WoW Factor: World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth feels like Cataclysm all over again

    
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Where do we go?

It took me a long time to identify what felt off about World of Warcraft’s upcoming expansion. Something was definitely bothering me, but the thing was is that we know exactly what an expansion with the bare minimum effort looks like now, and it sure as heck didn’t feel like Battle for Azeroth was Warlords of Draenor But Again. Yet something kept nudging at me, some comparison that was just slightly eluding me as I dutifully tested new quests, new system revisions, and so forth.

Then I realized that the whole thing was basically Cataclysm and it clicked.

Mind you, I say this not as an indication that the expansion is nearly as bad as Cataclysm was. (There’s still far too much of the actual game to see, for example.) But far from my own optimistic excitement, it feels like the expansion is making a lot of the same missteps as that particular black mark, and it doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.
A fight that's been set up for... something like ten minutes, maybe?

So… this is what we’re focused on now

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got no problem making the faction war a focal point of storytelling for an expansion. Done properly, it could provide a lot of storytelling meat. Unfortunately, what we actually get is an attempt to roll back the clock to Wrath of the Lich King and then act as if the intervening stuff didn’t happen, which is where the comparison first resonated for me.

At the end of that expansion, it would make sense that the Horde would attack Teldrassil, because it would make sense to assume the Alliance was heading to Lordaeron. Seriously, it was set up pretty well by that expansion. Varian had already attacked Undercity once, he clearly didn’t like leaving it without conquering the city, and the Wrathgate was fresh in everyone’s mind. Launching a pre-emptive strike on Teldrassil would be a logical move.

Here, though? It winds up feeling like yet another example of Half Of The Horde Is Just Awful. This has been a real problem the game has kept hammering on for years, and it’s not getting better here. The writers try to insist that neither side is actually bad, but then we see literally every awful thing come from the Horde, which makes the whole thing ring false.

But I could spend a few thousand words ranting about this, and there’s more comparison to draw out. The core issue here is that Azeroth is dying, hence the whole Heart of Azeroth. Except that the actual chain of storytelling goes from fighting a war to… sorting out another nation’s problems on a completely different continent, without the other side actually in sight.

Yes, this makes a certain amount of sense. Yes, I can buy that the factions would be busy warring instead of sorting this out. But much like Cataclysm, it feels like we’re focusing on the solution to problems three or four steps down the ladder. The faction war is going hot again, but we’re only taking part in the most backwards sense, and the Heart of Azeroth is more or less wholly left off to one side. It’s a concern, but not something that we’re supposed to be actively worried about.

So instead of feeling like an expansion focused on the faction conflict, at the moment it feels like a whole bunch of stupid conflicts advanced to give people a reason to fight, and then an excuse to go faff about Kul Tiras or Zandalar. Despite the fact that the two do not lead into one another. Seriously, we could just search out these allies without the assaults on the capitals.

Just fight the thing.

Breaking what was already fixed

The part where this starts to really feel a lot like Cataclysm are the many, many ways that the game tries to fix issues with the game’s systems… systems that were working fine and were not actually broken. Some of that is just a matter of Artifacts being handled in the worst possible way, but I think it goes a little bit deeper than that.

At the end of the day, the biggest problem in Legion was Legendaries. They were just too random and too prone to giving you things you either would never need or definitely needed ages ago. Artifacts were designed as a part of the spec from the ground up, so rather than feeling like a huge power bump, they felt more like the part that made the whole spec sing. Sure, some were better or worse about it, but the extra powers they granted felt like they should really just be a part of the class.

The solution for removing them was mostly just number tuning and then maybe tossing the ability somewhere on the talent tree, instead of filling out the frankly shameful number of levels in which the game does not give you anything. And the replacement system, thus far, feels less complimentary.

The idea of having Azerite armor functioning as “build your own Legendary items” is pretty cool as a concept, but it doesn’t feel particularly organic. If anything, it feels like socketing gear (something the game has walked away from) with fewer chores associated for non-gemcrafters. Nor do the powers granted feel particularly great; they’re passive abilities that, at least from what I’ve seen, don’t really change how you play your spec. Perhaps I’m just a bit cynical after everything else, it’s certainly possible.

