Ion Hazzikostas has began speaking in current months about how World of Warcraft is first and foremost a roleplaying game. It appears as if he really means it ,too. Extra customization has been an enormous promoting level of this growth; Blizzard has actually been pushing character customization for all of the races, capacity customization by soulbinds and conduits.
We’ll see how lengthy the soulbind and conduits final, given Blizzard’s “develop and dump” methodology in terms of growth options. However the customization speak had me pondering not about how customizable WoW is however how a lot it’s nonetheless going to be lacking after we evaluate it to up to date video games. The remainder of the big four MMORPG all have character customization far past what WoW presents.
Provided that Hazzikostas and pals are (belatedly?) realizing that character customization is so crucial to the categories of people that play on this style, I assumed I might check out a few of what I might need to see by way of customization in Shadowlands and past.
Extra explosions! I imply, character customizations
As an RPG, WoW ought to have character customization out the wazoo. It’s what makes an RPG totally different than one thing like Doom. In Doom you need to use totally different weapons to flippantly adapt your gameplay, however there’s no actual customization to talk of. Customization helps construct stickiness and helps hold gamers engaged and drawn into the sport. We get extra connected to our characters the extra we are able to make them match our imaginative and prescient for what we wish them to be. Gamers are unlikely to make choices on which sport to play solely on how a lot you possibly can customise characters, nevertheless it’s positively an element.
Generally I’ll flit again to a selected sport for no different cause than that I like my characters in that sport. Guild Wars 2 is like that for me. Lettuce Elves (aka Sylvari) are my favourite fantasy race ever. I’ll return realizing that the sport at giant received’t maintain my consideration as a result of I simply need to play my Sylvari.
But regardless of the comparatively decrease effort to implement extra customization and the added stickiness, WoW continues to be mentioning the rear of the pack by a big margin in terms of beauty character customization. Once you play as many alternative video games as I do, it’s at all times jarring to come back again to character creation in WoW for a way extremely limiting it it. It looks like Blizzard has now began to appreciate this in recent times, because it’s began to dedicate engineering time to adding more customization in Shadowlands.
It’s completely a very good step in the proper path, and it must hold going. I don’t suppose that WoW wants a personality creator like The Elder Scrolls Online has, and most assuredly not like Black Desert Online‘s — a personality creator that’s broadly praised however I believe deserves loads of criticism. However WoW must be greater than what it’s proper now. In post-Shadowlands, the studio have to proceed including extra. Blizzard must decouple all of the totally different customizable elements. My Void Elf ought to have extra facial customizations than “spherical cherubic face” and “barely desiccated corpse.” My face selection for Blood Elves and Night time Elves shouldn’t impression what eye shade I’ve. If my Worgen desires racing stripes, I ought to have the ability to add these to any fur shade.
Blizzard won’t ever obtain probably the most strong character creator on this planet, however it could actually catch again as much as the baseline that the broader business has set.
There’s additionally one thing to be stated for foolish race-class restrictions and the way these don’t now, nor have they ever, made sense. However Eliot spent a whole column on that subject that you need to positively take a look at.
Glyphs, glyphs in all places
Past simply straight-up character customization, the studio might actually increase the glyph system to permit for extra capacity customization. Would you like your mage’s fireballs have pink pigtails billowing out behind her? You need to have the ability to try this. Would you like your outlaw rogue to yell “Ya’rrr me mateys!” each time you get a honorable kill as a substitute of the wordless kiai you’ve gotten now? These are foolish examples, however we have already got the proof of idea of capacity customization with scribe glyphs. The glyph system is absolutely well-designed (ignoring the glyphs locked behind high-end raids), and I actually just like the participant interdependency that it creates. I simply suppose that WoW wants extra.
Blizzard has made strikes in the proper path with the glyph system, nevertheless it simply appears unwilling to decide to doing something significant with it. The system is there, it really works, it’s enjoyable, and gamers love glyphs if public sale home costs are any indication. The corporate simply must spend the hassle to do extra.
I may even say that the Soulbind system with conduits additionally appears to functionally customise your skills. That is additionally good! I like the thought of Blizzard discovering methods to make theorycrafting much less necessary for the common gamers with out sapping all participant company from the sport. We don’t understand how the system goes to work in apply but, however I just like the idea.
Dye dye dye!
Certainly one of my favourite points of video games like ESO, GW2, and late Wildstar is the dye system. I liked having the ability to futz with the totally different shade channels on the armor I picked as much as match no matter shade mixture I used to be feeling in the meanwhile. I believe a dye system like that may be a sport changer, however since many of the armor design in WoW is visually busier than a Jackson Pollock portray, a extra cheap expectation can be one thing much like FFXIV’s dye system, the place a single dye modifications the colour palette of all the piece of drugs.
I’m not as a lot of a fan of one thing like that; I choose having the ability to customise totally different points of my gear. However the realist in me acknowledges that if WoW had been to ever implement a dye system, it’s extra more likely to be the latter. Regardless, one thing is best than nothing. There are various items of drugs in WoW that I might love to make use of for transmog — I like the design however hate colours. Giving me choices to have the ability to customise that may be so very welcome.
You already know what makes zero sense to me? Twenty-someaught years of warfare in Azeroth however the battle traces are nonetheless drawn throughout racial traces as a substitute of ideological ones. This has fairly actually at all times been problematic within the sport, however the occasions of the current months have made it exceptionally problematic. Briefly, any race ought to have the ability to be a part of both faction. It’s time to make this a actuality.
The factions ought to nonetheless exist, although. The Horde and the Alliance method conditions from very totally different views, and the ideological variations between the 2 make sense. The Horde has at all times been populated by misfits and the Alliance by the cool children. What doesn’t make sense anymore is that there aren’t any orcs who suppose the Alliance is best than the Horde, or that the whole thing of the Alliance is so poisonous and xenophobic that they wouldn’t settle for a Horde-raced character — and vice versa. The strict racial segregation in WoW is nonsensical each from a meta-perspective and inside the sport itself.
What I might like to see occur is two-fold: first, that Blizzard decouples the race selection from the faction selection, and second, that Blizzard finds a narrative-driven strategy to keep faction determine and pleasure whereas permitting the factions to play collectively. Throughout the run-up to Battle for Azeroth, I assumed that was the logical conclusion to Warmode. The warfare is over for the principle factions and so they can begin peacefully coexisting (aka taking part in collectively), whereas having these individuals who had been in Warmode nonetheless having the faction warfare. However that didn’t occur, or a minimum of hasn’t occurred but.
There are inklings all through BFA that Blizzard may lastly be dropping the Horde vs. Alliance as a continuing battle, however who is aware of? The BFA narrative cycle has fairly epically missed the mark in implementation. I totally imagine that Blizzard had a beautiful, compelling story to inform that it simply fully missed the mark on. I hope that each one the contradictory messaging about the way forward for the Horde-Alliance battle is definitely Blizzard setting as much as lastly let it drop, nevertheless it’ll be whereas earlier than we all know.
Additionally, my guild is Alliance and I actually, actually, actually need to play my vulpera with my guild, and it feels actual dangerous to not have the ability to.
The way forward for WoW
I don’t know precisely what patch 10.zero will convey us, however Blizzard remembering that WoW is an RPG is a promising growth. I don’t know if it’ll hold taking place this path of permitting us to actually customise our characters, however I hope it does. This growth hype cycle, I’ve heard extra about learn how to customise your character and fewer about raids than every other WoW growth in current reminiscence, and I can’t see that as something apart from good.