MMO Champion has posted the “leak” or “rumors” concerning WoW’s next expansion, which is almost certainly going to be announced at the upcoming Blizzcon. It’ll be interesting to see how much of this turns out to be accurate. But it mostly rings true to me, so I suspect (without any digging for evidence of my own,) that this list of stuff is probably 80-90% accurate.
A few weeks ago, when somebody (I forget who) riffed off the “Calatclysm” name and suggested that the expansion would be something very like this, I was kind of repelled. Reading MMO Champion’s synopsis of the credible rumor stream, I feel kind of encouraged but definitely wary.
I’ve been saying more or less forever that the practice of tailoring most or all new content to the endgame players isn’t healthy for an MMO in the long run. Sure, those endgame players comprise a major part of the most loyal customers, and you have to keep them in stuff to do, but you also want to keep the game interesting and viable for new people coming in cold.
Assuming this is all or mostly accurate, it sure looks as thought one major point of the expansion is to encourage alt play, while likely streamlining the leveling process still further. One would hope that this will smooth out the bumps and caps in the curve rather than simply making leveling faster during parts of it, which is about all that’s been done so far.
The New Level Cap: 85
No strong feeling on this one from me, because I’m not sure how it will balance out in terms of content. I don’t know that I think making the 80-85 grind exceptionally onerous is all that great an idea, but I don’t have an issue with it being harder than the level 60-70 or 70-80 stretches in the previous expansions, both of which the craziest people completed in a day or so. A greater reliance on daily quests could help alleviate this problem.
New Class and Race Combinations
I have a feeling this is where the “credible rumors” are most offbase, even though the content of the PTR 3.2.2 stuff seems to support it. Do Dwarf Shamans really make any sense, lore-wise? But a couple of the others, like Human Hunters, are overdue.
New Races: Worgen and Goblins
Lots of folks got up in arms about these when the rumors broke a couple of weeks ago. Me, I’m kind of ‘meh’ over them. I would approve of the lessened focus on neutral content which the Hordification of the Goblins might imply, but I also don’t find them very appealing as a PC race. The Worgen, now… I might make a Worgen character. And there’s a place in the lore for them to fit, and a place in the world (behind the Greymane Wall,) to put them.
The Old World Revamped
I can’t see any downside to revamping old world dungeons and raids alongside an itemization overhaul to make that content worthwhile again. The revamped Onyxia is the precursor to this.
Likewise, if overhauling Old Azeroth allows Blizzard to enable flying in the Old World, I don’t see a downside. In the past the excuse for not doing this was that it’d be a huge drain on resources, on the level of doing a new expansion. But if it’s integrated into that expansion… well, no reason not to do it.
It remains to be seen just what “revamp” means in this case. If Blizzard is just planning to tweak content to fit new level ranges, I think that’d be fairly lame. If, on the other hand, the new content is or at least feels like actual new content, it might be a net gain for the game.
So it looks like I’m undecided how to feel about this right now. I’ll wait for the news out of Blizzcon to see how the official spin sounds.