Now, this isn’t to say that combat feels terrible; it’s just to say that far from getting a bunch of fun new toys (such as the class utility that was promised and then yanked out for bad reasons) we wind up with more or less the same toys, and a few have been taken away. For most specs, this isn’t terrible. You’re still playable, even if you have to sort of kludge it a bit.

But that’s the road that led us to Legion in the first place, where things getting yanked left us with some specs like Enhancement that had lost basically everything core to their identity. Again, my optimism was misplaced; instead of ushering in a new area of holistic class design, the designers just yanked stuff out and made some numbers adjustments in the hopes that no one notices too much.

I can't help but think Hazzikostas is part of the problem here.

Wait, is it all bad?

Thankfully, no. Once you get past the fact that none of the big NPCs like Anduin are acting like themselves and the overall arc has the aforementioned issues, you can get into the core of the expansion. The individual zone quests retain the same snappy writing from Legion, and the new NPCs are a joy to interact with and offer plenty of character right out of the gate. (This does make me somewhat nervous that we’ll also get a repeat of Legion insofar as the “main” story is the least interesting part, but at least Illidan’s gone.)

But each time I start typing something positive about the expansion, I find myself having to edit it. Sure, the new Allied Races are fun… assuming, of course, that you can ignore the dizzying awfulness of the Mag’har recruitment scenario. Combat is still fast-paced… although you have to overlook the stuff that’s been lost which was still a core part of the design. The questing is fun… although it’s also questing you’ve done before, and I haven’t seen any particular innovations in that department.

In other words… it’s a lot like Cataclysm. It’s not Warlords where it can’t do anything right, but it makes a whole lot of missteps. My hope is that this is something that’s improved through patches rather than exacerbated; it’d still be a disappointment, but not nearly as much of one.

War never changes, but World of Warcraft does, with a decade of history and a huge footprint in the MMORPG industry. Join Eliot Lefebvre each week for a new installment of WoW Factor as he examines the enormous MMO, how it interacts with the larger world of online gaming, and what’s new in the worlds of Azeroth and Draenor.
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hankscorpio8484
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hankscorpio8484

“Every awful thing comes from the Horde”

Let me reference all the veiled one-sided stories about so-called genocide from people just defending their lands from a LITERAL ONSLAUGHT THROUGH A MAGIC PORTAL FULL OF PIG MEN WHO WANT TO MURDER THEM AND EAT THEIR FACES.

I’ve been playing Warcraft since WC1. And if you really mean that ‘everything bad comes from the Horde’ as some kind of plea for a good thing, you never paid attention to the literal YEARS of Horde Jesus and another expansion where the ONE PERSON who single-handedly prevented there EVER being a resolution that was peaceful, gets Deus Ex Machina’d by a LITERAL TIME DRAGON just as he was about to be JUSTLY EXECUTED.

They jumped the shark years ago, true. But the Horde has been the silent focus of the cheer section of the writers on almost all accounts since nearly the beginning.

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kalech

I don’t really get how a faction war can ever reach a conclusion. It’s not like one side can really win. It will just piss off players on the losing faction, and it’s not like one faction can be removed.
None of the big NPCs act like themselves anymore, and half of them have been killed off already anyway. I have no idea what’s going on with the writers at Blizzard anymore.
WoW’s gone tits up in my opinion and tbh I only play to raid with friends.

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Cosmic Cleric

It’s not like one side can really win. It will just piss off players on the losing faction, and it’s not like one faction can be removed.

They cone together for a greater cause/common enemy/survival, and the game goes co-op (can still have BGs, etc.).

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Sorenthaz

My personal hope is that Blizzard is purposely pushing this Sylvanas storyline out into the open in order to finally bring it to a conclusion so that once Sylvanas’s stuff is dealt with and meets a satisfying climax the Horde/Alliance no longer have any major rifts between them. Sylvanas has pretty much been a constant issue/conflict that needed to be resolved expansions ago, but never was able to. Now they’re finally forcing a conflict resolution so potentially afterwards the Horde/Alliance can start cooperating.

