Looking into the future in World of Warcraft is a very difficult task. We should have a dance studio in the game by now, patch 3.3 wasnt going to be Icecrown but instead continue the lore to fill the gap leading up to Icecrown, and a lot more this is going to happens all didnt come true. In the same light, the entire leaked notes for Cataclysm gave us a solid prediction of what the official announcement was going to bring. So there are always some things that never happen and some things that do.
This year Ten Ton Hammer is taking a look ahead by asking each of our writers for their input on the upcoming year and what we think will be happening in WoW!
David Xerin Piner
In the upcoming year I see a lot of new improvements to the game that will make our gaming sessions more enjoyable and a lot more flexible. After the Lich King fails at taking over the world were going to launch straight into a long lull that wont be broken until the Cataclysm pre-patch that will hit the PTR a month or two after the first heroic Lich King kill on 25 man ICC.
More occy nerfs in the future? Probably.
During that lull youre going to see guilds break apart, like always, and everyone logging off for an extended break. That is until Cataclysm hits the shelves. Personally I believe that there will be two Blizzcons next year. One will take place on the west coast that will herald in the arrival of Cataclysm sometime in July with an east coast Blizzcon bringing about the first details on their next MMOG. My reasoning is simple, the Las Vegas Blizzcon hijinks showed Blizzcon in July. They confirmed that Blizzard had made calls to them and that they reserved the time as a way to entice people into coming, but why would they reserve a time that Blizzard was not talking about? Why would Blizzcon come in July, a time that the internationals usually happen?
I think that Cataclysm will be a really good expansion, but will not satisfy everyone. One positive note is that many players will see the new content by rerolling into something theyve always wanted to play. Assuming there isnt a rush to raid like with original WoW or The Burning Crusade then there should be a lot of players who get the chance to play what theyve always wanted instead of what they got stuck with.
One thing that hasnt been mentioned a lot is the idea of hero classes. If Blizzard is making all of this new content for lower level characters then why wouldnt they introduce the real hero system? You know, the one where you choose a hero class and get sent back to level 1. Honestly, if you had access to the hero system at say level 60 and the non-hero cap as 80 (say there is some kind of bonus of achievement for going over level 60 as a non-hero) then there would be major incentive for new players to go through all of this new content theyre making. Sure, its a crazy idea, but it does make sense on some levels.
In the upcoming year well probably see more licensed merchandise too. I say this so that I can never be wrong at least on something.
Jason Memnock Bechdel
In the upcoming year I see (not surprisingly) Cataclysm bringing in record numbers, and even managing to bring old school players back to the game. Blizzard will continue to introduce interface options that dont quite make the grade (think voice chat), and will continue to try to over simplify the game, pushing away the old school players who were drawn back by the new expansion.
Blizzard will finally announce the details behind its top secret MMOG, spreading worry throughout the World of Warcraft community that World of Warcraft updates and expansions may cease to exist. Finally, the Horde, finding itself with a new Warchief will begin an open revolt against the new regime, in hopes that Blizzard will reinstate Thrall.
Byron Messiah Mudry
Blizzard will further simplify the already over simplified game of WoW
with the new character stat and gear system. This will cause hardcore players and intelligent players that like fiddling with gear and
numbers to get upset that the game is becoming a joke, however
there will still be nowhere else to go.
The huge number of average players and noobs out there will still
scream that the game is too complicated and gear to hard for them to
Cataclysm will launch far later than most players would like, having
long since cleared Icecrown Citadel. During this lull in new content
many players will leave the game for lack of anything new to do.
However once Cataclysm launches player numbers will sky rocket once
again, servers will crumble under the load and we will all once again
worship at the throne that is Blizzard.
Blizzard will once again dominate the RTS section of gaming when they
launch Starcraft II. As soon as it launches it will become the number
2 game out there, and possibly even number 1 replacing World of
Warcraft for a short time. The only real questions about it are: Will
it beat WoW sales numbers and will players really buy more than one
copy so they can play the different quest lines. I quess we will find
Reuben Sardu Waters
For better or worse, the launch of Cataclysm will usher in a new phase for World of Warcraft. While Blizzard will quite likely achieve record breaking first week sales at retail, the current king of the MMOG hill could also experience its first true taste of seeing a sizable exodus within the first critical month after Cataclysm goes live as players come to the conclusion that the game they knew and loved for 5 years no longer exists, but they instead get to play their existing characters in a strange new world that has the same basic shape of Azeroth.
Expect to see breaking news headlines as the first players to hit level 85 will do so in less than 24 hours, cashing in on their 15 minutes of internet fame. Meanwhile, the first cries for a WoW Classic server will become the bannable topic of the day on the official forums.
Hardcore raiders will have an epiphany when they suddenly realize that theyve actually been playing an MMOG catered to casual players all along. Theyll completely erase those same thoughts from their memories mere moments later when Blizzard leaks the first details on their next MMOG project which will naturally be Hardcore with a capitol H. Dazzle camouflage FTW.
Forum riots will break out when its discovered that PvP flagged Worgen characters can be skinned by the Horde. In an attempt to appease the angered Alliance masses, Tauren characters that fall in PvP conflicts will begin dropping stacks of Ice Cold Milk. Unlike its current form, however, the new drink will provide an Anti-Skinning debuff aura that persists through death.
Last but not least, shoulder armor that drops in level 85 raids will become so absurdly huge that a new Back Brace slot will be added along with the new Chiropractics secondary profession. The oft neglected sock slot will remain suspiciously absent from the game.
Now that you know our predictions, why not take a look at what happened in 2009 in our Year in Review article before dashing straight into next year.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.