Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wrath and the drive-by reputation

One of the quirks of playing a game in beta is that that some of the content that you see isn't really done yet. For example, when I wrote about Northrend's blimp daily quest, I had no way of knowing that some of the non-repeatable quests I had completed around the frozen North were going to become daily quests. With these changes, it appears that most or all of the reputations in Northrend can be soloed to exalted. This is a good thing, even if some of the daily quests are a bit, well, quirky.

Feedback I left in beta (approximate text): Don't come crying to me when the parents' groups say that the game encourages walrus fornication!

One thing that they've actually done pretty differently is designing reputations that are relevant as players level. Wrath had some reps and rep rewards targeted at low level players, but they often took so much work to complete that players would have outleveled the rewards before they finished. This isn't bad for rep grinds that award endgame items, but it's a problem for leveling items.

Enter the Kalu'ak. I'm already most of the way to revered with the faction, just for working on non-repeatable quests (and there are more than enough left to put me into revered). There are two daily quests (which weren't repeatable in beta) that I know of so far (haven't finished the Borean Tundra stuff yet), so this is going to be a nice easy trip to exalted, on content aimed at players around level 70-72.

The rewards are gear for characters at 76 (honored) and 78 (revered), which is perhaps a bit odd given that I'm going to have the rep for both long before I hit the level to use it (a complete reversal of the trends from Wrath). I would have expected level 72ish gear, with the stuff from the later 70's reserved for content that's actually in that level bracket. The rewards at the end of the line for getting to exalted with the walruses are a [Mastercraft Kalu'ak Fishing Pole], and a penguin non-combat pet. It will be worth some attention to go back and tackle this stuff, even at level 80, for players who like to fish or collect pets. Overall, though, this rep is designed to be just about finished as you level.

Personally, I'm not 100% decided on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing yet. I like my rep rewards as well as the next player, and I would have been willing to do a little bit more work to get them, even though they're leveling items. Then again, I played in beta, and I already know where all the quests and quest objectives are. Either way, though, this is something new to WoW and perhaps different (well, unless you play Warhammer, in which case you might say that it bears a bit of a resemblance to the PQ influence system). Perhaps Wrath has more tricks up its sleeve than I realized.

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