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Jokerchyld

WoW’s story never really ever made sense to me mostly because they are non-sequential. Each expansion felt like a completely separate addition to the game, coupled with the fact that they get rid of any expansion-related systems when the new one comes out. Its one of the things that ruins immersion with me in this game.

With that said I thorougly enjoyed Legion more than any other expansion and actually kept me playing the game for my longest duration of almost 2 years. BFA looks interesting but I’m nervous about the removal of legendaries and its heart of Azeroth replacement.

rafterman74
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rafterman74

Play through it now.

It’s ridiculously stupid for a fresh 100 character. I’m currently running an alt through it and none of it makes any sense anymore. Everything is about powering up your artifact, but that doesn’t actually happen anymore. Every quest reward is just a grey vendor item because they removed artifact leveling. Every Relic choice isn’t even a choice because they don’t actually do anything. Every time some NPC tells me to hold up my weapon to increase it’s power it does nothing. The entire story is broken and it feels like I’m playing an unfinished game compared to the way it was before the pre-patch.

I always hated the Artifact system because I knew they were going to completely remove them and basically pretend like they didn’t happen. What I didn’t realize at the time is that not only would Artifacts go away with the next expansion, but they’d completely remove their importance from the expansion they were actually a part of. Moving past them in BfA is one thing, changing them the way that they did for Legion is another thing entirely, and it’s horrible.

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Dreema

Ouch, that’s just painful. Admittedly a lot of what’s in WoW doesn’t make sense, but most of it’s because the game has changed so much over the years, but to have actual leveling content in the current expansion ruined this way is just plain bad design. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to keep artifacts as they were and simply get rid of them once players hit 110? I guess that’s another one to chalk up to Blizzard’s lack of foresight.

rafterman74
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rafterman74

That’s exactly what I thought would happen. I figured a level 100 would go through the expansion like normal, powering up this weapon and at the end they would use up its power exactly like everyone else did. A nice neat way to get rid of it for the next expansion while keeping it around for the content it was meant for. Nah, they just wrecking balled the entire expansion.

latorn
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Kickstarter Donor
latorn

Thank you for making this post. I haven’t subbed WoW since WotLK, and was extremely tempted this time to go back.. But of course I’d have to level my 80 up through the past expansions to experience them, and now that I know it’s not a cohesive experience I’ll probably just stick with ESO. :)

rafterman74
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rafterman74

In fairness, if you really want to check out the new expansion it will come with a free 110 boost so you can skip everything up to BfA. Of course, if you haven’t played since WotLK you’ll be missing quite a bit and as bad as WoD and the new Legion are, I’d play just for MoP, which might just be my favorite expansion of them all.

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Jokerchyld

Who knew my joy could be stolen by a single comment…

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Video Game Professor

Oh my. Where to begin.

First, the faction conflict gets harder and harder to swallow each time we save the world/galaxy/reality.

With each expansion they continue to raise the stakes to a point where it becomes unbelievable. I mean, there was a moment in Legion, during the Antorus raid where Legion fighters go on a bombing run on the raid party and the absurdity of going from Orcs and Humans to space fighters made me laugh. But any series running for so long gets to this point of convolution. This is usually marked in any series by the introduction of alternate realities and/or time travel. It always says to me “We just don’t want to finish the story, so…”.

This can be fine. I can accept new elements being added and layered despite how absurd it feels in comparison to where it began, but what I have a harder time accepting is how flimsily they grasp at casus belli.

After most expansions, especially after Legion, I just can’t buy that the majority of the factions decide to just go back to fighting one another. I get that some members of the recurring cast step away, but that our avatar would in ANY WAY participate in it seems crazy. How in the hell do you go from working together to save time lines and parallel universes against planet stabbing space gods to just fighting one another again because, you know. Honor? Revenge? I don’t know.

It’s like the people of Azeroth are fully immune to war fatigue.

