Warlords of Draenor – Scouting Report and Commentary

A look at Blizzards latest update on Warlords of Draenor and what it may mean for players in the Messiah's cynical opinion.

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Blizzard Entertainment put out an update last week on the progression towards the Warlords of Draenor launch.  While some of the information was already know, some new information was revealed as well.  Blizzard also talked about several changes of plan from what was announced at BlizzCon last year.

So, let’s take a look at the Warlords of Draenor – Scouting Report from Blizzard and start a little discussion on it.

Preparing for Battle – Getting into the Beta

Blizzard is stating that the Warlords of Draenor beta will be launched sometime soon.  They also provide links on how to ensure that you have opted in to the Warcraft beta program.  You can find all of those links on the WoW site here.

Does this mean that we will see the beta soon?  Well, maybe by Blizzards definition, but not by most of our standards.  While Blizzard delivers awesome games, they do so at just slightly faster than a glaciers pace.  I would not expect to see the beta open up anytime before March.  To me, 5-6 weeks is not soon.

Even if the beta is launched in the minimum 5-6 week timeframe that I guess is possible, what does that mean for a potential release date?  Typically World of Warcraft expansion betas have lasted anywhere from 3 to 6 months.  This means that if it does start March 1st we will not see the actual game released until June at the earliest and more likely the August / September timeframe.

Will players hang out that long in Mists of Pandaria now that all the content is in place and most players have it completed?  I had really thought Blizzard would have learned after the Cataclysm fiasco where it went way too long after the last major patch and they lost huge numbers of subscribers during that time.  Not only did I think they would learn, I really hoped they would.  The WoW servers are already slowing down, fewer and fewer players are online to do what is now old content. 

Can the game survive another 6 months with no major content release?  My guess is that Blizzard will once again see a huge drop in their subscriber base before the expansion.  Sure some will come back, maybe even most, but not all.  With proper planning and scheduling the Expansion would be rolling out now, so that there would not be any risk of losing players.

Report from the Front Lines – Warlords of Draenor Game Launch

Blizzard goes on to talk about how the game will immediately thrust you into the war that is erupting at the Portal and in Draenor.  This will happen by placing a lot of content around these key action points, and by getting everyone boosted to level 90.

Yes, that’s right, everyone that buys the expansion will get a single free boost for either an old character or new character to level 90.  This means EVERYONE will be involved right from the start.

This was all pretty much known already.  What wasn’t known before is that as soon as you purchase the pre-order for the Digital version of the expansion you will be given the level 90 boost immediately to use, so that you can get used to the class and get ready for the expansion.  In addition if you pre-purchase the digital deluxe edition you will also be give the pet and mount immediately.

This is a change from past expansions where you had to wait to get all your goodies, but it is also a welcome change, at least to me.  Since you are handing over your cash, why should you not get something right away for it.

The level 90 boost is a great thing to get early for players, as it lets us jump into a new character right away in the current content.  It will let all of us experienced players get familiar with a new class and play style earlier than trying to learn both a new class, game changes, and new content all on launch day.  For new players, it’s a little bit of a mixed bag I think.  Sure, they will get to jump right in with all their friends and start playing, but they will miss out on all of the old content.  Sure, some of it is lame (Outlands, I am looking at you), but most is pretty damn good.  As a new player coming into a game, I think it is important to work your way through it from the beginning, but that’s me. 

I do understand that the entry curve on WoW is pretty steep right now.  If I invite a friend to play, they need to get the game, play solo for several weeks, then finally get to play with me in a group.  This will drastically help that and allow new players to jump right in.

Bolster the Ranks – Blizzard Cash Grab

The last thing that Blizzard talked about is the feedback from players that they want multiple boosts to 90, not just one.  The stated reasons are all actually pretty good reasons, such as: the ability to play on multiple realms with different groups of friends and having alts of the right class for groups.

While I like the idea of the option, it feels like granting one boost is enough.  If there is never any reason to start at level 1, then why have all that old content still in the game?  Wouldn’t it just be better to start everyone at 90 and call it WoW 2.0 and remove all the old stuff from the game?

Maybe, but then Blizzard couldn’t charge for the boost to 90.  I know it is a cynical view, but if no one wants to do any of the old content, and Blizzard is going to let you skip it (for a fee), then the only reason to keep it around is so that Blizzard can charge the fee. 

I would rather just allow all players to jump to or start at level 90, than to have it as a pay to win option.  Ok, Not purely pay to win, but pay to skip a massive amount of content and play time.  Maybe I am confused, but isn’t the reason for getting a game to actually play the game?  Follow my logic for a second…

So according to Blizzard, we have to pay to buy the game, we have to pay to play the game, and now they want us to pay to NOT play the game! 

Good thing this game is called WoW, because that was my first reaction to that idea.

Don't get me wrong, I am in no way against a company making money, that is their primary task. My issue is, that with this idea they are admitting that the old content is not being used, but only providing a way to skip it for extra payment. Just let everyone skip it as part of buying Warlords of Draenor for all characters, and then I have no issue (other than players really should play through a full game, but that's a side point).

Comments

The Messiah has had his say on the new information being shared on Warlords of Draenor, now you have your chance.  Post your opinions in the comment section below.


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