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It’s not Warcraft 4, but I’ll take it!

Hands down the best thing to come out of Blizzcon was the Warcraft 3 Reforged announcement. I was absolutely giddy.

If you've followed us over the years, you know that each Blizzcon comes and goes with my same gripe: No Warcraft 4. It's still coming, don't worry, but in the meantime we will soon have a completely remastered version of the greatest RTS of all time (to be replaced by Warcraft 4 which will inevitably be announced at next Blizzcon). 

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Warcraft Games I Want to See Made

Blizzard has a great property on their hands. Warcraft has been a RTS, a MMORPG, sort of a MOBA, and even a card game. I’d like to see Warcraft take shape into a few different/new spinoffs.

Warcraft classic adventure game

Warcraft the Classic Adventure Game

Did you know there was going to be a Warcraft adventure game? I did, and i was really looking forward to it! Lord of the Clans was set to release back in 1997, but due to communication issues and the competing Monkey Island, the project was cancelled — and it was pretty much finished!

I think a classic adventure game set in the Warcraft universe would be amazing. There’s so much lore and familiarity surrounding the characters and their world(s). A great story could be told with humor and familiar locales. Moorgard, can you get on this project asap?

The series would lend itself very well to point and click adventure, with puzzles and thought-provoking narrative. I imagine it would be a mix of Monkey Island and King’s Quest.

Warcraft RPG

Warcraft the Roleplaying Game

We have a massively multiplayer role-playing game in full 3d, but I think that Warcraft could be amazing as a Baldur’s Gate / NWN type of isometric RPG.

I would want the systems to be heavily based on D&D, and wouldn’t mind the combat being exactly the same. In fact, take almsot everything about Baldur’s Gate 2 or NWN and slap it into the Warcraft universe and I’m sold.

Everything is there: (1) Massive world, (2) Lore, (3) classes/races/abilities. The design doc pretty much writes itself.

 

Warcraft Action RPG

Warcraft the Action (RPG) Game

Any Champions of Norrath or Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance fans out there? Maybe some Gauntlet Legends? These games were loosely called “action role-playing games,” but they can pretty much be summed up as hack and slash adventures. You smash through mobs in dungeons while gathering loot and progressing your character. Dungeons were set in diverse areas, and could indoor and outdoor. Once again, Azeroth lends itself well.

All of these great action rpgs were somewhat isometric, but much less top-down than Baldur’s Gate. The camera is typically movable too. They featured ability trees, gear drops (typical green, blue, yellow stuff), and stat progression.

Characters were usually a set race, with an associated class. For example, a Night Elf Druid or a Gnome Hunter would be playable, and each have their own ability trees. Gear would be somewhat up to the player. For example, the Hunter would easily lend itself to melee and traps or ranged and pet usage. Once again, the design doc practically writes itself.

Warcraft the Fighting Game

Warcraft the Fighting Game

Now here’s a departure, but not as far as you might think. Imagine a Street Fighter or Tekken style fighter set in the Warcraft universe.

The characters could be generic “Undead Rogue” or could be famous characters like “Grom Hellscream” or “Sylvanas.” These characters would have their own combos and unique skills. Rogues could have a ‘vanish’ abilities that makes them appear behind the other player and stab them. Hunters could have “stampede” where they call a horde of animals. Shaman could summon lightning or frost shock to freeze then rock smash or something.

If you think about it, this style of fighting game wouldn’t be too far of a departure from arenas. Blizzard has already created a “fighting” feel, and once again the characters and their abilities are done as well as the world lending itself to maps like Gadgetzan’s cage, or Orgrimmar’s arena.

Warcraft Open-World RPG

Warcraft the Open-World RPG

Perhaps the most ambitious project of them all would be an open-world RPG like the Elder Scrolls franchise. An overall story could be told, but otherwise the player would be set loose in a single-player world full of interaction and exploration.

Once again I find myself thinking they could just lift Oblivion or Skyrim’s mechanics and set it all in a Warcraft universe and I’d be fine. Joining some sort of Ravenholdt (Assassin’s League) or interacting with the Bloodsail Buccaneer would be fantastic. There are hundreds of potential story arches to explore here.

