Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is that enough new content?

So after the priest changes announcement came the warrior changes announcement, and they too get a new leaping ability: Heroic Leap. Next to come: Mages will receive Polymorph: Leapfrog, and Death Knights get Inflict Leaprosy, which is like leprosy, only that body parts bounce off instead of falling off.

Apart from that curious new fascination of Blizzard developers with leaping abilities, the main thing I noticed with the class changes is that every class gets only 3 new spells, one at 81, one at 83, and one at 85. Some classes will be lucky enough to be able to use all three, but in most cases the three different spells are for two or three different talent trees, and many players will effectively only get one or two new abilities.

Now I welcome the general idea that Cataclysm should expand World of Warcraft both horizontally and vertically, that is providing both content for new players / alts, and for level-capped veterans. And obviously if "half" of the development effort goes into lower level content, there is less development effort going into post-80 content. Nevertheless the question has to be asked whether Cataclysm offers "enough" post-80 content.

Now a big part of the Cataclysm expansion appears to be class changes which change game mechanics, role philosophy, and how particular classes and builds play in the future. That sure is interesting, and will take everyone some time to figure out. But changes like that aren't the same as creating new content. What I'm a bit worried about is that Cataclysm will have considerably less new spells, talents, zones, quests, and dungeons for the new level cap than previous expansions. Which would mean that people potentially could get bored with Cataclysm even faster than they got bored with Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. And already those two previous expansions didn't have enough content to last the 2 years until the next expansion.

Ideally Blizzard would announce the 4th expansion for World of Warcraft already this Blizzcon, shortening their development cycle from 2 years to 1 year. But more realistically WoW will continue having strong peaks and valleys of player activity, with everybody resubscribing for new expansions and major content patches, and taking breaks when the content runs out, waiting for the next expansion.

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