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.