Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WoW: How to Make Archeology Better in One Swoop

Every now and then I look at the Stats just for curiosity sake which, this week, led to a bit of a shock... why'd 100+ people suddenly get interested in some random web users rant about Why Archeology Sucks? Ahhhhhh.... I've been Google found and linked from the official forums... hello new people! I hope you're finding my particular brand of sarcasm infused world view mildly interesting and I appreciate the, well, appreciation folks have given to that particular piece of writing.

Hell, maybe a "Blue" was even nice enough to read it and start running off every reason I was wrong!

I kid because I love folks. However, I'd hate to be "that guy" who just offers up negativity all the time without offering solutions so I'm going to take about 5 minutes and offer one; admittedly derived from my main issue with the prof so it will likely not appeal to everyone.

Here's the thing: my main issue with Archeology is largely that I have to spend tons (and by tons, I'm talking the equivalent of weeks to months), of time working on things I don't want/need to work on just to be able to work on those that I do. This is incredibly frustrating. Whereas with every other profession in the game, you can log in, go: "Gee, I need to go gather X to make/do Y", and then dedicate, say, an hour to do that, Archeology clouds this by creating the heavy duty mental block of putting 4 potentially pointless sites in your path. This becomes a participation hurdle when you consider that running around to those sites spread across a continent can easily eat up your "between raid/guild/pvp free time" window in short order just from travel.

So, how do we fix this? Simple: allow us to eliminate races and, interesting fact, the core mechanic to do so is already there. Hell, they just added it. Wait, "what are you talking about", you say? I'm talking about taking the 200 relic race cap and turning it into an off switch. That's right: instead of only keeping you from picking up more fragments of a race once you hit 200, stop those sites from spawning too. Now, you have a mechanic through which players can get to the point where they can log in and work on a specific race for a bit instead of feeling like they're being put through a low RPM meat grinder designed simply to see to it they experience the most pain possible in order to get things done.

That change is not without the possibility of consequences or potential decisions forced on the player as well. For one thing, I personally wouldn't suggest removing any existing sites from the map of a closed off race. Leaving these forces a decision on the user: do I free up some relic space so I can clear that/those site(s) out as to, hopefully, be able to maximize the sites popping up from the races I want or work with the number of sites I have "free" now? This is a bigger decision than you might think because, while having 1 Tol'Vir site available might be "good enough" considering how they're clustered, having one Troll or one Fossil or one Nerubian is likely to place you with no less travel time than before. So, by leaving the "dead" sites in, you force the user to play a little site elimination Jenga to balance out their fragment loads for those races while freeing up the most sites from the map at the same time.

Which, would be a bit of a PITA but still a significantly smaller one than the current mechanic and, in the end, will allow you to lock down on a specific race to a degree and work on it at your leisure. Most of us would happily make that tradeoff even against slightly diminished "drop rates" on the rares I suspect.

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