I think now is the time we may need to be looking ahead to not only what we may suspect, but also what we all may feel is a possible needed direction for the future of WoW.
Let us look at some facts of what is coming;
- This time next year we are poised for the long awaited Warcraft movie.
- Warlords of will be winding down, and who knows, if they manage to push the 18 month cycle, we could be looking at the next expansion release to coincide with the film, a prospect I am sure many higher ups looking at potential revenues would love to see.
- We could be seeing a huge influx of new players that will have the film in their head looking to try the game out.
- We could be looking at the normal down time for many players.
I am sure I could list a few more, but to keep this brief, I will focus on just the few.
We are seeing, at least to my point of view, a dynamic shift in focus on the game. Some of those at or near the top concerned with recent announcement to increase iLvL, that they will not have had a chance to complete content at the level designed, others welcoming the change to get that slight needed boost to catch further up, and others looking at it as not enough or to little to late. Regardless what side of the fence you may play on, I suspect there are going to be quite a few fundamental changes, be they needed or not, because Blizzard does not look at things in the short term as much as we may think. Yes, they may seem to make knee jerk reactionary changes at a moments notice, but I do truly believe that by the time we hear of a change, it has been awhile in the works. Be it milestones for having a minimum percentage of players completed levels of raids, or adjustments to gear because players are not where they need to be in the grand time table. There is a start, middle and end all laid out.
Some may say we are getting lazy, people not willing to put in the work should just accept LFR tourist mode and be happy. And I do think that Blizzard is not looking for that kind of participation. They keep adjusting the raiding model to accommodate more types of players, different skills, different time commitments, different focuses. They are trying to provide a game that appeals to 3+ times more players than many other games. They could quite easily say we are no longer devoting time to the top 1%, (10,000 players) and instead are focusing on the other 9.99 million and making slightly less challenging, but easier to accomplish content for the majority. Or they could say they make more money with all the other titles under the corporate banner that they will make World of Warcraft the most challenging game on the market and an E-Sports front runner for competitive playing.
It is their choice, and also ours to either accept and conform, or not and leave. I do think that Warlords was designed with a certain idea for how they anticipated the player base to react, and it is a bit off, be it designs for the Garrison that they were unable to make happen, or a host of other minor things that they could not anticipate us doing. I think we will see a change of focus in this next year, be it to grow the franchise to its all time highs during Wrath and taking it further with a focus to a more casual player base, or something different.
May we all continue to game in interesting times.