Friday, May 27, 2016

Blizzard Address Low Level Content Concerns

In early April, I talked about my experience with leveling a fresh toon in World of Warcraft as part of the Hearthstone promotion to get the new Lady Liadrin Paladin skin. The main issues I ran into were: combat was too short, other players were antisocial and heirlooms made dungeons not fun for anyone who lacked them. Rohan of Blessing of Kings had similar issues leveling for the promotion though he also had issues with the story in the low level zones.

I didn't think that the Warcraft Development team would have time to address these concerns with Legion Alpha and now Beta taking up most of their efforts. They proved me wrong.

The Devs started rolling out hotfixes to address some of the issues with the low level experience and one specifically to address what Rohan called the TTK (time to kill) issue.
Due to the accumulated effect of years’ worth of max-level tuning adjustments, many classes were killing low-level enemies nearly instantaneously, even without heirloom gear or other advantages. 
Reduced player damage at low levels to improve overall combat pacing. In general, Strength and Agility classes saw a larger reduction in damage than did casters. Damage dealt is unchanged from level 40 onwards. Level 1-10 enemy NPCs now deal slightly more damage. Reduced the bonus to out-of-combat health regeneration that players receive when below level 20. 
Rogue I used was an Agility class. I've heard stories of Brewmasters one shotting things with Keg Mash well into the 40s. As I was leveling my Rogue, I never got more than one or two combo points built up before the mob was dead.
Most quest bosses from level 1-20 should now be multitap and will scale their health with the numbers of players fighting them. Added dynamic respawn behavior to most level 1-20 outdoor areas, so that spawns will be more readily available during times of high player traffic.
While I didn’t encounter any problems with tapping, other players, especially those in the Blood Elf starting zone, ran into issues. There is one quest that you need to progress to the next phase and it requires killing a specific ‘boss’ type of mob. There were more players trying to kill him than his respawn timer could handle so you had players waiting around and those who could were AOEing trying to make sure they tagged him as soon as he spawned. Many were on trial accounts and therefore could not form groups nor chat effectively which only made the issue worse since no one could talk or form groups.

Clearly, these players were not leveling Paladins as the Sunwalker (Tauren) is the superior choice for your Horde Paladin if you have to roll Team Red. For Team Blue, there’s really only one choice – Dwarf!

With the Warcraft movie giving out free copies of World of Warcraft in select theatres, a barrier to entry will be removed for some people and I'm sure Blizzard is hoping many will try the game. The low level experience still needs plenty of work but hopefully these fixes will make their first impression with WoW more favorable.

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