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Five features I wish World of Warcraft had

Matthew Rossi

The game is eternally evolving. Sometimes that means things get added, and sometimes that means they get taken away (Oh, Have Group Will Travel, I miss you every day). This means the game is in a constant state of evolution and therefore that there's always room for improvement. With Mists of Pandaria changing the game and adding features like Scenarios, Challenge Modes and Pet Battles, and Cataclysm having already added void storage and transmogrification, the mind moves to what we could potentially see in the future. What features do we all want to see?

I have no idea. Seriously, how could I possibly know what you want to see? I mean, you might tell me in the comments, but that's in the future. There's no way I can have read the comments on this post before I finish writing it. However, I'm fairly in touch with what I want to see. And so, here's five features I wish WoW had. (Note - I didn't say more bank space or void storage tabs, but man, I want those too.)

1. Mentoring

One of the features the lamented MMO City of Heroes had that I always enjoyed was its Mentoring system. Now, this isn't something WoW's developer's are unaware of - it's a fantastic system which allows higher level characters to play with their lower level friends, either by raising the lower level character temporarily in order to be able to survive higher level content, or by lowering the higher level character to the lower level. The current system that can raise or lower gear levels for beta testing and which will normalize gear for challenge modes could be used in such a fashion, and I think it's an idea long overdue for WoW to blatantly pilfer and run with it.

2. Item Customization

If you ever played Skyrim, you probably noticed that you can name your weapons. This is a feature I've wanted to see in WoW forever. I don't just want the ability to name the items, however (although given the chance to name my 2h sword so that it doesn't have the same name as everyone else using that model would be sweet) but also to customize their appearance even more than transmogrification allows. While I love transmog and the mini-game of finding the right item for it, there are a lot of models I would love to get my hands on that only exist as monster items. I would love for a way to get those items purely so I could use them in transmogrification, and also, we know that there are often alternative color palettes for items or sets that only exist on mobs or bosses. I want those, too. I want to see as many ways to customize myself as possible, considering that in general we tend to end up wearing the same gear as everyone else in terms of its stats.

3. Guild halls and captured dungeons

I used to argue for guild housing pretty strenuously. Yeah, I know. Guild or player housing is the holy grail of features players have been asking for and Blizzard has been disinclined to provide. I understand the reasoning of wanting players out and about in the world, giving the cities a feeling of life and getting players to congregate around places like the AH. And because I understand that reasoning, I instead argue for guild housing that doesn't let you get away from the world. What do I mean?

The guild hall feature would be a place in the world, like the AH, that expands upon the guild services currently in place in every city. It would be a large structure with a fairly central location that made use of phasing technology to provide players with guild trophies, tabard design, access to the guild bank and so on unique to that player and their guild. Other players in the guild hall would see the trophies for their guild, access their guild bank, and so on. This would give players the feel of a place in the world for their guild without removing them from the world entirely.

However, I still think that it would be cool to let guilds use dungeons and raids they'd completed as a form of guild housing. I mean, every time I clear Blackwing Lair, I think to myself "Why don't we hold onto this place?" I wouldn't put anything like a bank or an AH into the captured spaces. I'd put limited use portals to capital cities, and perhaps signs of the guild's presence in the form of banners and other decorations. This way, the captured dungeon serves to move people between places in the world without really usurping the world's importance. You still need to go out into the world to do anything, but if you want to hang out in an old raid you captured, you can. Although I have to wonder how this would work for Dragon Soul. Do we just lounge on Deathwing's back forever?

4. Some form of character tree

The Legacy System was the feature I loved in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I absolutely loved the idea of being able to define a host of your characters and their relations to one another. It reminded me of an idea from an old pen and paper campaign I loved, the Dark Sun character tree. With a game like World of Warcraft, the ability to define my Horde characters as bitter enemies or rivals to my Alliance ones would be ideal, and I'd love the ability to define my same-faction characters in a meaningful way and gain some interesting perks for it.

What the system really would need to make it awesome would be a way to define your characters to other players. My wife and I have played our characters with various relationships over the years and it would be great if we could actually use the game's systems to make that a meaningful choice. You don't want the perks to be too meaningful or everyone would abuse it to get them (imagine guilds where everyone had to be siblings so that everyone could summon everyone else or get that +5 hit perk) but something as simple as being able to send your related characters heirlooms or donate justice or valor points to them could be a huge benefit.

5. Cross-Faction Real ID grouping

I get that the faction barrier is supposed to be meaningful and that it informs the game world, that the heart of the Warcraft setting is the war between the Horde and the Alliance. In a world where I can (and have) switched factions, changed servers, and can friend people using BattleTags, I'm going to just come out and say that this is a concept that has long since outlived its usefulness. The factions have great meaning in story terms, but in terms of players playing the game, they're a barrier to entry and an impediment to fun. I'd love to group with and play with my Horde friends without needing to level yet another warrior Horde side. (Yeah, I went and did it, but I don't like it.) I don't really care how it's justified in game, ultimately - slap a temporary Caverns of Time style race disguise on me and let's roll.

So there we go, five ideas for WoW features. And now, we at last come to the part where you leave comments and come up with much better ideas I didn't, and I steal those ideas in a later post and act like I'm smart.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

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