The next World of Warcraft expansion promises…time travel?
If you’re reading this and you haven’t yet given up on the soul-sucking chore that is apparently playing World of Warcraft, you’ll be keenly aware of the announced release date for the next chapter in the never-ending story. (Not that one, although any quests involving riding Falkor would be pretty sweet.)
Announced at BlizzCon 2013 by Chris Metzen during the opening ceremony, Warlords of Draenor will have been a year in waiting by the time it’s released – long enough for the diehards to break the whole thing down repeatedly, and certainly long enough for the fair-weather fans to decide if they want to spend a long time maxing out their characters ready for the next ten levels.
Yes, if you’re in it for the long haul, you’re finally going to reach Level 100. A century; which must be how long it feels like between expansions, but with this Blizzard have also announced their intention to release more regular updates – once per year according to Greg ‘Ghostcrawler’ Street, lead systems designer.
“We find that expansions are what bring players back to World of Warcraft,” he explained. “Really good patches will keep them, but they aren’t as good at bringing players back to the game.
“We really want to get to a cadence where we can release expansions more quickly. Once a year I think would be a good rate. I think the best thing we can do for new players is to keep coming out with regular content updates.”
Anyone with an eye on the subscribers will know that the base always jumps up a bit in the lead up to a new expansion, before tailing off again once everyone has either a) completed the new quests and levelled up in quick style, or b) got sufficiently pissed off enough at the daft difficulty spike to stop trying.
And the new storyline could be enough to pique the interest of long-lapsed players, as the events played out at the end of Mists of Pandaria lead to the creation of an alternative timeline which prevents the destruction of the orc homeworld Draenor which occurred at the end of Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.
That’s as spoilery as I’m prepared to go at this point, but I’m sure you all know the story if you’re reading this.
By going back on their own lore, Blizzard could lure in some of the older generations of Warcraft players but risk the wrath of others. We’ll find out in November what the community makes of this but until then, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments box.