Thursday, April 24, 2014


I was browsing across old links and I came across something I had done a long time ago. Back in 2008, I wrote some pieces for Allakhazam, a rather prominent forum for WoW (and other games).  Then, it rivalled wowhead for questing information, particularly about the original World of Warcraft release (vanilla WoW) through Burning Crusade.

I wrote a leveling guide for Horde characters in the original WoW game before the Cataclysm revisions altered much of the world.  I found it to be very nostalgic to read it now, because I can envision all the places the guide refers to - I can remember them as if I could still visit them today.  It is truly a time machine

Ravennus' Horde Guide

Inevitably, it brought to mind the ways in which the game has changed.  In the original release, WoW was very much a leveling game.  A character could spend many days traversing a level, and in the process become intimately acquainted with a region and the towns within it, exploring all the stories that the residents had to tell.

Completing quests in the open worlds was a dangerous activity, in contrast to the current philosophy.  Improper pulling often meant aggroing a second mob and you'd have a tough fight on your hands.  Pulling a third usually meant death.

In a way, it was the changing nature of the game that spelled the end of prominence for Allakhazam.  Imagine for a minute quests that were so difficult that players were motivated to spend hours researching the proper way to complete them.  That is literally unheard of in the modern WoW experience.

Imagine scouring blogs and fan sites to discover isolated or unfamiliar quest hubs that might mean the difference between exciting storytelling and boring grinding for mobs to reach the next level.  Simply finding enough quests to level your character was often one of the challenges of leveling.  And constraining the player into careful strategies and a long residence time in the zone game the developers plenty of time to tell their stories and place your character in them.

Currently, no one would think twice about completing most quests on the first attempt, without any preparation at all.  That is the norm for the current WoW questing model.  And because this research and careful planning is no longer necessary to play the modern game, sites that provided that kind of research, like Allakhazam, have gone the way of the buggy whip.

1 comment:

  1. I may be a hater (and other foul things), but I don't miss that.

    In fact, I would suggest that having to constantly seek a source outside the game for enough information to play the game is and always was a terrible game-design strategy, negatively impacting the playability of the game. Yes, it may be true that granddad had to walk barefoot in 8 feet of snow six miles to school EACH WAY but that doesn't make me resent my car and my shoes.

    I do remember feeling terribly terribly grateful to the people who worked so hard and posted the information on the forums and made my play easier. They are heroes and I don't want to minimize that. But, given a finite amount of time to play, I resented having to waste half of it doing out-of-game research.

    Hmmm. In-game research. What if, like Gandalf, we could seek out information and strategies against our great enemies by visiting in-game libraries or seeking out in-game experts (the strange marsh creature at the center of the Bog of Despair, the lonely weaver of destiny in her tower, the mad scientist deep in the bowels of the haunted city)? I'd be a big fan of that! Are there any games that do that?

    In fact! couldn't a game incorporate an Allakhazam type feature something on the model of NeverWinter's dungeon creator? Players with quest information could post their experiences and info into the game itself, maybe even choose the venue/character to offer it?