So, we’ve talked about titles here before, about how Sean was bummed about how they cut the first-to titles and how to roleplay around them.
Here’s a point though, venturing more into game design than roleplay, but still firmly within our territory – when it comes to these titles, Doctor, and Lord Champion of the Wossname, how hard should they be to achieve? I ask this because Sean and I were discussing the subject tonight, and he opined that he liked the idea of the first-to titles because they were difficult to achieve – after all, only one person can get each one.
But Sean, say I in response, isn’t it better for roleplay purposes if they’re difficult but not impossible to achieve?
But Jess, says he in response to this, the current titles aren’t difficult to achieve – they’re very easy!
So here’s where I started thinking. How hard is too hard – and how hard is too easy? Alright, that might be a little bit of a complex sentence, but it’s worth thinking about. How difficult and/or exclusive should a title be if it’s still to be ‘worthwhile’? Is it not worth having the title, even for roleplay purposes, if too many others have it?
Personally, I find it difficult to understand this line of thought, and here’s my reasoning. Say there’s some aspect of your character that you’d like to emphasize or highlight during roleplay, and there’s some kind of corresponding title – someone violently against The Scourge and whose arc has been very tied up in the Argent Dawn, for example, or someone who is very devoted to and involved in the world of young children.
Personally, I’d put these quests at ‘difficult but not impossible’, and I’d say that as a roleplayer (that is, someone who spends as much time on World of Warcraft not doing anything as I do engaged in questing and grinding), these are within my grasp but not frustratingly impossible – unlike a ‘first-to’ quest, which I know I would have no chance of ever achieving. In fact, if there were a title available that completely suited my concept, but which was only available to the first person to achieve a feat on a server, I would be most unhappy – that’s not helpful to roleplayers, it’s blocking.
Greater availability of helpful vanity items (including, yes, titles), rather than limiting it so only a select few people (in this case, one) can be ‘special’, while still requiring some effort to be exerted to achieve them… that’s what I would call a good game balance. I’m not trying to suggest that those who manage to achieve this things wouldn’t deserve it – just that I’d think that a better balance for roleplay purposes is to let more people get in on the awesome bonuses.
Of course, this is all academic, as the first-to titles were cut due to fan wank. Heck, maybe it’s just bitterness talking and I secretly am a part of the fan wank. However, I’d like to think that I’m just speaking up for those roleplayers who want to be able to see their story playing out, and more game mechanisms to support roleplay: more, please, not less.