Friday, May 17, 2013

Should There Ever Be Paid Class Changes?

I believe the paid class change question is a very interesting question.  Someone asked the queue on wow insider if there would ever be paid class changes and Anne gave the perfect answer that I 100% agree with.  But I feel I must play devils advocate here for a moment and argue why it should be an option.

Devils advocate time, here goes.

Three reason why there should be a paid class change.

1) Leveling doesn't teach you anything.

In theory is should but it really doesn't.  Sure, some people might learn some stuff but most will just power through it not learning much of anything and if you look at it, it is designed that way on purpose.

In my personal assessment I would say leveling is 80% just press through it with any buttons that do damage, 15% minor challenge where you might need a minute to think about it, 4.8% I am definitely going to need to use some of these other abilities and 0.2% holy crap I wish I knew how to play my class better because this seems impossible.

You can level from 1-90 without ever leaving the comfort zone of the 80% type quests where you can just power your way through it.  If a quest comes along that you have an issue with, abandon it and move along to something else that is easier.  Which is exactly what most players do.  They will say, I will come back to that later when I am stronger and then out level it so they never do. 

Admit it, we all did that when we leveled too.  It is nothing new.  I passed on many a quest back when I leveled my first character or waited to see if I could get a group to do it.  But leveling is not like that any more for the most part.  So where I was running into that all the time, new levelers might run into it once in a rare while.

This faster leveling, easier level, leaves people with less opportunities to learn how to play their class.   It might very well not be that they do not want to learn, it could be a case of they never have the chance to learn.  Giving people the easy route with fast leveling also gives them the ability to skip zones when the quests start to get harder at the end of the quest line because they are basically out leveling the zone anyway.

2) Blizzard wants you at the end game.

Everything is designed for the end game.  Even PvP which is the only part of the game that has the potential to be awesome at every level gets pushed to the side for reasons of balance at 90.  That is why the leveling is faster.  That is why it is harder to learn while leveling.  They do not want to put a bunch of roadblocks in the way.

The design theory at work here is that leveling is something you want to do.  End game is the rat on the wheel moment.  They feel as if they can keep you coming back day after day and paying month after month if you are on the wheel at max leveling doing the gearing grind over and over for whatever it might be.  Gear, rep, you name it. 

So the faster they can get you there the more likely they are to keep you. They figure it is easier to keep a 90 interested than it is to keep a 25 interested and it is better to spend their time trying to keep everyone interested if they can design content for one part of the game and make sure everyone is there.  That is why they push everyone to 90, so everyone is in one neat pile and they can design for that pile and that pile alone.

3) Learning a class at 90 is easier than learning a class while leveling.

Yes, I just said that.  Flame on.

When leveling took longer you really got to know your abilities because you spent a lot of time with them.  When leveling was harder you really got to know your abilities because there were more times you actually needed to use all of them.  Now, not so much. 

They can give you an interrupt at level 32 but by that point, unless there is a real reason to need one, you have already learned to just kill things before they cast the spell that will hurt you.  They give a hunter misdirect after they have spent countless levels without it.  So they might just over look the ability because if it was really that important they would have had it already and they made it this far without it so they do not really need it.  Why not give it to them when they are young so "if" they are going to learn how to use it they can get used to it instead of waiting until they learned how to play without it so they ignore it?

Quick & easy leveling means you really do not get the chance of learning how to use abilities.  You can miss a hell of a lot while leveling.  Trust me, as someone that brings people that never raided before into raids, I often need to hold their hands and explain what 90% of their abilities are because "I didn't even know I could do that".

Hop over to icy veins, noxxic, or countless other resources and look up a rotation.  It will tell you all the goodies a damage dealer will need to use, all the cooldowns a tank has, all the types of heal a healer has, and it will tell them the order they need to use them in, tell them what proc to look out for, when to hold off or to let go, which abilities are situational, which are things you should use when called for in a raid.

Everything you need to know about your class can be learned in 10 quick minutes of reading.  Practicing it and getting better at it is on your hands.  But you will learn more in 10 minutes of reading than you did your entire time leveling.

I've seen learning while leveling confuse people.  I've also seen learning at 90 be a great success.

I never healed on my shaman once in my life when I decided to do it at 85.  I looked up some shaman resources online, read some guides, looked at my abilities, made some mouse over macros and I was healing that same day.  Not very well in my crap gear and having never even attempted it before but well enough to make sure everyone in a 5 man could live.  And that was when the 5 mans in cataclysm were still pretty brutal on most players.