Warcraft the Open-World RPG could explore a darker side of the universe, a more gritty and realistic tone. There could be lesser-told stories (again, Ravenholdt or even Northsea Pirates) and more of an untold story going on in the world. This could even all be set at a time before the events of WoW — that way there’s no conflict or crossover.

So Much Potential

There’s so much potential with the Warcraft universe. I hope that Blizzard is or will sometime soon devote serious thought toward branching out from their comfort zone.

As I wrap up this post, I can already think of a couple more. Did I miss any you’d want to see made?

 

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Blizzcon is Upon Us: WoW Legion’s Launch Date, Predictions, et al

Blizzcon’s opening ceremony kicks off in exactly 4 hours from now, and I’m going to squeeze in here and drop a few predictions as well as what I hope to see announced.

World of Warcraft: Legion

First, I have to address the gorilla in the room: Legion’s launch date. Check out the marketing collateral below and pay attention to the fine print at the bottom (click to enlarge):

[su_lightbox type=”image” src=”https://www.keenandgraev.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/wow-legion-perks.jpg” class=”pointer”]wow-legion-perks[/su_lightbox]

Legion will release on or before September 21, 2016. There are a few ways to interpret this information.

  1. The people convinced this is the release date and are cancelling their subscriptions because they won’t do HFC for 10 more months.
  2. The “I knew there was a reason to hide subscription numbers!” group (who likely do not play)
  3. People who look at WoD coming out a month before its drop dead date who now think August is the date.
  4. The people who think this really doesn’t mean a whole lot / will happily play WoD / don’t care.

I personally think this is their drop dead date and that they will release sooner. I’m also pretty sure they’re going to giving Overwatch a very nice window. I’m predicting April 2016. I think that’s a nice 5-6 month window for them to hold a beta and finish up. I’m on the bleeding edge of extremes here, I know. The likely release date probably IS September 2016.

Overwatch

We’ll get a release date. They’ll talk about the cost of the game, some business model plans, etc. Lots, and lots, and lots of hype. The more I think about how badly they want to hype Overwatch, the more I think we’ll see Overwatch in April, and Legion in August-September.

Starcraft

I’m not expecting any announcements for Starcraft’s current projects. I think Legacy of the Void coming out is a big enough deal that they won’t overshadow it with anything else in the SC2 universe. However, I want to see announcements regarding a modernized version of the original Starcraft and Broodwar being brought to the SC2 engine — with multiplayer — by 2017.

Diablo

I’m actually expecting nothing for Diablo except for a similar announcement about Diablo and Diablo 2 (plus expansions, minus Hellfire) being modernized to the D3 engine and coming out as full games — with multiplayer — by 2017 as well.

Classic Games

I’ll continue in the same vein and say that I hope a nice part of the opening ceremony will hype their revival of the ‘classics’ and for them to official come out and state that they are working on these revitalization projects. The job listings are there for these projects already, it’s just time to make it official. I truly hope to see Warcrafts 1-3 being a big part of this project.

Hearthstone

Cards? (And probably a huge emphasis since this game prints money)

Heroes of the Storm

More heroes and stuff. I will be shocked if HotS gets much if any time in the opening ceremony.

Warcraft 4’s Announcement

Yes, I look forward to Warcraft 4’s announcement every single year. I hold my breath, I get disappointed, and I come back next year to do it all again. I really do think they could build off the hype of Legion and a Warcraft 3 revival to announce Warcraft 4 coming in 2018 or something.

Console and Tablet Announcements

We know that Overwatch is coming to consoles. I think this is a big market for them. Now, as far as tablets go, I think we won’t hear a thing. They kept Hearthstone — their juggernaut F2P — completely nonchalant when it came to iOS releases. I doubt we see much pomp and circumstance over tablets.

A Big Year for Blizzard

Blizzard can go big this year in ways they haven’t been able or willing to in the past few years. With Overwatch, classic revivals, and a strong expansion on their list it’s entirely their game to lose right now. This Blizzcon can set the pace for the next three years without even breaking a sweat. Let’s see what happens!

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Does this mean we can have Warcraft 4 now?

warcraft3

Just looking at this makes me want to re-install.

Now that Blizzard officially cancelled Titan, a game they never officially announced, does this mean we can have Warcraft 4?

Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime says they’re not going to work on another MMO at this time. They’ll continue working on stuff like Hearthstone for sure, and now my hopes are as high as possible that they’ll finally decide to go back and try to revive the strategy genre they helped define. What about Starcraft, you say? Warcraft strategy games are so very different. Warcraft 3 specifically focused on a very small unit count in order to maximize micromanagement. Hero units created a significant mechanic that I haven’t seen used the same since. They feel like night and day to me — and I’m good at Warcraft strategy games and horrible at SC.

In a way… I’m excited to see what Blizzard does now. I don’t want Blizzard to focus on MMOs.  Less MMOs the better. Bring on the other games that’ll actually deliver a full and complete experience!

17

Warlords of Draenor Could Save Warcraft

The cinematic for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor was revealed yesterday proving once again that Blizzard is the king of both cinematics and hype.

hellscreamWow! [pun intended] My mind was racing with possibilities after watching. Grommash (Grom) Hellscream was supposed to drink Mannoroth’s blood and bind the Orcish Horde to the Burning Legion. However, it appears to that Garrosh (son of Grom) was able to escape prison and travel back in time to alter events. With Mannoroth dead and the orcs bound to no one, Grom can become warchief of a united orcish horde under the Iron Horde banner.

In a perfect world, this concept could completely wipe out everything we learned from Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft.  The thought sends nerd chills down my spine! This could be an opportunity to undo many bizarre choices and almost deus ex machina the entire series back to a point where we can have an amazing RTS series again with a story much truer to the heart of Warcraft.

Unfortunately, I think the plan is for Grom and Garrosh to go through the Dark Portal (seen at the end of the cinematic) and invade the MODERN day Azeroth rather than the Azeroth of their time. So technically, this wasn’t a time travel event as much as an alternate dimension or parallel universe. What a horribly wasted opportunity! I want to see an Azeroth where the Iron Horde’s technology (The Kor’kron Iron Star (spinny ball of death thingy)) allows them to conquer most of the Azeroth prior to the events of WC3 and how the world there adapts. Sounds like a great RTS to me.

I consider myself a fan of Warcraft. I don’t like where WoW took (and is taking) the lore, and I’m not a fan of the MMO side anymore, but I’m still an avid fan of the franchise. Hopefully the coming events allow Blizzard to make a darker, grittier, Warcraft focusing less on the touchy-feely-cutesie stuff and more of orcs pillaging and conquering once again!  Warcraft: Orcs & Humans Azeroth! I want to see Warcraft return to its roots.

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Where did Blizzard go?

warcraft 2What the heck happened to the company responsible for the Warcraft RTS games?  I was thinking about Warcraft Orcs and Humans, Warcraft 2, and Warcraft 3 today and the hair on my arms stood straight up — those games are ridiculously good; Dare I say they are downright epic.  I can still hear the voice in my head…  “The once mighty army of Azeroth lay among the blackened and charred remains of Stormwind Keep.”  The image of that orcish armada sailing across the great sea is burned into my memory.  I’m getting chills right now just thinking about it!

starcraft 2When I think about Warcraft back then compared to what it is today I am baffled by how badly Blizzard strayed off course.  When I think about ‘Warcraft’ why aren’t Footmen, Peons, Grunts, Gul’dan, and the Bloodlust top of mind?  Why can’t I think “yes me’lord, righto,” and “work work!”  Why do I think about arenas, raids, gear, and MMO mechanics instead?   Why has the direction changed to such an off-putting product strategy?

warcraft 3The same can be said for Diablo and Starcraft.  All of Blizzard’s properties are slipping.  I feel like Blizzard is so focused on ‘being Blizzard’ that their core competence has gone from making games to making headlines.

I’ve come to know a lot of the Blizzard team over the years.  Blizzard is a really good company with great employees, but you guys are losing sight of the mark.  You are losing your identity and forgetting what’s most important: The Games.

diablo 2As a true fan of your properties, I’m devastated by the direction you are going.  I appreciate the business side of things like eSports, and I know times have changed, but there used to be such a timeless perfection to your games.  I miss it, a lot.

Can you please bring back the spark, the magic, the zug-zug… that classic feel?  I think you know what I’m saying.

 

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