TOR’s Legacy and WoW’s Future
So the news has just been pouring out about The Old Republic’s new Legacy system, and I must admit as a raging alt-aholic I am very excited. The idea of being able to unlock new options and abilities by sampling all the game has to offer is an idea I really enjoy. Kind of like the concept of bonuses carrying over in a New Game+ on other RPGs.
For those who are unaware of what TOR’s legacy system is all about, it will be my great pleasure to inform you! Essentially, after you complete Act One of your first character on a server, you get to create a Legacy. At the moment, the system is pretty much just a legacy name that can be displayed as your characters last name “____ Skywalker” or as a title underneath your name “_____ <The Skywalker Legacy>”. After unlocking your legacy you begin to accrue legacy experience on top of your normal experience gains, and as you progress you gain legacy levels. It’s very similar to how World of Warcraft’s guild system works after its revision at the beginning of Cataclysm, but instead of unlocking bonuses for the entire guild, you unlock bonuses for all your characters on a single server.
These unlocks come from a bunch of different things too. You get an unlock for each companion you max out your affection with and complete all of their conversations, and you get other unlocks based on your alignment (Reaching Dark V, Light V or maintaining a neutral alignment at level 50). As you gain legacy levels you’ll be able to purchase other upgrades as well, such as having a mailbox or auction house right on your ship. One of the cooler features is when you get to level 50, you unlock a legacy version of one of that class’ signature abilities (like flamethrower for bounty hunters, or lightning storm for inquisitors), and you also unlock the race you played for any new character – regardless of faction or class!
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for “unlocking” things. I like achievements, I like new abilities, I like unlocking new weapons in Mass Effect, and I like unlocking the little cashbox in my bedroom that has nothing in it but I keep it around because I like unlocking things so much! So you combine my love of unlocking with my love of alts and I am going crazy! So much so that there was a vocalized noise of pain that would send shivers down the spine of the Man in Black when I heard that the 1.2 patch was going to be in April and not March! If there was one bad thing I could say for TOR’s new legacy system is that it’s per server and not account wide. If you’re Legacy level 50 with all the unlocks on one server, and then roll on a new one? You get jack. Nothing. Nada. Not even a last name until you unlock a new legacy for THAT server and start the legacy level grind again. Oh come on! Really? Is it THAT hard to make the system account-wide? Just make Legacy names non-unique! It’s not like everyone with the last name Smith is related!
Wait… If I recall there was another big MMO that was talking about making a system account-wide. Oh, of course! Only my biggest and happiest moment of the entire Mists of Pandaria announcement last year: Account-wide achievements! As someone who has had three separate achievement hunter toons, the level of giddiness in my voice when they announced that was at least 8.9 Pinky Pie’s (The standard for measuring joy). But you know what would make account-wide achievements even better? Well, how about taking a page from TOR and add some fun and interesting unlocks in there as well!
How about unlocking a signature ability from a class you’ve gotten to max level? Just on a ridiculous cooldown? Get a death knight to max level, all characters get access to Army of the Dead. Warrior? Unlock Heroic Leap. Hunters? Um… well… uh… Aspect of the Pack? You get the idea though. With each class you get to max level, you unlock an achievement that in turn unlocks an ability for all your characters. Just imagine how awesome that would be! Imagine a warlock turning into a demon and then summoning an army of the dead to assault a boss. /drool
The other idea that comes to mind is the whole unlocking races thing. At first I thought there would be no way this could ever make it into WoW. They have such a huge focus on maintaining which races belong to which faction. But once again I am happy to say that Blizzard has proved me wrong, because along with account-wide achievements, we are getting our first cross-faction race with the pandaren. So I am perfectly willing and down right gleeful to speculate that unlocking other races is not explicitly being ruled out! That means my dream of a horde gnome might come to fruition! And I know plenty of people who wish the tauren would come to the alliance. Blizzard could add a new ‘turncoat’ start area for former alliance races defecting to the horde or a ‘refugee camp’ for horde races looking to flee Hellscream’s eyes. If not how about achievements to unlock the race for the few classes that they can’t roll yet? I’d take a gnome paladin too.
In general, there is real possibility for the account-wide achievements to add new functionality to the game for people much like TOR is adding. It could even mimic guild bonuses (but not stack with them) in terms of discounts or bonuses. Maybe even be able to unlock much wanted features like account banks or cross-faction mail for accounts. There is real potential for both TOR’s legacy system and WoW’s new account-wide achievements. I can’t wait to see what Blizz and Bioware do with them.