Posts Tagged ‘Cataclysm

17
Aug
09

Cataclysm confirmed?

Go human hunters!

Go human hunters!

Theres a hefty front page news post on www.mmo-champion.com that entails everything they’ve learned about for the new WoW expansion from their sources. The track record for MMO Champ’s front page is pretty great for this type of thing so it’s definitely more than idle speculation. So what exactly did they break?

Oddly enough the next expansion won’t be directly tied to the Maelstorm like was speculated by most (including me!). It’ll instead be the other idea I mentioned briefly in my original expansion post. Instead of introducing a new island chain, MMO-Champ describes a changed Azeroth torn asunder by a “cataclysm”…fitting.  However, it does seem like the naga and black dragonflight are still the major villains as thought before. Using phasing quest lines and completely changing a few zones causing a cataclysm is very possible…but why this instead of something new?

A large portion of the player base has been asking for a revival of Azeroth or vanilla WoW. I’m not sure how I feel on the matter yet, I need to see more in action but I can see the appeal. It would be great to fight C’thun and some other great old world instances and areas but it’s also a double edged sword as it won’t feel completely new. If they do it right though it won’t need to feel new, it can just feel “changed” which really could be even better than new as instead of doing the same “new continent grind”, you can finally feel as a permanent member of a world thats changing around you. This is something mmo’s have been trying to do for a very long time. If Blizzard manages to nail it it could be pretty spectacular, but I’m slow to believe as it’s never been done before…unless you count the transition between Everquest 1 and EQ 2.

Speaking of the EQ cataclysm this has a very similar feel to it. I didn’t play much of EQ2 but I was quite the avid player of the original. Sony had a very similar event happen between the two games that allowed players to experience a distant future of the lives they lived in EQ1. It almost seems like if Blizzard does go through with this it could be better suited as a complete sequel to WoW, like Sony did with EQ. It’s a lot of work containing all these different events in one game and convincing players they’re still a part of them. Theres a few other problems as well, the major one being with all this phasing how will you group with your friends? For example if you’ve seen part of a cliff explode and crush a town and your friend hasn’t will the two of you be able to do quests together from that town? Or will your friend have to catch up first? Alright so besides the theme, what exactly are the main points that MMO broke?

Well first up is the level cap being raised to 85. This seems like it would bring half the content as the other expansions but in reality I think it allows Blizzard to make more “high end” content, which in actuality is great for most of their player base. The problems with it though are that there will only be 5 talents added in each tree but really it seems like they’re stretched thin on new talent ideas as it is so this was probably coming. It also allows them to slowly inch us up to 100 which has been stated as the eventual game ending cap.

The other major point has been talked about for a few weeks now but they’re confident enough to say that Worgen are going to Alliance and Goblins are going to horde. The Worgen to Alliance is pretty obvious, it brings a beastial orc type race to the allies and fits their needs in the expansion. The Goblin one is a little more of a reach but considering what MMO reported about the catacylsm destroying most of their towns it seems like they’d need to reach out for help once again. If they pull a gnomish style “exiles of steamwheedle” for the horde goblins it would fit fairly easily into the lore. The thing that stuck out to me is the oddly specific part where it mentions Goblins saving Thrall from the Alliance and realizing their place with the Horde because of it. That part is a bit confusing as if the rest of the article is true than Thrall isn’t even going to be leading the Horde anymore but I’ll touch on that a bit later.

multiclassing

Now to a really interesting part. Instead of a new hero class Blizzard is going to allow certain race/class combos that should have probably existed before to work now. Basically they’re adding a few classes to every race. I’ll link the list and under it give my thought on why they’re being added:

Human Hunter: This ones probably the most obvious of them all. Humans hunters are already in the game in various places and really its not a stretch to believe they’re finally added.

Ex. Houndmaster Loksey http://www.wowwiki.com/Ranger http://www.wowwiki.com/Farstrider_Lodge

Orc Mage: Orcs already have warlocks which when it all comes down to it are basically mages corrupted by demon magics. Really theres no reason they shouldn’t already have mages. The most prominent of them would probably be Med’an and this is a perfect chance to introduce him into WoW.

