It’s a really weird and interesting time to be a World of Warcraft fan. While the announcement of WoW Classic has revitalized discussion about the launch version of the MMO, it seems just about nobody can agree on what Blizzard should do when it implements the legacy servers.
For their part, WoW’s devs are still sifting through ideas. Two of the game’s community managers spent some time discussing class balance while the dev team continues to be formed. “Should class balance be left as it was, or should it be tweaked within a certain margin, or should it be constantly tuned and worked on?” one CM posted. “I’m not so certain that any specific one is the default, correct choice.”
It sounds as though Blizzard is trying to elicit feedback before it makes any decisions: “If folks want a true 1:1 Vanilla experience, then we want to see the discussion of that. If people think there should be changes here or there, then we’ll want to see that too.”
It’s hard to imagine that anyone is going to be upset about the idea of no lockboxes in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. Sure, Blizzard makes use of them in several other games, but at this point there are no plans to bring them into Azeroth, according to a new interview. (Whether or not that will change in the future remains to be seen.) Of course, the same interview that confirms that also confirms that we will not be getting our own personal boats, so it’s sort of good news, bad news.
Other interviews have indicated that the team wants to bring forward Mission Table-style content, so that doesn’t mean we won’t have anything similar; it just means it won’t be a boat.
Last but not least, there’s another “no” on the list that will either make you happy or sad depending on how you feel about the Legion mechanics for classes. While every class and spec will be adjusted and altered moving into the next expansion, there will be no major overhauls on par with the Legion shift, certainly nothing like the large-scale rework of Survival Hunters. Exactly how things will be balanced remains to be seen, but this is good news if you like your current spec’s playstyle. If you don’t… well, it’ll be adjusted, not wildly changed.
Back in May, I wrote a whole article about why I was leaving World of Warcraft behind. All of the reasons I had back then? Still valid. Fact is, I’m still proud of that column (to the extent that I’m proud of anything I write; low self-esteem is a hell of a drug). So why am I here talking so much about Battle for Azeroth? How are you supposed to reconcile those conflicting facts? Do I hate this game or not?
The answer to those questions, in reverse order, is this: no; I highly doubt anyone actually wants to reconcile anything about my stated views; and because what we’ve seen so far actually addresses a lot of the problems I wrote about back in May. New information means new evaluation.
Obviously, this is not a blanket statement of “the next expansion will make everything better” because there are far too many question marks left to feel smug or confident about that. But, and this is an important “but,” we’ve got signs that several of the problems from Legion are actually being addressed. And considering that Legion was pretty good already, that brings us to a good spot.
Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.
Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.
Last weekend, even Massively OP was obsessing over BlizzCon, and we thought it would be fun to poll the writers, including those who watched from the sideliness rather than diving into the liveblogging, on their assessments of the event, particularly as they pertain to the MMORPG industry. What were the highlights and lowpoints? Where do we stand on World of Warcraft’s new expansion and classic servers? Let’s dig in!
There are lots of things that I’m genuinely excited about when it comes to the next World of Warcraft expansion. Battle for Azeroth has a premise that gives me reasons to be hopeful, systems that seem pretty cool, and at least one thing that I’m pretty sure I want (even if I’m not sure whether or not the final version is exactly how I want it). So we’re starting from a good point here.
We’ve also got some time until the expansion is released, and based on the total lack of any firm information on dates for testing, much less launch, I would be surprised to see this expansion before November 2018. So that leaves us with some pretty big questions to be answered, and the more answers we get sooner, the better. So let’s take a gander at the questions we’ve still got hanging over our head after the expansion reveal.
Whether you play it now or not, chances are that your paths have crossed with World of Warcraft in the past. This is true of pretty much every MMO blogger I know, and as such, all of them have emerged over the weekend to offer their thoughts on BlizzCon’s classic server and Battle for Azeroth announcements. So what do they have to say?
On World of Warcraft Classic:
“Meanwhile, a lot of what Blizz said about WoW Classic was set in the future tense. It sounds like they had a small group do some research and found a viable path forward. Everything else, however, seemed to couched in ‘we will,’ ‘we’re going to,’ and ‘we want to.'” (The Ancient Gaming Noob)
The last time I saw this many people asking “why?” about a new World of Warcraft expansion was at the announcement of Mists of Pandaria. I agreed then, too; the idea of bringing in the Pandaren to the game seemed to be slipping into territory that just didn’t feel appealing to me. I’m still not entirely sold on the idea, a fact which is not helped at all by the fact that the very next expansion was so creatively bankrupt the team seems to have thrown every good idea at once into Legion.
