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The future of Sunwell and why it should NOT be blizzlike


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Hello everybody! I hope you're all having a good day.

(Nature of this post gave me an idea of dividing it into parts for your comfort.)

1. Introductory praise ^^ (feel free to skip to 2nd chapter if you're not administration or don't appreciate their work, as you might feel tiny bit frustrated)

I'm writing from a fresh forum account, but I've played on Sunwell servers for many years now. Work of this crew has been a significant part of my (and my friends) entertainment during the times of Angrathar. Every now and then I've been monitoring what's been happening with Frosthold and I've been very happy everytime you (meaning: server administration) would achieve success or gain recognition for your hard work. Knowing the past (I also played almost continuesly many years before Angrathar) I really appreciated every bit of work you implemented in making your servers better and better. It is without a doubt the most wonderful work on wow private server I have ever witnessed and though I know there might be other comparable teams out there, right now, knowing all I know and witnessing all I've witnessed, there is no way I would consider playing on a private server that wasn't molded by you. It does not mean, however, that it couldn't be even better, and thinking of you as only-smart-people-team, I know that you know it.

Having told this, I'm ready to share my thoughts with you. I would be very pleased if the administration acknowledged my post, and completely satisfied if members of the crew responded in any mean the crew considers accurate. Now let's get to the subject.

2. The experience you gave us

Adding new features to gameplay, implementing problem fixing mechanics, working on wide selection of premium benefits, organizing events, creating new realms after content completion - all of these things make for a really great place to be. A server that gains new players during it's life and remains vivacious until the very exhaustion of the content, and even AFTER that! The fact that you're not afraid of thinking outside the "blizzlike" box is very comforting and gives hope for this project to grow and prosper. But, in my opinion, you should push it even further, and I'm writing that with with all the honesty I can afford.

3. Future of the project

By this moment it is probably very clear that I care for the future of this project and as a player (fundamental, but lowest-lvl participant of the project :D) I would like for it to "live long and prosper" for as long as it's possible. That means not only "surviving" in the current, but growing and developing. It will hold a special place in my heart no matter what happens, but if there is a chance I will see your servers grow a few years from now... I wouldn't exxagerate too much if I said that it would put tears of joy on my face, doesn't matter if I have an appetite for WoW in that moment or not. Because of all that I take effort in writing this post, and I hope that you'll read it and take what's best from it. Now I'm ready to get to the essence. I will talk about the features you already implemented, and about those I think should be implemented.
Here we go!

4. Features

I'll talk about some of the features you already granted us and why it was great that you did, and also - how you could modify those to make them even better in my opinion. I will also think about features I think could be implemented to greatly enhance the experience your this project provides.

In my opinion - just a beatiful piece of non-WotLK feature that made the server a tiny bit more interesting without sacrificing anything. What, there are some insults from "true gaming fanatics" movement? With all respect to those people and their ideals, you should not care for these and I'm glad that you didn't this time. The future of this project is now. Implementing NEW, REFRESHING THINGS does not mean you don't care for those who loved the traditional ways - it means you care for the vitality of the project. It is wise to remember that those who are the loudest are not necessarily the most popular, and definitely are not the foundation of the entertainment your project brings.

Things to alter: Transmogrification should be easier and cheaper to use. It could boil down to making it viable to use by low-lvl characters without forcing them to drop their adventure just to change the apperance of their item. This could be implemented by a mechanic that makes transmogging higher item-lvl items much more expensive than low item-lvl items. Finally, transmog could be based on one single currency + gold. The currency would be given in small amounts for everyday activities for both low lvl and high lvl characters.
How should the currency be obtained (a few ideas):
- Completing Random Dungeons and Battlegrounds
- Completing Raids
- Participating in World-PvP while being in the character lvl right for the zone.
By that I mean the Plaguelands PvP objectives or Helfire Peninsula ones. The world is huge and detailed, all zones should be used if it's possible. There has to be a motivation though, and it should not be abused by highest lvl characters, which would have their own ways of gaining this currency.
- Completing Quests fit for the character lvl (that would be marked at least as green).
Thats another way of populating the open world. Completing quests would not be about achievements or XP only, but also for usage of this very cool feature! This would make players seek adventures in all the different zones, and would make leveling a little bit more satisfying. It would most certainly boost world PvP. And, as I said, there are LOTS of people who think of WoW as adventure-game, the others are a little bit more "forced" to leveling, and it should be a more entertaining experience for both of these groups.