Night Elf Mage: This one seems like it’s out of nowhere but in actuality its not that farfetched. Just take a look at the Shendalar in Dire Maul. They’re still Night Elves although they are Highborne as well and theres no reason they’d be forced to remain in exile, especially during a catastrophe like this.

Ex. Prince Tortheldrin http://www.wowwiki.com/Shen’dralar

Blood Elf Warrior: This is one Blizzard said they wanted at Burning Crusade launch but dropped to include hunters instead. It’s obvious the blood elves would and do have warriors in their society so this is a logical choice. Ex. http://www.wowwiki.com/Silvermoon_City_Guardian

Dwarf Mage: This one was included in the alpha and maybe even beta stages of testing but was dropped before the game was released. The fact is theres tons of dwarven arcane casters spread throughout the world and with such a close connection to gnomes and humans theres no reason they wouldn’t be able to learn.

EX. http://www.wowwiki.com/Sorcerer-thane_Thaurissan

Dwarf Shaman: For the normal Ironforge dwarf this one doesn’t really fit at all but when you take into consideration the Wildhammer dwarf its a very easy solution. These are dwarves that have been at nature for hundreds of years…they’ve found better ways to survive. One of those ways is an appreciation of nature, moreso than any of their brothers before them.

Ex. http://www.wowwiki.com/Wildhammer_Clan

Undead Hunter: If a human can be a hunter than they can keep their abilities even in death. The Forsaken have a few hunter examples but the main one is

http://www.wowwiki.com/Nathanos_Blightcaller

Tauren Paladin: This is by far the most confusing choice. As of now theres really no lore in the game or otherwise that suggests the Tauren have any connection to the Light. What this means is if they are included something will be added much like the Naaru for Blood Elves for the Taurens so that it fits. The main speculation is that it will be a “Sun” tribe who worships the light the sun brings and recieves similar powers as a blood elf, human, or dwarf paladin. This is the only source so far: http://static.mmo-champion.com/mmoc/images/news/2009/august/injuredcolleagues.jpg

Tauren Priest: If the taurens can understand the Light enough to be a paladin it isn’t much of a stretch to believe they can become priests as well. The more gentle natured light worshipping Tauren would fit into this role. Like the Paladin theres no real sources for this.

Gnome Priest: I love this one. It’s something I’ve been waiting for since the beginning of WoW…a gnome healer. Some think it makes no sense for gnomes to use the light but in my mind theres no reason for a curious gnome to not get enamored with the Light like any gets enamored with Arcane magic or Demonology. If this is true I’ll be very happy with it.

EX. http://www.wowwiki.com/Nethergarde_Cleric (various race healer npcs in Blasted Lands that include gnomes)

Troll Druid: With the huge variety of trolls in the world this ones not a far stretch. Theres obviously some trolls who understand nature well enough to use the powers that a druid harnasses. The only problem with it is that the Night Elves probably won’t be so quick to accept them into Moonglade but who’s to say Moonglades even standing after this?

EX http://www.wowwiki.com/Zul’Aman http://www.wowwiki.com/Gundrak

Alright so after going through those it leaves all the sides even on their class distrubution except the Alliance with Druids. This causes many to speculate that Worgens will be able to be Druids which is very odd but it’s probably pretty likely. Maybe the connection to their feral side leads them to the worship of nature or something along that line. It’s not certain of course as it could be left uneven but I doubt that will be the case. Another part of the MMO post states some of the changes the world will experience. Let’s take a look:

  • The Barrens will be split into two separate zones of two different level bands.
  • Azshara will become a low level (~10-20) zone.
  • Some of the zones like the Thousand Needles will be flooded.
  • Durotar is wrecked and apparently Orgrimmar could be destroyed. A new Orc city is rebuilt over the course of the expansion.
  • Gnomeregan will be part of the expansion as well and gnomes might be able to reclaim their capital. (The last part is still unconfirmed)
  • Wailing Caverns will be become a lush tropical area as a result of the druid’s magic.
  • The Blackrock Spire will erupt and a new version of Blackrock Mountains will be available, apparently Ragnaros will be back too.

