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I didn’t do the Opening Ceremony, but I was about for the Legion: What’s Next Panel. I was thinking of going to bed, and then…

For me, the biggest surprise in all of this wasn’t the amount of content that got trailed, but the fact that, after TEN YEARS, someone at ActiBlizz worked out that PowerPoint presentations can be posted on a website.

It’s also given me an immense amount to think about, not simply because of the content on offer, but the timescales… that’s where the real interest lies for me, because it wasn’t clear what happens after the Tomb…

Is Warcraft IN SPACE actually 7.3 or is it 8.0? Does this mean we get a new Expansion announcement at Gamescon again? Is this still a Three Tier Expansion? Is anyone caring or are you all too obsessed with the Flying Class Mounts?

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Personally, I’m curious what ‘building your own base’ means on the Broken Isles: if it’s truly on a par with the Isle of Quel’Dailies then there won’t be a penalty for doing stuff in a particular order, because you’ll get everything in the end. I’m also amazingly impressed with both the clarity and depth that Ion Hazzikostas when into in this ‘presentation’, and how much the man appears to have grown in terms of both confidence and stature. There’s also some quite significant nods towards how this team aren’t just listening to players, they’re using them to specifically tailor content.

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Yes, I KNOW I joked about the Mounts, but if you wanted to ensure that the memory of what happened with 6.2 becomes even more distant? Here’s how you do that, with not only flying but a special ‘thank you’ for staying the course. It wasn’t just that either: we now know what a ‘small’ and ‘large’ patch are defined as by the team, we understand that yes, there’s work to be done on classes so flouncing off in a stop via a Forum post looks pretty lame now, plus if anybody was complaining about the lack of content? NO. As bosses don’t have names yet and there’s no artwork used except the existing Broken Isles ‘settings’I’m betting we won’t see the PTR for a bit, so that March timetable I was suggesting looks a bit hopeful. I’m now leaning towards an August reveal for the next Expansion too… that is, of course if we get an Expansion announcement at all.

It’s entirely possible we’re seeing the evolution of Warcraft as a title away from Expansions completely.

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If we stop assuming that things are always done the same way, then Warcraft could become like Hearthstone and Heroes. They don’t have an ‘expansion’ framework, they’re just a title and new content every X months, and with a rolling sub very much not off the table, maybe ActiBlizz have decided that an additional hit of X dollars per 18 months is unnecessary. It would also mean that the physical side of things (CD production, manufacturing costs) could be saved, and that might yet be a consideration. Producing virtual only content is the future, after all, and it means that you’d only need a ‘generic’ Warcraft ‘copy’ to jump into the action at whatever point to happened to be. More significantly of all however it would finally negate the classic ‘end of Expansion redundancy’ where everything is shit and nobody plays.

The vagueness of Argus as a destination was very much intentional at the end of that presentation, I’d wager. They’re still not sure what happens after that, I think. There’ll undoubtedly be a 7.2.5 before we get there, however, because I think by then there will be enough niggles that they’ll need to do an interim balance. However, by the taime that happens (and on current timescales that’s probably June/July time) Argus then becomes the Gamescon reveal. So, it could be the Expansion, or they could go the way of everything else and now, we won’t need a massive balance patch. They’ll just dial back ALL the numbers, everywhere. Needless to say, this gives people like me an awful lot to think about going forward.

These are interesting times indeed.

3 thoughts on “6 Underground

  1. THIS IS NOT ME BEING NEGATIVE – But WoW now seems to be a formula with holes to fill with different content “stuff”

    1) Expac Start: Invade/go somewhere and get turned back/fail
    (Tanaan/Broken Shore)
    2) Establish a foothold/base
    (Garrison/Dalaran)
    3) Explore/quest/level in new zones
    (Draenor/BrokenIsles)
    4) Grind rep/get stuff/run dungeons/early raid
    (Highmaul/Emerald Dream)
    5) Random additional content
    (BlackrockFoundry/Karazhan)
    6) Introduce NEW zone that was already in game
    (Tanaan Jungle/Broken Shore II)
    7) Grind new rep, get flight
    8) Big Raid
    9) Intro minor content leading into next expac (this could also be (1) above, where we travel to BS/Argus and get turned back)

    Legion is following the same blueprint (with variations) that Blizz used for Warlords – the biggest single difference being that they now (hopefully) have learned how to space things out/put in enough activities to keep the game from being idle too long.

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