Weekly World of Warcraft #6 - Post E3 2006 Thoughts

By: Nick Arvites

Weekly World of Warcraft #23 - Goodbye to the Old Stomping Grounds
Will the new lands signal the end of the old?

Weekly World of Warcraft #22 - Burning Crusade First Impressions
Positive first impressions from our resident warlock.

Weekly World of Warcraft #21 - Thoughts from a Disgruntled Wyvern Windrider
Won't anyone think of the Windriders?

Weekly World of Warcraft #20 - New Year's Resolutions
Nick lays out some WoW-related goals for 2007.

Weekly World of Warcraft #19 - Calm Before the Storm
A look at the most-recent patch and Blizzard's next game.

Weekly World of Warcraft #18 - Casual Raiding Vol. 2
Another look at casual raiding from our brand new writer!

Weekly World of Warcraft #17 - South Park, Expansion Plans, and Updates
A look at the infamous South Park episode, and talk of the future.

Weekly World of Warcraft #16 - All Quiet on the Kalimdor Front
The calm before the Burning Crusade storm.

Weekly World of Warcraft #15 - How to Make a Crusade Burn
Burning Crusade will have a negative impact on raiding, but it should bring some good PvP changes.

Weekly World of Warcraft #14 - Should I Stay or Should I Go?
It's time to renew!

Weekly World of Warcraft - Raiding for the Rest of Us
Our first guest discusses how a casual player can raid successfully.

Weekly World of Warcraft #13 - I Still Hate the Baron: Clarifications & Responses
Clarification of last week's points after receiving a deluge of responses.

Weekly World of Warcraft #12 - Dungeon 2 Armor Complaints
I hate the Baron, and other .5 tier complaints.

Weekly World of Warcraft #11 - Undead Events
A deeper look at Patch 1.11 and the Scourge Invasion.

Weekly World of Warcraft #10 - Busiest Week Ever
You want more of this?! Patch 1.11, Diablo/Starcraft MMORPGs, and more!

Weekly World of Warcraft #9 - Mailbag Edition
9 out of 10 naked dancing dwarves agree: mailbags are good!

Weekly World of Warcraft #8 - Guild Woes
Guild improvements and raid interface changes discussed this week.

Weekly World of Warcraft #7 - PvBroken
What's wrong with PvP in today's World of Warcraft.

Weekly World of Warcraft #6 - Post E3 2006 Thoughts
We look at the addition of the Draenei, and various problems with Burning Crusade.

Weekly World of Warcraft #5 - Expansion Outlook: Pre-E3 Edition
Looking forward to next week's E3, and what the future holds for WoW.

Weekly World of Warcraft #4 - Class Warfare
Nick's perspective on playing the nerfed Rogue class.

Weekly World of Warcraft #3 - Over-Raided
The third in our series focuses on the lack of content for smaller groups.

Weekly World of Warcraft #2
The second in our series of weekly World of Warcraft rants focuses on crafting.

Weekly World of Warcraft #1
The first in our series of weekly World of Warcraft rants by our resident level 60 Rogue.

The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of as a whole or any of its affiliates. This is simply one writer's opinion, and should be accepted as such. Weekly World of Warcraft is usually updated each Tuesday.

Now that E3’s cloud of press releases and promotional information has settled, we finally have more solid information about The Burning Crusade. Even with the new information released, I’m still underwhelmed by Blizzard’s showing. Sure, they showcased the upcoming patch 1.11 and expansion, but they did little else to show that they do indeed have any sort of long-term plan for World of Warcraft.

The biggest splash was the unveiling of the Draenei as the new Alliance race. While I stated in the last update that the Draenei was one of the favored choices, I didn’t expect what Blizzard unveiled. Most, if not all people expected the same type of Draenei that we saw in Warcraft III and in the Swamp of Sorrows area of World of Warcraft. Instead of the hideously deformed, short, hunchbacked green things that wear potato sacks, Blizzard unveiled an almost majestic character model that out-Blood-Elved the Blood Elves. When the Blood Elves were unveiled as the Horde race last Fall, the World of Warcraft community grudgingly accepted the choice as a good thing. If anything, it would help push more players to the Horde side of servers and hopefully balance out the population. Keep in mind that’s an Alliance player’s point of view. While many Horde players did see the benefits of getting more people, they also are bracing for numerous low-level female Blood Elves tramping around capital cities whispering “LOOK SEXAY BLOD ELF DANCE 1G PLZ THX” to lonely Taurens. All Blizzard had to do to insure this was to release an ugly, deformed, potato-sack wearing race for the Alliance. Yet, they release what is essentially a half-demon that quite frankly looks better than any other player model in World of Warcraft. Put yourself in the mind of the average player. What would you rather play: another silly elf or some amazing looking half-demon? Exactly. While certainly Blood Elves will bring more people over to the Horde side, they simply can’t compete with Draenei. I think the Horde/Alliance population will get closer, but I think the Alliance will still have a clear majority on every level.

