We’re previous 15 years on now, and World of Warcraft nonetheless lacks housing. That is, frankly, actually dumb. And it comes up lots, and also you all the time have the folks working arduous within the Fanboy Mines who hearth again with the identical set of defenses: that housing wouldn’t work within the recreation, that nobody desires housing, that they tried that with Garrisons and it was terrible, that it’s simply not doable due to the engine. So on, so forth, again and again.
Gosh, why does Blizzard even have legal professionals? A complete lot of persons are so devoted to defending them totally free.
I’m not going to dissect each single considered one of these unhealthy arguments right here, however I am going to speak about housing as a result of it’s a topic close to and expensive to my coronary heart. And I feel that there’s a fairly clear incontrovertible fact that the sources for creating a minimum of a useful housing system exists as a result of we already know that there have been the sources to develop a number of different methods with a lot much less longevity.
At the beginning, let’s be clear about one thing: With any growth undertaking, “can’t” means one thing that’s by no means really synonymous with “this isn’t attainable.” “We are able to’t try this” might imply “we don’t have the funds to do that” or “we don’t have the manpower to do that” and even “the engine we’ve got can’t simply help this.” However in all of these circumstances, the true challenge there’s with an prolonged caveat that you simply’re making that call primarily based on cash, time, and different initiatives.
Or, to place it one other method, it’s not that there’s no method so as to add somewhat toe-wiggling idle animation to male orcs at any time when they stand idle for greater than 5 minutes. It’s that the period of time and sources put into that undertaking as an alternative of different initiatives both isn’t worthwhile or isn’t one thing undertaking leads need.
It’s simple to take that as a grounding and say that Blizzard clearly has the cash to develop correct housing as a result of, properly… look at it. And I get that stance, however I additionally suppose it’s not the strongest attainable argument as a result of there’s a extra apparent one sitting proper there. Particularly, has nobody seen that beginning with Warlords of Draenor, the builders have had the sources to create new game-defining methods for every growth?
Garrisons, Artifacts, the Coronary heart of Azeroth, Covenants… all of those methods had been designed for one growth. You possibly can definitely argue that a few of these methods are not very well-designed (I’m not going to be the one attempting to persuade you that the Coronary heart of Azeroth is definitely good, as a result of it’s not), however the actuality remains to be that these methods had been put into place and functioned. And there’s a lot of labor concerned in creating a brand new system and implementing it, full with visible results, recreation mechanics, interface parts, and so forth… particularly once you abandon the entire thing two years later to make a very new one.
Additionally, you will word that none of those methods is precise content material. We’re not really even speaking about dropping a raid tier. When you had the selection between Garrisons and housing, which might you select?
And the factor is that every one of those methods are, properly, troublesome to place collectively. This required effort and time and battle. Sure, it could have been troublesome to make housing work. Making Artifacts work was additionally troublesome. Can you actually inform me that the latter is a lot more durable, particularly when a number of the fundamental options had been already in place from early beta assessments? For that matter, can you actually inform me that increasing Garrisons into being full housing would have been extra troublesome than abandoning them altogether?
In fact, all of that is educational as a result of we must always know properly sufficient that the “can’t” right here isn’t a matter of sources. It’s a matter of what the folks making the selections are excited by seeing within the recreation. And that’s… really type of worse as a result of there have been roughly 9 million phrases written already about how a lot housing provides to a recreation, to not point out how a lot it could add to this recreation particularly.
Within the feedback of final week’s column, MOP reader Khrome talked about how Shadowlands is, in the end, another “content island” – a set of zones wholly disconnected zones that you simply degree by means of after which depart with no bigger connection established or maintained. This remark is correct. In reality, the neatest factor that Legion did was trying to de-emphasize this truth by having numerous your quests ship you all internationally. It was solely in service of building your order corridor, certain, nevertheless it did a minimum of give the sense that these locations had been nonetheless there and related regardless that they’re not the principle focus of this explicit growth.
Despite the title, the event group seems to be not simply unwilling to deal with WoW as going down inside an precise world however actively against it. Housing could be an effective way to convey folks collectively all throughout the sport’s world. As a substitute, the group appears certain and decided to keep away from having that occurred. Why the heck is that? Why would you actively need gamers to not be as engaged together with your recreation world?
It’s arduous to make sure, however as close to as I can inform it’s a matter of forcefully mashing the entire recreation’s gamers into the identical slender hall to make the sport really feel extra huge than it really is. Couple that with a steadfast refusal to plan about issues by way of a number of expansions (or, if there is a plan, to have one which appears similar to what there could be with out a plan), and also you wind up with a group that may’t see the worth in housing as a result of it’s a long-term funding.
That is disappointing to me not simply as a roleplayer however as somebody who actually desires to see this recreation obtain its potential. The very title of “growth” appears like a misnomer; at this level it’s extra like shopping for the subsequent season of an ongoing factor that has the gathering of stuff to beat up for the subsequent yr, and perhaps begrudgingly we’ll bear in mind one or two areas from the bottom recreation.
However let’s be sincere right here. In the end, WoW’s lack of housing hurts it for a lot the identical purpose that I identified its unerring focus on elite progression hurts it. The extra the sport tries to mash every little thing into one very slender path, the extra individuals who break off from that path are going to really feel like they don’t have anything left to do. After which they’re going to depart. For instance, they could go play in one of many many, many different MMOs which do have housing and have for fairly a while.
And in the end, that’s the closest factor the builders should an excuse. Based mostly on the proof, they need to preserve pumping up a playerbase that lengthy since plateaued and has been dwindling for ages, the social dependency crew that needs we might roll again the clock to 2004 when WoW was babytown frolics as an alternative of actually hardcore raiding video games like EverQuest.
You already know, a recreation that did add housing. A very long time in the past. As a result of it seems that gamers actually prefer it.
It may not be simple so as to add it, nevertheless it’s an funding within the long-term well being of the sport and a range of playerbase. And each time you stamp out voices calling for it, the extra you mark your self as blindly sycophantic to a design philosophy that has led to the sluggish atrophy of a title lots of people nonetheless need to love once more. Frankly, I’d moderately demand one thing troublesome than be sycophantic in my devotion or lack the fortitude to face by that.