Monday, 6 August 2007

Full of emptiness and wrath

World of Warcraft: The Next Ten Levels (or Wrath of the Lich King if you prefer) was announced on Friday, and burst over the blag-u-spore with a crashing wave of... meh. Or perhaps bleh, and a bit of blah, and a touch of hrrrm, a dash of hrng and 3/16 fl. oz. (that's 0.2 teaspoons, or one microbucket) of other onomatopoeic expressions of not being particularly impressed.

It's not hard to understand the level of apathy, it doesn't look like there's anything particularly earth-shatteringly original in there yet. Then again, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", and nine million subscribers can't be totally broken. The Death Knight could be interesting, the sketchy outline in the current wiki article sounds like runes might offer quite a flexible hybrid. Quite how they'll crowbar an Alliance Death Knight into the lore I don't know, but it's already such a sprawl that a third undead faction who hate The Scourge and The Forsaken (but quite like the Alliance) wouldn't be totally out of place. Inscriptions sound very much like Enhancements from City of Heroes, a bit of a tweak without changing anything too radically, not so different to slotting gems. An entire PvP zone, presumably including the siege weapons and destructible buildings mentioned, is the World PvP of TBC taken a bit further, and could suffer as badly as that does with faction imbalance. Customisable hair styles, though, woo!

I'm slightly surprised by the timing; it feels like The Burning Crusade is only just out. I'd expected, as the original end game was expanded with Zul'Gurub, Ahn'Qiraj and Naxxramas, that there might be some more raid content added to TBC before another expansion Then again, there's no release date (or even vague suggestion of a release date that I could find), so WotLK might not be out until 2013. Or maybe it'll be next week... It's a bit of a dangerous game; as with TBC, it sounds like most existing loot will be outclassed fairly quickly, which removes one of the main incentives to keep repeating content at level 70. If you really like the sound of the Death Knight class, it removes the incentive to invest a lot of time and effort in existing characters. You don't want to announce new versions too early, but then you also need to keep interest going, particularly with a number of new MMOGs coming soon. An early 2008 release is feasible, Wrath of the Lich King vs Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, anyone?

My initial reaction was, as per everyone else, "meh". Then again, I'm feeling a bit "meh" towards MMOGs in general at the moment, either from a summer slump, or some deeper ennui. Thinking about it a bit more... I've rather enjoyed levelling up to the cap and running a few instances twice before, why not again? Maybe I will dust the old rogue off once more, if there's nothing else grabbing my attention at the time.

7 comments:

Sean said...

No "meh" here... I'm excited as ever! I loved Burning Crusade leveling, and can't wait to do the same in Northrend. Others may find it boring grinding, which I won't argue some quests are (*cough*nesingwary*cough*), but as a whole I find exploring the new scenery and going through story lines very enjoyable.

Heather said...

"Meh" was pretty much my reaction too. Since I don't raid, there really ended up not being enough material in TBC to justify the high cost of the expansion, particularly when games like LotRO and CoH/CoV put out free expansions. Lich King looks like it'll have even less for the casual (i.e., non-raider), so I can't help thinking, "well, maybe if it cost $15... but you know it'll be another $40 or so."

Zoso said...

Fair play, I rather enjoy the levelling too, and might well do 70-80 at some point if there's a gap in other games. Unless there's further stuff to be announced, though, it seems a smidge lightweight for a full expansion (which is doing a disservice to all the work they're probably putting in to the new zones, quests and the rest, but still...)

Elf said...

The Zul'Aman raid instance is to be added to the next content patch, in case you weren't aware.

Zoso said...

And, apparently, a "new 25 man before expansion that is higher level/better gear than Black Temple".

Curious. People need something to do until the expansion, but I was under the impression very few had made it to the Black Temple so far.

Elf said...

Where did you get that information from, you fruitcake? It's a ten-man raid instance that has no attunement requirements, which suits the casual player more than the hard-core raider, although it's meant to be run after Karazhan. It's akin to Zul'Gurub in Azeroth, added as a mid-way point between the five-man dungeons and the 40-man Molten Core.

http://www.wowinsider.com/2007/07/11/zulaman-sneak-preview-at-e3/
http://uk.pc.gamespy.com/pc/world-of-warcraft-expansion/803894p1.html
http://wow.warcry.com/news/view/74716-The-Dungeon-of-ZulAman
http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=301970216&sid=1

Zoso said...

And a 25 man, you loopy brothel inmate: Blizzcon 2007: Raid and Dungeon Panel