The currency gain would be small but consistent. What does that mean and what would be the economy of it? I'm thinking of something like this:
Transmog at lvl 10 should be very cheap and easily accesible. You won't look like a 80 lvl 40k hp monster no matter what item you obtained at this lvl, and also - you are switching items very frequently. Completing 2 hours of questing (this is an approximation) should give you enough currency to switch one item at the item-lvl suitable for lvl 10 character. Also, it should be cheap goldwise - so cheap that a character without their "big brother support" could afford it. I'm pretty sure there could a equation made that would make it fair for all characters all on character and item levels. Of course it should be much, much more expensive at lvl 80 or even 70, as items are much less frequently replaced on these levels, and you have much more chances to flex with your new look. There should be a significant amount of these "basic activities" completed until you can think of transmogging at max lvl, and also you have to pay a lot. On the other hand, transmog on lvl 60 should still be relatively cheap - the cost should grow very fast as you approach lvl 80. Of course I'm still talking about founding that on item-lvl, not character lvl - using character levels just makes it easier to imagine, at least for me.

At the same time, transmog currency should be available in the premium shop! I firmly believe you should premium everything that doesn't make the game pay for win, and it for sure includes this currency. It shouldn't cost too much premium currency, as - in my opinion - it should be a widespread feature of the project. A person who wants to have a transmog will either participate in the open world (or do dungeon runs, battlegrounds or raids), or pay money to get what they want. EVEN BETTER, you could implement a feature of TRANSMOG CURRENCY BOOST, which could make gaining the tokens via "natural means" faster! This would make the "world population" even greater and spread across the continents. The more non-destructive premium options, the better for you and the future of this server, no matter what boomers say.

It should always be clear what the transmog currency is used for (description showing after hovering over it would be sufficient). Also, thing worth considering is making this currency account-wide. If you'd like to complete quests with your 60 lvl character, but transmog items on your 20 lvl character, you could be able to do that. This last thing isn't thought through though, keep that in mind.

Quite often we see different phrases, but with the same meaning: "leveling is boring". People see it often enough to have a chance of coming to conclusion that everybody thinks that.
First: It's not everybody. I know plenty of people who LIKE leveling and the great adventure it bring. I know people who like leveling more than the endgame. There are poeple who are reliving the game just because they started reading all the quest texts and now really get into the story. Finally, there are people who ADORE the open world, think of it as the best portion of the game, and absolutely love the low-paced PvP and PvE experience it gives.
Second: if it might seem boring or is boring for portion of the population, we should strive to make it more interesting! I have some non-invasive ideas on how to do that, so here they come.
Things to alter: We should make the overall experience much more interesting and rewarding! We can put it on a right path in many different ways! Here are some:

- Achievements of leveling adventure - you all know the loremaster achievement, given for completing a significant portion of quests in the world. Why not add additional achievements and rewards for them? What do I mean by that, you ask. The thing is very simple, here are a few ideas:
For completing all (or almost all) quests in a zone (for example: Elwynn Forest), you would get Elwynn Forest Hero achievement, which would give you a title to use: "of Elwynn Forest". It would have to be done while being on the level range of the zone, so you would have to chose which titles to grab, and which to miss out on. Does that destroy the game? I think not! Think how could would it be, if we got heroes walking through all the different low-lvl cities, proudly presenting titles of the zones they most enjoyed! This could also go with a tabard of some sort, we could really go mad here. Sunlover of Tanaris? How cool is that?!
You could make it go far wider, by adding a title for completing Dungeon achievements! of Deadmines, of Wailing Caverns, of Ragefire Chasm etc. This would mean gaining many titles, but is that a problem? Their quantity wouldn't be a problem, because still the greatest ones would be the ones that you must've put much effort into getting. None of this would eclipse Loremaster for sure.
- For living the open world-PvP WoW dream. Killing player characters on your lvl range (players who would be at least yellow for you if they were a mob) would count towards achievement statistics. It would not be just about HKs, it would be about open-world HKs. This is a PvP server, players have to be ready to fight while leveling in contested territory. Making your way through a dangerous world would result in gaining achievements related to fighting for your faction. This achievements, granted for 5, 25, 100, 250, 500, 1000 (and so on) Open World kills would give progressive titles or maybe a tabard? Nothing that would eclipse fighting on 80 lvl battlegrounds, but something satysfying.
It would be super fun if there would be separate achievements (or just statistics) for early / mid and late game fighters. You could consider disabling those to characters which have their xp gain disabled, so the pvp could remain natural and friendly to all sorts of players, not only twinks.

