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Is Cataclysm the Next World of Warcraft Expansion?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the either-that-or-it's-not dept.

PC Games (Games) 259

ajs writes "There has been no official announcement yet, but a number of moves by Blizzard Entertainment seem to indicate that the next expansion for World of Warcraft could be titled Cataclysm. Speculation began when Blizzard trademarked Cataclysm recently, and then later when a test server briefly popped up with the word 'Maelstrom' in its name. If true, the name would fall neatly into the WoW lore and expected expansion list. The Cataclysm is another name for the Great Sundering, an event that created a swirling vortex of water and mystical energies (the 'Maelstrom') that has appeared on the world map in-game since release. There are also indications that early design work included some of the islands in this area, which has long fueled anticipation of a Maelstrom-based expansion involving the former Night Elf noble, Azshara, queen of the Naga and the Goblins whose main city is in the south seas."

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259 comments

The next WoW Expansion... (2, Funny)

omgarthas (1372603) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668431)

... and probably the last

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668459)

I think they'll milk it for as long as they can.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1)

jadae (1129437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668635)

This is true. Look at the original EverQuest. They are still making expansions for that.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1)

Shamenaught (1341295) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668937)

Yeah, no point in losing your userbase. As long as they update graphics and add stuff every once in a while, everyone's happy.

Everyone, that is, except those who've realized it's basically just a big time and money-sucking void.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28669955)

This is true. Look at the original EverQuest. They are still making expansions for that.

Yup, and another is due out this November. And, while this will probably be modded as flamebait, WoW was the best thing that ever happened to EverQuest, from my perspective as someone that's played it continuously for nearly 10 years now: It lured many assholes from EQ, and the remaining population is, overall, much better for it, at least in my experience.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668469)

... and probably the last

Yeah, they're really hurting in subscriber numbers these days... Oh wait...

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (2, Informative)

Dr.Horrible Protoge (1343633) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668477)

They've already said that max level will be 100... so there's at least 2 more. And with 10 million players I very much doubt that 2 will be the end.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (2, Informative)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668647)

Actually, with all wow servers in china being shutdown for the foreseeable future, they only have ~4 million subs.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668823)

Actually, with all wow servers in china being shutdown for the foreseeable future, they only have ~4 million subs.

If by 'shut down' you mean 'continue running while owned by a different company'.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (2, Informative)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669053)

By 'shut down' he meant that the company that should have taken over, still haven't gotten all their ducks in a row, meaning that the people there can't play on the servers unless they move to Taiwanese servers.
So you're only partly right.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (2, Informative)

Cookie3 (82257) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669007)

They've never said 100 is the max level. That statement is GENERALLY attributed to the fake "expansion list" that people keep linking to. Here's the original source for that list:
http://wow.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=21;mid=119012268058738816 [allakhazam.com]

It's fake. The 1st expansion, Burning Crusade went live in January 2007 -- but Wrath of the Lich King was announced (INCLUDING zone information) in August of that year. By September, all of that info was everywhere, including approximate level of the zones, preliminary notes about possible raid zones, etc. Basically, the list used readily available data based on RPG sourcebook material, in-game quests, and instruction manuals for previous Warcraft games.

Further, even if the list was legitimate: It makes no sense why a multi-billion dollar company would continue to base its video game's success or failure on a sole wordpad document transformed into a PDF.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (2, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669147)

You are correct that they never said the max level is 100. The developers HAVE said that all of their equations and formula were designed to be able to scale up to at least level 100 though. They've acknowledged that they didn't plan for beyond that, but I'm sure they could tweak them if need be, given how much money it's bringing in.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28669781)

[Citation Needed]

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669903)

Possibly-- or they want to move on to the next MMO. Ever wondered why the patches and class balance and new content have been coming slower and slower?

It's entirely possible they don't want people to become MMO'd out. Too much of a good thing...
My guess-- next is World of Starcraft, with not two, but THREE factions. That will make it very interesting. Timing would be perfect, too, they could release it just one or two years after the last Starcraft 2 Campaign is released, and just ride the wave of that marketing blitz.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (4, Insightful)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 4 years ago | (#28670283)

The next MMO is, according to statements from Blizzard sources, to be a new IP - not based on any previous franchise. Given that 3 of their upcoming products are sequels or expansions (Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, next WoW expansion) it stands to reason that they might want to try to launch a new franchise - they need to keep the future markets in mind.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1)

koolfy (1213316) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668499)

why ?
Is the amount of gamers dramatically decreasing ? Are they running out of money ? Are they doing bad marketing moves ?
I don't play it, so I'm honestly curious

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1)

omgarthas (1372603) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668517)

They are moving all their major content developers to a new franchise, and I don't see Blizzard just milking its best brand until it's R.I.P. because nobody plays it

He has no idea what he's talking about (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668943)

Maybe it is a lame joke, maybe he's a WoW hater who wishes it was the last, whatever the case it has no basis in reality. Currently, there are over 11 million subscribers to WoW where a subscriber is defined as someone who has paid to play in the last month. That number continues to increase, and accounts for about 60% of all MMO players. Eventually, it's popularity will peak and numbers will start to wane, but not at this point. Right now, it is still extremely popular.

