There I am, in Battery Park on a glorious Wednesday afternoon, catching Pokemon with the kids while we wait for Dad to return with an addition to his guitar collection. Because the Park has free wifi (nice move NYC) I’m able to browse Twitter as I do and, to my amazement, I see the news coming out of Gamescon. Not only have Activision Blizzard got the memo about more content moving forward, but they’re already planning to test 7.1 when 7.0 goes live. For some this might be too much, all at once but for those who complain that there’s too long a gap between new becoming old and being replaced? Undoubtedly this will be good news indeed. Picking Karazhan, with the Movie still fresh in the memory and the DVD release incoming? Totally inspired. However, this isn’t the most significant part of the equation, anything but.
Have Activision Blizzard finally cracked the problem of scaling multi person instances to five man difficulty?
Once it became apparent that this Instance isn’t going to replace the original, that those farming for the Mount or Transmog will not be inconvenienced? This becomes a whole new ball game: can Legacy content now be repurposed to serve a five man audience, and more significantly fit into the new Mythic Plus ‘ideal’ that is being strongly pushed going forward? There are still questions to be asked: nine bosses are being ‘advertised’ as included but the last time I checked there’s more on offer in the original instance. I’ll assume that Netherspite, the Servant’s Quarters boss and Chess will be ‘sacrificed’ in order to expedite progress. Will this be a straight remap of the journey upwards, or will there be variation? Are these the same boss encounters or will there be changes? There’s still a lot of questions to answer going forward. Until we have them all, it is not possible to judge whether this is evolution, or simply convenience.
Either way, I’m now wondering if the The Emerald Nightmare and Suramar raids have been designed with a five man option included.
Think about it for a minute: all this Legacy content that people run is obviously and hugely popular. Being able to recycle every single raid from a previous Expansion as a five man solves so many problems: no worries about waiting for art, a way to move lore on without disturbing the sanctity of the original locations. It then gives Activision Blizzard valuable breathing space to design new things and move on the whole franchise, whilst satisfying the voracious appetite players have for new things to do. Plus, if linked into the Mythic Plus mentality of being able to randomize these dungeons pretty much ad infinitum? This sates a multitude of appetites, on multiple levels. Most importantly, as you design new instances going forward, they’re automatically provisioned to accommodate a five man legacy option on top of Normal, Heroic and Mythic. People like me who can’t raid but can five man? We still get to experience the content, after the fact, and it doesn’t devalue Raiding for those who did it at level.
There is honestly no way this would ever be a bad thing.
If this is the plan going forward? Frankly, it is fucking genius. It means you get a different loot table for each Instance, rare items can be slipped into each to encourage farming, and absolutely nobody loses out. The ‘elite’ still get bragging rights, the ‘casuals’ can see new lore in a format and not as hard as multi-person content, and with an appropriate pause between it being new and becoming ‘Legacy.’ However the overriding advantage to this path going forward will be that we might genuinely be able to see ‘new’ content as quickly as every three to five months. There is also a genuine possibility that, for instance, I could be doing the five man version of the Emerald Nightmare at the end of Legion whilst raiders are still completing the 7.4 Instance, whatever that might be.
For many people, I suspect that could end up as the perfect world: no need to Legacy at all. All you have is ‘current’ content to worry about, all linked to the Broken Isles.
I look forward to more information on 7.1 in due course.