Monday, May 17, 2010

Blizzard Working on a Super Secret MMO and the Fall of World of Wacraft: Cataclysm

Bad Reviews for Cataclysm

World of Warcraft - Cataclysm

Tons of reviews by professionals and fans alike have been pouring into the web. I have yet to see one that is positive. Couple that with fan comments on the reviews and you have a staggering situation where Blizzard / Activision might lose money on the expansion. What is shocking is that Blizzard is proud of their changes and see no reason to reconsider them.

Below is some of what a blue posted on the WOW forums.

Single Character Lockout [good only for casual gamers]

The first of the refinements being made is that we're combining all raid sizes and difficulties into a single lockout. Unlike today, 10- and 25-player modes of a single raid will share the same lockout. You can defeat each raid boss once per week per character. In other words, if you wanted to do both a 10- and 25-person raid in a single week, you’d need to do so on two different characters. Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel. Obviously the raid lockout change doesn't apply in pure Icecrown terms though, as this change goes hand-in-hand with a few other changes to raid progression in Cataclysm.

10 and 25 mans are the same

We're designing and balancing raids so that the difficulty between 10- and 25-player versions of each difficulty will be as close as possible to each other as we can achieve. That closeness in difficulty also means that we'll have bosses dropping the same items in 10- and 25-player raids of each difficulty. They'll have the same name and same stats; they are in fact the exact same items.

Heroic 10 and 25 mans are the same

Choosing Heroic mode will drop a scaled-up version of those items. Our hope is that players will be able to associate bosses with their loot tables and even associate specific artwork with specific item names to a far greater extent than today.

Dungeon Difficulty and Rewards

10- and 25-player (normal difficulty) -- Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop the exact same items as each other.
10- and 25-player (Heroic difficulty) -- Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop more powerful versions of the normal-difficulty items.

What does all of this mean?

Casual gamers are sought after. Even to the destruction of the entire original idea of the game. So the casual gamer can log in once a week, and be in exact same spot that someone that plays 80hours in a week. They will have the same equipment. They will have the same amount of emblems. They will have everything you have and only have to log in once a week.

I could go on and on about how the casual gamer is now the focal point of the business model, but why bother.

Will People Not Buy the Expansion

After seeing all of the massive outcry and bad reviews, it is a very safe bet to say that their expansion sales expectations are going to be shattered. Yes! I do not think the core gamers will buy the expansion. People are already eyeing Star Wars Old Republic Online. I'm not! Looks awful to me.

A lot of the wow-fanboys are going crazy trying to hush up the bad reviews. They're calling them names and saying they are whiners. But, take a step back. Professional reviewers are giving it the thumbs down? Are they whining too? Open your eyes. The expansion is horrible. Granted the company has the right to change their mind about the lore of the story, as if WOW is based on a story at all. Maybe the RPers just don't rate high in Blizzard's book. They have literally emasculated the lore. Fanboy answer?: it's their story they can do whatever they want. How about a little consistency, at least.

Many fans originally played WOW because of the very nice story that Warcraft involved. It was detailed and very 3 dimensional. You felt for the characters in the story. It shocked, amazed and saddened you. It was better than a movie.

So, I'm expecting a bad show for the new expansion. Don't hate me for saying that. I just have a very strong feeling everyone is going to be shocked.

Maybe Blizzard Doesn't Care

It might be that Blizzard is concentrating on other projects, which are now WOW related [GASP] and hence don't really care about their current franchise. Why would i say that?

I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I’ve switched roles here at Blizzard to work on our upcoming, unannounced MMO. World of Warcraft has been such a central part of my life these past six and a half years, and it’s success would not have been possible without the tremendous community around it, so I wanted to say thank you to all our players who’ve shared this amazing experience with us so far,” Kaplan said. - 2/12/09

That's right folks, from the mouth of Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan, one of the lead designers of WOW and one of the original guildmate of head Designer Rob Pardo. That's right folks, he is working on an unnamed MMO. Maybe, the fans that keep abreast of news like this, who then sees Cataclysm's utter failure, see the writing on the wall. Maybe Blizzard is concentrating on their new MMO. Man cannot serve two masters.

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