As I've mentioned several times before, part of the draw of these online worlds that now have millions of inhabitants is that you don't always know what's around the next corner, behind the next asteroid, or uh... well whatever you get the point.
I realize that in this day and age we're simply used to being able to look up everything about everything and then immediately consider ourselves experts on every topic even though we've never actually done any of these things ourselves, and while this may be more of a societal problem than anything else - it's ruining my virtual day!
I used to like new EverQuest expansions, or even whole new games because I would be surprised from time to time, or even excited to find out what would be coming next.
It seems that these days the only things that still have any degree of secrecy about upcoming events are television dramas and the occasional movie.
I don't need to know exactly which items I will be wearing and exactly what they will look like as well as where and what percentage chance I have of finding them.
I'm not blaming sites like mmo-champion or wowhead, or the whole Curse network for that matter, when the information for all of the possible events in the game is already there on your computer, someone is going to extract it at some point so we may as well be efficient and consistent about doing it, I guess.
Sure there's the argument that I could just not read it, and to be honest I do my best to give these things only a cursory glance. I'm not one to run to the forums and discuss the implications of a 5% increase in Seal of Righteousness' attack power scaling, but I'm competitive, I don't particularely want to be behind the curve and surprised by things that will set me back - and so I read at least a bit about them to make sure I'm at least on par with the average player; but I feel dissapointed every time I do. Not so much because of what they're doing, but because it would have been fun to find out while I was actually playing the game.
Remember in EverQuest's beta when spells didn't tell you how much damage they did? It would just say "a gnoll pup's skin ignites" and you would see the bar decrease by some amount.
It didn't matter that you didn't know specifically what percentage damage you were doing, you didn't need to parse it out to determine the theoretical maximum DPS you could extract from your abilities, you just played the game by feel, and learned about it by talking to other players about their experiences.
There's really no way this will ever change, and I guess I'm just being a cranky old purest, but I would love to have to actually figure something out once in awhile. It wouldn't even be quite so irritating if it wasn't compounded by the fact that most games seem to go out of their way during gameplay to ensure you don't have to figure anything out on your own.
The pipes you could warp through in Mario weren't a different colour, you figured out which ones worked just by trying it. You were able to discover things by playing the game, instead of reading about them on Google, or even worse have the game interrupt you while playing to tell you what to do.
In regards to WoW specifically there actually is this sort of challenge at only one point - If you try to do dungeon and raid achievements immediately after leveling to the maximum level - before someone has figured out the optimal strategy for completing them and posted it all over the Internet as well as before you're able to just throw overpowered equipment at the problem.
I will always remember the rush to Heroic Dungeon Master achievements with some of my old guildmates as one of the few truly entertaining parts of Warcraft.
Pointless rant completed.