I get it, World of Warcraft.

There are just so many other issues I wish were explored. The “Champion” should really, REALLY have a moment where they seriously question participating in any of this. With all the power the major players have at this point, both PC and NPC, I’m surprised more of them don’t just “Thanks-for-all-the-fish” all the way to Mars to make their own pink sand castles.

If time passed, more than a year or two (There is only four years between Warcraft the Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft according to the Kings Calendar), I could believe that maybe they find reasons to fight again. Like, at least a generation. Past events can be warped through history or recollection or forgotten (although harder when you have races that are nigh immortal…as long as you don’t become Warchief).

But no. What will happen will happen as it always does. They’ll fight, kill off a faction favorite or two, see the “greater evil” that unites them, join forces forging their “temporary alliance”, overcome insurmountable obstacles learning the truth about Big Bad (and along the way, themselves) and then, four months later, “old hatreds rise up”.

Nearly every character that can be named in the series should have severe PTSD or be suffering from psychotic breaks to the point of such insanity that they can’t set up Trade Skill Master to snipe mounts on the auction house, let convince a nation to go to war with their fair weather friends. Maybe that’s it? Is that why this always happen? Are we just insane?

Who knows. This is a game after all and World of Warcraft: Gestalt Therapy is a horrible name for an expansion.

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Nathan Aldana

This. This. a HUNDRED TIMES THIS.

My goblin hunter just spent a whole ingame year fighting alongside her gnome rivals because we hung together or we all hung apart, we died together. we bled together. we turned back an infinite genocidal army and saved the universe from one of the largest existent threats to our loved ones back home. And now the devs want to convince me I’d within mere months turn on my fellow hunters from the lodge who I fought together with and abandon the oaths of the Unseen path to waste lives we paid in blood for over goddamn factional bickering?

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Cosmic Cleric

It’s like the people of Azeroth are fully immune to war fatigue.

I get it, World of Warcraft.

Story has no chance, against Capitalism, unfortunately.

Or said another way, Story is the red shirt member, of the Corporation landing party.

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Sorenthaz

Well, at least with BfA this time around it’s largely due to Sylvanas being a scheming villainous leader at this point. She was deemed unredeemable at the end of ‘Before the Storm’ when Anduin was attempting to pursue even just one temporary day of peace so Lordaeron survivors could meet some of their Forsaken family members/friends (and largely this was Anduin coming to empathize with the Forsaken and see them as more than just undead monsters).

Now Sylvanas is trying to force a war because she wants to keep the flow of Azerite exclusive to her and the Horde and obviously she wants to use the Azerite to then take over Stormwind and wipe out the Alliance in order to raise them as new Forsaken. But she claims it’s all for the sake of ‘peace’ in the initial premise of the War of Thorns questline when in reality she just wants to eliminate all competition and threats to her.

Kind of sucks because I would’ve liked to see an actual expansion where Vol’jin got to rule, but I’m guessing Blizzard realized that Vol’jin would actually be a peaceful ruler akin to Thrall so they decided to have him die and hand the torch to Sylvanas to get her stuff that she’s been scheming since WotLK to finally be dealt with.

I’m hoping that the shit with Thrall we get to see in BfA will lead him to finally stop being a self-centered self-righteous coward who won’t own up to his mistakes so he finally does the right thing by taking up the mantle of Warchief once more to pursue peace with Anduin. Then next expansion we can put an end to the forced conflicts, have it all be about war games and healthy competition or whatever while being able to work together with cross-faction gameplay.