Well, as you can probably guess, Blizzard and more specifically Vivendi (their parent company) aren't stupid and wish to make as much money as possible. That means they'll keep releasing expansions and content for WoW because they want to keep all those subscribers. They aren't going to say "Let's just let the game atrophy and have everyone run off to play something else." They want those dollars, they will keep developing it.

What's more, an MMO doesn't even have to be growing to be worth developing content for. It just has to have enough players such that the money pays the bills to run the game, pay the developers of the new content, and make a profit. Thus you find even old games are still under active development. Everquest released their 15th expansion last October, and they've got a 16th planned for this November. It has been running for a decade, and the sequel has already been out for a couple years. However people still want to play, so Sony is still making content for it.

So no, this isn't the last WoW expansion. They are going to keep working on that game to keep getting subscribers for as long as it is profitable. To do anything else would be to incur the wrath of their shareholders.

Re:He has no idea what he's talking about (1)

Binary Boy (2407) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669795)

Just one minor correction - Vivendi is no longer Blizzard's parent; Activision Blizzard is.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668955)

Naah. They'll keep coming out with new content as long as it's profitable for them to do so.

The only foreseeable problem is that, with the expansion packs, they're slowly going through every big bad they established in Warcraft 3, which makes it difficult to pull the story back together if they ever decide to do another game in the Warcraft world.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669495)

Actually i'd say their deepest problem is that, since you have to buy every expansion to proceed in level, they are slowly but surely locking out all but the most committed players from sticking around long enough to access their new content. If you look at a given server, you'll find tons of level 80s and a few low levels proceeding along. It is inconvenient/undesirable for the high level types to do much hanging around with the low levels. This means that absent people making twinks, the low level zones are pretty well deserted. The game looks like no one plays it a lot of the time when you are running through low level zones. This doesn't encourage people to want to start playing, which ultimately will kill the game, though the way down will be slow and extended.

I believe in the short term it costs them money. If they wanted to extract more cash from people, they'd be well advised to make all but the latest expansion free. When the number becomes 3 expansions to buy to get to current, it'll be a huge deterrent for a new player or an additional account, even more so than now.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669669)

Well, one nice thing they are doing is making mounts available at level 20 (and epic mounts at level 40 if I recall), and the whole start-at-level-55 thing for Death Knights is pretty cool.

Re:The next WoW Expansion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28669899)

That problem was probably also part of the motivation behind 'heroic' classes that start at higher levels --e.g., DeathKnight at 55 --so maybe we'll see more of those.

WoW indeed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668455)

Wow - what an exciting end to the first test of the Ashes! Go England!

The next World of Warcraftt Expansion (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668463)

Getting out of your fucking apartment and in to the real world.

Comb the cheetoes out of your beard and get moving.

You might even find some +12 Real Pussy...

Re:The next World of Warcraftt Expansion (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668573)

Yeah, but do you realize how long you have to farm 'til you can afford THAT? It's hoarded by the effing chinese farmers (ok, they're russian here and called pimps), and last time I tried to get one myself, just as I was charging one and started my attack combo the GMs suspended my account by locking me in a little room. Ok, not so much different from my normal dwelling, but WITHOUT A FRIGGIN' COMPUTER!

RL sucks. When the GMs side with the farmers that hog the resources, you know it's a game not worth playing.

Re:The next World of Warcraftt Expansion (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668607)

What you say is funny as one of my best friends has no problem with that. A guy who has several women on a string to balance his need to get laid with his addiction to wow. Although he has an unfair advantage, so.cal panties seem to drop around foreign accents.

Re:The next World of Warcraftt Expansion (-1, Offtopic)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668617)

Getting out of your fucking apartment and in to the real world.

So what do you suggest I do there? Stand on the street?

You might even find some +12 Real Pussy...

What if I already get this, despite sitting at computer almost 24/7? :)

Re:The next World of Warcraftt Expansion (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668839)

+ 13 Good Pussy?

Re:The next World of Warcraftt Expansion (5, Funny)

Ifandbut (1328775) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668785)

You might even find some +12 Real Pussy...

In my experience, not only is +1 Real Pussy extremely hard to obtain, it is often not worth the effort.

Re:The next World of Warcraftt Expansion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28670177)

For real, the economy on this server is way broken cuz the +1 real pussy is soo overpriced.

Re:The next World of Warcraftt Expansion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28670009)

You might even find some +12 Real Pussy...

Shouldn't that be 12+ Real Pussy?

Hopefully for the Druids... (2, Funny)

samriel (1456543) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668501)

Hopefully for all of the druids who have been (whining|complaining|asking) for The Emerald Dream for so long, Blizzard will add it into this one.

/dr00ds represent!

Hahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28669999)

NO LOVE FOR PILLAR HUGGERS !

Does anyone care? (1, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668561)

I'm fairly sure that it will need a neat 4-letter-acronym, but aside of that, nobody will care for its name, its story or anything else RPG or WC-story related it might bring along.

What matters is, how much of a level cap increase will it bring (ok, the usual 10 levels, that one is a given), what is the new socket or gizmo you can tack onto your gear (we had sockets and runes already, so this time they'd have to come up with something really new, at least I can't think of anything else that's been done before) and whether they manage to dumb it down any more.

