The Daily Grind: Should World of Warcraft switch to annual expansions?

    
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During last week’s Activision-Blizzard investor call, Blizzard executives dodged hard on one analyst’s question about WoW Classic retention – no great surprise there, really, from a company that’s spent the last few years obfuscating World of Warcraft’s subscription numbers and retention on the whole. But the answer the company did give got me thinking anyway: The exec pivoted to talking about how important it was to view Classic in the context of driving players and revenue in an off year for WoW – that is, in a year between Retail expansions.

This was clearly a prepared talking point, which suggests to me that Blizzard is already at work on its 2021 prospects for WoW specifically. That’s got me speculating: Maybe that throwaway BlizzCon joke about skipping a Burning Crusade WoW Classic server and going straight to a Wrath one wasn’t so throwaway after all – maybe Blizzard’s already planning that for the next “off year.” Or maybe the reason Shadowlands is a little on the thin side content-wise is that the studio is planning to double its expansion output in the coming years, with Shadowlands at the vanguard. After all, if The Elder Scrolls Online can put out an expansion and three DLC per year, surely Blizzard can.

What do you think – what’s Blizzard planning? Should World of Warcraft switch to annual expansions?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Teh Beardling

They cant even consistently launch a good expansion every two years. I cant imagine how bad itll be if they try to do it in half the time.

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Dobablo

Yearly expansions . Hahahahahaha.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

The two words missing in this conversation are maintenance and mode.

Purewitz
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Purewitz

Only if they go buy to play.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Annual expansions? Why not just get rid of expansions and have seasonal content drops instead? Or Every 3/4/6 months.

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Josh

Too many expansions just bog down the game. They just need to put and end to WoW and build out a full on sequel.

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Bannex

No. I’d say they’ve done a pretty successful job running WoW. Blizzard committing to a schedule like a yearly expansion will only result in criticism.

The game didn’t last 15 years because the developer is as inept as people on the internet want you to think.

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agemyth 😩

The game is old enough and not growing, so I think spending too many resources on making major engine changes is becoming less and less worthwhile. Ideally, Blizzard would have had “Titan” to take the mantle of their lead MMORPG with a new technological base to build on doing things WoW can likely never do.

Nobody in the WoW-like MMO category of games is putting out anything game changing or revolutionary for the subgenre. What is making games like FF14 and ESO successful is just the fact that they get “more of the same” from companies that understand how to scope and schedule their content releases reasonably and not suffer from wildly swinging subscriber populations every quarter. Someone tell the executives that a 15 year old game cannot continue to make more and more money every quarter indefinitely.

“Fuck capitalism. Go home.”

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Richard de Leon III

Annual expansions would be a big drain on my funds assuming they would charge the normal 59+. I prefer if they milked an expansion as long as possible. I think the current 2year rotation is perfect for me, if anything I wouldnt mind if it was 3 and extend content patches through to x.4 or x.5.

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Dobablo

It does feel a lot as though the non-content patches this expansion have been a bit of a lie, since they are the once that have contributed most to my content backlog.

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Paragon Lost

If they year new expansion was mostly about updating and making old content relevant at the current cap, then yeah I could see that being a good thing.