Caverns of Time: 2008 and Beyond
The Burning Legion’s Defeat and Lich King’s Return
by: David "Xerin" Piner
Wrath of the Lich King
Ah, what better place to talk about Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) than an article discussing the future of WoW. I purposely titled this article “2008 and beyond” simply due to the fact that the expansion could easily get pushed back into 2009. I sincerely doubt that, but without a firm release date or an open beta it’s hard to forecast a reliable release date outside of “Fall 2008, maybe”. Given that the Sunwell Plateau is the end of TBC we’re going to assume that Blizzard is confident in their ability to get the expansion out and I trust in Blizzard.
Anyway, WotLK is a major expansion. We’re getting a ton of new things that will change the way we play WoW. There is so much to talk about so I’m going to get started.
With the inclusion of hero classes in WoW we’re going to see a lot of interesting changes. As any MMOG veteran knows, new classes are always interesting. It’s a fine balancing act to make sure each class is unique while at the same time balanced. Death Knights are going to have a hard time finding their place in the game and any future hero classes are obviously going to follow suit. Blizzard has promised that they’re not going to be overpowered and I personally believe them. However, will it be able to stack up against the other classes? Will it have a place in a world full of both DPS and tanks? I personally think so.
Future hero classes will be interesting too. We’re looking at the possible inclusion of ArchMages, Demon Hunters, Wardens, Blademasters, and many other fun hero classes that could be added to the game. As the game progresses we’re going to see a lot of interesting things happen with these hero classes as they’re added to the game.
Many players shun the existence of the hero classes exclaiming that change is bad and referencing the constant struggle that the current classes have at defining their one true niche along with the careful balancing act that will become complicated as additional classes enter into the equation. Fear of change is inherent to our nature but I think adding more classes to the game will be an enhancement to everyone’s enjoyment of the game. Sure, there are already classes that do both tanking and DPS but all you’re doing is giving groups a variety of what they can bring along instead of what they must bring along. The amount of classes will not change the online population and it’s not really that big of a deal if you choose the Death Knight over the Warrior because he messaged you first.
That is, of course, assuming that the Death Knight (and other hero classes) are properly balanced so that they’re both combat ready and not under or over-powered. Blizzard has promised us that the hero classes will just be another class to the game without being over-powered. Blizzard keeps to their promises so we shouldn’t have to worry about them taking on ten elite mobs at once. So as long as they truly on par with the other classes than there is nothing to worry about except the fear of change.
Variety is the spice of life and I would personally much rather see a group have a choice on what to bring. Picking between Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Mountain King, Death Knight, and Warden for a group’s tank sounds much more exciting than just “Warrior”. WoW is doing good so far with no single class holding a monopoly on tanking, healing, and damage so I foresee this as an excellent change to the game. Of course it’s a change that isn’t going to come without vocal outcry at how “unbalanced” or “underwhelming” the new classes will be. That’s just the nature of the game though, the vocal portion of the community will never be satisfied.
As long as the classes in the end are all useful (i.e. say that Death Knights can’t find a spot anywhere because they’re subpar in all areas) then I see this is a very fun and interesting change that I can’t wait for.
Something else I can’t wait for is the Inscription profession and I only know very little about it. However, from what I do know I approve 100%. The ability to take my character and customize each of its spells to my own tastes just gets me excited thinking about it. I’m a true power gamer and when you offer to give me the ability to customize my spells I start drooling. Unless Inscription only has one change per spell, which would make it more of a “must have” than a “really cool thing”, then I think I’m going to fall in love with this profession.
Inscriptions will allow us to truly customize our characters, especially in a world where “cookie cutter” builds reign supreme. One Mage may have their firebolt do an additional .5% chance to crit while another may have theirs having an additional 1% to trigger impact on their target. One Warlock may have their fear act more like a polymorph where any damage breaks it but while it’s up you can’t remove it through conventional means while another changes their fear to make the target run at a faster speed.
These are only examples, but in these examples you have a compelling reason to switch between the two. I predict that situation along with personal taste will rule the world of inscriptions and that sounds like a mighty fine thing to me. I like the ability to customize our characters and Inscription is going to give us the tools we need to fine tune our characters to absolute perfection while making each and every single character a little bit more unique.
Hair Stylists and Advanced Character Customization
Customization is the name of the game in MMOGs. It’s a fact of life that we all want to be unique. In everyday life we strive to clothe and accessorize ourselves. Limit us to nothing but set uniforms and you’ll see us trying to break through and show our individuality sneaking things into our uniforms to differ ourselves from everyone else. Take away the ability to change anything that we wear and we’ll find something to change. From cell phone charms to hair styles we’re going to show we’re unique. Taken into the virtual world this will has us striving to dress our avatars not only for battle but to also show off our own individuality.
However, sadly, the world that Warcraft has set us in doesn’t give many options when you reach the peak of character advancements. Set pieces rule the end game and there isn’t much difference between one person in full arena gear and the next. Sure, you’ll see different cloaks or sometimes people who switch into unique garb when they’re not in battle. You won’t see though much in choice when it comes to the “best gear”. Giving us the ability to not only change our hair style (and presumably include more styles to choose from) does add a good bit of customization that our visual style lacks. With the ability to not show your helm… it’s quite possible we’ll see a lot more people choosing to go headdress-less.
We’re also apparently going to get the ability to choose what dance our character does. That sounds like a lot of fun. It’s always annoying when a dance party starts and your character is doing the same dance that everyone else is doing. I’m the kind of person who wants to break-dance during a slow dance or do the tango when the trance music starts. I don’t want to join the crowd; I want to be unique and different. This sounds like it’s going to be a very positive change.
- Page One - Introduction and The Sunwell Plateau
- Page Two - The Wrath of the Lich King
- Page Three - Northrend and Closing
Questions or Comments? Feel free to email me at [email protected]
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