WotLK, too little too late?

Blizzard went on a bit of an info spree this weekend, flooding sites with news about WotLK. Most of it sounds good, like the 10/25 man raid changes, better heroic itemization, and inscription. Some of it sounds a bit suspect, like the whole ‘deathknights for all at 55 in the plaguelands’ looming disaster (think AQ40 gate event, but on all servers at launch), the ‘public quest’ pvp zone (Bliz doing what Bliz does best, copy/paste), and the vehicle combat mini-game battleground.

Changes like the 10/25 man raid options, or allowing enchanters to sell enchants on the AH, make me wonder why it takes Blizzard until the 2nd expansion to get this done. When you re-release an entire raiding instance (Nax) because only a handful of guilds from a population of millions have seen all of it, is that not enough data to show that raiding needs more serious changes than just lowering the cap from 40 to 25, especially when issues like cost and overall length are so dominant? How much better would TBC have been if from day one we had 10/25 man options for everything, including Kara? Would the huge issue with keys and such been there if anyone with 9 friends was able to enter the gear rat race of WoW endgame?

Those questions aside, I’m left wondering if WotLK is too little too late for WoW. Not in the ‘I wonder if it will sell’ wonder (it will), but more ‘people come back, hit 80 as a deathknight, and move back to game x’ sort of way. Considering that by the time WotLK is released (2009ish) Warhammer will be out, AoC will hopefully be fixed up and doing its thing, LoTRO will have seen it’s first pay expansion, and overall far more MMOs will be nearing release than we saw in 2008. Is the content of WotLK going to really change WoW in a major way; will it give us that same feeling we had in 2004/2005, or just give us 10 more levels to enjoy before we hop back onto the same old treadmills like we did with TBC, only with an even more dated graphics engine and much stiffer competition?

I can sum it up like this; with the new info released, are you dying to play WotLK now, or is it simply something that will be kind of cool to see when it’s released? Personally, I’m very much in the second group, with the possibility of moving on completely if WAR delivers on it’s promises.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO design, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to WotLK, too little too late?

  1. Tipa says:

    When has it been said WotLK won’t be coming out this year?

    I expect it to launch as near to simultaneously with WAR as they can get it. This media blitz isn’t a response to AoC. They shrug off gnats like AoC all the time. This blitz is aimed squarely at WAR.

  2. p@tsh@t says:

    Second camp as well. As our little static group is still moving through TBC, its become apparent the pre-TBC magic has largely gone.

    Lich King has done little to reassure me that somehow the magic will be restored. I feel more like there are places in TBC that we “need” to go rather than “want” to go to progress. Azeroth was completely the opposite. We wanted to see all there was and oh, happened to level through it too.

    Nothing announced about in Lich King yet has made me jump up and down.

  3. Tipa says:

    I dunno, gnome dogfighting looked cool, but nothing could make me resubscribe to WoW.

  4. syncaine says:

    2009 is an estimate based on the fact that we are talking about Blizzard here. Also the fact that not a single boss has been developed for WotLK yet also says something. Remember how long TBC was in closed/open beta before it was released?

    They might try to rush it because of WAR, but I doubt it. Then again Activision (a public company) owns them now, so who knows…

  5. Nagash says:

    Who knows when WAR will come out after the epic fail that will be AoC? I bet they delay again or they just might want to brutally rape the dark elf lore some more.

  6. Pai says:

    Seeing as how I had almost completely finished all non-raiding content (for 3 characters) in BC in around 6 months, I’m going to assume that I will lose interest in WotlK in about the same time (as I don’t really raid or feel a desire to). Because Blizzard just seems to think adding vertical progression to the level treadmill is the only thing they can add to the game (instead of horizontally enriching the ways players can interact and customize their world, characters, and goals), they are just slowly painting themselves into a corner. People want to feel more part of a world in an MMO, not just as cogs in a raid machine… go on about ‘RP nerds’ all you like, but at the core, a minimum desire to ‘escape’ into a virtual world is what draws people into these games in the first place. And Blizzard keeps refusing to want to do anything ‘worldy’ with their game.

  7. swiftvoyager says:

    As with any series we’ve ever seen which lasts long enough, there will always be a ‘jump the shark’ moment. If this expansion doesn’t have enough coolness to sell the box then we could be headed for that ski-jump right now. I doubt it though.

    I wonder how people would react to Blizzard making an entirely new client with an updated graphics engine, like Eve did this winter. Your point about the WoW graphics becoming old is a good one, but it’s hardly something that Blizzard is powerless to change. I think the problem of mudflation is the real concern for WoW in the long run. The leveling and gear system in WoW were never really intended to go so high. Like the original D&D system on which WoW is based, once you get to a certain level it becomes kinda stupid to go higher. Once you become a god, what is next?

  8. Rog says:

    I was already thinking that Burning Crusade was too little too late, but I ended up playing it (and then some), mostly because there wasn’t any real alternative that appealed to me.

    The difference this time around is that there are a few more games trickling out.