Fanboys, flame away.

Re:Does anyone care? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668677)

There is *some* truth to what you are saying: mainly the part about rather or not they manage to dumb it down. I've played WoW since July 2005 and it gets more casual by the patch. Seems to me that they are beginning the end for it, slowly phasing it out so everyone will move to the next Blizzard MMO whenever it rolls around.

Ummm 11 million people care (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668961)

That you don't like WoW is fine, but it is a rather stupid thing to say "Does anyone care?" Yes, WoW players care and there are a LOT of WoW players. It is one of the best selling games of all time and is THE best selling MMO of all time by a wide margin. Thus, a lot of people care what is going on with it.

So if WoW isn't your thing then don't play it. However don't act surprised that a large number of techies are interested in it. It is an extremely popular game.

Re:Ummm 11 million people care (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669073)

Michael Jackson died. Apparently millions of people care. But really, who cares?

Re:Ummm 11 million people care (0, Flamebait)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669075)

I'm fairly sure most WoW players of today will not care. They will care that there is new content, they will care that there are new areas, they will care that there is a higher level cap, they will care that there is new stuff, they will care that there is some new additional goodie they can tack to their character...

They will not care what it's called. I'm fairly sure you could call it "The quest for even more loot" and people will buy it. You could call that endboss drop "the superspecialawesome axe of leet" and they will go in and farm it, they will equip it and be proud to have it.

Name does not matter. Neither does the story. Not at all.

Re:Ummm 11 million people care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28669363)

Yea, that's pretty much wrong. A lot of raiders care about the story and the lore, and many players absolutely love the graphics of a zone like Grizzly Hills or Nagrand. A plot about something that happen a LONG time ago is pretty interesting, as is the speculation over which new class will likely accompany such an expansion... a new healer of some sort? From the past?

There's a hell of a lot of stuff outside of the few kids that play the game just for bigger numbers. The rest of us like bigger numbers but also want context!

Re:Ummm 11 million people care (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669079)

For techies the tech could also be interesting, keeping all those servers running with all those players is quite an achievement in my opinion :)

Re:Does anyone care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28669367)

4-letter-acronym? Cyst.

A new book also kinda confirms it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668587)

when coupled with the "Cataclysm" name, one of the Lich King's visions in the new book "Arthas, Rise of the Lich King", everything gets a lot clearer and more certain: ...the silver waters of a vast expanse of water... a sea... ...Something was roiling just beneath the ocean's surface. The hitherto-smooth surface began to churn wildly, seething, as if from a storm, although the day was clear. A horrible sound that Arthas only dimly recognized as laughter assaulted his ears, along with the screaming of a world wrenched from its proper place, hauled upward to face the light of day it had not seen in uncounted centuries...

Cataclysm most likely doesn't refer to the Great Sundering, but a new event, Azshara raising Nazjatar to the surface.

Not News (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668589)

This isn't news for nerds. Hell, it's not even NEWS. It's a lame conjecture. I think even WoW nerds would wait for something to actually -happen- before considering it news.

Re: the islands (2, Interesting)

mauthbaux (652274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668605)

There are also indications that early design work included some of the islands in this area,

It's true that a couple of islands appear on the map near the vortex. I heard a rumor about them once indicating that they were at one point accessible to players. Swimming there wasn't possible due to the fatigue that resulted from the deep water. However, if you had a couple stacks of elixirs of water walking, you wouldn't be affected by the fatigue since you weren't swimming. According to the one player I knew who had claimed to have been there, it took about 45 minutes of wandering around with nothing but waves in sight. Once he got to the island, he looted a chest that contained a full tier set of paladin gear. 20 minutes later his account had received a 72 hour ban, and all his recent loot had been removed from his inventory. His theory was that the island was a place where GMs could perform in-game testing of items and whatnot. Obviously this is all unconfirmed at best. and I still have some serious doubts about the story, but anyway, that's the only thing I've ever heard about the islands.

And just so that this post isn't entirely off topic, here's a link to some of the current speculation on the lore which will be experienced with the expansion. [wow.com] As an added note, it's doubtful that this will be the final expansion of the game. Most are speculating that there will be a 5th chapter in which players will get to enter the emerald dream. Again, this is all just rumors and lies at this point.

Re: the islands (1)

Wingman 5 (551897) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668679)

Bullshit. All you need to do is jump off the zeppelin that goes out of UC at the last second, feather fall and you can walk on the edge of the map. where the zone ends. you can not swim across the ocean. Yes there is a dev island, if you are on a private server you can warp yourself there. but there is no way to get there using the public realms.

Re: the islands (1)

mauthbaux (652274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669241)

Yes, I was incorrect. Please see the clarification I've since made. [slashdot.org] I'll accept the blame for having posted something for which I don't have sufficient justification or evidence. Feel free to mod down the original comment and the disinformation it contains.

Re: the islands (1)

mauthbaux (652274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668777)

Okay, I need to get my facts straight. After doing some reading up on the topic (too late obviously) it is not clear to me that this guy's story was crap. The GM island *does* in fact exist as confirmed by WoWwiki [wowwiki.com]. The islands are in fact, closed zones; [wowwiki.com] Tel Abim and Zandalar specifically. The exploit to get these islands (here I go with the crazy theories again) is covered in a Thottbot post on the Levitate [thottbot.com] spell.