Original Draenei

Now, if you pay attention to the Warcraft lore, the Blood Elves teaming up with the Horde and the Draenei not being ugly green hunchbacks wearing potato sacks may seem strange. I don’t pay attention to it and I even have hard problems with it. Fellow VGGEN Staff Writer and Warcraft enthusiast Cameron Morris practically had an aneurysm trying to figure out exactly how the Blood Elves would align with Taurens, Orcs and Trolls and how all three of those could even align with the Forsaken, and how exactly the Draenei weren’t the green hunchbacks wearing potato sacks. In a move that both satisfied and annoyed lore junkies everywhere, Blizzard retconned the background information on the official Burning Crusade Web site. While the Draenei background story is plausible (although it alters the formation of the Burning Legion as explained in Warcraft III), the Blood Elf story really doesn’t make sense at all. I understand the Alliance would be weary about joining up with the Blood Elves due to the Warlock/Demonic energy things, but I fail to see how they would be accepted by the Horde, who consists of Orcs and Taruens who aren’t crazy about demons, the Forsaken, who took part in destroying the Elven kingdoms in Warcraft III, and Trolls, who are the traditional racial enemies of Elves. Even then, they’re aligned with the fallen Night Elf Illidan, who is generally considered persona-non-grata by both factions. Seriously, is the Horde just the coalition of misfits that nobody else likes? They don’t even seem like they should like each other, let alone cooperate enough to routinely stomp Alliance groups in Warsong Gulch or Arathi Basin. However, there’s always the theory on the lore that many people have promoted: Who cares, it’s just a game.

All races aside, the E3 showing really didn’t indicate if Blizzard has a long-term plan for World of Warcraft. Sure, we have the Shaman and Mage reviews as well as the Naxxramas dungeon in patch 1.11, and the rogue review in 1.12, but what comes after that? Obviously, The Burning Crusade will extend the game life for a time, but it doesn’t seem like enough. The level cap seems too low, and really doesn’t seem like it will satisfy even casual gamers for more than a month. Ten levels go by really quickly. Sure, adding more dungeon content is fun, and they do seem to at least be attempting to balance between the Raiding and Casual crowds, but it still doesn’t address the long-term survivability of World of Warcraft. The biggest question-mark for the immediate future is the release date of The Burning Crusade. The current estimate has shifted to late 2006, but it almost seems inevitable that it will slip into 2007.

Sissy Elves

The biggest problem with The Burning Crusade is it has taken this long to get out to begin with. World of Warcraft’s biggest problem has been the time it takes to improve the game. Class reviews, generally a balancing issue that should be addressed in the first two major patches, are finally wrapping up almost two years after the game’s initial release. The first expansion pack is due at least at the two year mark of the game. Sure, Blizzard has dropped new content that certain other competitors would have almost certainly packaged into an expansion, but at this rate I’ll be writing about the upcoming Playstation 4 before they get a second World of Warcraft expansion released. The one benefit Blizzard has is the lack of any good competition in the MMORPG market. The SOE titles are essentially dead and are plagued by numerous issues that were never addressed, while Guild Wars took a different approach and seems to be aiming towards constant expansion content to make up for the lack of a monthly fee. Every MMORPG launched since World of Warcraft has either failed or experienced a mediocre reception. The one game that has the most potential to dethrone World of Warcraft seems to be Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. While not expected until 2007, Warhammer Online promises to revolutionize the way people look at MMORPGs through a vital PvP system that includes realm vs. realm competitions. World of Warcraft has managed to beat out multiple heavy-hitting franchises and names in the MMORPG genre, including Star Wars Galaxies, The Matrix: Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Everquest 2, but history tells us that time eventually has to catch up to Blizzard and World of Warcraft. After The Burning Crusade is released, Blizzard needs to focus on another expansion and add new classes into the game. They need something to keep World of Warcraft fresh so people continue to play the game.

While Blizzard will certainly hold the MMORPG crown for 2006, I’m not so certain they’ll be able to last through 2007. We have a great idea of what’s ahead up to the expansion pack. After The Burning Crusade is released, everything gets cloudy. Will there even be a second expansion pack or will Blizzard go back to making strategy games? Who knows, I’m just along for the ride at this point.

No Diablo III/Starcraft II/Warcraft IV at E3 2006

Well, Blizzard didn’t show off any other titles, meaning we’re still at least another year and a half away from a new installment to any of their award winning non-MMORPG games. I’m still banking on a new Diablo title, as all of the evidence (mainly job postings on Blizzard’s main site) seems to point towards a new installment in the successful hack-and-slash series. Perhaps they’ll reveal more at Blizzcon in October. If that’s the case, we could very well see a new Blizzard title by next summer.

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Posted: 05/18/2006