I wanted to expand on a previous post here, and go into a bit more detail about WotLK and my total lack of excitement. I still think that more than anything else, the fact that Warhammer Online is so close has really narrowed my view. Baring total failure, I know WAR will be my MMO of choice in 2009, with some EVE goodness as well.
But WAR aside, there are other issues at play for WoW and WotLK. One is the fact that graphically, WoW is aging. While WotLK will have new textures, animations, and effects, everything is still bound to the same graphics engine, and the overall ‘style’ is still the same WoW that it was in 2004. The WoW team has to work that much harder to impress us visually now, because we have seen so much already, and newer games appear fresh just by the very nature that they are new.
Another factor, and this one is a bit unique to WoW, is that most of us have played WoW more than any other MMO, and after all those hours, burnout is natural. WoW is an amazing game, and that fact might hurt it more than anything else. We have played our main, leveled alts, respecced, switched profession, pvped, raided, etc. More players have done more things in WoW than they would in other games, due to the games quality. Instead of rolling something new when WotLK is out, and playing the game from a new angle, most of us have already covered all the angles, and WotLK would have to deliver a completely new game, 1-80, to really entertain us. Sure that journey from 70-80 will be fun, but lets face it, you will still be using 99% of the same skills, which use the same animations, which have the same sounds. The fact that you are hitting a new snow beast in a new ice zone is not enough, at least not enough to keep us grinding like we did in Azeroth, and to a lesser extend in Outland. With each expansion, regardless of content, player burnout sets in faster and faster. You might have run Scholomance 50 times, because even after 30 runs, it was still damn fun. But you probably ran the Outlands instances fewer times, and the burnout for WotLK instances will be even faster, perhaps after just one run.
Which brings me to why I’m really not excited about WotLK; it’s not that WotLK is going to have bad content; it’s just that I’m already burned out on 75% of that content. I’ve seen how 5 man instance runs work in WoW. I’ve seen 10/25/40 man raids. I’ve seen pre-form PvP, PuG PvP. I’ve done the item/token/rep grind. I’ve never done it as a Deathknight, or in Northrend, but that’s not enough to pull me away from WAR, or to even make we want to drop $40 on WotLK.
It might not be out, but to whack a dead horse once more, I’ve played WotLK, it was called WoW.