[...] I mounted, and as I lept off into the horizon, I casted levitate. I came to a point where the map disappeared, but the water continued to stretch out into the distance.
Some theorize that this is where GM Island is located.
Okay, so we all know that GM Island is in an instance now. But like any instance, there's a non-instance version of it. Like when you set old world instances to "Heroic" and walk behind the portals. GM Island wasn't always an instance, and programmers just don't delete environment from the game. Case in point, Old Ironforge and Ironforge Airport.
Granted, you'd have to walk pretty far, assuming GM Island IS in that direction...
Moving on, it's unreachable alone...attempted it. However, multiple priests together could do this easy. Have 5 or so in a group together so they can heal off of each other with renew and circle of healing. Another tip, wear +healing gear that has no stamina. Fatigue hits for 20% of your max health every 1-3 seconds. Low health means low damage, high healing means you can heal over it. 5 priests means you can have a few of them sit back and relax while the others cast, so not everyone wastes mana.
If you are really interested in doing this, make it 4 priests and a warlock.
"Harmonex wishes to summon you to GM Island." [...] Of course, this is all under the assumption that GM Island even exists on the main map...

Re: the islands (1)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668837)

Bullshit, Jesus do you believe anything someone tells you?

Re: the islands (1)

mauthbaux (652274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669051)

From my original post:

Obviously this is all unconfirmed at best. and I still have some serious doubts about the story,

and

Again, this is all just rumors and lies at this point

And from my subsequent post

Okay, I need to get my facts straight. After doing some reading up on the topic (too late obviously) it is not clear to me that this guy's story was crap.

Now, what part of all that indicated that I "believe anything someone tells [me]?" I apologize if my post came across as if I were preaching doctrine from the mouth of God Himself, but I thought I was pretty clear that this was all speculation.

Re: the islands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668843)

Your friend lied to you. Water walking never prevented fatigue.

Re: the islands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28669187)

I admitted as much in a later post.

You are correct that water walking does not prevent fatigue. However, prior to patch 1.7 (2005-09-22) damage absorption abilities did reduce the damage received from fatigue.
From the patch notes, under the "General" heading we see the entry: "Damage absorption no longer protects against falling, drowning, or fatigue damage." In addition, fatigue damage can *still* be healed thru. From WoWwiki: [wowwiki.com]

Damage done by fatigue can be healed. It is possible for a low level healer to swim through the fatigue whilst healing itself and regenerating sufficient mana to continue infinitely, and reach often unrendered places that are otherwise impossible to reach.

So while I was incorrect in the mechanic, and the story I was told was a lie, it's still fairly likely that some of these places are in fact reachable; at least in theory.

W00t 74?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668627)

That comp8Ise But with Netcraft to decline for

Will Interest Wane? (4, Interesting)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668633)

Will interest wane in WoW simply because it seems like just an extension to the treadmill? Are people getting tired of the aesthetic? These are questions from someone who doesn't see the attraction in the first place.

Re:Will Interest Wane? (4, Insightful)

k_187 (61692) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668703)

I think for a lot of players interest waxes and wanes within each expansion cycle. I played from launch for about a year. Stopped until the 1st expansion, played that until bored. Stopped until the 2nd expansion, played that until I got bored again. The coming back to things is a lot of fun, until you've seen the new sights and get back on the treadmill. I'm not the only person I know that's played like this. I had a lot of fun when I came back to the last expansion. Not so much by the time I left. I'm sure it'll be the same way again.

Re:Will Interest Wane? (1)

Ifandbut (1328775) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668811)

Heck, I'm falling into this cycle while waiting for patches. I'v done Uldar a few times, I know I'll never finish it. So now I'm bored and waiting for the next patch to come out and give those raids a try.

Re:Will Interest Wane? (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668981)

Will interest wane in WoW simply because it seems like just an extension to the treadmill? Are people getting tired of the aesthetic? These are questions from someone who doesn't see the attraction in the first place.

No, no, and uh, no.

Re:Will Interest Wane? (1)

mellestad (1301507) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669115)

It did for me. Honestly, I lost interest before I came close to the first level cap. The expansions might be awesome, but there is no way I am going to waste months of my time grinding for levels just to get to the new content. If they let you start out now and pick a mid-range point for your character maybe I would consider it. People might say, hey it only takes a couple weeks to level up to 50! Well, yea, but some of us have jobs and families. If the gameplay was fun it might be different, but I get tired of playing about two days after I start. Just the same thing over and over and over and.....

Re:Will Interest Wane? (4, Interesting)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669185)

Then you'd have been impressed by the latest expansion, which made all the questing very story driven, interesting, and added memorable moments to just about every quest.

One of the WORST quests in the northrend expansion has you free a storm giant, and ride his back while he runs around squishing legions of the undead and exacting revenge on his captors. Then you set him free, and unlike the old world quests, he's not back in the cage when you run around there later. He's actually free.

