Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Spacing Out Content

Blizzard announced that in Pandaria they would delay the start of raiding by a whole week. The first raid instance will open one week after Pandaria launches. Two more instances will open a month later.

While I think this is a good move, I don't see why Blizzard doesn't take this further. I must admit that I don't really understand Blizzard's aversion to spacing out content.

Why have this giant glut of content right at the very start of the expansion? It seems to me that when all the content is front-loaded, we just end up with larger and larger gaps at the end of the expansion.  Take the tail end of Cataclysm. It's been eight months since there's been any new content.

Why not release Pandaria without any raids? Let everyone go through all the leveling content and the heroics. Two months later, release the first raid.  Two months after that, release the second raid. Then two months after that, release the third raid. That gives lots of time for Blizzard to add new content into the game, while still giving everyone something new to look forward to every couple of months.

It seems to me that a steady stream of content would be more interesting that everyone gorging themselves at the beginning of an expansion, and then dying off at the end.

18 comments:

spinksville said...

I can't imagine the hardcore guys would respond well to this; would they even bother buying an expansion if they knew there wasn't going to be any raid content for a month or so?

(Note: I'm not saying it's a bad idea, mind.)

Coreus said...

It's a common theme for Blizzard that the "when it's ready" philosophy works both ways, meaning that content which may be better off in the grand scheme to be delayed a month or two is released as soon as it's ready.

I'd be a lot happier with Blizzard if they had some kind of release schedule where they could afford to develop content ahead of the release. I get the impression that there is an extreme paranoia within the game development that all the players will get bored and stop playing unless they get the next patch out RIGHT NOW, with little thought given to anything past that next content patch.

The typical result of this is that the massive content patches [typically delayed to begin with] end up cut short by the much smaller content patch that follows it. It happened with Ulduar going into ToC. And in my opinion with Firelands going into Dragon Soul. Compare the number of groups farming H8/8 today to the number that even had killed H Rag when Dragon Soul was released.

Redbeard said...

I can't imagine the hardcore royalty guilds standing for no raids for very long. They've been prepping for this for months now via Beta, and I'm sure they'll be at L90 before the sun sets on the first day or two of Mists' release.

They've been conditioned for too long to expect this, so if they don't get it, the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the hardcore raider crowd will be obnoxious. Besides, I expect that LFR will see heavy use in lieu of using Heroics.

Redbeard said...

Ha! Spinks and I are of the same mind, I see.

Rohan said...

To be honest, I think the hardcore raiders would be okay with it, especially if Blizzard guaranteed the open dates.

The thing is that a lot of them are fans of the game as a whole, not just raiding. They'll level their characters, run heroics, get achievements happily. Then when raiding opens, it opens, and the raiding contest starts.

Clockwork said...

I might be a little tin-foil-hatish here but I partially wonder if the raid delay (which I admit I have not followed very well) is a move to limit the "rush" of hardcore guilds trying to blitz to 90 and then clear the first content. A move that at least has the side-effect of forcibly "relaxing" that to give people time to reach max level and maybe even run some heroics.

Babar said...

I don't think it will make a huge difference for the top guilds. Maybe the first week will be slightly less grueling than usual, but they'll still level up in a day, then farm heroics like crazy. Maybe they'll even take time to level up fishing and other crafting for small benefits.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Spinks and Redbeard.
The hardcore guys would be upset, but mostly because they have so little to do after playing the beta for so long that it probably got already stale.
That's why I find an open beta for such an extended time a bad idea, it makes a new game into old content before it even got out.

Anonymous said...

I play with a casual guild that raids three days a week for 2-3 hours a session, so I've always had time to do the other stuff at the "endgame."

I think that it would be more interesting to space out the introduction of new factions that you can gain rep with.


For me, burn out has always been more about "Oh God, If I have to do that same daily quest again, I'm going to scream."

I know Blizz is launching a massive amount of new factions, but I doubt that there will be an equal amount of new things to do in each patch.

So come the end of this cycle, we will once again all be burned out with a raid that lasts 9-12 months and nothing else new to do because we maxed out reps with all the factions during the previous year.

Klepsacovic said...

For some reason I'm reminded of something I read about the early days of inner-city gangs adopting guns. They hated them because they made problems bigger and brought more police trouble, but they all had to have them because everyone else did.

I suspect many of the hardcore raiders have a similar attitude. They'd prefer to get an extra hour or two of sleep during that first week, but they need to level up quickly to have a chance. Pushing the start back by a week lets them disarm, knowing that everyone else is forced to take their time.

On the other hand, they've been chomping at the bit for months, wanting some new content, some new challenges, and pushing them back a few more days isn't what they want.

spinksville said...

Klep: I could see that but I also think people get a kick out of the rush at the start of a new expansion.

Talarian said...

Spinks totally hits it on the head. That first rush out the gate at the beginning of a new expansion? Soooo much fun.

That being said, I think there's a bit of nuance here that you're glossing over Rohan. There's a big difference between waiting a week and waiting two months to drop the first raid. I like the idea of having a week (or even two would be fine) with no raid so people can level, run 5 mans, putz around and enjoy the scenery. Much more than two weeks and I think you'd start losing people, though I suppose the question is does Blizzard care about losing that particular population segment?

Redbeard said...

Something Klep and First Anonymous hinted at is particularly revealing: to the hard core royalty guilds, most of the baseline Mists stuff is already old content. They've been running in the Beta for so long that the non-raid Mists areas are no longer all shiny and new.

What is new --to those hardcores, at least-- is what they're told they'll have to wait for after release.

One other thing that Blizz hasn't really hinted at but does make sense is that the raids aren't going to be ready for release at their release date. Sure, you can think "It's just a week", but you'd be surprised how much bug fixing and fine tuning that you can get done in an extra week. We could be looking at Blizz' method of keeping to their announced release date.

Imakulata said...

I think they still can release first raid of an expansion immediately and space out the others. (Aren't they actually going to do something like that? I didn't watch the new recently.) There actually is quite a scale between Rohan's suggestion and the current model when the x.0 patch has the most bosses of all patches of the respective expansion.

maxim said...

You know, i wouldn't mind such method of spacing out content. I feel that even top players could definitely benefit from not having to level at a frenzied pace.

Only problem - it's probably not possible to implement in WoW without losing another million of subs :(

Maybe in Titan.

Anonymous said...

Thing is, all those hardcores are whining that they're now being pressured to level and gear multiple characters that first week so that their guilds can class stack all the encounters.

Silly people. Eat all their seed corn then complain that there's no food.

Anonymous said...

while i dont think it should be 2 months before the first raid is available, maybe 2 weeks.

After that I agree with the rest of it.

Anonymous said...

I really wish they'd wait 2-4 weeks for raids to open. Rushing to raid and no new content (and pet battles and timed dungeon runs) have killed this game for me. I had a good run and ended with my guild ranked #5 alliance on my server, so no hard feelings.

As far as the hardcore set goes, blizzard has made it very clear that they are an after-thought and are trying to salvage this game for those that enjoy LFR and shiny pets.