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Veteran's Challenge Beta Testing

PostPosted: August 6th, 2016, 8:16 pm
by leppender
What is the Veteran's Challenge?

Simply put it is using our experience as longtime players to turn Blizzard's F2P version of WoW into something difficult. By carefully planning a character before you even hit the creation button an endless world of possibilities opens up! You only have 20 levels to work with so do you design a character that will beat up level 60's outside Orgrimmar when it's at max, or do you stop its xp gain at 19 and make a WSG legend? Making a warrior or paladin becomes a fun challenge, because the only plate you can acquire is heirlooms but some can be bought with marks. Since you can't trade you will have to decide which crafted items you want, and what order you would like to learn those professions in to effectively make what you need. Every achievement you make will be based ENTIRELY on your own ability to plan out a killer character.

The beta stage is being tested using starter and veteran accounts, but it is my hope that we can gather enough research on what is doable within the F2P restrictions for old players to return. Thanks to veteran accounts people who used to play can just start back up again, and play for free up to level 20 with some of the perks they've already earned (including access to battle.net friends lists). There can still be a revitalization on ravenholdt, and the best part is it can be done as a casual part-time venture.


Aren't there serious limitations regarding RP when playing for free?

Yes but these limitations also provide a natural lure that can pull in players who might enjoy a new challenge in the older content. With an unpaid subscription you cannot be heard in /s or /e unless the person is within 10 levels of your character, which would seem to be a serious downfall if you're trying to RP. Not when you /greet other players and walk around to promote active RP! People get curious when they can't see you talking but if you're still using /s while IC, and there happens to be a lowbie who sees it they'll draw attention to your RP. If the general population sees it enough they will realize that Rpers are having their own fun in starter or veteran accounts.

Why take the time for something like this?

Aside from the fact that every aspect of this challenge is meant to be time consuming? Because it can also be dropped and picked up anytime. You might not have the time to play games anymore, but knowing that you can still login to WoW for 20 minutes just to forge a bracer is refreshing. In this fast-paced world it is SO IMPORTANT that people take just a couple of minutes to do something they love every day, and taking a nostalgia trip that doesn't require any serious time investment fits the description. If you still read this forum but don't play anymore than I know you still love the memories, and if you could find someway to rejuvenate that old spark you probably would. Well this might be your chance!

What makes you think anyone will go for this crazy idea?

Because it's worked before in another MMORPG, which coincidentally was created by some of WoW's earliest design team. My very first computer game was Guild Wars, and the first time I loaded up my character I fell in love with the scenery. The terrain was lovely and the ambient music was extremely pleasant. All of the NPCs were in good spirits and gave a lot of information regarding the game lore. My third day playing someone told me “Don't ever leave the starting area, do you understand? Stay here because it's the best part of the game!!!” Well two weeks later my boyfriend at the time convinced me otherwise, and I regretted it because that nice scenery was replaced with total devastation. I could make another character to see that peaceful virtual world again, but once that character left I could not go back to that serene part of the game.

Over time I heard of dedicated players who were so madly in love with the starting area that they found ways AROUND the game designer's rules. First they learned how to access an extremely difficult team only area with just a single player in the party. When there was no way to gain xp from the creatures already programmed in they learned how to level up enemies, by letting themselves be killed repeatedly over many DAYS just to slay a foe one time and gain at most 200xp. People have done intense things for the love of a good game before, and the true die-hard players will likely be fascinated by the complexity and variety of skills required in order to be the best F2P Rper.


What is the proposed benefit of playing WoW in a way the creators didn't intend?

I have a saying: take the time to take the time. Ask any psychiatrist and they will likely tell you that it is important to have at least 20 minutes of leisure time every day. Think about every guildie you've ever known and how RL pulled them away into a dull routine. Picture all of them and then imagine that you could give them the gift of just a few minutes nostalgia every day. This is a gesture for our friends and loved ones whose lives just won't slow down long enough for them to appreciate the small things. Even for yourself what would you give for just 20 minutes dedicated to slowing down?

Warning taking the time to appreciate things that matter may contribute to the following conditions: a transference of slowing down and considering your RL choices, a decrease in stress related tension typically found in the neck and shoulders, a frequent involuntary spasm of the mouth commonly referred to as a smile, and an unnerving personality shift which results in actively practising patience. Further studies are needed to compile a full list of symptoms stemming from this phenomenon.


What would be the IC premise of such a venture?

As I've gotten older I find myself getting tired more easily. I often complain about all the things I used to do and wish I still had the strength to try. This hit at around 30 years old so odds are I'm not the only one my age, or older who is in a financial pinch and wishing they could relive their glory days. So why not take out your frustrations about aging IC? Go ahead and complain that nobody listens to you anymore! Rant about how things used to be when you were young, and catch the ear of any newbies who come along! Keep the history of our beautiful server alive by causing a scene that will make low level people curious. If you get bored just make two starter accounts and duelbox RP alts of your favourite toons interacting (take it from someone whose done it: Rping with yourself can be epic fun too).

