WoW’s Legion Expansion Will Be a Long One

Blizzard lost all trust with their players back when they said they wanted to release expansions every year, then said they wanted to do more content (then didn’t and went a year with no new content), then said they wanted to do expansions faster again. Well now it seems they’ve yet again flip flopped, but they’re at least admitting anything they say will sound hollow.

At this point, I don’t think that yearly expansions would be the best thing for our players – Ion Hazzikostas, WoW Asst. Game Director

Ion also went on to say that they plan on focusing on more patch content and building on current stories to keep players entertained. In other words, we’re going to have Legion for a long, long time. Hopefully they can keep the content flowing in order to keep players interested.

How do you guys feel about longer expansions vs. more expansions in general (not just WoW)? I think I like the idea of more patches and rich content in a longer expansion cycles as long as the expansions are truly major “expansions” to the game itself and how it’s played over just adding more content. Expansions should never be patches. That’s something Blizzard has nailed pretty well. Every expansion feels like the game is being overhauled or taken to the ‘next level’.

As long as I — the player — never feel bored without something to do, I’m fine waiting a reasonably longer amount of time for a big overhaul. I prefer that over feeling like I don’t have time to do everything I want, or feeling like everything I’m doing is just going to be wiped out from mudflation or a change of direction. For example, if I played WoD when it launched and was really beefing up my Garrison just to find out that in a few months that expansions would be meaningless, I probably wouldn’t care about my Garrison.

P.S. Content =\= Achievements or Pets

Redefining WoW’s Endgame

WoW World Quests

Yesterday I mentioned how WoW’s zones will scale in the Legion expansion. Utilizing such a feature, Blizzard plans to do away with Daily Quest Hubs and replace them with ‘events’ that will rotate in and out. These events seem to operate similarly — from what little information I have — to those “public quests” (wrong analogy but they are open to everyone to open their map and go to) used in other games, with the exception being many seem to be geared toward solo players.

The “World Quests” are designed to offer more of a guide or structure to endgame play sessions rather than act compulsively on players as a “you must do these quests in this order every day” type of mentality. As someone who has never liked dailies, and currently stuck doing them in Tanaan on my Monk, I am definitely looking forward to a system that presents me with opportunities rather than forcing me to feel compelled to “do my dailies.”

“World Quests will show you quests, rare elite spawns, rare spawns, pet battles, outdoor PvP activities, world bosses, special dungeon activities, profession activities, and more. Want to know what there is to do in Azeroth today? Just open your map!” – Muffinus, WoW Designer

As I alluded to in the beginning, I think this will work nicely with the zone scaling. Players will have reasons to go everyone in The Broken Isles rather than all congregating in one final zone. We’ll be able to choose what types of activities we want to do each day when we log in. Some of these quests will be daily, weekly, or even hourly events.

There will still be rep grinds. There will still be a legitimate argument to be made about semantics. In a way, these are still “dailies.” You’re still logging in each day and doing activities, otherwise you’ll miss out on potential progression. Blizzard is simply expanding the scope of the definition to include more play styles and a slightly more forgiving presentation.

Despite the semantics, this is a step in the right direction. I like choices. I like logging in and being able to think, “What would I like to do today?” Any step away from “go to this hub, take these 10 blue exclamation points, and come back tomorrow” sounds good to me.

WoW Entices Players to Return with Free 90, WoD, and Game Time

Looks like Blizzard is ramping up the WoW marketing in time for their investor call on May 5. I don’t know if any of this is necessarily new, but it’s new to me so thought I’d share.

Free WoD and 90

 

Graev received the above email this evening. I don’t know if it’s legit. I told Graev not to click on it but instead go to his account settings. He said he’ll let me know if it’s legit or not. I’m assuming it’s real? Pretty sweet deal for someone like Graev who hasn’t played in forever. He was actually intrigued by the offer. The corgi pet coming in Legion may also have something to do with that.

I did note the expiration date on the offer, though… curious.

I sorta wish they’d give me a 90 boost. I want to level another character, but I have no interest in slogging my way through the 75-90 grind again. Goes back to the journey meaning absolutely jack in WoW. The game really doesn’t begin until 90 right now, and if you don’t like building up your Garrison then it doesn’t begin until you’ve been 100 for a few months.

So if you haven’t played WoW in awhile, check your inbox. You might get for free what I had to buy last August.

Blizzard Responds to Nostalrius Drama

The talk of the town today has been Blizzard’s response to Nostalrius. Let’s take a look at what they have to say, and then I’ll address a few key points.

