OpenEdge speculates today on how Wrath of the Lich King will sell. My reply is lengthy and tangental enough that I’m putting it here.
Over the long haul, I would expect Wrath to sell in numbers comparable to Burning Crusade. That will make it a massive hit. But you need BC to play Wrath, not just because it’s required for the unlock but because Wrath offers nothing to players without a level 55 character already, and not all that much for players without at least one character at the current cap of 70.
In this way it seems to me that Blizzard has kind of trapped itself – sales for WotLK will be higher than for BC only if large numbers of people who didn’t buy BC make the mistake of buying it. But the great majority of WoW players have probably unlocked BC by now. Any relatively new players are sure to buy the currently-available Warchest which includes it.
I am 95% sure that Wrath will be rock-solid. And there was a time that was looking forward to it and thought I could get a character at least to 60 by the time it came out. But alas, the only new gameplay element Wrath adds is an open-world PvP zone. To get to that, I would have to commit to another few months of grinding, and that’s a commitment I am simply not going to make for the sake of the kind of fun that’s available, and better, in the first fifteen minutes of play in Warhammer.
Of course, WoW has made leveling a lot easier – and, I think, with the triple-XP and free levels of the recent promotion, taken that too far. I’m unwilling to two-box with two paid accounts, my wife isn’t interested, I’m not willing to bully a friend into playing with me, and the notion of having to work for months to get another 25 levels attainable in minutes to those with money to waste leaves me utterly cold. And if Blizzard takes the obvious next step of just letting you create level-cap characters from the beginning because they have created a situation in which the only game is the one at the level cap… well, way to suck all the life and achievement out of your game, Blizzard.
Put it this way: I can read about people having fun in World of Warcraft and Warhammer. And then I can either go grind for months for the opportunity to take part, or start a new character today and have as much fun as all the talkers are having. Today.
I don’t see ever playing WoW again. Consider this post my final goodbye to that game. As I always said would be the case, nobody killed WoW except Blizzard.
But the WotLK release will at least provide an interesting barometer of something else. Since we all know that it will flush Warhammer out of the MMO news cycle, will WAR dominate it until then? For two entire months? And how quickly will Wrath’s buzz be washed away in the tsunami of Warhammer talk? And when will the last holdouts in the blogging community finally come around and play WAR already?
You know who you are. WAR is coming.