Sunday, 27 October 2013

Scaling to Lower Levels

It is fun to imagine that murlocs inhabiting the shores of Ghostlands could once more become a real threat. That is a lie. It is horrible. Pure horror. Anyone who ever encountered a pack of murlocs in time before heirlooms, knows what I am talking about. You only need one more murloc spine, just one more murloc has to die, and then you are safe. You are home. You will never again hear another murloc screech, and deep inside, you are thankful for the nightmare will be over. And then this one murloc runs away from you with shred of health and calls three of his friends to help him.

To be honest, the concept on its own is interesting. It could provide groups of friends to play together even if they could not otherwise. All in all, getting your ass dragged through Stratholme while everything you do is just loot, while the level 90 of a terminator clears the way is fun only for a finite number of times.

That said, it should be optional. I spend a fair amount of time farming the old raid instances in search of the mounts that are still to drop (I am looking at you Fiery Warhorse), and the armour pieces that exist only on the lists of data.  It is my way of pass time. And I would like to keep it for as long as I do not get all that I require. Which calculating right now, will be a long time, if ever.

Another thing that should be noted is, where would we scale down the player? Only dungeons, and other instances? Or would it be across the board. Would it be optional, or totally automatic? These are all valid questions. All of these options bring problems of their own, so let us take a look.

Leveling zones in World of Warcraft were never made with the intent of scaling. Higher level players were always meant to be in higher level zones. This was the most optimal way. They earn more experience there, more gold, and there is gear appropriate for their level. Now, if all the content was scaled down, does that mean if a level 90 player dies (I know it is hard to believe, but let us imagine) in Durotar due to a boar, does that player pay twenty gold for repair costs, or does he pay only a few coppers?

If the downscaling is optional, but can be applied anywhere, what happens with the world PvP? Let us imagine you are picking herbs in Southern Barrens. Because you thought it would be fun, you decided to downscale. Then you encounter an Alliance player that did not downscale. Can he one-shot this Horde herb-gatherer, or will the Horde player automatically return to his max level? And if the latter is true, how does the game decide when you need to be max level, and when downscaled?

There is also a question of incentive. Why would a max level players want to visit the old zones? Why could this new content added into the old zones not be done through phasing technology if it was aimed for max level players? Blizzard always stressed how the focus of the max level players should be on the new content. This is why portals were removed from Shatrath and Dalaran. This is why Orgrimmar and Stormwind were made central points of players through Cataclysm.

Now, with the instances-only downscale option there is much less problems. If it is not optional, most players will go there in groups. And because it requires groups, but gives only cosmetic, it could be a hard time finding a group of people willing to possibly wipe along your side for the chance of getting some piece of equipment. They can do that in LFR, but at least there they get the current gear, that is most likely to be an upgrade.

It seems that only real option remains in downscaling being optional in instances. With that, you would avoid all the fuss over needing a group of people for outdated content that is not of real interest to majority. Let us be honest, if you needed forty people for Molten Core, hardly anyone would even bother. If you had to assemble a group twenty-five people in order to venture into Tempest Keep, nobody would even try.

But having an option to do so is not bad. It gives those few (four) that are interested in trying to experience the content as it used to be, a chance to do just that. As long as it is optional.

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