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Teh Beardling

You kind of hit the nail on the head here. This expansion feels extremely lazy. Especially coming off the heels of legion. What they have done with the classes is by and large awful. They took away all the cool stuff that you worked hard for in legion(and then some for some classes) and then didn’t give you much back. I always have looked forward to pre-patch to see all the new abilities you get and experiment with the specs but this time we got….nothing. Your class plays the exact same it does at 110(legion) at 120(BFA). You get nothing new in the in between. I’ve played most of the classes and frankly only 2-3 specs feel better than they did in legion. The rest feel the same or are markedly worse (shaman, arcane mages). It’s really sad too because I feel like legion took steps in the right direction with the feel of the classes but it feels like BFA is 3 steps back. It’s not enjoyable. I have already un-subbed and have been contemplating whether i’m petty enough to ask for a refund on my BFA preorder.

rafterman74
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rafterman74

This new expansion is looking pretty damn awful from every angle. As much as people gush about Legion I think a lot of that expansion mechanics were just downright awful, and most of what took place in that expansion has just been completely wiped away. I’m glad I didn’t stick around this entire time because none of it meant anything. Hell, the entire conceit of the expansion doesn’t even exist any more, Artifacts are broken even for new characters. And when you look back on it now you can clearly see how much content gating they put in to keep people subscribed. BfA is going to double down on this. Everything that expands your character has absolutely nothing to do with your character and will be just as easily wiped away when the next expansion hits.

The fact that there has been zero actual character progression for the last two expansions and 20 levels is absolutely absurd, and when combined with the total pillaging of class specs and identities just makes the game less fun to play. I was messing around on my Enhancement Shaman and while it doesn’t play awful it certainly isn’t what I’d call fun, or even much of a Shaman. They’ve basically gutted it. I’m a Shaman in name only. I duel wield, can barely heal, they’ve removed the majority of totems, spells, utility, etc. For all the hoopla of class identity that Legion was supposed to bring with class halls, my character has never felt less like a Shaman, and BfA furthers that.

I know there has forever been doom and gloom surrounding WoW, but I’ve never been one of them. Having said that, it’s hard not to feel like Blizzard has moved on from this game and is putting in as little effort possible to keep it going forward. WoD was underwhelming, Legion was loaded to the brim with F2P time gated content that would have made your average Asian MMO developer proud, and BfA just feels like a phoned in expansion that’s only releasing because that’s what is supposed to happen. We aren’t going to see any more WotlK’s or (the highly underrated) MoP type expansions again.

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Carebear

after so many expansions, the whole story and especially for a new player that will start playing, is a big mess…

I think they need a “questing overhaul” and to do it like FFXIV. Have a Main Scenarion quest that will take you from level 1 to max level, guide you through all important lore and story moments, unlock dungeons and raids through this, so when you join a dungeon you know why you go there and why you need to kill this bad guy.. it helps a lot making the dungeon fun. Add Cinematics too, during the main scenario quest..

I know this needs tons of work from them, but this is needed for wow… so much lore, so many awesome stories of vilains and is all a mess, hidden behind the most boring leveling in nowdays MMOs

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Oleg Chebeneev

They already did quests overhaul in Cataclysm. They already have explanation for bosses in ingame dungeons atlas. They already released 3 WoW chonicles books that explain every bit of lore there is. And we dont need WoW to borrow anything from inferior games like FFXIV.

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Carebear

you just scored 10/10 fanboism. Blizzard have a gift for you :P

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Oleg Chebeneev

TIL correcting and enlightening someone is fanboism

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Jokerchyld

Then you really didn’t learn anything. You have no basis for FFXIV being inferior other than your own subjective reasoning… which by the way isn’t fact.

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Jokerchyld

And when did Cataclysm come out again? A decade ago? A bunch of content has been released since then. Also the Cata overhaul didn’t tie all the dungeons together into a single story (which is what the original poster was asking) and I tend to agree with.

The stories in WoW are so disjointed now that it dilutes the reason for playing other than killing things to move forward. Shouldn’t WoW be more than that in 2018?

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Dreema

In many ways, Cata made the situation worse. The original vanilla WoW content was largely timeless as the threats were more of a general nature and not focused on one specific thing. Quests from 2004 could work perfectly well today. But Cata’s questing and zone design was based around the threat of Deathwing, an enemy who’s been dead for years now. It’s hard to really get your mind around the idea of this all powerful dragon flying around the world destroying stuff when his head’s been hanging on an island in Stormwind since the end of Cata.

