I was going to write about something else today, but the Wow.com Breakfast Topic actually sparked my interest. The topic of discussion was prompted by a post that Gnomeageddon wrote yesterday – what if everything in the game was Bind On Account?
My gut reaction was “wow, that would be awesome”. Then I started thinking about all the issues this would cause. Sure, Blizzard has started heading down the BOA route lately, but would they ever really consider making everything BOA?
Blizzard’s introduction of heirloom items such as the 10% XP boost shoulders and chestpiece, as well as the Tome of Cold Weather flying was fantastic. It speeds up the leveling process for alts tremendously. What it doesn’t do though, is change the basic ideas of the game. You still have to play that character, learn their abilities, and level up. You still have to earn your gear once you get to 80.
So what would happen if we made all gear BOA? One word… ninjas. If you thought offspecs confused the loot distribution system, then this would just make your head spin. A shiny wand drops in a heroic, and you’re the only wand user in the instance – it should be yours right? Nope, everyone rolls on it because they all have alts that could use it… someday. It would completely change the way loot works in the game.
Also, where would we get our enchanting mats if everything is useful to someone someday? I don’t even want to think about the way my banks would look if everything I picked up could be used by an alt…
So loot is a problem… what about emblems? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to send all those emblems piling up on your raid-geared main to some of your alts? Well yes, it would. But what would result from this?
You’d have a bunch of extremely well geared alts wandering around, with no guarantee that they ever stepped foot in an instance. They might have no idea how to play their class in a group setting. We run into this enough already, but at least we know now that a toon with full Tier 9 has been in a group before, even if they were carried through it. They probably at least learned something during all those heroics.
A possible solution with the emblems is to allow only low-level badges/emblems to be purchased, but not the top several tiers. You could gear up your 70′s with Badges of Justice, or your 80′s with Emblems of Heroism. This would give you a nice set of gear that won’t allow you access to all content with your alts. You’d still have something to work towards, and it would be obvious to other players.
More heirloom items seem like a viable option – right now we only have weapons, shoulders, and chest. If we could fill out more slots with heirloom items I don’t think that would break the game as we know it. Blizzard has also talked about guild heirloom items for Cataclysm. I’m very excited to see what they come up with there.
Some things could be BOA that would merely offer more convenience to players, such as vanity items. I can’t see much of a downside to having pets, mounts and tabards be account bound. I know there are a lot of people who like collecting these things, and if you want to switch your main, you have to start all over. Holiday items being BOA would also be a nice convenience.
Another item I saw suggested a lot was bags. I don’t really have a strong opinion on this – on one hand, it would be nice that if you decide you don’t want to play an alt anymore you could send their bags elsewhere, but on the other hand they really aren’t that expensive. They also are a moneymaker for tailors, so I think that they would be sad to lose some of their profitability.
I actually love the idea of long attunement quest chains. It really adds some “epic-ness” to the game,. You get exposed to a lot of lore, and really feel a sense of accomplishment. People started complaining about them though, so Blizzard stopped doing them. If the attunements were account-bound, there would be a lot less to complain about.
Achievements were also mentioned frequently in the comments. This is a slightly different issue, but one worth mentioning. I think that is one flaw with the achievement system as it stands- there are no account-wide achievements. This is something that ties people to their mains even more than the vanity items. When you’ve built up a 5000+ achievement point score, it seems a shame to lose that if you decide you like another class more. A point of contention with account-wide achievements might be that people often check them to figure out if a player “knows” specific top-end content, and it would no longer be an indicator of whether they know it for the role their coming as. The problem with that point is that achievements have never been a good indicator – the person could have been carried through once, or they could have gotten it as a different spec of their hybrid class.
Account banks would also be fantastic. In my mind, they would allow you to put in BOA items, and mats or other non-soulbound items accessible by all characters on your account. How many times have you wanted to craft something, and had to flip around to various toons to find those Eternal Earth you knew you put somewhere?
Good Intentions – Bad Idea
There are definitely more items that Blizzard can make Bind on Account - I just hope that these aren’t “game-changing” items, like top-tier emblems, or BOP loot. There are already so many complaints about welfare epics, and the loss of a challenge in the game. I fear that making everything BOA would cause even casual players like myself to lose that sense of accomplishment. It would be so convenient to pass things between alts that the game would lose a lot of its replay value.