Thursday, March 06, 2008

Is Arena Season 4 being delayed because of Age of Conan?

I haven't written a good WoW rant in awhile and I have to blame the developers who haven't given me any good source material lately. Oh well, I guess you can expect "welfare epics" level material to be handed out every day. I did have some high hopes that with the patch about to roll out we'd see some developers come down with foot n mouth disease. Surely the developer reasoning behind repealing the warlock nerf would be laughable but no they came equipped with numbers. Stupid logic. Luckily, besides the nerf roulette the lead designer Kalgan did stop by the forums to drop a bomb on PvP fans. Arena season 4 won't be coming out with the next patch or anytime soon.

Kalgan basically said the purpose of arena gear is to allow PvP players to keep up with raiders and not pull ahead of them in gear quality. Thus the next arena season will be put on hold until players have unlocked the new raid zone. Apparently, everyone is supposed to stop doing PvP and start doing the Sunwell dailies in the same fashion as the AQ opening event. At least this time everyone should be making money and not just crafters. Also with the changes in patch 2.4 there should be a lot of new material that can be bought with badges of justice. It’s not that hard to picture people concerned with gear switching from arenas to heroics while the Sunwell is being unlocked.

The problem I have is that not everyone is concerned just with gear and grindy opening events are almost always boring. They also tend to be a sign of developers stalling for time. I know that Tigole said they had emergency patch content after the Sunwell if the expansion wasn't ready. However, I wasn't expecting for that content to be arena season 4. I mean he could be referring to the some hidden patch content scheduled for the summer but I have a sinking feeling that's not it. No instead what looks to be forming is a late March release for patch 2.4 then Arena Season 4 hitting us sometime in May. I think this is real ballsy of Blizzard if this is their answer to the Age of Conan release.

Stringing out content like this is just going to spur the number of people who will try out a competitor's game. I can kind of see what Blizzard is thinking but I don't think it’s going to work. Age of Conan has some nice PvP mechanics which aren't going to be offset by a 3v3 tournament and a new arena season. This goes double for Warhammer which could still actually release during the 2nd Quarter. In reality, not having Arena Season 4 match the Sunwell release is just going to frustrate the player base which has adopted to the PvP play style. They'll be plenty of loot and gold for players in the new Sunwell content but there are going to be some people who won't like it especially if they've become use to fighting human opponents. This decision could backfire and actually force people to leave before Age of Conan or Warhammer comes out.


Rohan said...

Season 1 lasted for 20 weeks. Season 2 lasted for 23 weeks.

If Season 3 follows the same pattern, it will end in late April or early May.

But of course, conspiracy theories are much more probable.

Relmstein said...

Remember you're not paranoid if they're actually out to get you.

I guess my negative reactions are more connected to locking new raid dungeons and pvp seasons behind server wide quest grinds. We may not be turning in one billion bandages but it still seems like a unnecessary obstacle unless the developers are just buying time.

It could have nothing to do with AoC and everything to do with surprising us with early Wrath of the Lich King release.

Viet said...

Although I am a PvPer at heart, I definitely agree that they cannot release S4 with 2.4. S4 epics will be equivalent to Sunwell quality. How is that fair for the raiders that don't even have a chance to see Sunwell yet. Not that I will ever see it. I hope my guild gets to Illidan before WotLK comes out!

I am saddened by this move of the S4 season but it really is fair. Some people may still be trying to catch up to full S3 and pulling in S4 too early wouldn't allow for a fair playing field next season. For me, I will definitely try Warhammer regardless of how late S4 comes.

Relmstein said...

I guess the problem really is that its too easy to get all the items in a season before it ends. Maybe future arena seasons need to include more gear options for honor and arena point purchases. Just nerfing the honor rate would probably cause a riot.

I think maybe allowing badges of justice to be bought with a combination of arena points and honor might also be nice. Maybe something like 100 arena and 500 honor per badge. That way PvP fans would still have something to work for once maxing out on the current PvP gear.

Anonymous said...

You do know if Blizzard loses half
there subs too AoC they will still
have 4 mil or soo.
Guess that would be a boon for AoC
pulling in 5 million subs....right.

Relmstein said...

While I think there is an audience for Age of Conan I don't think it will steal half of WoW's subscribers.

Instead it will probably do about as well as LOTR but with better long term growth. AoC has a decent PvP system and raiding so its end game should keep people longer. If Warhammer pushes back to a September release date like the rumors say then AoC would have time to build a good community and I bet we'll see around 400k subscribers.