Monday, February 28, 2011

Cataclysm Levelling: A Really Entertaining Highway

I have recently begun leveling through Uldum, due to my need to do something between 40 minute heroic queues (as you can't heal a heroic unless you have disproportionately better gear than dps, which basically means you need to do offspec roics - more on this later) and something very strange came to my attention. All throughout Uldum - not to mention in Hyjal, Twilight Highlands, and low level zones from Thousand Needles to Stranglethorn to Gilneas - I never ONCE met another player.

Not once.

Okay, this is a lie. I met another player. I've probably met a total of 12 players in leveling. Every time it's followed by a bout of annoyed cursing, as they've just jacked my Cinderbloom and they couldn't show the bloody patience to let a druid who's trying to farm his alchemist's stone get a gorram CINDERBLOOM I mean CMON it's like the worst herb since Dreaming bloody GLORY.

But anyway.

I have never whispered another player. I have not /said a word. I have not /yelled, /facepalmed, or "/join 1 WTB Tank for Durn the Hungerer, Willing to pay 200g! Whisper plx!"ed in Uldum once. There have been no group quests (the exception, Ring of Blood Mk III, proves the rule), there have been no reasons to group. The only point of other players, gameplay-wise, is to steal kills, loot, herbs, experience, and time.

This, needless to say, is not a very healthy thing for a MMORPG. In fact, WoW from levels 1-58 and 80-84 is not an MMORPG - it is a MSORPG (Massively Singleplayer Online Role Playing Game). Meaningful (say, repeated more than once) contact with a person is never necessary; it's never encouraged; at times, it seems it's actively discouraged. Dungeon runs are 1-offs with people you'll never see again and perhaps won't even talk to the whole run, group quests are gone, 'public' quests like the battle for Undercity do not need more than one person ever and frankly can be annoying with just two, Microdungeons have gone the way of Laird the Fish vendor (R.I.P.), and Blizzard does not seem to care/notice.

Why? Probably because their multiplayer at level cap is their main focus of attention, and the community all gets there eventually - and the vocal minority exists at level cap. But what about those millions of customers who shell out 15$/month for what has turned into a single player game? The Altaholics, the casualcore levelers, the RP levelers, the millions who enjoy getting characters to level 40, deleting, starting afresh - you may not know them, but I do, and they're there, maybe not on blogs but playing the same game as all of us Raiders and Mount Collectors and Illustrious Master Alchemists and Herbalist Ninjas and all of us - so Blizzard, please stop shutting down their potential social connections, let low level guilds grow again, encourage people to meet during leveling, because it's fun and interesting and doesn't deserve to go away.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I guess I should explain the title. I thoughat a pretty apt metaphor for levelling, right now, is driving. You sit in your car, going places, doing things, and it's a super fun and pretty highway where you jump through flaming hoops and such, but you don't talk to anyone else. If you do talk to someone else, you're pissed and flipping them off. Because they stole your Cinderbloom.