Also, each time you get one of these achievements, you are mailed some kick-ass fireworks and a letter with gratulations from administration of the server, and maybe some nice words encouraging you too keep going. These could be signed by leaders of the factions, or - even better - by some important NPCs from a region, if you'd like to be role friendly in this.

- Announcements and statistics. Getting certain lvls could give a world-wide announcement. I would definitely be fun for 80 lvl. There would be an announcement saying: "There is a new hero in the realm! May stars shine above him / May gods watch over him / Might The Light bless him! etc. He/she is the X 80 lvl character on the realm! It's the X 80 lvl character of this player! He did it in X play-time". That's surely nothing hard to do, and seeing that others are climbing to the heights could encourage others. Also, it would create entirely different competiton - speed leveling! Of course all who want to have a chance at being the fastest 80 on the server would buy the xp boost. Or maybe there would be two categories - those with boost and those without? Statistics kept on the server website would make it much cooler and satisfying for sure. I was even thinking of account-wide achievements like "Father/Mother of 5", if you have five 80 lvl characters on you. Yet another competition for players to fuel the open world with leveling characters, great for those who love the adventure!

- Transmog currency - Small thing, but very enjoyable (that's what she said*). I talked about this in transmogrification chapter. During leveling you should have many chances (questing and world pvp) for gaining transmog currency.
*sorry, couldn't resist.

New World Encounters - Now that's a thing many players would live for. Basically in each zone you could create a special encounter for players of certain lvl, suitable for the zone. This would be a 5 man mini-challenge, for which you would be granted the achievement, but only if all the damage it took was taken from right lvl characters. Or maybe it would be visible only to the right lvl characters? This could be a gigantic boar ready to trample the party, or a extremely venomous spider - no matter what it would be, it would grant progress towards an achievement, something like Legendary Monster Slayer, and maybe some random green loot with right item-lvl (like 5 green items). These would have high respawn timers and would be hunted for - this alone would be a competition! Maybe there would be additional quests to slay them?
I believe this feature would make partying during leveling even more frequent. It would also popularize leveling experience your project provides, and give each zone something interesting to look for, hunt for and fight for (even more world PvP). Note that the beast would have to be a big challenge for the characters that would be able to engage it.
Example: if Wetlands is the zone, characters of lvls 18-34 could see / engage the creature. It would be so strong that it would be best to fight it as a 5-man group of lvl 26 characters (5 characters of the medium lvl for the zone). Group of 5x18lvl would struggle or not have any chance against the beast, while 5x34 lvls would take it down without too much of a sweat. On the other hand, the stronger you are, the lesser the benefit of killing it would be. It sounds fun for me, I hope it sounds fun for you too!

Events for all-level-characters - Events are great way of engaging players, and their increasing frequency works great for most players. And while events like 200% xp Weekends are nice, they are nowhere near special events, like tournaments, competitions or - I don't know - in game parties! They don't have to be particularily complex, but have to grant some rewards. Let me give you some examples.

