thoughts on where WoW is going
The other night, my daughter was expressing amazement at how she’s racing through lower levels. Not just in comparison to her main (a Paladin) but MOST of the things she’s played over the past few years. I told her I wasn’t surprised, and then realized I had a blog post.
Azeroth is rich and full of detail – and boring as sin to a level 60 player, much less level 70. Oh, not because it isn’t still rich and full of detail, but rather there’s no challenge.
When Wrath of the Lich King comes out, I have some expectations – not necessarily up front, but certainly not too much later. I expect leveling to get even easier. Remember that most of the action for most of the players will begin in Outland, and then move north. The predominate reason for leveling will be learning your class — attuning your self for the higher levels.
I also expect to start seeing Very High events in Azeroth. There are nooks and crannies that have been blocked off which could suddenly open to Very Interesting Events – just as Kara opened Deadwind Pass. And in some cases it’ll be a retooling of what Was Before. Of this latter, I’ve a guarantee, as Naxxramas is being retooled. Oh, sure, it’s a big nasty 40 man and it’s “only” going to be, well, less. And yet… in reality I suspect it’s MORE challenging. All that’s necessary to prove that to yourself is to take a 25-man of level 70 players to AQ40. Or to note how many Kara-farming guilds “take a break” by killing Onyxia.
We’ll see many laments at the low-level stories and chains that linger un-noticed. But I suspect we’ll see new stuff taking us to old locations, and for those of us watching for the story we’ll get more glimpses.
For what it’s worth, I think the expansion AFTER WotlK will be the real challenge for Blizzard – I mean Activision-Blizzard. At level 70 we began taking on demigods – at level 80 near-gods will fall. Integration is already being stretched. And if it weren’t for the ‘bleeding edge’ problem of so many of WoW’s competitors, I’d expect this to be the end.
Oh – no, WoW won’t die this time. Yes, there’s a lot of pull with WAR and AoC and several others. They all suffer from the same problem, though. Basically, the fact that most of the people who would play it if they could, can’t. And aren’t going to buy a new computer just to play the new MMORPG. I’ll keep watching the challengers, of course, but I’ll tell you that until somebody remembers to plan for the 3d generation player, Blizzard will stay on top.
Oh, wait – 3d generation. OK… Cutting edge is first generation. It’s replaced in a year to 18 months by the next cutting edge, at which time it’s an Upgrade. When the NEXT cutting edge comes out, the second generation is now the upgrade and our original – now the 3d iteration or generation – is the new “good entry” machine. Not quite the cheapest on the block, but a couple of generations below the cutting edge. WoW, when it was released, would play on that. The expansion wouldn’t have, but by the time it came out most folk had improved – at least slightly – and Outland would play on that third generation.
When somebody makes a fun game, even with its little problems, that will run on a third generation at the time of its release, WoW’s dominance will end. Unless Blizzard kills it all by itself.