Monday, August 24, 2009

Yeah, it's the end of the world

It's the end of the world, as we know it. I mean World of Warcraft:Cataclysm, of course.

Sometime back, when Tigole was moved to the Secret Project in Blizzard, I commented (or wrote) that this Secret Project would be WoW2, in which the whole Azeroth would be wiped out and everything was made from the bottom up again. When the name Cataclysm came up, I was even more convinced that this would happen, though it wouldn't be called WoW2, but WoW: Cataclysm.

And now it's true. You can read about it everywhere in the MMO blogosphere.

I'm not going to delve into that. Instead let's look at the implications on us, players.

First thing that got my nerve ticking was a comment in the guild chat the other night. "I'm not visiting the vanilla areas anymore, so there is no emotional connection to the content anymore." That was what opened my eyes to another level of playing WoW (or any other MMO for prolonged times, for the matter.)

There is a huge player base who has played through the original, vanilla content when it was new and shiny, grinded the original end game content and then moved on when the Burning Crusade came out. Old World is considered to be just waste of time and something to be passed as fast as possible.

Of course I've known this to be so, but I hadn't paid any thought on it. Only because I'm in a completely different category: I see the Old World -still- as the source of the lore and a vast open world worth exploring. I can also see the newcomers frustration on the fact that the world is void and empty of players to group with, to chat with and to experience with. Heck, I'm frustrated over the fact that I never got to experience 'classic' end game instances like Onyxia's Lair, Blackwing Lair, Molten Core or Blackrock Spire! It really makes me angry that I've been cheated from these instances as well as the Burning Crusade's end game!

But what will this mean to a casual, lore/story driven player like me?

First of all, it will make my levelling to the new cap a real challenge, because I want to see the 'new' face of the Old World and experience the new storylines leading to old Outlands. Like in they stated, the new Worgen start area will be flooded with people from the beginning, it will be my safe bet to start from something that's already been there... but let's not get ahead of our heads!

The stories and lore has to be revised in the 'Old World' to pass the Cataclysmic changes posed. This means that while the development team has not updated the old content, they have been working on the new one. Revamping the whole content instead of upgrading the content gradually. This is the chance of the marketing team to sell the game anew to the new customer base, creating new customers out of the blue. "Join now and experience the game like everyone else is experiencing!"

Later on, the change in the lore has to have it's effect on the Outlands, too. And eventually to Northrend, thus beginning a new cycle in WoW's life. If the original cycle took 5 years, the next may well take another 5... and buy Blizzard more time to complete their Secret Project MMO out of the blue to 'replace' WoW (and it's then defunct engine?).

Though I thing that this has been the Secret Project when I look at the scope of the raiding content: it's something that would surely benefitted from Tigole's input, right?

Anyhow, I'm both sad and thrilled about this. Soon there will be even more reason to put up a private server with 'Original Vanilla WoW ruleset, only up to lv60!".

For the Vanilla content will be no more. Except in our dreams and in our reminiscence.