Small Decisions
Posted by Blessing of Kings [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 30 July 2013, 12:56 am
I've been thinking about reagents and arrows lately. They're basically gone from the modern game. They were seen as trivial and obvious, an inconvenience to be smoothed away. However, I'm wondering if we lost something in doing that.

Arrows and reagents were a small test of ... skill, I guess. A good hunter kept her stock of arrows up, and refreshed it regularly. Same with reagents. I remember keeping three stacks of the reagents for Blessings on me at all times. This wasn't a very hard test, of course. Most people did this. (Though there were a few who didn't, who never had enough reagents.)

Reagents were a "small" decision. You had to make the decision to restock every so often, had to evaluate your supply against the demands on your time. It wasn't a difficult decision at all, but still a decision that all players had to make.

There were many of these small decisions in Vanilla. Soul shards, poisons, feeding your pets, talent points, etc. Even going back to a trainer when you leveled was a small decision. You had to decide whether to stop questing and get the new abilities right away, or wait for a natural break.

Most decisions in WoW now are "big" decisions. Choosing a specialization, choosing talents, using the correct abilities. There are fewer small decisions and more big decisions.

Was there value in having those small decisions?

I think that it was part of mastering your class. You get the small decisions down before having to tackle the larger ones. Almost everyone got them right, and it was the first thing to learn when playing.

But to a good experienced player those small decisions are obvious and trivial. The only interesting decisions are the big ones. But big decisions are rare. Fewer decisions make for a less interesting game. You can see this in WoW leveling. All those small decisions that you used to make while leveling have been smoothed away. But a game with few decisions to make is not interesting at all.

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