Obviously there’s PR speak going on here. The “we hear you” and “we too feel this way” and “even I’m here because I love classic” or “we’ve looked into it and its hard” stuff is a tad sycophantic. But that’s all there because of what follows.

Blizzard has to protect their IP, otherwise they lose their rights. That’s the part everyone with even a whisper of a clue knew because that’s how intellectual property law works. I don’t think that comes as a shock to anyone, nor is any of that why people are talking about about this release. The real reason….

Pristine Realms

Here’s where people are going a bit nuts and not only reading waaaay too far into this, but also missing the mark entirely. First — no, this does not mean Blizzard is missing the point. They know you want vanilla. It’s at least a public acknowledgement that there has been thought to a solution.

I believe people underestimate what a big deal it is to support a classic server. Blizzard employs an army of customer service representatives just to handle a game that has a consistent experience. Imagine if the customer support had to be (1) trained and (2) taking the time to manage multiple version. You think they’re slow now?

Looking at the only major example of classic servers out there right now, we see that even EverQuest hasn’t been able to recreate a true “classic” experience. Their “progression” servers or “time-locked” servers all have modern conveniences built into them. They have major updates they simple can’t remove.

People don’t REALLY want Vanilla

At least I don’t. I don’t miss that version of WoW. I think modern WoW is way better. When it comes to a themepark, I prefer the convenience. If I’m looking for an experience that takes commitment and dedication then I want more than questing and gear treadmills from that investment. I’ve done the ‘first to kill all the raid bosses’ thing on 3 different WoW servers. I’ve done the competitive play. That’s not fun for me. What’s fun is the journey, and that’s why I dabble in EverQuest classic servers, but WoW lacks that journey. WoW has -never- been about the journey.

Blizzard knows most people would agree. Most people want modern WoW and its conveniences. When I say most, I mean enough that it doesn’t make financial sense for them to do classic. If classic meant way more money, then as a public company seeking to make profit they’d do it. They’re not in the business of testing something publicly just to see if it works. They’re crunching data, and I bet you the data shows it’s not worth their time. If they wanted to have a classic experience, it would have already been done.

 

Following up on Blizzcon

I’m slow on the followup this time around! I want to reflect on some of what we saw at Blizzcon as it pertains to my thoughts pre-con.

Legion

So I went with an April prediction just to be extreme and different, admitting in my predictions/wants post itself that I know full and well we won’t see it until August+ because of ‘Overhype’. That came true. No shock at all. Now… wtf to do in WoW until then? I have absolutely no idea. As I speak I’m in the queue for LFR Archimonde. Once I kill him that will mean I have seen everything in WoD. That was my goal. I’m done at this point. Believe it or not, some of the most fun I’ve had is managing my Garrison. I wish it was more like farmville/harvest moon.

Ten (10) months until new content in WoW — Okay, more like 8-9 but that is incredible. I’m pretty much riding out my last 20 days on this sub then calling it there. No reason to keep paying when I have seen EVERYTHING I want to in the game. ::cough:: I don’t really want to keep saying I told you so, but is this not the epitome of winding down WoW to ramp up / hype up their next wave of potentially more profitable/more revenue per player games? Of course it is.

Legion continues to look amazing. Yes, I’m going to buy it. Yes, I’m going to play all of the story and quit when I ultimately run into the same situation I have in WoD. That, ladies and gentlemen, is WoW.

Overwatch

The hype levels are dangerous here. We already call it ‘Overhype’ and people are already saying it’s dangling from the precipice of mediocrity and genericness. I have yet to play it myself, and I withhold the right to pass my own judgment. Overwatch LOOKS fun. I like shooters of this style and calibre. I can’t say this is hte kind of game I’ll play for years, though. Their release date is exactly as I would expect.

Starcraft

What shocked me here was the DLC. I don’t know why I let it come as a surprise that they would go from taking one game, and making three full games out of it, to making mission packs. I probably won’t buy them. To be quite honest, I simply don’t see the value. If I have absolutely NOTHING else to play… I might be tempted. Otherwise, I’m somehow not the market — which really makes no sense because I’m the guy who buys SC to play the single-player…

Hearthstone

Yep.

Heroes of the Storm

I was completely wrong here. HotS was a huge emphasis. Cho’gall seems awesome, albeit a little outrageous. That’s the HotS model, though. “No one else would or could, so we did.” That’s the HotS model. Arena mode reminds me of those gladiator maps from the glorious WC3 custom map days. Those were amazing.

Diablo

Womp womp.

Overall

Blizzard played it very safe. Nothing about bringing back the classic games, and no major surprises or announcements that truly shocked me. Yet, without fail, Blizzard remains stable and proving that they are going to be putting out a heck of a 2016.