Orders of Magnitude

The expansion packs have non-linear increases in power. This goes beyond the tyranny of levels: the numbers become so large that it is only the same game because of overlapping mechanics. It is not so much an expansion pack as a sequel that imports your achievements and some trophies.

I tagged along as 3 level 80 guildmates took out the 1.1 million hit point Ragnaros. A difficult raid for 40 level 60s becomes somewhat difficult content for 3 level 80s. I don’t think the Priest had any heals smaller than my hit point total. Current endgame characters are literally orders of magnitude above the original endgame. It makes everything that came before superfluous, like having an artillery squad plus one guy throwing rocks as hard as he can.

Mixing the two is silly in the other direction as well. If it were possible to hit an “aggro everything in the dungeon” button, level 80s could hit it and solo most of the original dungeons all at once. If a level skull attacks you, there is no point in even resisting someone who does 10 times your damage with 10 times your hit points. I am on a PvP server, so anyone capped and bored can cut off a [patrol * sight distance] chunk of a contested zone at will. (Relatedly, although in WoW you also get a giant hammer while the kids get sticks.)

As I ponder being done and having won, the feeling that it is no longer the same game is very relevant. If it is some whole other game, there are lots of new games that are new, rather than the same thing with bigger numbers.

: Zubon

13 thoughts on “Orders of Magnitude”

  1. It’s to do with the item stat budget for each item – in order to make expansion gear better than the previous top-end stuff, they vastly increased the itemlevel (a developer-oriented stat that tells you what level of gear/what stat budget it has).

    the itemlevel of a good raid set from level 60 is 61-80, depending on which set you mean.

    the itemlevel of a level 66 blue item is ~103, shooting up to 150 for the highest raid gear at 70.

    the itemlevel of gear from 5-man instances at 80 is 180-200…and in raids at 80 i’ve seen itemlevel 246 items drop. orders of magnitude indeed, and it’s somewhat ridiculous that I now feel strange when i have less than 40,000 hp while tanking, usually closer to 45k in raids…

    I personally think LoTRO did it right, with not such a big leap in hp pools especially. (stamina in wow only counts for half as much as most other stats, so 1 item budget point = 1 agility, 1 strength,whatever…but = 2 stamina.)

    1. oh BLEH, hit enter acidentally – i think you’re right that it’s a different and interesting way to view the expansions though.

      [miscellaneous other thoughts i’ve now forgotten, that would’ve given a point to the above post]

  2. This post resonates with my own feelings about mmos Zubon.

    I like to finish things. I love the satisfaction that comes from completing a game knowing that I can put it behind me and move forward with a feeling of accomplishment. Most mmorpgs deny me that feeling. The whole ethos of mmorpgs is to keep you playing (and paying) forever even if you are just repeating the same content over and over.

    Given this dilemma I think that it is inevitable that at some stage a player will turn around and realise that for them “the game is over”. They have achieved enough and now they want to move on. It is perhaps not as satisfying a sense of closure as you get after killing the final boss in a single player game but it is a form of closure none the less.

    1. One more reason why Guild Wars wins. ;) The business model and game design both let you “finish” the game. The narrow power band isn’t accidental in this design ethos.

  3. The inflation reminds me of the increase in numbers in MUDs that tends to occur as the degrees of separation from DIKU increases.
    DIKU (hundreds) -> Merc -> ROM (often thousands) -> Godwars (tens of thousands) -> some Godwars derivatatives have characters capping at 2.1 billion hit points.

    1. <3

      Someone who actually knows the difference between DIKU, Merc, ROM, Godwars and all the OTHER variants out there.

      As a longtime MUDder (not currently MUDding though), sometimes I just get so sick of people saying 'DIKU' as a generic catchall term when they actually mean 'WoW or something Like It' (Or EQ, if you prefer).

      …not to mention DIKU, as you pointed out so nicely and clearly, really isn't responsible for the magnitude of gear madness people tend to use it to refer to. At least, if it's responsible, it's responsible in the same way my ancestors were 'responsible' for my existence.

      You just made my day. (ZOMG the fact that you made my day makes me a nerd. :( )

  4. That’s why I, as for DIKU MMOs, really like LOTRO’s philosophy (except one thing). They really try and make the curve flatten to a degree and not exponential. I, however, do not like that while we are greatly handicapped against mobs with multiple levels above us the opposite is not within parity. Mobs that face players with multiple levels above them only get a slight handicap. Guess it leaves some sort of challenge for the farmers.

  5. I think your points speaks to why it’s fine to release WOW like games, even though some bloggers and reviewers seem to hold the WOW-likes in disdain. What they fail to account for are people who’ve hit the end of their game and don’t want an expansion that is more of the same but at a different tier. It’s new and at the same time, not so new. Some of those players, like me, would prefer to do the new but not so new, in a completely different wrapper. It doesn’t matter so much that it’s “ooooooooh so vanilla and just like WOW why bother.” The point is that it’s like WOW but it ain’t WOW, if you get my meaning. :-)

  6. I have to agree with you. I have played through both expansions and while they are fun, it is kind of like “Chasing the Dragon” from South Park. You work your tail off for levels and gear, and then newer gear and levels (with bigger numbers ) are released.

    It isn’t so much about *really* improving how you play, learning mysteries, etc. It is always the same game of – “Lemme get a group to get more loot so that I can be powerful enough to get better loot so that…”

    Anyway, thanks for all the great thoughts that you share here – definitely interesting reading : )

  7. I’m just looking at this from a different point of view then you are. I say continue, I’m having a ton of fun at 80 and had fun all the way. But for me it’s the old cliche of it’s the jouney and not the destination that keeps me playing.

    I enjoy questing, exploring and raiding/instancing with my friends. It’s a simple as that. Using your own example, it would be pretty silly for you to go back to Deadmines at this point. You COULD literally pull the whole thing at once. But why would you do that unless you never went there in the first place and were just doing the tourist thing.

    There are plenty of things to do at the appropriate level and no, you haven’t really completed the game at 60.

    If it’s the PvP thing bothering you then there’s nothing I can say really. That stuff happens. In any contested zone. An 80 picking on a level 60 is no different then and 60 picking on the level 30s and 40s in STV back in the day. If that’s something you can’t get past or bothers you too much then a PvP server it really not the right place. Nothing wrong with that. That is why there are servers where it’s not allowed.

    For me, the game is too easy on a regular server. I like the added challenge. I will admit to playing mostly with my husband so we were almost always a duo and a little harder to gank then a solo player. But it still happened.

    Bottom line is, if it’s not fun for you then move on. If it is..there is a TON of content you haven’t seen yet. Lots of places to go and fun things to do. If it’s the server and not the game then switch. If it’s the game itself then it’s time to move on. You should be having fun.

    Btw – I’m on Ravenholdt. An RP-PvP server. We have room for you if you would like to give another server a try.


  8. Wow..that sounded like a lecture and was not intended that way. Truly I was well intended. I always enjoy reading your blog whatever game you’re playing.

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