Massively Overthinking: What would you want out of a World of Warcraft 2?

    
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Let’s pretend for a moment that the reason Blizzard appears to be dropping the ball with World of Warcraft right now is that it’s working on World of Warcraft 2 for announcement at some point once Classic is out the door. It’s pure speculation, but fun speculation, and really, wouldn’t you be shocked to find out Blizzard isn’t incubating a new Warcraft game?

So that’s our topic for Massively Overthinking for the week: What would you want to see from WoW 2? And maybe more importantly, what don’t you want to see in WoW 2?

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): In WoW 2, I’d like to something like The Secret World or PlanetSide 2. Leveling skills instead of your character, factions but the ability to play the game together, open world, varied gameplay, plenty of tools to teleport players to the field, flying vehicular combat… and probably some kind of mobile app companion. Maybe a pedometer with some mini-game to level up pets or earn mounts. Oh, and player housing. Seriously, Blizz, you wanted fishing like Animal Crossing but couldn’t get it to work, so maybe try housing like Animal Crossing – just something fun but light.

What I wouldn’t want to see is a huge push for raiding. Scalable content would be nice, no doubt, but a living world would be nicer. The lore writers can only do so much. Let players play out scenarios that actually change the way the game’s developed. Bring back the RP in MMORPG!

Less than a sister act.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): When World of Warcraft was first announced, I pretty much shrugged – I had no affinity or affection for the franchise, so to me it was just another MMO among the many dozens that were in production back then. Fast-forward a few years and I could see its potential and had a few years of good memories to build on. I really loved the Wrath period. I loved the Pandaria period. I don’t even completely hate the Burning Crusade and Vanilla periods. Along the way, the way was lost. I perceived that “way” as inclusivity, for want of a better word – the designers back then seemed to recognize that it had a giant, unwieldly, messy playerbase with lots of playstyles, and it tried, in varying degrees, to cater to all of them rather than pacify the majority in favor of catering to a small but loud raiding minority.

So I suppose in WoW 2 I’d want to see the “way” restored. I don’t really care about the lore that much, but I’d want to see a more robust themepark (elaborate quest lines, please) with higher-end graphics and sandbox elements (like farms and housing) that aren’t discarded every expansion, PvP that isn’t sidelined, crafting and economy with some heft, and plenty of content and rewards for small and large group PvE. Ideally, I’d like it to be fully cross-platform too – yes, console, PC, and mobile.

I don’t want WoW 2 to be untrue to WoW or Blizzard. I just want it to be its best self, and WoW isn’t that right now and hasn’t been for a long time, no matter that hope buoys its box sales every other year. The reboot wouldn’t be my favorite MMORPG of all time because I will probably always be a crafter-centric everythingbox gamer at heart, but it’d be a clean slate and fresh start for everyone and something I’d put a lot of time into.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): I feel like I’ve mentioned this before either in chat with the MOP staff or in some other chat somewhere else, but I would love to see WoW 2 done like a Kingdom of Amalaur: Reckoning. I’m talking a more freeform combat system and level progression, a large open world, and maybe some all new arrative beats that hit the story’s reset button. Failing that, I also wouldn’t hate it if they tried a few things that EverQuest Next wanted to do in terms of its exploration and sandbox proclivities. Or maybe a combination of both.

Money dollars.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Wow, is it really already time for a sequel to World of Warcraft? The answer, obviously, is “of course not.” It was time for a sequel a long while ago, now we’re into that point of the running time wherein the original has gone on for too long and now you just cannot seem to get to a concluding point. But that’s not the actual question, it’s about what I’d want to see in such a sequel.

Bear in mind, we’re going afield for this one.

I think there’s actually a lot of space for this as a potential thing taking place after this particular period of Azeroth’s history, but I think that the best route to go starts with removing the factional limitations. That doesn’t mean removing factions, though; it means further splintering, anchoring around some of the biggest racial factions. Orcs, Trolls, Tauren, Goblins, Humans, Dwarves, Blood Elves, Night Elves… instead of having an overarching pact between multiple different groups, these groups pursue their own objectives, a bit more closely related to the now-classic strategy games insofar as they aren’t strictly allied or opposed in all instances. Moreover, since there are so many variants we see on races, I’d like to see things go a bit further by allowing you to apply templates to the various playable races. You’re not just confined to being a Death Knight; you can be an Orcish Revenant, or a Fel Tauren, or a Lightforged Night Elf, and so forth. Every race has a few different variants if they’re not outright universal.

