Carrots and Sticks
The mere participation of the activity should be the reward, right? Unfortunately that always isn’t true. There are parts of our gaming that we have do to in order to participate in the parts we enjoy.
The most glaring example of this is leveling in itself. This has manifested itself in the World of Warcraft era with most of the engaging content locked behind max level. In Everquest grouping and leveling itself was the reward (it was also really the only efficient way to play). I didn’t make max level in EQ. Expansions hit faster than I could reach the cap. There wasn’t a whole lot of alternate character play back in those days for myself either. Back then alts only happened when your friends were playing their alts. Falling behind and not being able to contribute much to your group was a thing back in EQ. This was motivation to stay current and play a lot. That was a stick.
I don’t have an issue with this because if you take away those bits then you might as well have a lobby style game. I know WoW is perfectly suited for that as well already but that isn’t my point. My point is that I am at that stage in the WoW expansion where I either have to fundamentally change the way I play (which is tough to do) or I need to start finding my own fun. My own fun initially was to start leveling alts but that is turning out to not be as much fun as I had hoped. The issue with leveling alternate characters in WoW is that you are doing the same content you did before – and the only reward at the end of it is to do more of the same content you are doing on your main – albeit your preferred content. The carrot here is that intertwined with the 95% repeat content is the 5% Class Hall unique content. That is enough to keep me going (for now).
Couchon, my Druid main is pretty much fully up to date on the Suramar story line and is actively keeping up with it (carrot) while on my Rogue it is pointless as I have already experienced it (stick). Emissary Quests, with their low Legendary drop rate is a stick on Couchon (867 ilvl, 2 legendaries already and almost maxed out on world reputation) but a carrot on Coosh (more upgrades still available, only one legendary). Still – the change of gear upgrades is so slim that I am starting to not even enjoy doing the Emissary quests at all – but I still do them everyday on my two max level characters because.. well… because I am supposed to I think?
Isee (level 108 Paladin) I started doing the main quest line on to see if it was faster than dungeon leveling (it’s not) so that was a short lived carrot experience that quickly turned into a stick.
I started levelling my Demon Hunter – on the Horde side. I have no clue what the experience is like as a Horde player. I saw the cutscenes when Greymane fought Sylvanas – is it the same perspective from the Horde side? I want to find that out by experiencing it. I am worried I will do all the quests to get up there only to find out it is the same. What is the motivations of the Horde? Why did they leave the alliance hanging on the Broken Shore, causing the death of the King and leader of the Alliance? These are unanswered questions for me (carrot) but ones I can probably find out faster via google (stick). I am not going to spoil it for myself (yet.)
The biggest interest for me right now is the Class Order Hall stories. My Hunter is at her class hall. Level 101. She may be next. My Shaman calls me. I rolled a Death Knight (for the first time) and a Mage (have never played past level 30). I started their journeys and parked them in zones and areas where they can start building rest XP. With Heirlooms and 200% rest XP that will make the experience that much better. Mage is under 10, Warlock is in her 20s, Monk is mid 40s, DK late 50s, Priest early 60s, Warrior late 70s, Shaman late 80s, Demon Hunter late 90s, Hunter at 100, Paladin at 108, Rogue and Druid at 110. I have a character in each leveling ‘decade’. This may be the expansion I get them all to 110 for the Class Hall alone (carrot) but to do so, I’d have to abandon regular play of my higher level characters to make the time (stick).
I have done all the Dungeons including Karazahn, and all the raids via LFR. I have the two hidden artifact appearances for my druid for the specs I do not play (Boomkin and Feral) so a weekly Ursoc run for the Guardian version for Couchon is a must do (carrot) but the rest of that raid is a waste of my time (stick) and I feel bad dropping after the first boss.
Raising the artifact weapon gets faster and easier by time and grind alone. If you sit back on the time part and wait to get more artifact knowledge it also makes the grind more manageable. Big carrot there to not play…
Sorry for the very rambling Monday post. I was fleshing out this idea of Carrots and sticks when I was doing some Battleground PVP. There was a Weekly Quest to get 4 wins in a Battleground. It was a big carrot! I have gone 1-25 as an Alliance member which is driving me nuts. Some rounds I will have 4x the healing as the next player on either team and we arent even close to being successful. I have actually quit mid rounds because the teams have been so bad. The ‘stick’ for not staying in a losing match is that if you get a 15 minute deserter buff. The issue is, there is so much to do, I’d rather find something more fun to do for 15 minutes than sit through 10 minutes of terrible teamwork. It became so unfun – queuing up for a Battleground knowing that you had no chance – that I just gave up on the quest altogether. The carrot of the Weekly Quest ultimately became a stick.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? One person’s carrot is another person’s stick?
(Latest version of WordPress broke full justification of paragraphs. It looks ugly and I hate it. Hopefully they fix soon!)