Re: Level Squish Feedback

General Discussion
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While watching the BlizzCon 2018 World of WarCraft Q&A, I heard Ion Hazzikostas say that he was interested in hearing feedback from the community on how a level squish could work. Here is my idea.

You continue for 8 more expansions, adding 10 levels per expansion, as usual. When we reach level 200, the next expansion introduces a divide-by-ten level squish.

When the expansion goes live (or in the pre-patch), you simply round every character's level up or down to the nearest 10 and divide that total by 10. Ergo, level 200s would become level 20, level 70s would be level 7, level 150s would become 15, and so on.

Now you're only dealing with 20 levels instead of 200.

I know what you're thinking.

But wouldn't that mean leveling would take 10 times as long?

Yes and no, but it would be a positive change overall. Right now, the earliest levels fly by much too fast, especially in heirlooms (which must retain the ability to significantly speed up the leveling process because players invested a lot of gold into them, and it would be unethical to take that away), while the 60s - 90s go by at a snail's pace and are disheartening to level through.

So, all you do is find a well-paced level, perhaps level 24 or level 26, time how long it takes a dedicated player to level up, multiply that time by 10, and aim to make progression to each level exactly that long. Because there are only 20 levels, each level will represent an equally significant step-up in power and ability, and so taking 10 times as long to level up than it takes you to go from 24 to 25 right now would not be unreasonable, as the pay off and celebration for leveling up would be represent a larger milestone than it does today.

When someone makes it to level 2, a real congratulations would be in order, because it would represent an investment of at least a few hours of time. With level 2 would come a host of new abilities (whatever we would've previously gotten by 20 (with variations where appropriate)). We would unlock new abilities, like riding ground mounts. It would have a noticeable impact on gameplay and in personal power for one's character.

Level 3 would be as significant as level 2, and 14 would be as significant as 18. With only 20 levels, each level would grant a pleasing number of new traits or abilities and would hearken to the thrill of advancing our hero units in the WarCraft RTS games or of leveling up in Dungeons & Dragons when we were kids.

If each level takes 4 or 5 hours instead of 30 minutes, but the gains are that much more significant, the work feels justified. Consequently, leveling up feels satisfying again. This also allows you to do a stat squish based on a 20 level spread and more tightly refine how you want stats and health to scale.

This plan also gives you a pass for 8 more expansions, so you have as long as you need to fine-tune the logistics of the transition, to prepare players for the coming change, and to think up ways to smooth over the squish with players who may not be so pleased.

Bonus Idea: It was said that Azeroth's heroes had reached the limits of their potential. No amount of training could make them stronger, and in a universe where ever-mightier adversaries continue to appear, this spelled doom for Azeroth.

One day, a brilliant gnome and goblin inventor team came up with a Patented "Potential Booster" Machine. They agreed to rent it out to the highest bidder on a per use basis. After a major falling out, each partner built her own prototype and brought it to their respective faction leaders to demonstrate its potential. Each leader offered an exorbitant amount of gold (100,000,000 gold?) to purchase the machine and use it for their entire army, under the stipulation that the inventor stuck around to make any necessary repairs if and when the machine ceased to function.

The faction leaders invited their Champions to use the machine to access the potential locked within them and continue to improve themselves instead of remaining stranded on their power plateau.

Players can then voluntarily use the machine, which will enable them to gain experience again, up to the next level. If you wish to allow each expansion to advance players 2 or 3 levels instead of just one, you could temporarily gate each new level behind short quest chains that explain how their potential is being further boosted until they reach maximum level for the expansion and are given the chance to realize limitless potential; growth governed only by the magnitude of the challenges that exist to hone their skills.

Because they now have infinite potential, you can proceed from level 20, offering players 1-3 new levels per expansion by simply introducing progressively more powerful threats, occasionally breaking up the monotony with a good old Horde/Alliance conflict, which can only provide a suitable challenge for both sides.