What about the trolls?

I have heard people complain about them before, but in all my years on the server I have never let it get to me.... okay in my early weeks I unwittingly fed the animals and I'll admit it. Early beta testing is showing that F2P may actually DECREASE the amount of trolls, because those who feel a need to harass others would likely be playing on buffed up high level toons. Just last night I was swarmed by people from F Society who were bouncing around me and one asked “What are you staring at?!” I just /shrug so he laughed and said I was alright before asking his friends if I could join their guild. I just turned my character to watch them until they got bored, then slowly RP walked away without being noticed. If you just emote at them knowing you're the better person they will get bored and go away!

Do I have to go along with the challenge even if I pay a monthly subscription?

No but this is going to be my personal long-term game plan, and I've noticed in my life that for some reason people tend to swarm me when I do something unique. I'm just giving folks a heads-up as to what I'm planning, so that if anyone wants to get in on one of my experimental ventures at least this time they're well informed beforehand. IDK about anyone else but I am OFF the xpac bandwagon! It costs too much money and takes up too much time, plus you hardly have a chance to enjoy becoming good at it before another one comes out. How many of our friends do you think quit over the years because RL wouldn't allow them the time for WoW? How many might come back if they knew that just obtaining a single item was enough to scratch their itch for one day?

If you're still enthusiastic about the grind than this challenge probably isn't for you, however I do ask that anyone who happens to be playing on a paid account help their F2P brethren. Veterans CAN join guilds that their higher level characters are in, so if an old guildy comes back in F2P maybe try to take them out in search of rare or epic items they can wear (they can't trade but a subscription player can still pass on the loot). There are ways subscription players can help F2P veterans who might consider coming back to WoW, but that doesn't mean you have to dedicate any serious time or effort into it. Remember a F2P can't harass you with whispers unless you have them on YOUR friend's list or you Pmed them first, so if you think someone might use you for loot just unfriend them.


What is the difference between a starter and veteran account?

According to http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/World_of_ ... er_Edition here is what has changed from the old 10 day trials:

New features over the old trial:
    Players with the Starter Edition can create draenei and blood elf characters, which were previously unavailable with trial accounts. As of Mists of Pandaria, the worgen, goblin and pandaren are available, as well as the monk class.
    The two starting zones associated with draenei/blood elf races are also available to people wishing to try out the game.
    The gold limit has been raised to 10 gold, allowing Starter Edition players to purchase mounts when they reach the appropriate level.

Most limitations are shown in the FAQ.[1]
    At level 20 you will stop gaining experience until you activate a paid account, but you can play and explore or even start a new character.
    Gold capped at 10.
    Primary Professions and Secondary Professions are capped at 100 skill level.[citation needed] Racial traits however can increase them by 15 points. Prior to Patch 6.2, Secondary Professions were not explicitly capped, but gold cost and character level limited them. Secondary Professions with skill level above 100 (before Patch 6.2) will be lowered to 100 upon learning a new recipe.[citation needed]
    Will be unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
    In-game access to public chat channels is unavailable. Players are limited to communicating using only /say,/party, or /whisper. Also, anyone more than 10 levels above the player cannot hear the player's /say or see the player's /e emotes (example: a Level 31 character cannot hear a Level 20 Starter Account's /say). Other emotes other than /e or /me can be seen by higher levels.[2]
    Characters will be unable to create or join guilds.
    Characters are not able to send whispers to other characters unless they have been added to the characters' friends lists or have received a whisper from a character first.
    Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.
    Characters will be unable to disable experience gains.LIMITATION HAS BEEN REMOVED*[3]
    Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.**LIMITATION HAS BEEN REMOVED
    Voice chat disabled on Starter Edition accounts.
    Realms experiencing login queues will prioritize players who have full, paid accounts.
    Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
    Real ID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts.
    Pet Battles are unavailable.


Here is what the same article has to say on veteran accounts:
    As of Patch 6.1, players that try to log into lapsed accounts are given a special status for their Starter Edition account called "Veteran" internally by Blizzard.[4] The only extra ability is that characters Level 20 and under will be able to join a guild if any of their other characters are still in that guild.[4] As of Patch 6.2, lapsed accounts may use their BattleTag from their Friends List. They may whisper their BattleTag friends across games but will be unable to invite them into a group. However, lapsed accounts may be invited by their BattleTag friends who have an active subscription even across realms.
    Lapsed accounts also have a slightly stricter professions restriction. Depending on the profession, lapsed accounts will be unable to create some mid to higher skill items from their professions without an active subscription. They may learn new recipes given the appropriate skill level but if these recipes are mid or higher level (about at 60 skill level) they may not create them. All titles and mounts tied to your Battle.net account will still be accessible. For example, a person with the Bloodsail Admiral title on a full account will be able to use it on their Starter Edition account, and if they had a mount such as the Armored Bear, they'd still be able to use it.


