WoWInsider Community Blog Topic: Stockin’ the Store

Robin Torres over at WoWInsider asked about what people would want to buy from an in-game shop. Since I didn’t really talk about what I wanted to see in the store (instead about what would and wouldn’t most likely be in the store), I figured a formal response would be a good idea.

  • Cosmetic Armor: Torres voted for this too, and the CM team hinted at it in their admission about the existence of the in-game store, but I’ll throw my hat in for it as well. Quite frankly, there’s a ton of great armor textures in the game that don’t get used either because you have to farm A LOT to get them or just flat out aren’t in the game anymore (I’m looking at you, Tier 3 Armor). Obviously, there’s also a lot of armor that can be farmed relatively easily at this point, but to me that just indicates that there’s clearly a time-matrix Blizzard is looking at here: the harder it is to farm up a piece of armor, the more expensive it should be.
  • Bigger Bags/Bank Slots: Granted, I think that there’s a pretty broad problem with storage that needs to get solved, and I don’t that know if offering 48-slot bags for RMT is the right solution, but it certainly would be a way to gauge how many people want more storage. If it’s just hoarder-types that want it, it’s not worth the dev-time for a broader solution. But if Blizzard sees a big swath of players buying up more storage because there’s just too much stuff (and really, there is) this would be an indicator that they can use to justify it to Risk Management.
  • NPC Party Members: Now, this might be my very controversial pick, but bear with me. If Blizzard is going to throw NPC party members at us in Proving Grounds, it demonstrates that the groundwork is there to create NPC party members that could roll with your character in other circumstances. Want to run 5s but don’t have your tank player on? Buy an NPC tank and run your randoms gleefully. Build some mistake-logic into the scripts so that it’s not a perfect player, and it means that the other players will have to stay on their toes. It really shouldn’t be a perfect replacement for a flesh-and-blood player, but if the objective is to give people the opportunity to run the content they want, the part where “you need this many friends and/or the ability to pug in Trade to participate” is a barrier that can be mitigated.

What do you think?


3 thoughts on “WoWInsider Community Blog Topic: Stockin’ the Store

  1. EQ2 actually had the ability to purchase NPCs for just such a purpose — they were mercenaries “rented,” however, for in-game currency every hour. They counted in party formation just like a regular character would (i.e. you couldn’t have more than 2 players with a merc in one group, since each merc = 1 player), and there was a different hireable character for each role. I don’t recall them being geared enough to raid, which is fine, because I’m not sure I’d want to bring that kind of automation to raiding, but they were plenty decked out enough to help you in a dungeon or with questing.

    The trick, though, would be making sure that the AI is up to snuff enough to fill super-technical roles like tank or healer. WoW’s AI has improved leaps and bounds over the years, as evidenced by its quest NPCs that fulfill the same roles (like Anduin healing you at the Temple of Chi-Ji), but the question would become how to dictate heal priorities or mark specific mobs in a group for the tank NPC. You don’t want to automate the selection process to “best possible,” otherwise the need for players to learn strategy goes out the window, but maybe putting them on a control bar like hunter or warlock pets would work. Of course, then you have to figure that hunters and warlocks would be unable to use them at the same time as their pet, which puts a bit of a crimp into the entire point of pet classes and/or renders the NPC hire completely useless for them.

  2. Wow, I actually love the idea of NPC party members. Provided that they adhere to some restrictions, of course. Mostly things that prevent interference with other players and unfair advantages. But overall it seems like a really solid idea to me. As a player who really enjoys playing on my own through most content, I would love having NPCs in my party that wouldn’t care if I took time to admire the scenery or read the full quest text in a dungeon — just to cite one good example.

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