Thursday, June 11, 2009

Living into the next expansion

Around the blogosphere everybody is already speculating about the next expansion. Will it be the Maelstrom or the Emerald Dream. Will we be in an under water world? Will the Naga rule the world?

I guess it's very human nature to live in the future. We're hardly ever satisfied with what we have, so instead we look for something that we think can make our lives better. And clearly this thing, whatever it is, must still be created.

It makes me wonder what it would take to be happy with what we have. I mean, it's pretty impossible that all these people are done with Ulduar yet, right? I read Guildwatch, (like a lot of us do probably) and most of those guilds are proud that they've finally finished Naxx.

So how come we're already looking towards new content?

I believe that Blizzard has made some critical pacing mistakes with Lich King. They've forced their players to look forward faster, the whole expansion breathes haste.

Take for example a look at gear. A small group of players came out of Burning Crusade, and at 70 their gear was ready for Naxx. A slightly larger group could race through the heroics for a couple of small upgrades and then ran into Naxx. Leveling was no difficulty at all. Upgrades didn't come from quests, or from normal dungeons.

The first goal set into this expansion was Naxx, and I think a few vital steps were skipped that way. Most guilds brought completely ungeared alts into Naxx and could succesfully run them through.

So while Burning Crusade might've been slightly slow in the progression, and had roadblocks in the wrong places (Kael'Thas and Lady Vashj attunements), there just were no roadblocks at all in Lich King until Ulduar.

Gear and progression are much, much more accessible than before. Of course this is offering the more casual player to also look into the raid instances, but it also means that the not so casual players are racing through the content.

The philosophy of creating content for a larger group works fine, but currently the content is being developed so fast that the casual player could reach it eventually, but the hardcore player just sleeps through parts of it.

This in turn puts Blizzard in front of the problem of having to design content and push it to live faster if they don't wish to lose those hard core players.

By doing this however, they are pushing the speed button for themselves, but it also seems as if the larger part of the player base has gone into speed mode. The players are running, or at least attempting to run.

What I wonder about is if this fast pace is not putting of both the casual and the hardcore in the end.

The casual because they are pushed towards new content before they're done with the current, and they will start feeling rushed, not able to keep up with all the changes.

The hardcore because no matter how fast you push content, the challenge is just not there for them.

What do you think?


  1. By the time we got Ulduar I was definitly ready for it, Naxx wasn't a challange anymore and we were running undergeared Alts through it with no problems at all.

    Now with Ulduar out and 3.2 looming on the horizon I find myself wondering if we can complete all that I want to get done in Ulduar before they force us into the next area. (the achievements and the drake specifically).

    I'm not sure when 3.2 is coming out, but knowing that i will no longer be able to get my drake if we haven't finished by then make's it seem all too soon.

  2. humm, well, I don't really expect naga to rule the world since they've already had SSC in TBC. Something similar probably won't appeal to those who are expecting new contact.

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