The Future of WoW (And Why I’m Excited)
No doubt you’ve all heard the news about WoW’s next expansion and some of other big changes Blizzard plan on introducing. Not only does this prove that I’m psychic to a scary degree of accuracy but it’s also got me rather flippin’ excited. About the playable Pandas? No, I honestly couldn’t give a crap about them (I reserve the right to completely backtrack on that statement as expansion fever kicks in later on next year). What’s really got my boat floating and my fancy tickled though is the promise of new character models, animations and a complete overhaul of the talent system. Now that’s hot stuff.
New models and talents are something I’ve been harping on about for ages and I’m truly delighted (and rather flabbergasted) to hear that they are finally becoming a reality. Art direction and aesthetic preferences aside, WoW is starting to look dated and suffer from problematic gameplay issues as Blizzard try endlessly to balance classes in both PVE and PVP environments. A complete overhaul of the way talents work is a brave move and, personally, I think a massive step in the right direction of making the game more about fun choices rather than about following cookie cutter builds or partaking in a class vs class rock/paper/scissors style of combat. It also signifies Blizzards committal to PvP as a sanctioned form of gameplay, an interesting admission for sure.
More importantly though I think the announcements at BlizzCon prove that WoW isn’t going anywhere for a long, long time and also that Blizzard are finally stepping on the gas a little. I have no problem with most developers taking their time to deliver goods but when you pay a monthly subscription to a game that’s enjoyed by millions of people, you’d think they would be able to update things and release content at a faster pace in order to justify the expense. Hopefully we won’t have to wait 12 months for Mists of Pandaria (and all of the changes promised) and a Spring release would go a long way to restoring consumer faith and appreciation in Blizzard.
Regardless of release date though, I have a lot of admiration for Blizz and what they’re doing with WoW – assuming they deliver that is. Simply put, no other MMORPG has worked so hard to keep refreshing itself and updating the game world. By next year we could have a game that’s not only regenerated and revitalised most of its original content but also character graphics and animations whilst completely and radically overhauling a core component of its gameplay, talents. Throw in PvP battlegrounds, arenas, dungeon and raid finders and PVE scenarios and it’s little wonder why WoW is still dominating the MMO marketplace today.
To end on a negative note though (’cause we all just love that), I’m not particularly thrilled about the new Pandaren race nor the look of the new starting area. It just seems all very cliché and a real departure from the darker tones of Cataclysm and WotLK. I’m also pretty sure I already played it when I bought the Fallen Dynasty adventure pack for EQ2 back in 2005. Still, I’m sure the Pandas will be a huge hit with the younger audience and the diehard WoW fans but, alas, they aren’t for me. Plus, where the hell are my playable Ogres?!