Wrath Emblem Design Revealed

Hid­den in an oth­er­wise bland post on the next sea­son of pvp rewards, game design­er Kal­gan let slip how emblem pro­gres­sion is going to go for the rest of Wrath! Here’s the rel­e­vant quote:

it won’t be quite as easy to get dead­ly items via emblems of con­quest as hate­ful items cur­rent­ly are via emblems of valor

Well, that’s inter­est­ing. So what have we learned? Con­tin­ue read­ing Wrath Emblem Design Revealed

WQ: Grizzly Hills Stink

I recent­ly wrote some gush­ing praise on Wrath quest­ing–about how Bliz­zard final­ly has it fig­ured out, how it’s great fun, blah blah blah. All that was before my wife and I moved into the Griz­zly Hills.

Now, I’m eat­ing my words.

What a mas­sive come­down this zone is after Dragonblight!

Let’s run down real­ly quick­ly the change in tone and con­tent from the pre­vi­ous zone to this one:


  • ride siege machines
  • res­cue vil­lagers from an undead-rid­den city on a snow gryphon
  • fight drag­ons from dragonback
  • sub­vert the lieu­tenants of Naxxramas
  • pal around with the leader of the Emer­ald Dream
  • invade a horde city along­side your fac­tion leaders

Griz­zly Hills

  • grind elk meats with a hor­ri­ble drop rate
  • grind bear flanks with a hor­ri­ble drop rate
  • grind wolves
  • grind troll mojo with a hor­ri­ble drop rate, do it five times in a row, with only the loca­tion of the troll camp chang­ing each time
  • grind some herbs because some ran­dom npc stubbed his foot and needs foot balm
  • grind the same wolves again for some­one else
  • trav­el all over the zone by horse­back because there are only two flight points (poor­ly located)
  • dou­ble back con­stant­ly because dif­fer­ent quest hubs tar­get the same areas

Basi­cal­ly, every­thing I said in my pre­vi­ous post on quest qual­i­ty was undone in this zone.

Admit­ted­ly, I’m not inter­est­ed at all in the pvp quests, so maybe I’m miss­ing the point. Are those quests any good? More impor­tant­ly, are they so good that they redeem the rest of the zone?

I’m so glad to be mov­ing on to Zul’­Drak. I’m going to skip the Griz­zly Hills entire­ly on my alts.

WQ: Better Questing!

The bread-and-but­ter of lev­el­ing, quest­ing, is bet­ter than ever in Wrath. Quest­ing is more fun from both from a nar­ra­tive and mechan­i­cal perspective.

The nar­ra­tives are stronger. A scourge-rav­aged vil­lage where many peo­ple have been lost, where you ulti­mate­ly ral­ly the peo­ple to flush the zom­bies out. Some ani­mal activists work against overzeal­ous ani­mal hunters, you start off help­ing trapped ani­mals, learn­ing about the hunters, and even­tu­al­ly lead­ing an attack to stop their oper­a­tion. A gnome encamp­ment try­ing to learn what hap­pened to their lost peo­ple and how the miss­ing are con­nect­ed to the grow­ing pol­lu­tion. They’re like short sto­ries that you play out in the WoW uni­verse. In orig­i­nal and TBC, you’d have a mix of good sto­ry pro­gres­sion with ones that seemed tan­gen­tial or designed to be filler. A much high­er pro­por­tion of the quests are tied to these short sto­ries. There’s set­up, there’s a cycle of activ­i­ty and con­tin­u­a­tion of sto­ry, and final­ly a con­clu­sion with per­haps a leader to the next chap­ter. And this sto­ry usu­al­ly ties into the over­all theme of the zone, or the neigh­bor­ing quests.

The mechan­ics of actu­al­ly doing a quest are the same–there are col­lec­tion quests, deliv­ery quests, smack ene­mies quests, and some oth­ers. It’s the con­di­tions sur­round­ing these quests that has improved. Most quest hubs have neigh­bor­ing regions where those quests are per­formed, and now a quest chain log­i­cal­ly pro­gress­es with­in that region with lit­tle ran­dom leaps to oth­er parts of the world. No more won­der­ing if you’re going to be back in the same loca­tion for a dif­fer­ent quest. My wife and I used to tour the entire zone upon entry, pick­ing up absolute­ly every quest in the fear that two seem­ing­ly unre­lat­ed hubs were going to ask us to per­form a task in the same loca­tion; it’s not fun when the Smelly Yeti Extinc­tion Soci­ety ask you to kill ten smelly yeti and then two ses­sions lat­er, the Aro­mat­ic Leather Crafty­mak­ers ask you to col­lect ten smelly yeti hides. No more of that, from what I’ve seen. Now we just come upon a quest hub and do what we like.

Both of these points are sub­tle, but clear­ly Bliz­zard has put a lot of effort into improv­ing the qual­i­ty of quests. I’m real­ly enjoy­ing them.

WoW Itemization Dreams

Con­tin­u­ing yes­ter­day’s expla­na­tion of Wrath item­iza­tion, let’s exper­i­ment and take it a step fur­ther. Here are some fur­ther class changes Bliz­zard could make to sim­pli­fy the “nobody in our guild could use this loot” prob­lem. (Ram­pant arm­chair game design follows.)

Con­tin­ue read­ing WoW Item­iza­tion Dreams