Of course, that’s partly at odds with the idea of Hero classes, but that’s also part of the point. No, I’m not proposing a classless system; quite the opposite because Warcraft loves its classes. It even has multiple odd classes that have their own unique tricks, and while WoW has tried to combine a lot of those different identities into shared classes, I’d rather see them just get split back up again. You choose one of the now-common nine “core” classes, but that simply determines which of the game’s many, many different subclasses you can pick up.

For example, let’s say that you make yourself a Lightforged Blood Elf Paladin. Sure, that makes sense. This means you start as a Blood Knight and get access to those abilities as you level up. But your Blood Knight level isn’t the same as your overall level; by the time you’re level 20 Blood Knight, you’ve learned everything unique to Blood Knights and you still have, say, 40 levels to go to the level cap. So where do you go? Why, you head down to Stormwind, you negotiate with the trainers, and you start your training as a Level 1 Silver Hand Paladin.

This is meant as a combination of both D&D-style prestige classes and Job System-style artistry. As you level, you equip individual “careers” as level blocks, so (for example) your Blood Elf ends up with Blood Knight, Silver Hand Paladin, and Sunwalker as three 20-level blocks. But what if you want to learn, say, how to be a Spellbreaker? You pick that up and level it, enjoying the benefits of the level cap while also gaining experience and improving your Spellbreaker. And not every career has 20 levels; some have 10, some have 5. You can custom-tune what you’ve got set up, and you can always pick up something new. As a result, you never need to introduce new classes, but every class has lots of options for what can be accessed, and you can restrict entry into any given career based on core class. (For example, a Paladin can learn to be a Footman or a Grunt or a Spellbreaker, but not how to be a Pyromancer or a Demonologist.)

Add in some good level syncing, some class-based customization to abilities and interplay (so, say, a Warrior and Paladin might train the same careers but have wildly different gameplay), a decent set of questing and level scaling lessons learned from The Elder Scrolls Online, and some dungeon lessons learned from Final Fantasy XIV? Yeah, I’d play that.

What would I actually expect? Tab-targeting Overwatch without an ounce of irony.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): This is a tough question because I guarantee you that no two fans would agree on this. Some would merely want an engine upgrade, while others would advocate for a top-to-bottom revamp.

While I think that any sequel would be ill-advised, as there is no way that Blizzard could top itself (and thus be saddled with a sequel that was less desirable and less popular than the original), the only way that such a project could achieve decent success would be to present a new type of MMORPG than what Blizzard has been running for so long. Too similar invites comparisons, while a radically different game would at least be its own animal.

What that animal would be… I honestly don’t know. Virtual reality, sandbox, mobile integration, time traveling, integration with World of Warcraft, mobile — it could utilize any of these. But no matter how different a WoW 2 would be, it would still need that have that World of Warcraft feel that is the hallmark of the MMO. Casual accessible, stylistic, and polished to a fault.

Your turn!

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Oleg Chebeneev

I dont see the need of WoW2. WoW dated very well, it looks way better than many MMOs that came after it. Anything they could do with WoW2 they can do in WoW.

But if they ever do it, I want it to be built around VR

Veldan
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Veldan

Are you kidding? It looks outdated af. Every big MMO from after 2010 looks better.

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Oleg Chebeneev

WoW looks amazing for 15 years old and there arent many post 2010 MMOs that look better.

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Danny Smith

Start with a timeskip and losing the faction war sports team mentality horseshit. Just take the whole alliance vs horde thing out back and put it down. Personally i would like to see something a bit closer in setting to fable 2 after fable. The first was swords and sorcery and isolated towns connected by traders on foot but the second was large cities with cobblestone streets, townhouses and factories with steam trains and boats connecting places much faster. I mean there has to come a point after years of the explorers guild researching Ulduar that they go ‘hey that train thing seems like a useful idea instead of goats and kodos right?’.