Why do you want volunteers for this beta testing?

I am attempting to download 6 games, plus the content for a seventh due to be released at the end of August. After dividing my average kbs per second by the gigabytes remaining it will take approximately 2 months 19 days to download the game, unless I added a few extra 0's in which case it's only 2 days 19 hours. In either case I can't keep my notebook plugged in that long due to a cord chewing cat, and I want to accurately measure what sort of glitches might exist because I remember the old trials possessing a few. I can't tell if I'm running in the sky above Stormwind docks because I'm streaming the game, or if it might occur at a random point in starter accounts.

Additionally I've never claimed to be the best at either PvP or PvE. I can understand a build once someone explains it to me, but don't ask me to create one unless I can take a few days tinkering around. I want to know if there IS a viable challenge in creating OP classes within the boundaries of a F2P account no matter what sort of armour or skills they possess. A good challenge can be overcome with hard work, and I intend to see if the challenge of playing oldschool on a veteran account is worth the effort. I'll be doing it with or without anyone's help and documenting my findings in this topic, but volunteers of any kind can help us determine if former players would find this style of gameplay fun. Just think of it like a focus group without the pressure of finding an answer quickly.


What happens after the beta testing is done?

Then I haul all of our research over to the world of warcraft forums, and post it where everybody can see it! We go live and start posting whatever we can to encourage people that it's worthwhile. Perhaps we will find that the 20's can buff themselves up enough to enter a 40 man raid if summoned through a warlock portal, and someday toss up a video of them beating something from the core game? Just imagine bringing back the challenge of classic wow while the new xpac is running! It would be like two games running simultaneously: the new war and the veterans defending their homelands. If realms across the game both RP and non start enjoying this than it could reshape the entire landscape of Azeroth! Remember those players from Guild Wars that I mentioned? Within three xpacs a new title had been created by the moderators, and it was only awarded to those who hit level 20 in that starter zone. If this goes well perhaps blizzard will acknowledge the players who formed its starting base in similar fashion, or perhaps they already have with these veteran accounts but we just haven't taken advantage of it yet?

TLDR PLS?!

I'm making a starter account and reactivating my old one as a veteran account. I'm going to see just how tough I can make my characters without having to pay for a subscription. I hope a few of the legends in this community who have been hovering around wishing they could get back into the game follow my lead, and help me see if this is something that will work for any old vet of Azaroth! Any findings from the beta testing will be posted below, and comments regarding this experiment are encouraged.


((Edited because the original I had copied contained two points that had been crossed out, however they appeared to be limitations. I added my own text in bold letters to correct this mistake: Characters will be unable to disable experience gains.LIMITATION HAS BEEN REMOVED*[3]
Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.**LIMITATION HAS BEEN REMOVED))

Re: Veteran's Challenge Beta Testing

PostPosted: August 8th, 2016, 4:52 am
by leppender
Tonight I performed my first field test for 20 minutes of play with a plan. I will admit that I wound up adding 10 minutes onto my gameplay because I forgot to set my hearthstone; that's the last time I park in Bilgewater just so Chander can party...

The first point I should mention is in regards to flight paths. It would have been 7S 58C to go from where I was to the south rocketway, north rocketway, Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff. The only place more costly was Moonglade but just add another 10S onto the price. In the end I just hearthed, but having forgotten to reset it had to travel from VoT. I HIGHLY recommend that veterans choose their zones with care, which for RP purposes does suit the premise of someone who is protecting their region. If you want to have a farming territory that is expansive I suggest setting your hearthstone somewhere you are willing to run from. Remember there is a 10G limit for how much cash you can carry, so wise spending is very important... I need to stop buying stacks of cheap booze just to plop Chander down in a pub.

My second observation occurred to me while going about my chosen task (which we will come to shortly). Certain tasks will DEFINATELY require farming in order to obtain necessary items. In accidentally hitting J I realized that I could not perform a party search, and this calls into question the ability to participate in PvP. Once I am level 10 I will be able to prove or disprove this theory, but that means that veterans will need to search for uncommon items, buff them up and move on to a tougher area to find more until they hit the level 20 req cap. Beyond that reaching out to lowbies and getting invited into parties may allow for dungeons, or if a player can buff enough they may be able to clear certain parts solo. In any case there will be times that buffing requires a slight grind, but even that may possibly be limited to a single run per day if it is well planned.

