What if there is no new WoW expansion (Tin Foil Hats to the ready)

Something has struck me while watching the 5.4 developer interviews.  They keep saying, when asked about the next expansion, ‘if we even go the way of another expansion’.  Now 80% of me (it was higher, but they all kept saying the same thing) suspects this is just the party line.  The other 20% is having an idea.  Hey, wait, come back!

Heroes of the Storm, The Dark Below, Corgis Unleashed
We have three trademarks.  All registered by Blizzard.  Apparently.  Now I think we can safely remove one of those, but that leaves Heroes of the Storm and The Dark Below.  No one (apart from Blizzard) knows if Blizzard really registered either of these.  Lets assume they did.  Now lets assume they are both World of Warcraft related.

We know Blizzard are growing their team.  We know they have been trying hard to get out more content quickly.  What if … instead of releasing one big expansion they were going to release two little ones, or maybe more?

The Levelling Problem
Blizzard have more and more issues with levelling in their game.  As the max level gets higher, the time taken to get there takes longer.  It has been sped up, but players are constantly finding it takes longer to join their friends, and longer to get that alt ready.  Eventually, its going to be unmanagable.  Added to this, levels take longer each time and Mists of Pandaria levelling felt very slow.

Solution: Have two mini expansions with 5 quicker levels each.  That would fit in with the heirloom weapons that state level 100.

The Mid-Expansion Lull and the End-Expansion Wait
Its a sad thing that the middle raids of the last three expansions were all thought to be quite good, but had the lowest participation at the time.  The final raid, on the other hand, has always been out for way too long and people got bored.

Solution: remove the middle tier of an expansion and have smaller expansions so that you can get them out faster.

The Future

The Dark Below
5 new levels (combining to less time taken than 2.5 levels of MoP)
3-4 new zones
2 raid tiers
2 non-raid patches, the first of which brings a new mode/content and the second of which transitions to …

Heroes of the Storm
5 new levels (combining to less time taken than 2.5 levels of MoP AND not significantly boosting your equipment from raiding in the previous expansion)
3-4 new zones
2 raid tiers
2 non-raid patches, the first of which brings a new mode/content and the second of which transitions to …

Scaled down expansions would be quicker to test and produce.  They would fit the numbers model Blizzard has confirmed they have (i.e. the big dipper) better.  They would, especially in conjunction with an item squish, smooth the progression curve.

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3 thoughts on “What if there is no new WoW expansion (Tin Foil Hats to the ready)

  1. Considering that the world first level 90 toon occurred the day after MoP came out, I’m not really inclined to say that “it takes too long to level.” It’s more likely someone will start at max level for the old when they start the content of the new.

    And if they didn’t? They could start leveling a new toon literally WEEKS ahead of the new expansion, as long as they didn’t want to level one of the new classes / races.

    This just doesn’t seem like much of a problem.

    If it is, the easiest solution is to just offer prebuilt max level toons and stop wasting resources trying to “detune” old content to the point that it’s trivial and meaningless.

    1. I personally found MoP levelling slow. Perhaps a combination of how long it took without really being that engaging. I also feel like the grind to 90 is a very long one before I can get into the game. By having most content unavailable until an end game that gets further and further away with every expansion, its going to be an issue at some point.

      You aren’t wrong about content becoming less interesting when its trivialized, however. I am not really sure how WoW could overcome this, but they could definitely look to not exacerbate it further. I had a lot more fun doing the extra five levels they added to SWTOR because I had story quests and raids and there was less extraneous stuff. I find I enjoy story strong levelling content the most, even if it is more linear at times.

      1. A big problem with new content is that the quests and such all start to look exactly the same as the old content after a while. I mean, how many ways can you do a poop quest, amirite?

        I do agree with you, though, that the MoP leveling grind FELT longer than it was, but I think part of that was because it all happened in three or four seemingly ENDLESS zones. All of my 90s so far have topped out in Kun’lai, leaving two zones COMPLETELY unexplored. They would do better to remove some content, tighten it up, and give the player more of an impression of progression.

        Considering that most people don’t even read quest text anymore, I don’t think embedding a novel in the quest text is the answer. The things happening around us, though, are entirely relevant. That’s where I’d focus my attention.

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