Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blizzard should hand out skill with epic gear

While it's nice for us casual players to have easier access to better gear, I think it would be a better idea to offer more opportunities to learn group skills at an earlier time.

Epic gear falling from the heavens is fun, but without skill, it just leads to a nice-looking corpse.

With my shaman, I leveled as Restoration. Granted, I'm cheap and didn't want to pay the cost to respec, but I leveled that way because I knew that I wanted to heal in raids. I put my wife's paladin into Protection and that's the way we learned our characters. (We also named them Morkk and Mindey after the TV show for anyone who remembers that one.)

Leveling in restoration helped me understand my spells better and learn to use more of them reflexively. Granted, it took longer to level, but it was worth it. I have received many complements about my healing in random groups I have joined.

When dual specs were released, I shelled out the 1k gold to make an Elemental spec. (I still don't know how I justified that when I refused a 5g respec cost.) But I quickly found that I wasn't as proficient with the spells and had a lot of learning. The basics are the same, but the talents specific to elemental shamen were foreign to me. Practice has helped me develop my DPS a bit, but I still feel more comfortable healing with occasional DPS. I imagine the reverse would be true for future tanks and healers leveling in a DPS spec.

If players had more opportunities to tank or heal before reaching max level, I think we would see more skill develop as players are more familiar with their abilities. We need a better way to train tanks and healers than trial by fire, usually resulting in a great many wipes.

I can work on my DPS rotation with the training dummies, but they offer nothing for the two most difficult jobs in a group.But the static training dummies don't do much to prepare raiders. Even DPS rarely get to stand around in a raid.

Blizzard already offers multiple zones for leveling up, so it would just be a matter of having two ways to do it.

For example, in Cataclysm they will likely have two 81-82 zones. One would be easily soloable, but not offer as much experience, meaning it would take longer to level.

The second zone could be more challenging and have a good share of 3-man group quests that offer more experience. Going through solo would be very challenging, but innovative and hardcore players could do it. It would also offer an incentive for group play before the level cap rather than random group quests (which I believe are largely ignored anyway).

Blizzard already offers separate zones for the same level areas. This would just make the zones actually different, rather than changing the quests so you gather 8 acorns instead of 8 wolf tails.

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