So my goal for this evening was to research which professions would provide the nicest buffs for a shaman. In 20 minutes I managed to RP walk (mostly) to the alchemy, enchanting and inscription trainers. Here is what I learned:


    Alchemy is better than inscriptions for battle elixirs. The latter only allows for the creation of consumable scrolls that count as a 30 minute battle elixir. The best of these only allow a +4 of intellect, strength, vitality and stamina respectfully. I will get a better result stocking up on Elixirs of Wisdom which provides +7 intellect for 1 hour.

    The only guardian elixirs I saw either gave me a very minor + health for 1 hour, or of course my personal favourite minor troll's blood with it's +3 every 5 seconds for an hour. You can never go wrong with a classic!

    Inscriptions only seem useful for creating enchanting scrolls which just requires a skill of 35. By the way I never did understand the point of those darkmoon faire cards, so can anyone help me figure out how we can use those as an advantage?

    The Elixir of Wisdom requires Mageroyal and Briarthorn, Trolls Blood needs Peacebloom and Earthroot, so for making the enchanting scrolls I recommend milling nothing but Silverleaf and keeping a good stock of the rest.

    Enchantments are slim but I am comfortable with my choice of bracer +1 agility, cloak +1 armour and chest +3 health. For the chest I was torn by some of the +1 options, however none struck me as useful for my build.

Overall I would say I learned a lot tonight, and just in case anyone was wondering yes I spent more time writing this than I did playing but it was worthwhile.

Re: Veteran's Challenge Beta Testing

PostPosted: August 18th, 2016, 4:04 pm
by leppender
Okay so just a few notes for the day, and I'm going to try keeping them organized for your viewing pleasure.

20 minute gameplay

So I really want to make it clear that this isn't some sort of rule for the challenge. You don't HAVE to limit your game-time to just twenty minutes, but that is the projected MINIMUM I figure will be needed in order to do this challenge. Today I stayed on for 3 hours (and am AFK while writing this), but every 20 minutes I paused to check my progress. I managed to get TONS done in that time frame despite my awful lag, and confirmed that a few other things can be done in just a short period.


    Quest bundles in small areas can be completed.

    Item farming for professions is still worthwhile.

    Doing the RP walk through a city just to empty bags and hit the bank is easy, plus there's enough time leftover to tinker with your interface or build.

    Leveling can be a breeze if you're gathering or doing quests, and although my lag dilutes the study a knowledgeable player SHOULD be able to gain at least half a level (probably more before lvl 10) in that short time.

    As always there was enough time to RP the entire way!

PvP

I have reached level 10 and successfully joined the queue for WSG! I pulled out of it after just a few seconds because I am not the least bit prepped for PvP, and of course with my determination to stay IC I risk building a poor reputation with anyone who frequents Warsong Gulch at the low lvls if I can't fight. So starter accounts can PvP but I will wait until I'm lvl 19 to confirm if we earn honor for it (or marks of conquest or whatever; I could never keep up with all these newfangled changes :P).

Contacting Blizzard

I am confident that this method will indeed provide a unique challenge for any returning players, but there are a few small things that I think will agitate people. For example I price checked the largest bags a starter can afford on their 10G limit, and found that the 12 slot was 9G while the 14 slot was 10G 80S. Can you believe it?! Those additional slots really do make a difference especially when you're considering putting them in your bank. Previously I have mentioned how pointless an intellect scroll is when compared to an elixir of wisdom, and I'm sure we have all shuddered to see the minimal gains when using the low lvl enchantments. Who would even bother with most of them today?

So I think it's time I share my idea with the big guys upstairs. There are a few selling points that I'm sure the moderators will find intriguing, such as the possibility of people occasionally resubscribing for a month in order to super buff their F2P toons with chants they can't get otherwise. While I'm not interested in coming back full-time the thought has crossed my mind, and I'm sure Blizz would rather get some of my money than none. So if even half of the millions who used to play come back on F2P, and only 20% resubscribe once per year that's still a pretty penny for Blizz.

I will be scripting an email to Blizzard over the next few days, so if there are any points that you think could be helpful now is a good time to make them.

Volunteers still needed!

I'm not kidding my lag is massive people, and it's hard to get clean results in a time related study when you're spending most of it trying to angle your camera or walk. You don't have to PM me or anything just make a starter account with an unused email, and see what you can do within the restrictions blizz gives you. I really need the perspectives of paladins and warriors in regards to finding plate or managing without, along with druids mages and priests for survivability tactics at that lvl. I want to know the limitations of classes, and there are only so many I have experience with.

In time I intend to compile a good list of quality armour and weapons players can obtain at lvl 20 through PvE finds along with dungeons, but this sort of work takes time that I currently don't have. If you don't want to participate by playing then there is still research you can help with outside the game. Please feel free to post and discuss possible armour upgrades, buffs or builds in this thread because input is needed to ensure that I'm not the only one having fun here ^_^