Tournaments - just regular PvP tournaments. In perfect version of my vision this would be cross faction to make it easier to balance both sides. Sometimes it would be 2v2 tournament for low-lvls, another time it would be 5v5, and sometimes you would just create a big battle royale events, where all players from different level ranges could join, and only one would survive! Great battleground, where noone is friendly! These great battles would be held at different hours for different character levels. The lower level you have, the more bonus you would be getting, so it would be at least tiny bit fair and more all level friendly - everybody should be encouraged to participate in those events. The reward? The Event Apple. What is it? I talk about it a little bit later.
Another idea for PvP tournament would be DEFENDING THE VIP - there are 2 V.I.P's NPCs spawning, which are constantly moving through the map. Taking VIP hp to 0 stuns it for a while. Factions fight with each other and damage the other faction VIP in order to make their VIP get from point A to point B faster. The winning faction is granted more Event Apples that the losing one. Just as battle royale, this event would be divided into rounds for different lvl range characters.

Competitions - what comes to my mind? Obstacle courses are one obvious thing. The other is Speed Beastslaying - the party which slays the most event beasts during a round wins the event. Another one - Base Defense. The "Base" is an object which attacking monsters want to destroy. They will kill everybody in their path before attacking the "base". They are too powerful to hold off entirely, players just have to find a way to slow them down so the base to survive long enough.
Other ideas are more complex. On the old Sunwell servers I organised "Ironman" challenge. It was done like this:
1) People created characters with a nickname that must've had a special suffix, which was given only 1 minute before the event started.
2) People leveled characters all the way to level 9 and collected all the items along the way.
3) After X hours the XP part of event ended and all the poeple that menaged to get lvl 9 were called to a location. Then, a series of duels was starting. Duel participants were chosen randomly, the winner went on, the loser was (politely) kicked out of the competition.
4) The winner gained the honorary "Ironman" title.
You can probably see that that special someone who had the luck to find that green lvl 5 two-handed sword had an easier time during the duels, but it was never decisive! You can also probably tell that some classes had the upper hand, but skill mattered even matter and it never took away the fun!
The first time I did that there was over a dozen participants, and the second event had several dozen of players going for the title. I was only A PLAYER making it all happen via the forum (I had a help from one of the GMs, which I'm thankful for) imagine how could it look if the administration took FULL charge of it!

Other competitions might include killing super-heavy monsters wandering the Azeroth (which need 100 people to kill or smth like that) and great global events you most certainly can pull off, because you shown us that you are capable of great things already. Then all the poeple who dealt damage get Event Apples, and the 10 people with highest placing in highest healing / damage / threat rankings get more Apples. Simple as that!

Parties - If somebody thinks now "Parties in game?! Get a life you virgin!" - congratulations, you passed a test on judgmental, intolerant and insecure personality. If you never created a bond, had a valuable or just a entertaining conversation in game while drinking fictional beer while sitting in a fictional chair, it doesn't mean noone else did. These parties would be cross-faction and while standing in their zone (to which everybody could freely teleport) horde would be able to communicate with alliance. For those who wouldn't be willing to just chat with fellow players, just being in those parties could grant rested bonus twice as fast (or even faster). There could be obstacle course on each of these parties, some dueling grounds, food and drink vendors. This could also be a great place to bond with game masters - they could attend those parties for a while and make them appear a little bit more human and a little bit less divine :D
P.S. maybe it would be fun to add Event Apples to buy on parties for gold? A way to decrease the amount of gold in the server market, not that beneficial, but for sure would be used! You could also buy other expensive (in gold) and temporary cosmetic things, like elixirs that transform you into something out of combat, special outfits you can only wear while on party and other things!

What's most important is that the events would be held weekly or even twice a week, and consistently. Give the playerbase 4 (or even 8 ) small events with small rewards each month, and their engagement will be greater for sure.

By participating in those events you could get a magic apple (Event Apple) that boosts your experience / honor / transmog currency gain by 10% after you eat it that would last 12 hours or 4 hours of in-game time after eating. Of course potential winners would get more apples, and other participiants - fewer apples. These would be soulbound and not sellable of course. All events (except parties) would be held in ROUNDS for all character levels, and two days in a row, so everybody could get a chance at participating, and those who would be really engaged could have to chances at participating. So these rounds would be for 1-9, 10-19 etc., and 80 lvl would be of course a different bracket.