Then there's the dungeons, where you fight bosses with all sorts of fun abilities, like the one that renders the entire party insane - forcing you to kill your teammates twice, or the one that you ride a dragon to fight the boss, or the one that gores party members at random forcing you to play without a party member for a short while.

They've come a long way from the boring version of wow. Even though I did get burned out after the expansion hit, it wasn't because of the game, but the people in it. I think that makes it as much a success as any game can be expected to be.

Re:Will Interest Wane? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669201)

Whether people will get tired of it will, IMO, mostly depend on how long Blizzard manages to keep the cardinal sins that have been commited before at bay. And arguably it gets harder with every expansion.

1) New players vs. old players and catching up
One of the most devastating problems of MMOs so far was that old players quit over time, but new players are not drawn into the game. The main reason being that it's hard to catch up to the old players, so why bother trying? So far they managed to make it easy for new players to catch up. With the last expansion you already saw a few cracks in that shell.

2) Acceptance of new players
Veterans quickly zipped through the "normal" levels of the instances or bypassed them altogether. This was possible because the raid gear from before added so many "levels" (essentially, equipment is additional levels, I'll elaborate if necessary, but I think that's something everyone figured out by now) that they could easily step over the "lower", normal mode, new dungeons. This in turn meant that new players eventually hit a wall. They could not get the "normal" level gear (or raid gear from the previous expansion) because nobody did those dungeons, and they were not accepted into heroic instances because they lacked the gear.

3) Equipment power inflation
This is tightly tied with the previous points. The gear has to be more powerful than the one from the previous expansion. Else, why bother getting it? On the other hand, too much power in the gear opens up the aforementioned player gap. The power gap was quite noticable between BC and WotLK, probably because of the complaints from old players that the green crap level 71 blew the snot out of their gold raid gear they fought so hard at level 70. The power inflation will go on and become worse and worse with every expansion.

4) Additional "equipment slots"
This can be a boon or a killer. So far, again, WoW managed to use it beneficial. New players could easily "overequip" compared to the low level monsters and zip through them. It was not unheard that you could easily solo heroics at your level until you reached the expansion levels, because you could now add so much more boost to your character than you could before the expansions. It can be quite a problem for new players who cannot get those goodies easily (unless they have high level friends who equip them) because that stuff simply does not drop easily, or at all, from old time monsters, or can only be crafted altogether.

In short, how long WoW will survive will not depend how much goodies they toss at old players. Sorry, not intending to hurt your feelings if you're an old time WoW player, but you will stay anyway, as long as they don't stop producing any content altogether. Some will quit over time, and whether or not WoW will stay to be the top game will depend on whether it manages to fill those ranks of quitters with new players.

It has a story? (4, Interesting)

dj245 (732906) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668639)

I might be convinced that the game has a story, but it is presented in such a tedious and boring way that I could never be bothered to pay any attention. All I ever saw was "NPC: blah blah blah kill 20 other NPC's blah blah blah". I can think of many games with poor storylines, and many games with great storylines, but WOW is one of the only games in which I didn't care at all about the storyline.

Re:It has a story? (2, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668719)

The storyline is awesome, but it takes a LONG time to really get to know it. Not only that there is alot of lore that goes back to WCIII. If you played that you have a much greater understanding of the lore and events.

Re:It has a story? (2, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668887)

Well, there's "story" and then there's "story". I believe the GP would refer to what you're referring to as "setting" or "backstory". Lore is an important part of the setting, but it is not itself a storyline. It's the backdrop behind the main plot, but it's not the main plot.

Nearly all MMORPG's (and some non-MMO RPG's, e.g. Morrowind), suffer from having a fabulously well developed setting and rich lore, but almost no actual story. If you're used to playing traditional RPG's, where there's an actual plot that you progress through and are an active part of, WoW will definitely leave you flat. Diablo, simplistic as it was, had a richer storyline than WoW...

If you're looking for an MMO with a decent storyline, I'd recommend Guild Wars. It's not exactly high art, but it's a great deal better than any other MMO I've ever seen in placing you at the center of events that actually move and change the world as you go along.

Re:It has a story? (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669127)

Uh, Asheron's Call to this day still has the best lore, and even when the story arcs were shitty as fuck, the best story lines in any MMO.

Re:It has a story? (1)

mellestad (1301507) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669143)

Yea, there is a lot of lore, but you could literally pick up all the interesting lore in a couple hours of reading, rather than play for a year to get it all in game. The gameplay is too drawn out and tedious. It was alright when I was younger and didn't have anything better to do, but now I just can't justify spending the amount of time WoW takes. If you can only play for an hour a day, WoW sucks. At least games like Warhammer online let you log in and have some fun, even if you only have half an hour.

Re:It has a story? (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669699)

The storyline is awesome, but it takes a LONG time to really get to know it. Not only that there is alot of lore that goes back to WCIII. If you played that you have a much greater understanding of the lore and events.

Actually there is lore all the way to Warcraft: Orcs Vs. Humans, aka WC1. But only if you play the Orc campaign since the events of the human one didn't happen before the beginning of WCII.

Re:It has a story? (3, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668765)

"but WOW is one of the only games in which I didn't care at all about the storyline."

