In many games how good you are determines how far you get, and what you get out of the game. In other games, it is not so much about the skill involved as the time that you put into the game. Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) largely fall into the second category, where the more time you can invest in them the more you get out of them. While skill certainly gets you further faster, you can get a lot out of a game like the World of Warcraft just by putting more time into it. With the Wrath of the Lich King expansion just around the corner and a whole new continent worth of content its worth looking at the issue of time investment and reward. Just what can you get out of the World of Warcraft through time invested though, and should you be able to get it?
In the World of Warcraft there are many things that you can gain through an investment in time. In the end however, most players focus on things that return one thing, gear. How they get there depends on which way they spend their time. You can get gear through more time spent gaining gold, honor, badges, and professions.
Getting Gold Means Getting Gear
With all of the daily quests that are available in the game now, getting gold is not really an issue for most players. By spending an hour each day doing daily quests you can very easily earn 1000-2000 gold per week. You can also get more gold by farming items from the environment such as herbs, ore, motes, leather or any number of other items. Many players can easily make 1000 gold in a few hours of gathering or farming.
Once you have all this gold you can then turn around and either buy gear from the auction house, buy materials to make items, or by paying for spots in raid runs from high end guilds selling of spots.
Another way that time can be used to your advantage is spending time in Battlegrounds. This is a hotly debated topic, but really you do not need to ever win in a battleground to actually earn gear. W Due to a battleground generally being filled with a group of random players, it becomes far more about the time you are willing to invest in them that your actual skill at them. By simply playing over and over and investing more time you will get to the rewards available. Winning definitely helps earn honor faster, but by simply investing time, you can earn better gear than available in many other areas.
Yet another way that you can be rewarded by simple time investment is by doing Heroic Instances over and over again. Many of the heroic instances that are available are not much harder than the most difficult normal instance, and can be done very simply by a group of players with just blue quality gear. If you have already spent time getting better gear then many of them become trivial.
Once you are able to farm heroics (or even raids) for badges, the content becomes easier and easier. In a very short amount of time you are simply trading your time for badges as there is little or no threat to dieing. In fact with a semi-competent group, many heroics can be cleared in 40 minutes or less, making farming for badges trivial. Those badges can then be turned in for gear that rivals the best gear in the game, that would otherwise require great skill to earn.
So, after all the negative time trades in the game, are there any good ones? I can come up with two great examples of time investment that I believe are very positive that exist in the game. The first is the players that spend time honing their PvP skill in arenas. Players come in at a certain level and then need to focus their energy and practice, practice, practice to get better. They need to spend an insane amount of time to get better at it. This is rewarded with the skill to defeat other teams in the arena system even though they may not have the same level of gear. In the arenas, many times (most times?) skill far outranks gear.
Long Arena Fights Build Skill
The second great example of positive time investment, is raiding guilds. If you are lucky enough to be with a raiding guild that is starting on new content, and struggling, you quickly learn the benefit as a player that this grants you. When you are on new content and spending 3-4 hours a night wiping on the same boss, you start looking for and examining every little flaw with your play style and gear. You are forced to learn what works and does not work. You learn about the other classes and how they function. You are in the end trading your time for a learning experience.
Notice I say a struggling guild, thats because joining a guild that has content on farm, generally teaches you nothing. You will then simply be trading your time for gear as the other players will be dragging you through. It is very common for many players to come from one raiding guild to another and not be able to explain content that they have seen repeatedly. Those are the players that have not looked at the positive time for experience trade and just looked at the negative time for gear trade.
Many of the things that you can gain from a time investment in the World of Warcraft will continue in Wrath of the Lich King. For example daily quests will continue to exist, heroics are back with more badges, battlegrounds are still around, and more. This means that time investment will continue to play a big part in what many players get out of the game.
Dont get me wrong time invested should earn you something in the game. However as you can see by my positive examples that I believe that time spent in a game should instead focus on improving a players skill, to allow them to move on to harder and more difficult content through skill rather than just becoming over geared for it. I also believe that time invested in the game should be focused more on social aspects of the game. After all if you have a strong social aspect to your guild it is far more likely that they will stay together, raid more, PvP more and be more involved as friends.
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.