This should elegantly address all of the issues you are currently experiencing with levels and pacing.
Stat squishes are bad enough; and I completely understand the need for them.

You do a level squish and the uproar would make the whole flying debate seem like a spark compared to the sun. Probably the best way if it does NEED to be done, and I have very deep reservations, is a WoW 2.
Helllllllllllllllll no!

I'm not having days of BC, WotLK, Cata and MoP be just three levels. Gtfoh.
Do not touch the levels, it is a very bad idea.

Stop squishing stats, wait at least 8 more years for that.

Nobody likes stat squishes and it just makes things harder for the development team.

Players like to see their characters do incrementality higher and higher numbers while progressing in a game.

At no point does making "numbers more readable" make any sense for people when making a stat squish; the bigger your numbers the better you feel.

Learn from your mistakes Blizzard.
I dont want to reach level 150 or 200.. they really need to stop at some point with the 10 levels extra.

they already dont want to give the leveling speed methods back..

if bfa pre patch didnt tell you how bad stat squishes are in general..

next expansion shouldnt give us more 10 levels we're constantly LOSING abilities than gaining.. there's no talents for 110-120..
I think a big part of the problem is that 60-90 is still too slow. 1-60 is a nice pace, 90-100 has treasures to grab, and 100-120 aren't too bad. They're slower, but being closer to current content I think it makes sense for them to be a little slower. 60-90 however, is just an absolute slog. It's about as slow as the 100-120 levels, but there's 30 of them and they're pretty old content at this point.

To be honest, I definitely think a level squish is called for, or at least that the current system is untenable. Something's gotta give here, because Blizzard can't keep adding another 10 levels to the cap forever, especially if they're not gonna add another talent row at the new cap.
Just stop leveling altogether and work towards talents instead. EXP FOR TALENTS!!! WOOO!!!!
Really the solution is to allow for XP to be sped up once you've done it the slow way a couple of times. Makes most sense.
Ilvl and number squishes are fine and I got used to them. We don't need silly Diablo numbers flying everywhere to go with Diablo RNG.

A level squish is kinda silly though to me but I see why people want it. It's not that hard to just power through a few more levels every expansion, even if you have to do it several times over the course of it. As trifling as that sense of progression is, as often weaker as that makes you feel (losing legendaries and stuff especially), it's part of the game and changing it will enrage people for good or bad reasons. I think just having a level squish would make the flying debate seem like nothing.

WoW 2 would be a good way to move forward but that's a whole other level of crazy. You can't even get people to stop tearing at each other over a relaunch of Vanilla, never mind a WoW 2.
New expacs have been in new areas only accessible by portal. No physical connection to "old WoW".

Ok <bam> new expac begins. You go through the portal into new expac, call it "New WoW"...come out a lv1. Everything resets. Devs can build classes, talents, stats with a blank slate, without umpteen years of baggage.

Want to go back to "Old WoW"? Go back through the portal. You come out in Old WoW, same as you went in originally. Stats, armor, talents, class the same. Basically two complete different gameworlds. Old WoW...everything frozen in place. New WoW...clock resets to zero.
Why in god's name would we need a level squish? Unless it included making leveling to max require less ex (which it never would) then it is a pointless number reduction.
Im not opposed to level squish. Just half level of everything, content would last just as long.

The "numbers being readable" thing is a legitimate problem. Needing 60,000,000 AP for weapons in legion, for instance, is absurd.

It would also make levels more important, which I think is an important "mental" thing for this game. The more of something there is, the less important
Eh... given how meaningless the vast majority of levels now are, due to the revamped skill system, revamped talent system, and above all scaling, most levels are just empty. meaningless filler.

♫DING!♪ You get... absolutely nothing! =D

Just go ahead and cutout all the BS so that getting a level is more than just another step towards a distant maximum. A level should mean "cool new stuff I can do!!!" but that isn't the case anymore. And that big, shiny, level 120 might feel better than a big, shiny level 60, but... gnawing through all the endless empty levels between those two points is just disheartening.