I think the problem is that the the storyline gets garbled because anyone who never played warcraft series (from the first on) won't have a damn clue WTF is going on. World of Warcraft is REALLY bad at what the RTS games were good at: Story telling.

I really think the MMO genre is not suited to storytelling unless you go the way of Guildwars. Guildwars with more story polish would have been an outstanding single and multiplayer game, even though it's primarily "multiplayer" because the groups are so small and everything is instanced.

Plus there's no rule saying you can't play the campaign by yourself, and they BOTS/NPC characters you can add to your party, and play in your own instance. Guildwars is pretty much one of the only games that got instancing dead on right out the gate.

WOW is really a crap MMO from a lot of standpoints outside the aesthetics of the cartoony graphics, I couldn't stand wow when I first played it. I forced myself to play it for 2 or 3 months and it still didn't hold a candle to Blizzards previous games like Warcraft and Starcraft in terms of fun and quality.

Most WoW'ers I suspect have really awful gaming tastes. I call it the "bottom feeders" MMO. If you're used to single player RPG's of yesteryear it breaks all the conventions and sticks in maddening things like extended travel time (instead of town portal like in say diablo 1+2 another blizzard game).

It seems in many ways MMO's are sabotaging all the lessons learned about making fun games to extend playtime for $.

Re:It has a story? (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668927)

cartoony graphics

Has anyone else noticed this as a shibboleth of WoW-haters? I can't help wondering if there is some sort of deep neurological structure that makes certain people immune to the uncanny valley effect of supposedly "realistic" video games, as if they are in some way autistic. Perhaps they see it all as an abstraction, so that the lack of jumping and the environment-on-rails nature of Guild Wars doesn't feel constricting, and the insta-port towns conform to a conception of the game as a graph of objectives points, and not a virtual place to inhabit and explore.

Re:It has a story? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669181)

Your post had no points in it, the idea that MMO's are all about socializing is BS

".. and not a virtual place to inhabit and explore."

This is the most vaguest thing I have ever read on slashdot it says nothing and it really shows how non-savvy you are about games and gaming in general. Games are about interactivity and experiencing "the best parts of the movies" where you are *in control*, the more abstract and robotic and automatic you make a game, it becomes a 3D rendered movie on a computer with only minimal input from the end user.

After you've explored a world once it gets really fucking boring treading back and forth, and you're wasting real world time that could be spent on other games, the idea of "inhabiting a world" is bs, unless you are ultra nerd fringe gamer with no life, there's hardcore, and then there is *fringe* gamers in the casual and hardcore segments who are just F'd right up.

They wouldn't have the RPG elements, if it was not about things to *do* within the game, fighting and equipment, quests, etc. MMO's were attempts to take single player RPG's and put them online, look at the history of RPG's

Ultima online, before it existed - there were countless ultima single player games

Final fantasy 11, before it existed - countless single player games.

World of Warcraft, there are 3 prior games (and all strategy games /w small rpg elements to boot) Yet WoW absorbs the lore and story of the strategy games but it doesn't hardly do any of the great story telling the RTS games did.

I have no issue with the cartoony graphics, I love blizzards aesthetic style and artists, my problem was with the gutting of RPG gameplay that most MMO's have done to make it easy so any idiot and non gamer can "play", by automating most of the interactive things avatars can do outside of navigation and menu clicking. Try really playing the lineage of MMO RPG's before you comment because... you are a shining example of my comment:

"Most WoW'ers I suspect have really awful gaming tastes..... If you're used to single player RPG's of yesteryear it breaks all the conventions and sticks in maddening things like extended travel time (instead of town portal like in say diablo 1+2 another blizzard game)."

All of which is 100% true.

Re:It has a story? (2, Informative)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 4 years ago | (#28670089)

Actually, something that I think a lot of people fail to notice is that extremely high detail graphics in a computer game, eg Age of Conan or Crysis, are HARDER on the eyes than the simpler graphics in, eg World of Warcraft.

The graphics in WoW are VERY high contrast.

This means that its very easy for the eye to pick out the details it needs in order to see what is around you.

In high-quality graphic games the contrast is usually pretty low, they seem to compress the color palette quite a bit. This means that the eye has to work faurly hard to pick out the details of a scene.

Age of Conan was particularly bad in this respect (ignoring the other ways in which the game was 'bad'). Almost everything in AoC is a washed out brown or green. I couldn't play for more than a few hours at a time without my eyes aching. Yes, I have a decent monitor, yes I have decent graphics card and computer.

I can play WoW for hours on end because its very easy to look at.

Cartoony graphics ftw!

Re:It has a story? (1)

mellestad (1301507) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669183)

I think I agree. At least for me, WoW is just a time sink, and it is designed that way. I know lots of people love it, but it reminds me of TV sitcoms, it is just designed to be involving enough to keep you staring at the screen, but never deep enough to actually make you think enough to really become enjoyable. So in summary, WoW is like McDonalds.

Re:It has a story? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669647)

You summed it up succinctly, right on the money. I agree 100%, I did the details, you condensed it into a powerful phrase.

  "it is just designed to be involving enough to keep you staring at the screen, but never deep enough to actually make you think enough to really become enjoyable"

Re:It has a story? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669249)

Story does not matter in an MMO. Period. Simple as that. Yes, you may enjoy it if you like, but it's not important.