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Oleg Chebeneev

>Quests from 2004 could work perfectly well today.

No thanks. We dont need this outdated crap today.

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Dreema

((Deleted by mod. Please review the commenting code.))

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Tim Johnson

FF14 is in no way shape or form an inferior game. It is a refinement of mechanics wow started, that have been placed into a very Final Fantasy wrapper. It aims for a different style then wow. Where in wow, the story is big, the fact is you can play the game w/o really caring about it, If you don’t like FF14’s story, you don’t like the game, because every single part of the game is narrative focused, because that is what Final Fantasy is.

Add in that i think FF14’s use of a single visual language for their content is one of the smartest idea you could have, and is an idea i wish blizzard would incorporate because it would make group finder and pug content less ragey. Granted what makes the language work is tied to what the OP is talking about, the game shows you, via the questing you do in the MSQ a lot of the mechanics and the visuals related to those mechanics. Wow uses and re-uses a lot of mechanics, but change up the key identifiers, which means you need to put 2 and 2 together to realize hey this is a group up mechanic, where as in FF14, by the time you need to start worrying about icons in raids, you’ve usually already seen them a 1/2 dozen times in small group content, and seen it a few more times with NPCs while questing.

I get that it’s likely not your kind of game, But that doesn’t make it inferior, and saying such just makes ya look bad man.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I dont care if I look bad. I have a firm opinion that FF14 is miles behind WoW in pretty much every aspect and you wont change it.

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Tim Johnson

Wow Does a mix of this kinda stuff already, has done similar things in the past but ultimately reversed course, or really wouldn’t benefit. i.e. cata requiring you to visit a dungeon physically once before you could que for it.

The MSQ of FF14 is a great tool for pulling people into the story, especially when you get into the 2.x content and beyond. The problem with the MSQ is that by having such a required directed and long progression that needs to be followed at least one time, creating alts becomes hard. FF14 gets around this by letting 1 character be all classes. Wow being character/class dependant wouldn’t work so good with such a strict MSQ.

The Other problem is the low level MSQ suffers from the same low level problems all mmos face, You are essentially a no body doing odd jobs. The odd jobs frequently are boring and seem pointless till the story really kicks right after you join one of the Grand Companies, and let us not mention the treks to the waking sands…. I’ve had friends who STRUGGLE to get to that point.

What wow did with their leveling scaling is the smartest thing they could have done for their style of content with out 100% rewriting the game and likely alienating players.

kite91
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kite91

I thought it was pretty clear that this Expansion was an Old god Expansion. That the faction war is not the focal point and is actually being fueled by the old god N’zoth. But i guess if Blizz has fooled peeps then that makes it a win on their part for when they “reveal the big announcement” for patch like 8.3 or something.

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J

I came back to Legion late in the cycle. Leveled up a Demon Hunter and saw some of the story. Then dropped it like a bad habit again once the new races showed up behind a double whammy of grinding and time gating. Haven’t given it a second thought since. They continue to suck the fun out of a -game-.

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Tiresias

I really don’t think that WoW has aged well.

I stand by my opinion that the game should have ended (“maintenance mode”) with Legion and the IP should have gone on to the next big thing.

The core threat that Warcraft’s lore was built on has been neutralized. The people of that world deserve peace for a time, and the lore deserves a rebirth with a new “big bad”. It’s beyond frustrating to finally defeat Sargeras only to be told “yeah, but he hurt the planet REAL BAD with his big sword”.

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Bannex

I flat out disagree with you. While I’ll be honest I don’t play this game for the story I think WoW is perfectly fine with its cadence and presence in the gaming world.

Think for a second, when wow sunsets it won’t be replaced with WoW2. Mmos are dead, they’re not coming back anytime soon. The death of this game will surely destroy the genre completely.

I’m not saying it’s the best, it’s just the pillar that’s holding up the community.

It will be a very long time before you’ll ever see a game like Wow again and it won’t be from blizzard

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Oleg Chebeneev

When people stop with this MMOs are dead nonsense? cheez

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Rodolfo Rosini

They are not dead, they just stopped making as much money as they used to, so investments shifted on other genres and platforms. M59/EQ are still going, so “dead” is relative. But obviously nobody is pointing at them as proof that there is demand in the market.

