With all of the talk and backlash at Blizzard’s tendency to give and take away rewards — i.e. “borrowed power” — with expansion cycles, I’ve been taking a step back and thinking about what matters for World of Warcraft characters in the long run.
The way I see it, we are motivated to play by three things: the experience (stories, interactions with other players), temporary rewards (gear, borrowed power systems), and permanent rewards that we collect. This last category includes:
- Weapon effects
- Mount equipment
- Account unlocks (allied races, flying)
That’s right there what I’m chasing in Shadowlands — covenants, renown, gear, and whatever will evaporate in two years is just a means to getting some of these long-lasting rewards. But I have to ask, is it enough? For players who have the one mount they really love or who don’t care about pets, what entices them to keep pursuing goals?
I think that Blizzard needs to add another reward pipeline in the game to add more variety to what it already has. The obvious option is some sort of housing system, because there are so many rewards that can be added into this. Garrisons had potential, and you saw Blizz starting to expand this into a new reward pipeline (music scrolls, holiday overlays) before giving up and moving on.
But it could be something else entirely, something I’m not seeing. I hope that the team is thinking outside, rather than inside, its tightly confined boundaries for rewards in the future.