Sunday, July 16, 2017

Legion's Gameplay Loop: The Deaths of Chromie

Click here to go back to the intro article on Legion's Gameplay Loop to view other topics.

To complement the 7.2 patch series, patch 7.2.5 featured a slew of balance changes in preparation of the release of the Tomb of Sargeras raid which was available soon after. In addition, supplementary content was released such as the currently available Timewalking Raid, Black Temple, as well as a solo scenario known as The Deaths of Chromie. After completing it on several characters to earn all the one-time rewards that content has to offer which involved running through it many times, I think I've gathered enough information about the scenario. What follows is an analysis of that information to determine the purpose of this scenario as a form of solo content.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Review of Two Legion Currencies

Whether it's to keep track of a player's in-game wealth or to serve as a middleman for premium products and services or something else entirely, many games have embraced the concept of currency. World of Warcraft has done so basically since its inception if only because gold, silver, and copper are a traditional measure of wealth in many RPGs. More currencies got added to the game as time went on to allow players to purchase various items in a relatively controlled setting.

The currency tab was eventually implemented to help free up inventory space and allow for better tracking. Legion has featured many currencies in particular, but only two of the many exclusive to the expansion have a broad scope of frequent usage: Order Resources, which I have mentioned a few times already, and Nethershard, an Apexis Crystal-like currency that was more "recently" added which can primarily be used to acquire gear relatively quickly. This article will briefly review both currencies.
Legion has quite a few currencies to keep track of.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Some Brief Thoughts on Legendary Upgrades... Again

A new tier of raids brings with it new gear, raising the item level ceiling to further extend the grind while featuring new encounters to entertain players until the next big content release. With the increase in maximum item level, legendaries have also received another relatively minor maintenance requirement in the form a new upgrade quest. Much like the last time, the quest has been criticized but this time, the reason seems to be slightly different and involves concerns about the fact players generally have many more legendaries than before to upgrade. In addition, after discussion with other players, I was hoping for some improvements to the quest's immersion in addition to some other brief suggestions. Times have changed though, so I think it's worth briefly reviewing whether this upgrade system got an upgrade and whether it needs more of one for the next tier.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Concept of Soft Time Gating

A year ago, I published an article discussing the concept of time gating that resulted from reviewing my experience with some games at the time, including the Warlords of Draenor expansion. In this article, I specified a certain type of time gating and how the method intentionally creates something of a content drought, often to control the rate at which players participate to prolong the longevity of the content itself. This type of time gate, which I now call a "hard time gate", is a concept I argued was harmful to the game since if it is used liberally, players can be left disinterested due to a lack of activities to do, reducing player retention. The result of researching and analyzing time gating led me to consider the concept of gameplay loops more seriously, greatly altering my perspective as an armchair game designer.

I then proceeded to provide examples, including a chart comparing a player's active time based on the time-gated content. After stating how Legion was likely to increase a player's active time due to its content and systems, which I proceeded to review later on. I touched on the concept of the "soft time gate" by pointing out that there's limited rewards that are in themselves gated but the content itself, which would usually provide diminished rewards, is not limited. In this article, I will delve into soft time gating further by explaining how it can be used to appeal to multiple types of players. I will then evaluate some WoW-related examples to determine how effective they are at maintaining such appeal.