Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Long Wait For Warlords of Draenor

It's pretty apparent to everyone that the current drought of content in WoW is going to be the longest since the game began.

It's rather interesting in light of how the expansion began. The first few patches came really fast. Almost too fast, in my opinion. Blizzard could have easily added another month to each of 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3. That would have spread out the content better.

But they didn't. At that point in time, Blizzard obviously believed that they would hit the deadline for the faster schedule. So I wonder what changed.

My theory is that they had to scrap a lot of already designed work and restart at some point. Maybe it wasn't up to their standards, or just wasn't working out.

Another possibility is that they wanted to make significant technical changes (perhaps the change to the new file format), and that ended up taking significantly longer than expected. Though I am not really certain that significant technical changes would have held up all the content generation.

I don't think, however, that Blizzard is delaying the expansion because they can, or because the "suits" felt it was the path to maximum revenue. Rather, I think something happened after the start of Mists, probably after 6.3, that made delaying the expansion the lesser of two evils.

13 comments:

Gubjub said...

I remember my team went through some line-up changes and scheduling problems and struggled quite a bit with the first set of raids in Mists. We only started working on heroics when the next raids hit. Really seemed like their could have been more time.

I always wondered why Bliz didn't try to release more PvP content in between raid releases. Mostly patches consist of a new raid and new Arena season. I thought they might have helped people enjoy both sides of the game if they made one patch a raid release and then a PvP battleground or event for the next one. Not everyone loves PvP, but dedicated raiders want to get every boss down on heroic and would proabably like the extra time this provided. But I also think some players would be content with their progress in the current raid and jump into PvP for a while.

RJ said...

I wouldn't be surprised one bit if they went back and forth a lot, scrapping and rebuilding the stat squish and garrison systems.

Maybe those alone can't make up the "delay", but given everything they've been discussing so far, both are clearly the most development-intensive things they've announced.

Redbeard said...

I'd hazard another guess, that Blizzard may have had staffing issues. As much as I heard from both Blizz and other bloggers that GC's leaving had no impact on things, if you're running a lean operation it doesn't take much to disrupt a schedule.

Right now, Blizz is in standby mode. They're expecting D3's expac and Hearthstone to carry them through until release. Also, don't be surprised that Blizz dumps the occasional pet into the online store to keep the pet battler enthusiasts around.

Polynices said...

They've long had trouble with releasing patches too soon. I remember when they killed Ulduar by replacing it with that terrible series of fights in one big room "raid" before most guilds were close to done with the place.

A shame that they're getting worse in this department, not better.

Giannis said...

Back in Vanilla and TBC no one were "complain" about no content. There wasn't a "dead period". That because the game had quality and the whole content was actually difficult.

Blizzard shot their foot with that change in philosophy and now they are running to feed the hungry birds with tons of junk food. Quantity took over quality...

I hope in WoD they will make quality content again so they don't have to have a patch every 3 months...

Do you remember in Vanilla or TBC posts like "When the new expansion will come?they delay it too much" or "When the new patch will release, oh lazy Blizzard get your ass and give us the new patch"...

nyohahahah said...

I kinda doubt nobody back in vanilla or TBC was clamoring about dead periods or late patches, considering like this happened: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1528623675#2

Balkoth said...

"That because the game had quality and the whole content was actually difficult."

About 2.5% of the raiding population for NORMALS and above have killed Heroic Garrosh. If we assume, say, 20% of the population has done normal Immerseus then that's only 0.5% of WoW's population that has killed Heroic Garrosh.

I guess it's a shame the content is so easy, eh?

P.S. Heroic Siegecrafter will go down as one of the best fights in WoW history, especially pre-nerf, right up there with stuff like Firefighter. Garrosh/Paragons are also quite fun and difficult.

Talarian said...

Redbears, I can't find he comment right now, but GC and Celestalon, among others, have stated the WoW team has doubled in size since the end of Cata to get more content out faster. Seems more like hey hi the mythical man month problem to me.

Talarian said...

Argh, AUTOCORRECT! I meant Redbeard.

Giannis said...

just because you add 1 extra difficult mode does not make the game quality or difficult as a whole... now 99% of the game is trivially easy and there is that one extra mode that hardly produce any motivation to 99% of the player-base.

If you kill BadGuy, you don't feel the need to kill BadGuy+ and BadGuy++!BadGuy already lost his value.

Balkoth said...

"just because you add 1 extra difficult mode does not make the game quality or difficult as a whole"

You realize that Heroic modes are the equivalent of Kael'thas, Vashj, and Sunwell back in BC?

Normal modes was everything else in BC.

The extra difficulty modes added are LFR and Flex to give EASIER difficulties. Are you suggesting the game would be better off by removing the easier difficulties?

Liore said...

I've mentioned before that the Long Summer of ICC killed my guild -- I certainly feel for any guild leaders trying to hold it together right now.

I'm more inclined to blame poor organization than unchecked capitalism. I will say, though, it's making me rethink my plans for WoD. I re-joined in 5.4, which meant I had (and still have) a ton of content to see and try. I'm not sure I would be subbed to WoW currently if I had been there for all the patches up to then.

So do I join at launch and plan for the very real possibility of taking a break after a patch or two for year, or do I wait a year first and then jump in?

Balkoth said...

Depends if you want to see the content while it's fresh, new, and popular and as its intended to be experience.

For example, you can't recapture doing MSV normal at this point since everyone will have 496 Timeless gear (compared to 463s with some 476s) and it's nerfed by 10%.