Fixing this would require a massive revamp/reversion of the skill/talent system, or a massive revamp of the leveling system - ie, fewer levels. Or? Just stick with the problems we have today. Honestly, I'd go for the second option, but... who knows? If Vanilla proves ultra-super popular, maybe that'll inspire some reconsideration in the existence of Skill Levels and the format the talent tree currently takes.

 

But... in the end, we'll probably see nothing. At least until the next ilvl squish.
11/04/2018 12:08 AMPosted by Jamesfisk
New expacs have been in new areas only accessible by portal. No physical connection to "old WoW".

Ok <bam> new expac begins. You go through the portal into new expac, call it "New WoW"...come out a lv1. Everything resets. Devs can build classes, talents, stats with a blank slate, without umpteen years of baggage.

Want to go back to "Old WoW"? Go back through the portal. You come out in Old WoW, same as you went in originally. Stats, armor, talents, class the same. Basically two complete different gameworlds. Old WoW...everything frozen in place. New WoW...clock resets to zero.


That's actually kinda cool!
11/04/2018 12:14 AMPosted by Shaie
That's actually kinda cool!
And easy to implement. Could basically do a WoW2. First expac into "New WoW" could be a massive new game/expac leveling to 60. I'd pay for that. Reboot the entire game.
I think another solution is to add back in the old talent trees, but retool them so they're entirely for leveling. That way even if you don't get an actual talent on a given level you still get a point that you can put in the tree. Even if it's just "You get 1% crit bonus when using mortal strike," it's better than nothing. Plus if it's done right they could give players a bit of choice on how they fill out the tree, it wouldn't matter at 120, but it would be a neat addition while leveling.
11/04/2018 12:19 AMPosted by Jamesfisk
11/04/2018 12:14 AMPosted by Shaie
That's actually kinda cool!
And easy to implement.


It is actually easier to just let the game grow, instead of smashing everything with a hammer to squish it back to size.

The square doesn't fit through the circle, if your shrinking the square so that it can fit through... your cheating.

And we are gonna notice... and point at the square cut-out and say... no... it goes right there.
11/04/2018 12:22 AMPosted by Beastbashx
It is actually easier to just let the game grow, instead of smashing everything with a hammer to squish it back to size.

The square doesn't fit through the circle, if your shrinking the square so that it can fit through... your cheating.

And we are gonna notice... and point at the square cut-out and say... no... it goes right there.
You're not smashing anything, rather the opposite. "Old WoW", your toon is frozen at the point in time you enter the portal to "New WoW". "New WoW" would be a new start from zero as far as level, stats, talents.
Just change the XP required. Stop redoing everything, there's no need for this.

Also if you keep squishing dmg stats we're doing to have level 10s doing 0.1 dps, and level 100 doings 500dps.
A level squish to 60 makes sense in my mind as that is the base game's maximum level.

I like to think of it as you are working your way through the world becoming more capable and stronger. Once you've reached 60 you are a champion of your faction.
From there you are valuable to the faction and are sent out to further the cause.

I feel like levels past 60 are not needed and instead we should be working towards an expansion appropriate advancement. Once the expansion is gone those alternate advancement abilities can be faded out while retaining one or two. Each class or spec gets to choose the ability like a talent for use in the next expansion. E.g. When you start the expansion's main quest line there is a cutscene that explains it all and a new talent row or something gets added.
There would be a "Fel" talent for BC, "Frozen" talent for WotLK, etc.

Though personally I would like a return of the old talent trees and the expansion trees could be something more akin to what we have now.

A power progression is still possible with gear. People can start out doing 500-1000 dps at classic 60, then BC gear creeps it to 2000, WotLK gets up to 4000, etc. Even with a doubling every expansion we would still only be doing ~128k dps. We could do another 3-4 expansion and be in the low millions. Otherwise, just up it by approximately 1k per expansion. Item levels could be a simple linear progression as well.

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