Max level does not mean Skilled

(Relat­ed post: Raid­ing does not mean Skilled)

World of War­craft, and every game like it, is real­ly two dif­fer­ent games. I first read this thought at Pen­ny Arcade (can’t find where because their search func­tion is weak). Basi­cal­ly, you have the lev­el­ling game where you start at L1 and then play until max lev­el (cur­rent­ly L70), and then the game that hap­pens after the lev­el­ling game, which is filled with group activ­i­ties of all sorts as you improve your max lev­el char­ac­ter.

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The Downside of Endgame Guilds

I’ve been read­ing Tobold and Pot­shot late­ly. They’re talk­ing about loot and game design as it relates to endgame guilds, specif­i­cal­ly guild hop­ping and pro­gres­sion prob­lems due to it. I haven’t seen a decent expla­na­tion of the prob­lem, but as a guild officer/leader I’ve seen it in action twice now, once with the orig­i­nal WoW endgame and now with the TBC endgame. I don’t have a solu­tion, but I can frame the prob­lem.

For me, the most fun time in WoW is right after an expan­sion hits, when there’s lim­it­ed col­lec­tive endgame explo­ration. All the con­tent is new and fresh, then I find myself group­ing with not just my long-term guild friends, but also my friends who left to get on the pro­gres­sion roller coast­er. It’s glo­ri­ous! This is what the first two months of TBC was like.

Then, endgame progress starts to hap­pen, and a tiered sys­tem begins to form.

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There are Many Ways to Win

The game indi­ca­tor of win­ning in WoW is receiv­ing an epic item. In vanil­la WoW, the vast major­i­ty of epic items came from 40-man raid­ing. I’ll grant that there was an epic hunter quest, a few lim­it­ed craft­ing bits, some world drops, and a top-lev­el pvp set that only a hand­ful of peo­ple could get. But over­all, if you want­ed a reli­able way to get epic gear (and win), you hooked up with a raid guild and start­ed raid­ing… whether you liked raid­ing or not.

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