The Daily Grind: What does the future of (World of) Warcraft look like?

    
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The Daily Grind: What does the future of (World of) Warcraft look like?

Usually, Activision-Blizzard investor calls are boring as heck and I wish I didn’t have to sit through all the Call of Duty and Candy Crush primping just to hear the Blizzard stuff, especially when some of the news is bad, as it was yesterday with news of Blizzard dropping another 2M MAUs, down 21% in less than three years. But there were some interesting nuggets about the future of World of Warcraft that deserve some extra attention this time.

For starters, during the call, Bobby Kotick explicitly said WoW Retail and Classic are due for “more frequent major content launches” in the future, while J. Allen Brack followed that up by discussing plans to expand the development teams and add “even more content” for the two halves of the game. But then, at the end of his spiel not-answering a question about the playerbase, Brack seemed to suggest that Blizzard is looking beyond the current version of WoW with its Warcraft plans:

“If we step back, we think of Warcraft as a huge franchise, and WoW is only a part of that. We’re always exploring how to express Warcraft with new experiences, and we’ve seen a lot of opportunity for growth there in 2021 and beyond.”

What specifically does he mean? I dunno. It could be anything or nothing. It could be WoW 2, a Warcraft battle royale, mobile WoW, World of Warcraft: The Virtual Reality Mess, or Warcraft IV. Or literally it could mean that they explored that opportunity and aren’t doing jack with it.

What do you think? What does the future of (World of) Warcraft look like?

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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Oleg Chebeneev

Well, game introduced new archvillain who is more dangerous and badass then Sargeras. So maybe we gonna see few expansions where we have to deal with Jailer adventuring through different planes of existance.

We might also go back in time and see prehistoric Azeroth, which would be cool.

About WoW2. Told it before, will tell again – stupid idea. WoW looks modern and doesnt need sequel.

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Bruno Brito

– Candy Crush: Warcraft Version.

– Warcraft Royale

– WoW/Grand Order

– Diablo: Immortals 2

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Evasive Dice

Well unless they start thinking about a huge graphical overall. It’ll slip into everquest territory of being a classic game as the playerbase dries up. They can only go so long before it looks so dated and loses alot of appeal. Everquest is on its 28th expansion soon I think? It’s pretty clear from personal play experience and seeing more veteran posts, that the game is already heading that way. Their running out of ideas and the engine is getting pretty old. I sub every once in a while but I’m RIGHT on the verge as saying it has as much enjoyment as an old game like everquest so I usually only sub 1 month every few months and hit current end game. when I’m flat out of games to play. The thing mostly keeping Warcraft alive is its….trend? I guess. But it’s been in a huge decline for a while now since wotlk. I only ever play Warcraft if I hit rock bottom. On the other hand elder scrolls has a pretty bright future with huge open worlds, no sub required and way better graphics and voice acting. So that’s kept my attention way more. Warcraft is slipping behind the times.

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Bruno Brito

WoW looks good from a graphical standpoint. Unlike EQ, they have a unique style that goes timeless ( Same happened with TF2 ).

The biggest problem with WoW, graphically speaking, is how armor is designed to glue on your character, and there’s little to no effort to actively make volume on your stuff. The new character builder is something that gives me hope for new designs.

Also, i don’t know how you think that trends last 10 years, because WoW is on it’s 15th/16th, and it’s still alive and basically still the biggest MMO to ever exist, and to be operational.

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Paragon Lost

I think it was nothing more than PR speak to reassure investors. At this time I think that they’re just batting around ideas, looking for something that might gain traction and stick, which they’ll then run with. The company often feels like it operates at a tactical level versus a strategic level. ☹

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TomTurtle

Something they can get away with monetizing even more.

Maybe a Warcraft gacha game. :P

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Utakata

>.<

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Lucky Jinx

Would you mind elaborating a little? To my understanding, when compared to many other similar mmo’s, at least WoW’s cash shop is fairly fair and clean. It doesn’t offer anything that would go beyond aesthetics. Is there possibly some other Blizzard game that does things differently?

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TomTurtle

I’m joking that Blizzard might create a new title set in the Warcraft universe that uses gacha-style monetization.

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Gamhuin

I’d be happy to see something like this:

The next cycle of post-Shadowlands content patches, but more frequent. And one more expansion leading us up to..

Warcraft IV + a year or two of DLC.

Then World of Warcraft NEXT mmorpg with a big time jump.

WoW Retail goes into retirement/maintenance mode and Classic continues it’s current progression or it takes a page from EQ/2 and begins to launch multiple versions of Classic-type servers so folks can revel in whichever iteration they most prefer.

But.. it’ll probably be just more of the same and a mobile game nobody really wants.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

Can we just get WoW 2 already? Please and thank you.

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Oleg Chebeneev

People who ask this dont usually know why they need WoW2

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Loopy

Content? Well for Classic you are pretty much guaranteed TBC at this point, with a potential for Wrath afterwards. There’s 2 whole expansions worth of content that have already been made – minimal dev investment on that front. I would personally prefer a Classic+ model, but realistically that’s just not gonna happen.

As for retail, i think i heard somewhere that Blizzard is usually 2 expansions ahead of the game. Meaning that at this point they already know what’s coming after Shadowlands. The game is already perfectly comfortable at changing its core systems and borrowed powers every expansions, so that gives them a lot of options moving forward.

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Andy McAdams

I think instead of “WoW2”, I am thinking more “next-gen WoW.” ATVI would have a pretty huge barrier by my reckoning of getting people to drop decades of emotional investment to move to the next installment of the game. That doesn’t seem like it would be the best move for them.

I’m more expecting them to do a radical technical re-architecting of the game, potentially with a new engine or vastly improved engine that will allow them to compete more graphically with newer games (while acknowledging that WoW is never going to go away from stylized, but a lot of their stuff is still looking a bit long in the tooth, though definitely better). I think that the revamp to allow them to continue to provide a better character creator — as excited as I am for the new character creator, its still embarrassingly behind pretty much every other character creator.

Evolving the game to allow for my dynamic play-styles, adding for-the-love-of-god player/guild housing, a more nuanced combat system is where the money is in my mind for World of Warcraft.

Now they could also think proactively (instead of just playing catch up to most other games in the genre) and focus on the metaverse aspects, like Fortnite was making noises towards. We aren’t there yet, but the “Oasis” from Ready Player One is clearly where we are heading. ATVI is one of the few companies that has the resources today to create it and get ahead of the curve.

Do I think they will? Probably not. Their senior management team shows all the dysfunction of a team spends more time bickering internally about the best way to maintain the status quo and quickly moving to excise innovative thought about how they could move the game forward than actually looking about how they can change the game in their favor.

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Java Jawa

Why hasn’t there been a new RTS? That’s what I’d like to know. Seems like free money. They’ve already got a good engine with SC2.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

The development costs must outweigh their profit estimates.