Server Restarts - You started doing it already and I personally love it. There is just so much fresh energy in a new realms starting, so much population and popularity boost! I believe this are crucial for keeping things alive - new chances for everybody, and, most importantly - each year or so a new chance to feel what it means to be at the birth of a realm. Greatest WoW thing evah. New chance for the guilds to show their supremacy, new opportunity for PvP maniacs to climb on with their HK's, the list goes on. This is the greatest feature you implemented and I hope you will go on with that. "Restarts" should always be properly executed and have intense advertisement. Then you would be sure that every year you will have players coming back or new ones coming in.

But those who accomplish something great on a old realm should not miss the reward. In my opinion, at "Realms End", you should be awarded with special features on new server. Honorary titles (of Angrathar, of Frosthold), and by that I mean that if you slayed "the king" on Frosthold, you should be able to play from the very beginning with a title "The Kingslayer of Frosthold", or even have a beatiful tabard for it, or maybe a special mount (provided only after buying a normal mount) or companion pet option? Doesn't matter what it would be, it should be available account-wide. The point is - players should be awarded for their accomplishments on old realms and acknowledged both by the administration and the playerbase. It could go with a bunch of cosmetics that player would be given after hitting certain lvl (80 presumably), or by giving him a special boost to the first character after the first 80 hits the realm. "Being thankful for your accomplishments in different timeline of our project, we grant you this blessing. May you always spend quality time in the world we all love" or something similar could be shown after hovering over the buff. The quality of the buff or the reward should not distrupt the game of course, but it could be scaled with accomplishment, for example could be based on achievement points of the most developed character. Those who think restarts are bad would be just a little bit less frustrated, and those who think good of the restarts would be so happy seeing something like that! I would be for sure, and I believe you would come with even better ideas for it. With something like that, you could go on with WotLK for many years to come. Cross-realm achievements is only one thing (you completed THIS MUCH on old realm, now you have time to try to complete the rest, check if you will do better than the last time!).

Other Super Good Features - My head is exhausted, so I will quickly wrap this up just by listing those. Cross-faction is just super great thing to implement both to RDFs and BGs (and also SOLO QUEUE, congratz on that idea btw., super cool). To hell with blizzlike, players want fun! They have plenty of time to murder each other based on their faction in the open world you could make so much more interesting in so many ways. Also, making the factions more balanced (in player numbers) by giving bonuses is super cool, continue with that of course. Also you could think about making a lot more forum events with rewards in game!

5. Always keep us updated - The final, yet maybe the most important chapter. Always keep the players updated about everything, even if there are only small things to announce. If the website has a new post two times in a week, I feel this thing that the project always has somebody looking after it. We know that it does, we just have to feel it more! You are already making great trailers and bonus materials, now give us some normal talking, statements, talk with us about your plans even if there are not changing or not much progress was made - we want to be engaged much more.

Thank you for reading and please don't hesitate to share your thoughts on this with respect to both administration, me, and this great project. If the administration reads this or responds, thank you in advance. I didn't share all my thoughts here, those were a few solid writing hours, but I think I shared at least most of it.

Best regards,

Edited by maxiping
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Don't you think that creating new and new worst realms is not a good tactics to keep players interested in?

I have used to play Feronis realm and i was satisfieed but ream became empty after about a year. My freiends went to Angrathar than me too. Angrathar became empty after less than one year and you enable to transfer characters from Feronis - I have done it than I had twice of charactewrs at Angrathar but because it was empty I have started to plat Frosthold. After equipping my new characters Frosthold became empty after 8 months than you enabled to transfer characters from Angrathar - than I have done it and i had 3 sets of same characters: 3 retribution pallys 3 dk's 3 druids etc. But Frosthold dies than I have start to play Voltarus - after only 3 months there is the same : Frosthold is completely empty (3-4 players in peak) and Voltarus is empty too - even any heroic dungeon is a problem do not counting raids

Maybe you do something wrong by creating new realms not better than old ones? Its boring to collect still the same equipment and gather still the same points and emblems (honor and emblems), When my chgaracters become quite good staffed - server diees and it is waste of my time.

I am personally disappointed by that neverending story and start to thing on other private servers more constant.

Edited by Ofelia
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