A Bit of a Let Down

March 20, 2006

After 29 days of game play, Greig reached the level cap of 60. Considering the sheer time involved, it is no small achievement. Obviously, the first character takes longer to level and there was a fair amount of time wasted running silly raids and exploring things that I would later be taken to anyways by the game arc. I also anticipated it being a bit anti-climatic, but I was still a bit disappointed in the days immediately following the moment Greig hit 60. After many days and night of working on countless quests, Greig reached a major milestone in his career and literally nothing happened.

Except for the obligatory "gratz" messages that popped in chat from friends and guild mates and the occasional WOOT!, the culmination of a long process slipped by without notice.

It seems to me that Blizzard is missing a real opportunity here to not only reward a significant investment of time, but also to reward the achievement with a bit of spectacle that would make hitting level sixty more fun for the players and give them something tangible and valuable for that effort.

Here's one way to make hitting sixty fun and a bit more worthwhile:

After a player hits sixty, the next time they go to the game mail, they find an embossed letter in their inbox from the leader of their race. It is congratulatory and thanks them for commitment and the sacrifices they have made. It also invites the player for a meeting for a more personal expression of appreciation. Well, that player jumps on the next bird to wherever, and they meet personally with their leader. Another expression of congratulations and praise is showered upon our hero. Their chief then offers them a token of appreciation. Maybe they get a voucher for trade goods at the local vendors or even a significant increase in reputation with that race; an increase big enough that it might push some players to exalted status and help them get a big discount on their epic mount.

As all the backslapping is winding down, the chief then reaches into his pouch and produces another letter. This one is a summons from Thrall himself, or whoever it is that leads those pesky alliance guys. So our hero catches the next bird out and heads to Origammar for his audience with Thrall. Heady stuff.

Another "job well done" pep talk. Maybe the whole thing is done with a voice animation. At the end of the ceremony Thralls decides to bestow up his quest another token of appreciation. Maybe it's something really cool, like being able to choose from Thrall's personal collection of weapons. The weapons could be class specific, so the players that would get something that's actually useful to them. After all the work getting to sixty, is a nice blue item you could actually use too much to ask for?

We could go one step further and play off the twink factor a little bit. Thrall offers you a class specific item from his personal collection, but the items drop randomly. Some players might get a weapon, some might get mail pants or the shoulders Thrall wore when he was hunting down Bristlebacks as a young warrior. But everyone would get something blue, something cool and something that not everyone else would have. No one could collect a set, and ultimately the gear that is available later will be better. But it still could be a nice touch that would give players something for their efforts and let them know that Blizzard understands what a ball-busting grind it is to get that far in the game. The basic idea is that hitting the level cap could actually be something fun and rewarding. It is milestone that every player reaches who sticks with the game and it's as far as anyone can go currently. Beyond that it's good place to play off the game's backstory and give every player some reward for their efforts. For a some players, it a close to an epic as their are likely to get. That is, if Blizzard cared about that sort of thing.

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