I had never done the shadow rotation in my life but needed it to level to 90 as disc just wasn't cutting it and it was taking to long for things to die.  I looked it up, read the guide, powered through 85-90 like it was nothing.  Same for switching to elemental on my shaman.  Got tired of collecting so many sets of gear I figured I would go elemental with my shaman and just quest in my healing gear as it would be decent enough for it.  Looked it up and even though I never played one before that I have absolutely zero issues with being elemental.

If you are the type of player willing to look things up, learning at max level is not an issue at all.  It is super easy to learn how to play a class at max level.  So that should never be considered an issue as to why they would not allow class changes.  If someone is bad at one thing and changes their class, they will be bad at the other thing too. It will not create more bad players, it will just turn a lot of bad hunters into bad warriors and a lot of bad paladins into bad monks.  If anything, it might actually make some people better.  Some people might just naturally be better at another class or maybe, just maybe, they read up on the class before deciding to switch to it.  Class changes might actually mean more people knowing how to play, not less.

In closing, while I do agree with Anne as to why it will never happen and actually think it should never happen it was fun to play devils advocate a bit right there.  What do you think about it?


In that same vein I would love to see a character copy offered.

If you have a max level hunter on one server, you can make a copy (of level only) on another server for a fee.  None of their items will be copied and they will only have a basic set of blue gear appropriate for their level when created, but they will be at the same level.

Now that is a service I would not mind seeing come to the game and surely would rather that over a class change any day.  I already have every class, what do I need that for anyway. ;)


  1. I'll have to jump over there and read this.

    But to answer your question - yeah, it might never be done, but I would paid to take my druid (1), monk (1), rogues (2, DK (1) to be hunter specc'ed.

    Wow, GE, you are on a roll these past few weeks. trying to write "War & Peace"? :D

    stay frosty....

    1. and after reading her reply - silly reasons to me. I use to believe that lvling from 1-90 would teach me, but with as fast as one can level, I forget to use the new buttons. But I found out how quickly, I don't enjoy playing a melee based character from 85 to 90.

      My two cents. Don't colour me stupid.

      stay frosty....

    2. She is actually right however. The leveling experience is supposed to be so people can learn their class. It just doesn't work as well as intended for that.

    3. Of course that is why from 1-90, but it isn't needed anymore. You have said yourself how horrible the players have become.


      maybe if I was a very very new person to WOW, in that case, where is the new content for me (as a new person)? Not really there 1-90, because Blizzard wants you to be lvl 90 for all the latest new content and they want you there fast.

      So to be honest here, why have levels? (rhetorical question).

      But if there gonna be levels, with everyone bragging or buying guides "get to level 90 in 3 days!" why worry about it. :D

      Let me begin a new class and give me training for the first 1-10 levels or so like the training monks go thru every 10 to 20 levels (can't remember, but you know what I am talking about or is it a daily thing?).

      Give me all my buttons so I can play with them for those 10 levels, then let me decide to 1) go from 10 to 90 or 2) jump me to 90 so I can be like all the rest and not know my class and raid or pvp.

      That is if we need levels. And if so, give me my PVE story line and gear, give the PVP players their story line and gear, and give the raiders their story line and gear.

      With that said, give the achievement with any funny name like "I can't believe I just done it all" and award it for those who did 1-90 pve, 1-90 pvp and 90 raiding. Give'em a magic spear and helm and drop them on dino isle where they get to do the super bad raiding PVP finish and walk around glowing like they lived next to Three-mile island.

      But it will not happen. Still would like to be able to change class though. Or give a person the option at a certain level to switch and try something else, without having to lose what professions, levels, bags, bank space etc.

      Yeah, yeah, I know - I can always delete them, but you know once at 80, I dont want to look back and do it all over again. And the druid, and 2 rogues need to get the Klaxxi rep done. damn.

      all hunters. I likes me pets!

      Speaking of - got killed by Huntia (not sure if that is correct name or not for the green sparky ghostie porkypine in Jade Forst this morning - 3 times). Can't seem to slow her down enough. Then I had to go to work. Hmmm, not doing something right, but maybe this is where I need to spec SS and see if that makes a difference.

      stay frosty GE....

    4. and it is the way for blizzard to make their money off of ya. But I have been hooked since the 2nd week the game came out.

    5. I had made a post about it before that asked the same question. Why have levels? I really do not know.

  2. Benediction, Rhok'delar, Fangs of the Father, the warlock green fire quest chain. These are the quests that REALLY teach you your class. They should lock your xp bar at 89,and then the only thing you'd need to level up should be a quest like one of the above.
    Or, if you're a tank class, you could solo a warbringer or something..

