimes I feel like participating in some older content, but I don’t have the time. Currently, I need to do seven Rise of the Zandalari heroics every week. It’s a welcome change to the one-per-day model, but it’s still troublesome and boring. What I want to do most of all right now is complete the Firelands. Of course, in order to do that I need to run my heroics so I earn Valor Points for gear. I also need some gear from the previous raid tier still. And once I complete Firelands, I’ll need to run it over and over for more gear so that I’m prepared for the next tier.
One barrier to enjoying content is lockouts. You can only do each raid once per week. Lockouts should be removed from the game. If I want to play through the Firelands twice this week, why shouldn’t I? On top of that, if everyone in the raid group has already downed a particular boss, the group should be able to skip it. Unless players want to fight that boss because they enjoy it or want to see it for some other reason, skipping it would allow people to get right to the content they want to see. Making everyone kill each boss at least once before moving on to the next also guarentees that they understand the mechanics of that fight, allowing the proceeding bosses to include mechanics that build upon those of the previous. Of course the problem with all this skipping is that people can’t skip if they need the gear. Similarly, removing lockouts means people can gear up by running something over and over. Remove the Valor Points / Justice Points system entirely, and do away with loot – problem solved.
I realize that people like tangible goals that can be reached and that Blizzard likes money. Without a reason to keep playing, people could finish a raid and then cancel their accounts, waiting for the next content patch. WoW should encourage new trials with current encounters – not grinding. For example, all raids bosses should have multiple achievements associated with them. After you complete a boss the normal way, maybe you’ll want to go back and try it a new and fun way. There could also be timed runs of entire raid instances. More than just an achievement for doing it in a certain amount of time, there could be leaderboards for how fast particular raids had been done. Without loot, you don’t have to worry about people overgearing it! This would appeal to the strive for a high score. Certain difficult achievements could still award loot, because of course, WoW is a role-playing game, and people like having status symbols, but the loot wouldn’t have stats. Awesome designs and interesting on-use effects could take the place of ever-increasing numbers.
Content should be challenging yet still accessible. When content is released, it should have a normal and heroic mode. The difference should be similar to the existing differences between normal and heroic (with the exception that heroic mode can’t require better gear!), and achievements and leaderboards would be separate. Raids should also have an easy mode for those who want to see what it’s like but lack the skill to truly succeed in normal. When I firsts outlined this post, there was no announcement yet of the Looking For Raid tool that uses raids tuned easier, so it seems Blizzard agrees with me on this point (and half-heartedly on the no lockouts point too). New raids should still come out at the same rate, but an interesting side effect of not having increasingly more powerful gear is that all the old raids are still relevant. To keep players engaged in the game, there could be a new achievement every two weeks and a new featured raid time-to-beat on the alternating weeks. Long time players might cringe at the thought of going back to some places right now, but under the system I’m proposing, you wouldn’t have had to slam your face into the keyboard in frustration for months in one particular raid, so maybe those players wouldn’t be so tired of particular encounters!
I know this system could never hold. Most people don’t agree with me, and many gamers really subscribe to that carrot-on-a-stick game design philosophy. However, I just want to have fun. I want to enjoy WoW without feeling forced to do particular content. I want to do the content that seems fun to me. Getting rid of lockouts eliminates a barrier to doing the content that I want to do, and getting rid of new gear frees me from being forced to do content that I don’t want to do. Additionally, introducing leaderboards for times through instances/raids and new achievements would continually breathe new life into old content. Using this system would not only allow players more flexibility but it would create a game were more content (all of it) was current and relevant.
I know I’ll never see it, but a priest can dream!