Posted Thu, Sep 16, 2010 by Sardu
Welcome to the 1,420th edition of Loading...
As summer prepares for its annual slumber, we all know what season will soon be prancing around the northern hemisphere like a drunken fratboy in a fairy princess costume. If you're thinking autumn here, guess again. No, it's the holiday game release cycle that's all but breathing down our necks like an angry make-believe lover. And while we have a solid idea of exactly which new titles we can expect to see hitting the shelves over the next few months, it seems that speculation on a release date for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has finally kicked into high gear. A closer look at this plus much, much more will be blasting its way through your optic nerves today in Loading... Pin the Tail on the Release Date.
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Last night I ducked my head into the local GameStop to see if I could snag a copy of R.U.S.E. which Ethec had recommended to me earlier in the day. Noting that the store has been completely remodeled for about the 100th time, I got to play the joyous game of guessing which dark corner of the store PC games were unceremoniously shoved into this time.
Sensing my confusion as I stumbled around the store like a drunken pirate seeking buried treasure, one of the employees eventually offered assistance. She had apparently been directly involved in the most recent shelf shuffling, and while proud of her efforts she was quick to note that the PC games section - which has dwindled down to near non-existence - was still in a state of total disarray.
She went on to offer up further assistance, letting me know that their newest PC game had just come in: Plants vs. Zombies. I didn’t ask but was seriously hoping that she was talking about a new box release version of some sort, because if the big new PC release for the store is a game that came out a year and a half ago then PC gaming truly is in dire straits as far as brick and mortar retail presence goes.
She also decided to play her pre-order suggestion card, letting me know that World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is due out on November 2nd. I made sure to mention that the only confirmed MMOG release for that date is DC Universe Online, but thanked her all the same.
If you’re wondering why I’ve chosen to ramble on about my latest excursion into the Land Where PC Gaming is a Myth, there’s a very simple reason. On Monday, MMOChampion decided it was high time to declare November 2nd as the release date for Cataclysm as well – a date that’s been suggested via the awesome power of speculation more so than one derived from fact or any kind of official press release. Personally I think they may be drinking too much of GameStop’s Kool-Aid, but that’s beside the point.
Through a highly scientific process which involves analyzing facts and Blizzard’s release date history, plus a heavy dose of my super-happy-fun-time powers of divination, I’m going to go out on a limb here and boldly suggest that Cataclysm may or may not be released on November 2nd this year.
On the fact front, we’re right now seeing the beginnings of the pre-expansion patch cycle swing into motion. We also have access to the beta client so have at least some idea of how close to achieving its famed launch-day polish Blizzard is getting. There’s also been the recent collector’s edition announcement which indicates to me that an internal release candidate may not be too terribly far off.
However, BlizzCon takes place a little over a week prior to the proposed Nov. 2nd release date, and while WoW fans would certainly be whipped into a veritable frenzy during the event knowing that the new expansion is right around the corner, the relative closeness of the dates to me sounds like the kind of marketing department nightmare that Blizzard would want to avoid. Then again, you also have to factor in whether or not Activision-Blizzard has any other surefire holiday season hits to bank on this year.
To add further variables into the mix, a dash of MMOG history is worth adding here. If Nov. 2nd is indeed the planned release date for Cataclysm it wouldn’t be the first time that Blizzard has selectively gone head to head with the former MMOG heavyweight champ, SOE. The original game and The Burning Crusade were both released within weeks of 2 high-profile SOE titles, EverQuest II and Vanguard respectively. In fact, the first details for Cataclysm were conveniently “leaked” during a previous SOE Fan Faire. Perhaps those dates were mere coincidence, but if Cataclysm is released on the same date as the biggest SOE launch in years, DCUO, then that kind of pattern is hard to ignore.
At the end of the day we really won’t know when Cataclysm is going to be released until Blizzard makes an official announcement. Since they haven’t all we can really do is speculate. Do you think a November launch is feasible, or completely off the mark? Step through the Dark Portal and traverse the vast expanses of internet space to the Loading… forum and have your say!
3 new Ten Ton Hammer features today! 53 Ten Ton Hammer features in September! 1008 in 2010!MEDIA
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- Reuben "Sardu" Waters and the Ten Ton Hammer team