Really, we don’t know what happened behind the scenes of Warlords of Draenor development, but that seems like a plausible theory.
So, yes, Battle for Azeroth. That is the actual title of the next expansion, one which feels almost as if it was cobbled together by drawing a few random words that usually get used with the game and hoping they assembled a coherent sentence. It seems, at face value, like a really dumb idea, especially since the very basic premise is one that you know is absolutely not going to be resolved by the end of the expansion.
The release of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is going to bring with it a lot of core system changes. This is neither surprising nor unwelcome. We’ve also been warned for ages that we won’t be carrying Artifacts forward, and at this year’s BlizzCon we got our first glimpse at the system that will ultimately replace that system in terms of gameplay, the Heart of Azeroth.
I usually find what works pretty well as a quick litmus test for systems like this is to see how fast we all “get” the system in the newsroom. If some of us are confused as to how the system is supposed to work, it’s not being explained all that well. And I can’t tell you that the Heart of Azeroth has been particularly well-explained so far; it’s a straightforward and positive change to the game, but we’ve had better-explained systems. So let’s take a look at how things are meant to work, based on what we know now.
Enough of World of Warcraft’s two biggest factions palling together on adventures across time and space — war has come to this game once more. Blizzard announced World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth at BlizzCon today after months of rumors swirling about this next installment.
The seventh expansion for the game will find the Horde and Alliance at each other’s throats, with the two sides recruiting six new playable races and exploring new continents and islands. Players will be able to unlock these new races (with four coming over from Legion) through quests, explore the Alliance continent of Kul Tiras, march through the jungles of Zandalar, and upgrade a new legendary Heart of Azeroth neckpiece with new powers and traits.
The Horde and Alliance will compete over previously uncharted islands and fight in the 20-player co-op warfronts that were inspired by classic Warcraft RTS maps. Additionally, the leval cap will be raised to 120 and cross-realm social groups will connect players between worlds.
A beta test for the expansion is “coming soon,” but we’ve got that amazing cinematic trailer plus the expansion features trailer for you after the break!
Tomorrowday, BlizzCon will be upon us, and this year we’re expecting a full reveal of the new expansion for World of Warcraft, still the most lucrative MMORPG in the world. It’s always a fun angle for our team to cover WoW, since to us, it’s just another MMO among hundreds, albeit an outsized one. Indeed, we have writers who strongly dislike everything about it and consider it directly or indirectly responsible many of the genre’s woes. Even so, there’s no denying that whatever WoW does next is a big deal for the MMO genre, even if you’re not a fan.
For this edition of Massively Overthinking – a bit of a special one for the site, as today marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Massively-that-was – I’ve asked the staff to outline their hopes and fears for BlizzCon, for WoW and the studio’s other games, and especially what they want to see in the expansion itself!
If you were expecting big news out of Activision-Blizzard’s Q3 2017 financial report… sorry to disappoint you, but you’ve probably heard the big news before, and that’s the news that Destiny 2 is doing pretty well. All told, D2’s console launch helped drive the corporation’s revenues to a record $1.62B for the quarter, a slight boost QoQ.
“Activision had the biggest third-quarter online player community in its history, with a record 49 million MAUs,” boasts the company. “Launched in September, Destiny 2 is the best-selling console game year-to-date in the U.S. Digital mix was over 50% of console full game sell-through, a new record for the company.”
On the Blizzard side, it’s Overwatch and Hearthstone taking home strong report cards, thanks to the former’s late summer and fall events and the latter’s Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. World of Warcraft got a nod for its last patch too, which the company says led “to stable MAUs for the franchise quarter-over-quarter and continued participation in value added services.” Stable, well then.
It’s really, really weird to me to think that we’re getting an announcement about a new World of Warcraft expansion next week. Admittedly, we haven’t been told the details yet, but let’s be real here: The only conclusion if we don’t get an expansion announcement is that the game is shutting down. Everything has been set up to pull that trigger, everyone’s expecting it, we all know it. And we’ve even seen rumors, datamining, and hoaxes flying about faster than you can say “someone photoshop up a Murloc in Tier 2 Warrior gear.”
Some of the speculation is, of course, complete hogwash. “The next expansion will bring back talent trees!” “The next expansion is about Jaina as a dreadlord!” “The next expansion will have Blue Mage!” But some of it is, at least, stuff that’s been hinted at. So with a week or so to go, let’s take a look at what we know is on the table as being possible, being plausible, and being reasonable.