In the long term it feels like the natural progression for the setting. Many races like orcs,humans, dwarves, gnomes and goblins would naturally follow a path to nationwide industrialisation and going beyond steampower as a whole. But then does that cause some divide between them with races like night elves and tauren? do you skip forward on azeroth 200 years and Gilneas is a repopulated metropolis of industry with factories belching smog into the air while their former night elf allies become more withdrawn as their connection to nature makes them seem more distance and alien than even the dreanei to future generations?

Or does it cause a schism in their societies themselves? would some Tauren fully reject the advancement of technology and stick to their nomadic tribal roots while others, if you pardon a unintentional cowboy pun, make the south of kalimdor their own wild west where a tauren with a repeater rifle hunting outlaws for bounties is more common than a cowman in beads and feathers praying to the earth mother?

The only real ‘war’ warcraft as an mmo ever had between the factions was the whole orcs vs night elves deal in the forests of northern kalimdor. Thrall for no sensible reason decided to settle the horde capital in a dustbowl shithole with no resources so they need the lumber, but the night elves see the logging as a abhorrent affront to nature and a natural clash occurs without the need of Sylvanas level moustache twirling bullshit. I think a big time skip and a worldwide industrial revolution occurring would be the thing to spark far more understandable conflict on azeroth without needing to turn it into comic book fan fiction where character personalities do 180’s.
Maybe actually mix up the races ideals again. Maybe Humans are becoming a little too greedy and expansionist and more ashvane than proudmoore in nature after being on top for so long? maybe a couple centuries after kicking the habit and having their sunwell back the blood elves became far more isolationist again? or night elves numbers dwindled to such a degree they are no longer an organised people but extremely technophobic woodland recluses that people barely see and exist more as a fantasy version of hit and run eco terrorists that see orcs and humans working together as one big chain of industry as some andrew ryan tier nightmare waiting to happen?

OR blizzard just resets the world with some action combat and pushes the red vs blue meme even harder and injects esports and more minibuys if we are realistic about something they will never make anyway :p

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Tony McSherry

It’s fairly obvious from some of the comments that a few people haven’t played WoW in a long time. For me and a lot of the other millions that still play, WoW is the best it’s ever been and will continue to improve.

WoW is like a gorgeous, multi-faceted gemstone that constantly gets new facets and polish. It’s going to lose players constantly as they change personally or decide the latest changes represent the last straw. Like Eliot, you can pull out your jeweller’s loupe and search for flaws, which of course it has, but you miss out on enjoying its beauty and depth. It also gains new players, which most commenters seem to forget. Often the attrition rate is higher than recruitment and it may eventually fail or reach a steady state, but that’s still a while in the future.

I played WoW Classic the other day and it was a lesson in how much it’s improved. Running my Druid through the Barrens was nostalgic, but the quests soon depressed me. I think I walked over the body of Mankrik’s wife a few times before I noticed her (no sparkles around the quest items) and harvesting boar tusks for no apparent reason from npcs at the same level or higher soon had me logging off permanently. How did I find Mankrik’s wife given there’s no directions and she’s pretty far away from Crossroads? Well I’d been through that long ago and if I remember correctly, I got the answer from a WoW database in the end, as wandering around aimlessly has never been fun for me. No problem with people who want to enjoy classic, but it’s too much like masochism for me.

My typical daily hour or two in WoW gives me lots of choices. I can do the main story quests, side quests, world quests, world bosses, warfronts, island expeditions, rare NPCs and bosses, invasions, PvP battlegrounds, arenas, world PvP and even dungeons and raids. So far in the current expansion, I’ve done no dungeons or PvP and only LFRed a few times, but unlike earlier days, my two main characters are well geared and effective. The quests are many and varied and I’ll make choices based on my preferences for the day. Do I want mini games like battle pets and the Tortollan series (gotta save those baby turtles) or sending my followers off or do I want vehicle quests or am I driven by a need for a drop or rep or azurite or a mount or pet etc., or do I just want a big boss to kill. Most importantly, it offers short term and long term goals.

WoW’s tech is solid. With phasing, the results of my actions can be permanent. With shared realms, there’s always a group a button click away or there’s enough other players to take down a difficult NPC or boss without grouping and it’s virtually seamless. The total number of players may have dropped, but it seems more populated than ever. They’ve also solved the PvP/PvE problems, so the only way I can be flagged for PvP is to travel through the wrong area or flag myself. All classes are finally effective at PvE and I play as a druid healer all the time. I could go on, but this post is too long already.