    Everyone is arguing over why each new MMORPG won’t beat WoW. Hey, I don’t think Age of Conan will, but it’ll take its share, just like LOTRO did. WAR will grab an even bigger piece of the pie, because out of these they’re the ones actually shooting for WoW.

    There’s plenty of room in the marketplace. WoW won’t end in a bang, or even a poof, it will slowly fade. They’ll keep claiming higher numbers for awhile first, no doubt, it’s like a steamroller.

    And in about a week’s time, I think I won’t really think about WoW much. =)

  9. Jason says:

    While I mostly agree, there’s a couple things that I don’t think are as major a deal. Graphics are one of them; the look of WoW fits what WoW has always been, and that gives it a good bit of longevity. Sadly, that’s all that gives it longevity.

    I played WoW for a little over 3 years. I had a lot of fun playing, but TBH, the content wasn’t what made it fun, it was the people I spent my time going through the content with. I started out with a handful of friends, found a guild that wasn’t so great, took a break, came back, took another break, came back, changed servers with friends, found another guild which fit what I was looking for more than the first and when that guild imploded, I switched factinos to run with yet another bunch of folks I knew.

    Ultimately, when I got fed up with people in that last group, I cancelled. It’s sad to me that ultimately, the game didn’t hold my interest enough to keep me going, but this is something I’ve come to expect with MMOs. I can really only play them until one or two people in the game grate my nerves enough for me to give up and move on.

    So, yes, I do think that WotLK is too little, too late. Blizzard spends too much time making baby steps in a direction, only to throw forward progress out the window. Going from 40 man to 25 man was a good start, but kicking it off with a 10 man wasn’t the best of ideas. Same thing with Heroics; rehashing the same instance with nearly identical loot wasn’t the best of ideas, and even with a completely different loot table, I think they’ll miss the boat. Crafting professions which were largely hit or miss, have become completely hit or miss; secondary professions, alchemy, enchanting, jewelcrafting and gathering professions are really the only ones worth spending a great deal of time on. Tailoring is decent up to a point, and the same with engineering. Inscription will be added to the list of ‘must have’ professions, given the information we have in hand from Blizzard. I think there will be a similar, albeit smaller surge back when it launches sometime next year, probably around the same time of year as TBC, and then it will gradually fall off. It’s kind of sad that I look at WoW like I do SWG; a game with a lot of potential wasted.

  10. Wolfshead says:

    I think Blizzard is about one year behind their playerbase. Seems they finally catch on to things when informed players have known about them for 8 months to a year. Have you seen the interviews with Kaplan and Chilton? Those guys look like they haven’t slept in days. Why? It’s because Blizzard doesn’t believe in hiring new people to help create expansions — they pride themselves on this.

    For WoW to be viable and hold people’s interest they need to release yearly content. I feel that their expansions are taking much too long. Hire some more people dammit :)

    As far as WotLK is concerned: it’s chock full of gimmicks like the free level 55 “hero class” Deathknight and more flying mounts and vehicles. As well it seems that 10 people will be ablel to kill Arthas with their new raid scheme of 10/25. It just sounds ridiculous when you contemplate that a 10 man group could kill him and obtain the legendary Frostmourne sword.

    The worst thing about WoW is that it’s feeling more and more like Groundhog Day. Nothing ever changes because they have timid designers who are fearful of rocking the boat. We do the same dailies and same content each day. Mindless grinding. Yet we don’t see any attempts at MMO innovation except e-sport nonesense.

    About the only fun I get from the game now is writing blog articles about it. I suppose there’s a certain fascination with watching a train wreck in progress.

  11. swiftvoyager says:

    “For WoW to be viable and hold people’s interest they need to release yearly content.”

    Eve has been releasing two major updates per year, with a much smaller dev team, and the updates/expansions are free. By the way, rather then adding new geography like WoW does, Eve has actually improved the game incrementally with each update.

  12. alcaras says:

    Speaking as someone who’s killed Illidan and Felmyst and has a 2k+ arena team, I think WoW is a great game, indeed the best one out there. Wrath looks like it’s going to improve upon it and make it even better. Personally, the preview video of the new zones was amazing and I look forward to romping through them.

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  15. Kaza says:

    Change is not alwasy good look at one of the originals, Ultima Online, what a game that was originally, until they modified it into the grave. The first couple versions were great but when they continued to add content and build and build and expand the world then mirrored the world to accomodate both pvp and pve seperately it slowly and surely died. More content is great and needed but not at the cost of the original concept and original game world.

  16. Blah says:

    I’m looking forward to the expansion only because I am new to WoW and new to level 70. Trying to get into a decent raiding guild right out of 70 is a pain. Getting into any PUG raids is even a pain because I’m “gearless” and when you do get into pug raids like MAGS some moron can’t press the damn cube so you wipe and get no where… So I am forced to do countless hours of BGs to get welfare epic so I can do anything.

    Atleast when I hit 80 I will be on somewhat the same level as everyone else since they won’t be “GODS of PURPLES”.

    I do agree that a lot of stuff needs to be fixed with WoW though. Cough Cough –PVP–

  17. waradict says:

    nice calculations lol its coming out 11/13/08 LOL you=fail

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