    1. Thats a neat idea Josef.

      or how about a solo quest every 10 levels to put what was learned from your buttons before you can go to the next 10. Bliz can have pretty much the same instance for all classes but only allow your one toon in it (aka Farmhouse in Valley of Four Winds.

      for example (I am only explaining because my sister says I don't make too much sense these days. I keep telling her to just re-read what I write and thin about it)

      LVL 1-10, you get 3 or 4 buttons and you do your questing. Then at lvl 10, you have to complete the solo instance to go to lvls 11-20 and new buttons. (Buttons = skills, what have you

      all the way up to 90.

    2. Sadly none of the quests are in the game any longer. Questing no longer teaches people anything. It is a means to an end. Nothing more.

  3. Some people enjoy levelling, they like the journey more than the destination. So that's an argument right there for levels.

    As for paid class change. How would that work? Would you keep all your gear so be naked on login if changing from a plate to something else? Would your gear change to alternates for the class? So if you had pally tier then you'd have Druid tier or something.

    I can perhaps see 2 markets for it. Market A is for casuals, those that want to try a new class, or blizz has changed something and they hate their current class. They don't have time or inclination to relevel. It takes too long/ too boring yada yada. Class swap could even save a sub or 2 maybe.

    Market 2 is for raiders which is why the gear question is important. You have a hole in the roster say like we always have trouble with healers. One of our nice players might be willing to switch to healing but their class doesn't have a healing spec and they have no healing alts either. So long as they didn't lose anything in theory they could class change for a while and swap back. I'd never do it, I'd never change my pally but then I have nearly 7 90's and 3 more 85's and an 80 which covers all the classes. I'd level and gear but for those unwilling or unable class change could help.

    Personally I don't think it will happen nor should it. Top guild's could use it to class stack maybe for cheesing encounters. People would complain the game had jumped the shark. I can't see that it would be incredibly popular but I don't know. I'd use it once. I have a level 80 Druid that I used as an RaF partner to level my warlock. I'd make that a paladin. Who has random levelled characters about that they aren't attached to though?

    1. me :D Got several - 3 lvl 20-30 mage, some locks, a warrior, a DK. They have become for all intents and purposes - bank toons. Now if I could pay to change their class, then they would not be bank toons.

    2. And people can still level. I still level. I am one of those people that loves to level to pass the time. Not so much since cataclysm mind you being the all but completely destroyed the leveling experience in my mind, but I do love leveling. Over 2 accounts I have dozens of characters at various levels I play from time to time to take a break from the rat race.

      I would guess when you change classes you have to start the gearing process over again. They would give you a basic set of gear based on the class you switched to. Say all 450s for a 90.

      Or, alternatively, give you corresponding gear to what you are currently wearing. Have a 502 sword on your blood DK, it is not a set of 502 daggers on your rogue or a 502 staff on your priest. Something like that.

      I can see hard core guilds using it often for class stacking. It would actually be a huge revenue generator for them. One downfall to that is people would call it a pay to win game like they do some other games.

  4. I disagree completely. I for one have tried rolling a fresh max level character on the PTR that I have not leveled to 90 and its just overwhelming. Not everyone learns by reading. I can read icy veins all day but to really get a hold of it I have to do it or see it in action. Leveling a character to 90 really helps me get the feel for it.

    1. I used Scroll of Resurrection to get an instant 80 warlock.. And I am in full agreement with you. Lock might be an extreme example, but it confused the heck out of me!

    2. I have a lvl 85 DK that I have not played since Cata and even then I barely played it beyond leveling. I logged onto it the other day and messed with it a little bit in preparation for lvling it in 5.3. I learned that I remember nothing about the class. So it might as well have been the same as doing a class change of a lvl 85 toon.

      Lvling doesn't teach you how to play and if you stop playing something for an expansion, you have to relearn it anyways (we often have to relearn our mains each expansion too).

      In either case, some quick research and a little practice is all it takes to be better than the majority of players. There's no legitimate gameplay reason to prevent class changes.

      The complications come into how Blizzard would code it and handle things like gear.

    3. Every person learns their own way. Some by reading, some by seeing, some by doing.

      Just because one person needs it to be one way to learn doesn't mean that should be the only way to do it.

      Like with raiding. I can read everything and see everything but until I get in there and try it myself I will not fully grasp it. Once I see it in action I can go back and read and watch the video with a better understanding and then "bam" out of nowhere I now got it down perfect. So for me, I like all three.

      Either way, even if someone is bad at learning without doing, reading never hurt anyone to give them an idea of what they should be doing.

      Even if you know everything you should always keep reading. I play a hunter, have been playing one forever, and I still read every scrap of information I can get on playing them even if I already know it. No matter what stage of the game you are at the learning never stops and at some point, reading is the only way you can get better.

  5. I'm going to address the issue by asking a different question...

    What would happen if Blizzard allowed for paid class changes?