WC3 was, story wise, a single player game. And there, story is an important element. Else... well, what's the difference between WC3 and any other RTS out there? The story that drove WC3 was critical to its success. Without it, it would have been just another RTS.

In MMOs, what makes or breaks the game is rarely the story. Mostly because you can only make it so credible that you, some lowly level 1ish character, make some difference in that world. Kill 30 wolves, bring this trinket to my loved one, all "worthy" tasks for someone as low as you are at the beginning, but if you're into epic, heroic stories, you'll quit before you reach a level where you would be part of the epic, heroic story.

It already takes a fair lot of ability to disbelieve that you're tasked with cleaning out a band of pirates when you hit 20. The first thing I'd ask is "hey, look, they are around level 20 like me. Umm... why do you sign up the five of us, send in a single level 40 and he'll do the job easily, without any danger to him, and you can rely on him being successful!"

I mean, it's like sending in a troop of marines instead of ordering an air strike.

Re:It has a story? (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669589)

"Story does not matter in an MMO. Period. Simple as that."

You're missing the point completely, it's called world of WARCRAFT, if it was a new MMO and IP you'd have a point. And mostly I was just pointing out the fact that developers took their RPG properties and cajoled them into the "MMO" genre (if it can even be called that) while butchering the single player aspects of the IP in the process.

You're missing the point that all MMO's heritage are from single player RPG's, so people who played the previous games in the genres have expectations about gaming conventions and good game design built up the last 20 years that "mmo designers" throughout the window just to extend playtime NOT because it is fun or entertaining, they've added annoyances and unfun things back into the game merely to milk the drooling masses for $ that is what is why MMO's tend to take game design a step back because the focus is not on making the best product but extending monthly payments of your customers.

Re:It has a story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28669463)

Seems to me like you were looking for Final Fantasy 7 or Diablo rather than an MMO.

Re:It has a story? (1)

Amorpheus_MMS (653095) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669261)

There isn't so much of a storyline (the "plot" of progression has become more pronounced in every expansion, and WOTLK did a good job at this) but most of what people call story serves purely as background. Most characters in the game have at least some that's conveyed through quest texts, and often this expands through series of quests. In an MMO the possibilities of storytelling could be much better utilised, but the world is fleshed out on such a scale that it would be a simply gargantuan task to play (not to mention develop). I can't imagine a KOTOR-style game that takes a magnitude longer to play through would keep players' attention better.

That's the beauty of the current, sort of simple presentation there is in WoW: If all one wants to see is how many spider eyes need collecting, that's that. If somebody is actually interested in the virtual world they're exploring they'll see more than an empty void when they pull back the curtains.

Re:It has a story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28670101)

Nicely put.. and it keeps changing in anachronous ways, so even if you did your homework and tried to follow it (and.. good luck with that)... you still get the odd situations where you kill boss x, then the next expansion you get to kill him when he was young, then you kill his ghost, then you're actually on his side killing an even bigger foe.... but before that... ad nauseum ad infinitum. Its so much more rewarding just to turn off your brain and concentate on instance/pvp progression and getting phatter lootz... the rest is just a DND hangover.

I hate WoW players. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668689)

Yeah, this will totally get modded as flamebait. Still, I gotta say it.

I hate WoW players.

As if anyone cares about the supposed 'flavour' of this bland game. Millions of people subscribe to a service so they can grind and jump through hoops. What's the point? Go to the forest and kill 100 purple dragons, get a new sword, then go to the desert and kill 100 brown dragons. Then you get new armour and you can go to the mountains ... where you get to kill 100 green dragons. Yay! The dragons just keep reappearing and changing colours; you're not accomplishing anything. No matter how many you kill, nothing changes. I tell ya, if the Nazis in WWII could respawn, nobody would have fought them because beating them would be impossible. I'd be living in Hitler's Canada.

Games have two types of players, winners and losers. WoW is a game that by design you can never win. Only grind forever until you grow tired of it and realize you've thrown away months or perhaps even years of your life. All WoW players are losers.

So, you must be wondering, why I am so bitter. Why do I whine about the hobbies of others? Because I have actually lost friends to this evil time-leech. People who used to be outgoing people who I could share fun new experiences with, who are now recluses who live in their rooms gobbling fast food and anti-depressants, whose only plans for the future are the bloody raid they have scheduled for 8PM. Because, you know, ya gotta kill that new colour of dragon. You try to talk to them about this and they just get offended. Try to invite them to a real life event with actual humans present, and they ignore you.

Believe it or not, there IS hope. I have a buddy who gave up WoW entirely. Now he has a life, a job, and GASP - even a girlfriend. He is actually winning at life and says that he can't believe how much time he was wasting on such a stupid game. He actually gave his computer away, to get a new computer that was pure and never infected with evil Blizzard software. He has never been happier.

So, WoW losers ... grow up. Ditch the game, have a real life, and hang out with real humans. Experience direct sunlight, take a class, learn Tae Kwon Do. Anything. The only regret that you will have is that you didn't delete your lame crack addiction game sooner.