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Oleg Chebeneev

>They are not dead, they just stopped making as much money as they used to

What is this based on?
Here is little fact for you. There are more people playing MMORPGs right now then ever before.

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Dreema

Here is a little fact for you: WoW used to have 12 million subscribers. It now has… what? 3 million? 4 million tops? When the biggest MMO out there has a 1/4 or a 1/3 of the subscriber base it once had, it doesn’t speak well for MMOs overall.

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Oleg Chebeneev

WoW’s playerbase if absolutely irrelevant. What is important is total amount of people playing online. And its hundreds of millions now (you can only count Asia and it will still be hundreds of millions). Compared to less then 20 mil worldwide in 2004.

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Dreema

In a discussion about WoW, WoW’s player base is absolutely irrelevant? Gee, you sure walk into these things, don’t you?

You can back up your claim that there are hundreds of millions of MMOs players, I take it?

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Oleg Chebeneev

It wasnt discussion about WoW, it was about how much money MMO developers are making now compared to before. And there is definetly more money in circulation in MMO genre then it was 8 years ago when WoW was on its peak. Just because there are much more players.

As for back ups, here is something to read: https://newzoo.com/insights/infographics/infographic-the-chinese-games-market/

There were 130 millions MMO players in China alone. And this number is taken from 5 years ago. Market grew alot since then. There are shitton of games that you never even heard about and that are played by millions of asians.

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Dreema

Hmm, you might actually have a point there. I never realised China’s MMO’s market was that big.

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Cosmic Cleric

Here is a little fact for you: WoW used to have 12 million subscribers. It now has… what? 3 million? 4 million tops? When the biggest MMO out there has a 1/4 or a 1/3 of the subscriber base it once had, it doesn’t speak well for MMOs that have the same Skinner-box, time-gating, design overall.

FTFY

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Vincent Clark

This is about the only thing in this discussion I actually agree with you on.

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Oleg Chebeneev

They would be the biggest retards of gaming industry if they did what you say.
WoW has millions of subscribers, generates dozens of millions income. And they should just kill it because… someone thinks its lore ends with Legion? Rofl. They are creators of this universe. They can develop it further wherever the fk they want and introduce tons of new lore, new heroes, new villains that can potentially make old ones irrelevant and boring. Like WoW director said, the journey only starts.

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Rodolfo Rosini

Pretty much that’s what happened. The big hitters in the WoW dev team left either before starting developing Legion, or after finishing it. The game is now in maintenance mode because other properties are bringing in more users and making more money. Do not expect anything major happening to the game, ever (because it would alienate the existing playerbase). More xpacs every 2 years with new zones and a raised item level so deflate old content – EQ is still doing this. WoW Classic will be released as a way to bring old players and will run as a marketing experiment for two years, after which they will be offered the ability to play w/ current content.

One of the current issues w/ WoW 1 is that its codebase is huge, and every adjustment breaks stuff elsewhere, so they can’t iterate content quickly and experiment stuff (i.e. if they wanted to add some Battle Royale just for shits and giggles it could take a year to ship).

Right now Blizzard is working on a new Diablo game. And they have been struggling to figure out what a WoW 2 could look like for at least 8 years, had some internal efforts as well, but really until WoW 1 was making money and had the lion’s share of users it was hard to put anything in production that simply would have damaged the franchise overall.

TLDR: game is already in maintenance mode

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To be honest I’m just glad it’s not more demons, or Fel Orcs, or Evil Versions of Other Things, Space Devils or any of that. We’ve had two expansions about that jazz already (3 if you count WoD), and I feel like we do need to focus more on the ground under our feet now, and ideally for at least the next expansion too.

Also, I’d just like to add my voice to the seemingly quiet minority of people who enjoyed the hell out of Cataclysm. If anything, that would be my template moving forwards — stay in the world, but do more and varied things in it.