    I don't think there's any need to discuss complex psychology or anything like that... anyone who actually cares about their performance would immediately change to the highest-performing class. A 25-man with, currently, decent class balance would suddenly have 5 pally healers, 15 mages and 2 DK tanks (or whatever the class of the minute happens to be for each role).

    Anyone who doesn't class change is a scrub who doesn't care about performance. For any group where capping VP is a requirement, even just a peer pressure one, switching to another class for a 5-10% boost would be a REQUIREMENT, especially if the boss you're working on would benefit from stacking something (I imagine a raid full of hunters would be beneficial on Tortos for a bunch of reasons).

    Basically, the requirements for world-first type guilds (multiple viable toons/specs per player so they can stack for particular fights) would become the norm for normal-mode raiders as well. It would be a return of the old days when you'd bring only enough "support" classes to do a fight, over and above those the flavour of the minute would dominate.

    For that reason, I think this type of change would be a non-starter. And should be a non-starter. I wouldn't want it to even be an *option*, the way capping VP or chain-running dailies or using bonus tokens were technically options this expansion.

    There are some ways you could make it at least possible... if you class change, you lose all your gear... you go back to L1 but get an XP boost (say, 500%) to help get you back but have it require actual time so you couldn't do it just for temporary benefit...

    Ultimately, though, I think it's just a bad idea.

    The idea of allowing you to buy a max level toon on another server of the same class? That should be okay, but doesn't have anything to do with changing classes so not sure how it fits into this discussion.

    As for learning while leveling, I have noticed that I'm almost always more comfortable at end-game with whatever my leveling spec was on a toon than any other... the only exceptions I can think of are my warrior (leveled Fury, I prefer Arms for end-game) and druid (leveled Feral, prefer Boomkin although pretty much equally inept at both right now). I leveled my 'lock Destro in Cat (created him right after Worgen became available), I tried the other two specs at end-game in Cat but couldn't get at all comfortable with them... might be easier at this point but I like Destro enough not to bother even trying.

    1. You make a fantastic point there. It would really change the world first race into the flavor of the month classes. Sort of making it the pay to play type. But that does exists some now already. How many new trolls have we see this raid tier? How many alliance guilds went horde just to be trolls? Lots. That is how many. But I agree, paid class changes for the high end raiders would be like switching all the time for the fights. Great point.

  6. Bliz must love their black market with this. That said An issue against class change I have is gear sure it is easy to regear a fresh 90 in greens and blues but what about raid geared toons? I mean let's take a hypothetical I decide to class swap my mage I have 4 piece teir (for a best case) and I decide I want to be a rogue okay so teir is easy it all just flips to what ever set happens to be best (probably would have to declare MS at least in conversion) but then what what if I have bis purples in other slots how does that translate or do I keep my cloth int belt boots back etc? It is a mess and a half there more than can be dealt with on the bliz site at least. Then what about other class specific stuff legendaries? Pvp gear quests if any. You see the headache there I am sure and I can understand bliz but on the same thought...

    There is the black market on the internet where accounts can be bought with ready geared toons not that I would condone this but people do this at times buy a pre leveled toon and learn them. Sure there is a risk if bliz finds out but you server swap change pw add an authenticator to the account and I doubt they can follow it all so the black market lives out there on the net and It is still fairly strong. Would class change stop this? No probably not and bad players will be bad players since some people can't be taught but at least it would hurt the account theft market and maybe put some pressure on the account for sale market as well.

    I understand there will always be problems In wow people buy gold and drive up ah prices and the increasing price for wow gold on these sites tells you that this is not improving at all. To make this sure there are legit groups out there who farm zones and use the game correctly but also there are people who hack accounts sell off all the gear they can on the Ah then vendor the rest and make our lives miserable in trade with their spam. But bliz at the same time could do more to mitigate this and offering their services legitimately would hurt these places. Said this it also could help to reign in the AH more if prices drop bc mats become easier for a bit and crafting becomes easy and other things readily available say for a month or 2 the gold business would feel that pain Class change would likewise take business from the account sale market as well. Just my thoughts.

    1. I would guess gear would be switched with its closest equivalent. Like if I have the 522 hunter neck with crit and mastery and change to a mage it becomes a 522 mage neck with crit and mastery and just changes my agility to intellect and it from mail to cloth.

      I don't think the gear issue would much of a big deal. Just a matter of switching something of that item level for something else of that item level.

      I wonder if it would effect the black market, that never even occurred to me when thinking about it myself.

      What you mention is so true. At the beginning of the expansion everything could be had in abundance. The markets were going strong, prices were down, everyone could make some money and not need to spend an arm and a leg for things. Everyone was happy. Then blizzard nerfed node spawns and prices started to go through the roof again. perhaps letting people have everything they want, within reason, would kill the gold selling market, or hurt it some. That is something that would be interesting to think about.