Re:I hate WoW players. (4, Funny)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668783)

"So, WoW losers ... grow up. Ditch the game, have a real life, and hang out with real humans"

I find this statement ironic coming from someone posting an entire books worth of trolling on slashdot.

Re:I hate WoW players. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28668831)

It took five minutes to write my diatribe. You actually have an account here.

Re:I hate WoW players. (1)

Doctor Morbius (1183601) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669607)

Tae Kwon Do is a waste of time. Sitting around shooting the breeze with friends is a waste of time etc. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it sucks. Other people can say the same thing about stuff you like to do. The only legitimate comment you can make is that you don't like to do it. To each his own.

Re:I hate WoW players. (3, Insightful)

Ifandbut (1328775) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668903)

Why does anyone play a game? To have fun. To some people playing a game is alot more fun then dealing with awkward social situations. My best friends are people I have met through MMOs. When you met someone in a MMO you at least know that they also enjoy the game, so you have that much in common. When I met a random person in the "real world" I have no idea if I'll have anything in common besides the need to breath, eat, and sleep.

Believe it or not, there IS hope. I have a buddy who gave up WoW entirely. Now he has a life, a job, and GASP - even a girlfriend. He is actually winning at life and says that he can't believe how much time he was wasting on such a stupid game.

You can't win at life either. All you can do is attempt to pass your DNA on to the next generation and figure out a comfortable way to live until you die. I have come to realize that 90% of life is just trying to pass the time until you die. The other 10% is in pursuit of some "legacy" that will never matter or even be recorded in history.

Playing life is just as pointless as playing WoW. They are both treadmills and neither mater when all is said and done. However, life is 10000x more boring then WoW could ever be.

Re:I hate WoW players. (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669081)

Playing life is just as pointless as playing WoW. They are both treadmills and neither mater when all is said and done. However, life is 10000x more boring then WoW could ever be.

I think this is why many people are religious :-P

Re:I hate WoW players. (1)

Gravedigger3 (888675) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669815)

life is 10000x more boring then WoW could ever be.

I agreed with everything you wrote save this. If you think killing 30 bears and ripping their hearts out to bring back to some random guy is fun in a video game I assure you it is 10000x less boring to do in real life.

How the... (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28668743)

How the hell did speculation about the -name- of a possible future WoW expansion make the front page? I like games and MMOs, but this is beyond boring.

Expansion List (4, Interesting)

cyxxon (773198) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669043)

Haven't seen this posted, so here we go... this list was "leaked" or whatever before TBC, AFAIK remember...

- Draenor Set

Azuremyst Isle - 1 to 10
Bloodmyrk Isle - 10 to 20

Eversong Forest - 1 to 10
Quel'thalas - 10 to 20
Hellfire Peninsula - 58 to 62
Zangarmarsh - 60 to 64
Terokkar Forest - 61 to 65
The Deadlands - 63 to 67
Nagrand - 64 to 68
Blade's Edge Mountains - 66 to 70
Netherstorm - 67 to 70
Shadowmoon Valley - 69 to 70

- Northrend Set

Borean Tundra - 67 to 70
Howling Fjord - 67 to 70
Dragonblight - 69 to 72
Grizzly Hills - 70 to 73
Crystalsong Forest - 72 to 75
Zul'drak - 73 to 76
Sholazar Basin - 75 to 79
Storm Peaks - 76 to 80
Icecrown Glacier - 78 to 80

- Maelstrom Set

Gilneas - 77 to 80
Grim Batol - 78 to 81
Kul Tiras - 79 to 82
Kezan - 81 to 86
Tel Abim - 83 to 85
Zandalar - 84 to 87
Plunder Isle - 86 to 88
The Broken Isles - 87 to 90
The Maelstrom - 89 to 90

- Plane Set

Pandaria - 1 to 10
Hiji - 10 to 20

Wolfenhold - 1 to 10
Xorothian Plains - 10 to 20

The Green Lands - 88 to 91
The Dying Paradise - 91 to 94
The Emerald Nightmare - 94 to 97
The Eye of Ysera - 97 to 100

Deephome - 88 to 91
Skywall - 91 to 94
The Abyssal Maw - 94 to 97
The Firelands - 97 to 100

- Legion Set

K'aresh - 96 to 99
Argus Meadowlands - 97 to 100
Mac'Aree - 99 to 100
Maw of Oblivion - 100+

What a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28669309)

I like how the summary goes through the trouble of explaining the backstory of the Maelstrom and islands and what not.

As if everyone here doesn't already know.

Test Server named Maelstrom (3, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669569)

peculation began when Blizzard trademarked Cataclysm recently, and then later when a test server briefly popped up with the word 'Maelstrom' in its name.

A test server named Maelstrom? Now I know they're pulling shit out of their ass, as Maelstrom [wowwiki.com] is an existing RPPvP server that launched in September of 2006.

Re:Test Server named Maelstrom (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 4 years ago | (#28670165)

It says it has Maelstrom "in" the name. It doesn't say the name "is" Maelstrom. Big difference.

I've got Another Name For... (1)

Xin Jing (1587107) | more than 4 years ago | (#28669729)

"an event that created a swirling vortex of water and mystical energies...", but it's the result of a much more mundane lowering of a toilet flush handle.
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