Thursday, June 28, 2007

What's in Wow's immediate future?

We've had a decent amount of patches and updates in World of Warcraft over the last month or two but nothing really ground breaking for new content. The quests that were supposed to provide new solo and group content have turned out to be simple grinds requiring hours killing the same type of mobs or gathering quest items. In fact the only real impact of these new quests and factions has been the free gold offered by the daily bombing run quests. Not a total loss for most players since spending 20 minutes on a flying mount for 25gp is not that bad of a deal.

Still I'm sure most long time fans of WoW would like something a bit more impressive and fun to be added to the PvE side of the game. The infusion of new rewards into battlegrounds and arenas has revitalize the PvP side of the game and greatly decreased the time of the average queue. However, with the current population imbalance one faction is going to quickly earn all the rewards then quit playing. Plus its still the PvE side of WoW that is the most popular and the one that most players are eagerly awaiting new content.

So based on rumor, hints, and late nights on the forums here's what I think we'll see in the next four months.

1) Zul'aman:
Probably the first new content that will be added to World of Warcraft will be the new 10 man dungeon that was advertised to ship with the Burning Crusade. General consensus is that the dungeon will offer a raid experience similar to Zul'gurub which provided a stepping stone into the Molten Core for smaller guilds. However, most disagree whether this means Zul'aman will be harder or easier then Karazhan or require the same kind of strict raid balance. Also interesting are the rumors that Zul'aman will be the place to go for offspec raid gear. Moonkin Druids, Ret Paladins, and Fury/MS warriors are eager for that piece of gossip to prove true.

2) A New Five Man Dungeon - Ulum perhaps
Blizzard simply cannot wait until the next expansion to put a dungeon into the game for casual players. True I said the same thing after Naxx was released but this time Blizzard is not gaining subscriptions but losing them. The more new content released the better and lucky for Blizzard there is already a method to make a 5 man dungeon friendly to raiders and casuals. They can simply make the normal version of the dungeon tuned for blue wearing level 70 players while keeping the heroic version for the most geared out of raiders. If they increase the difficulty more then they did for the other heroics then they should be able to allow each boss to have a chance to drop epics. And nothing attracts players to a dungeon better then a chance at epics.

3) Better Guild Management Tools
Its been a long time coming but Blizzard is starting to realize how difficult it is to manage a guild especially with the tougher raiding requirements in the Burning Crusade. I expect several different guild tools to be released before the end of year with probably the guild bank being the most likely. Other tools probably in the works are a guild calender to plan events and the functionality to track raid ids so you can see which members are locked into which instances. Another much desired tool that has long been the realm of 3rd party web sites is the ability to set up a DKP system to better handle loot. A CM on the better moderated European forums let the plans slip about the guild tools with other sources having confirmed they are in the works. No timeline has been hinted at which Blizzard might be saving them so they can billed as a feature in the expansion.

4) New Battleground Changes
While Eye of the Storm was just added with the Burning Crusade expansion, the battleground system tends to only get any use right after new rewards are put into the game. True some of the rewards are impressive for non-raiders but the smaller faction always earns them quicker then stops playing. This make the queue time shoot up for the other faction which can only earn rewards at a much slower pace with longer queue times.

Blizzard knows the only way to fix this situation is to spice the battlegrounds up by adding some kind of reward not dependent on arena seasons. Plus the rewards can't be better then the arena rewards which honestly are much more fairly handed out. Based on all the suggestions in the forums Blizzard has a lot of options to improve the battlegrounds and I wouldn't be surprised to see some changes down the pipeline. Probably no siege engines though.

-allow factions to fight each other to avoid population imbalances from causing huge queue times
-allow factions to start at either position on a map to add variety to matches
-allow battleground tokens to be turned in for gold or potions that can be used anywhere
-put more titles into the game that can be earned through battlegrounds


Anonymous said...

I don't know if Guild Banks will solve more problems than they create.

"Alright, who's the jerk who filled up ten slots with Peacebloom?!?"

"We need them for alts!"



Relmstein said...

They'll probably have some kind of system where the guild master can set the permissions of who can withdraw what from the bank.

I'm sure if guild banks go live in a patch we'll see most guilds make one officer the official treasurer.

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