Reading through the comments you can see everyone wants different things – sandbox/no sandbox, better graphics/not important, action combat etc, etc. WoW’s not perfect and never will be, but it does keep changing and in my opinion, improving.

I don’t think there will ever be a WoW 2, just WoW with better graphics, some VR and more stories, quests and whatever Blizzard dreams up in the future and I’m happy with that. It doesn’t scratch my itch for a space sim MMO, which was why I was a backer of the space sim that should not be named. Luckily, I have the Dual Universe alpha for that, which is about all I can say until the NDA is lifted ;-)

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Lucky Jinx

Well, it definitely should not be a sandbox, for that’s not WoW, and I like sandboxes as a concept. I don’t really have a proper answer for this because Blizzard has always been pretty good at taking existing ideas and improving upon them, so WoW2.. damn, I just don’t know. Maybe it’s just not meant to be? Whatever they’d do, it would be underwhelming to their previous success.

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Chosenxeno .

WildStar was WoW 2. /thread

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Lucky Jinx

Nope.

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Nate Woodard

No. It definitely wasn’t. And that’s why it’s dead.

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fansid

Challenge from the beginning.

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Corey Evans

The staff responses are disheartening and, quite frankly, the reason MMOs have been stuck in a rut for the last 10 years.

Jeez, y’all. You can dream up any kind of concept you want, and all you guys go for in your imagined best version of WoW 2 is marginal, iterative improvements? This ain’t Madden 19 into 20 for pete’s sake. This is your imagined turning one of the most important video games of the last two decades into another potentially all-decade sequel. “I’m not mad, just disappointed.” =p

For my part, I would say:
– Making WoW 2 look like what the WoW trailers look like, for a start. Where a giant, eight-foot-tall orc swinging a four-foot club would actually be a visceral, impactful experience. Where animations have weight and the thing just feels more modern. Doesn’t need to be slow and clunky like Dark Souls, but making it look like the hack-n-slash-happy Korean MMOs isn’t it, either.
– Giving players unique, meaningful gameplay without having to replay static content**.
** This could be SO FREAKING EASY to do in a minimum viable way without expending much effort. Instead of some named boss that respawns in the same place because the dungeon is cool or whatever, how about more generic ‘boss style mobs’ with all the same tricks and mechanics, but in random places throughout the world? That way YOU ALONE (or your group) would be the one to save the Westshire farm from the rampaging whatever-it-is. That way you get a quest from a farmer “hey my farm is being ravaged. Can you help me out?” and you can have a more personal, if not grandiose, impact on the world. If you die, the farm is not saved, but if you survive, the farm is no longer under attack (for a time, since it’s a dangerous world.)

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Nate Woodard

Dude, if that’s all you want, go play GW2. Trust me. It’s very underwhelming. But, like you said, Blizzard is the king of taking someone else’s ideas and improving upon them, so who knows?! Maybe they could actually pull it off.

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Anstalt

A sandbox

WoW is the only MMO with enough of a playerbase to be able to make a success of a sandbox. We’ve never, ever had a AAA sandbox MMO in the west and it’s about time someone did one. In order to have a positive effect on the genre, the first one really needs to be a success so that other devs wont be put off, so WoW 2 is the natural candidate.

Beyond that, my personal preference is for horizontal progression (so that we’re not building artifical barriers between players, so that we can play together easier), a deep combat system (so that im not bored within a few hours of playing, as happens in all action combat systems) and objective based world pvp (because large scale pvp fighting over keeps and objectives is my favourite activity…..but it needs to be consensual, and no full looting please!).

Will never happen, I dislike Blizzard and they don’t make games for people like me. But, u never know.

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Utakata

Just to note (as I’ve seen this mentioned a few times), if WoW 2 was released it would be presumed the graphics engine would be much more advance, both visually and functionally and hopefully, much more optimized than the current game live. So I am not sure why folks going on about, “graphics updates” when this would most likely be without saying. Therefor, this should be the least of our worries, while content and game mechanics should be our biggest concern, IMO.

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Matt Comstock

True! Its why its at the bottom of my list ;) But, I suppose it could have been left off entirely.