First off splitting the Barrens, destroying Orgrimmar and making Azshara a low level zone means that the brunt of the destruction will be on the center of Kalimdor. Thousand Needles becoming flooded and Wailing Caverns a lush paradise make me think that a wave will wash over the middle of the continent crushing a huge part of the landmass and taking a large chunk underwater. Azshara as a lowbie zone means to me that this might be where the new Orc capital will be built making Azshara the newbie area for Orcs and Trolls. Gnomeregan being a part of the expansion is huge in my book as I can’t wait to take that city back finally…hopefully for good. Finally Blackrock Spire erupting and the return of Ragnaros sounds neat but I really hope its a completely new set of instances as I can’t see myself doing Molten Core or BRD and having a good time. /shudder

He finally got his PHD!

He finally got his PHD!

No mention of Theramore and Jaina so it seems that her nation is still in tact. Same goes for both Alliance home cities on Kalimdor as they were too far north to be hit by the devastation. It seems like this is a major change for the Horde but other than Gnomer the Alliance won’t see a huge hit to their cities or in a broader sense their lore. Speaking of the lore MMO has revealed that Thrall will give up his position as warchief of the Horde and become The Guardian of Tirisfal. This seems like a major stretch as Thrall has never been anything but a Horde figure however if they do something drastic at the end of Lich King I could see it happening. The part that confuses me though is where he leaves Garrosh in control. I mentioned my dislike of Garrosh before but it’s obvious he’s supposed to be seen as a brash idiot currently and if he’s made Warchief and matched with the “Alliance King” Varian it’s going to be anything but peaceful.

The part that bothers me about Varian is the Alliance is five self contained groups working towards a common goal, they do not have a common “leader”. Making Varian into the spokesperson of the Alliance is a bit ridiculous in my book as any of the faction leaders would have the same sway that he does with their own people, unlike Thrall who holds the power of the entire Horde in his voice. The other thing of note is that it appears Tauren Chief and good friend of Thrall, Cairne Bloodhoof isn’t making it to the next expansion. Apparently he’s outed as a traitor by Garrosh…of all people…who then murders him. I think if this actually happens itll be either that, after Cairnes murder Thrall can’t stop the Horde from slipping into their past ways like he’d hoped by himself and seeks help from the folks of Tirisfal…OR…Thrall leaves Cairne in charge of the Horde, a much more obvious choice than Garrosh…and Garrosh murders him in cold blood to take the title of Warchief that he believes is his.

Either way if this happens the Taurens by all means shouldn’t be friendly with the Horde anymore. It’d be akin to Varian murdering Magni or something (not that that could happen =P). By all accounts the Horde would be in complete upheavel and the Taurens would do the ironic thing and actually become the traitors that Cairne never was and join the Alliance. I don’t see this as likely to happen but it’s what I think would happen if Cairne was murdered by a member of the Horde…at least in my book. Another point I’d like to make out is that currently the Alliance and Horde are about the same in moral ambiguity. They both have their examples of cruelty and heroism and neither is truly evil or truly good. If all of this does come to fruition the Horde will definitely start heading down the darker road. The murder of one of their leaders the destruction of their town and the seat of power handed to an angry child, this is definitely the makings of a brand new war.

The problem is most players who play Horde don’t consider themselves evil. If Blizzard goes down this path it definitely seems they’re trying to make the Horde the evil faction choice which I think is a bad thing. It’s like they’re trying to match WAR which has a very obvious good side and very obvious bad side but I don’t think theres any reason for it. The Horde can evolve on their own without devolving into the savage uncontrollable force they were for years.

Other things of note include revamped dungeons and flying mounts in Azeroth. I mentioned earlier I don’t particularly look forward to doing Molten Core 2.0 myself but if they change it into something new and different I could be swayed. Flying mounts in Azeroth were never that big of a deal to me, you could tell they hadn’t ever planned on it happening so I never let myself believe it’d be patched in or anything. I mean really the amount of time needed for such a minimal change would have been ridiculous to undertake if not for a return to the old zones…which seems to be exactly what this expansion is aiming for. Overall I think flight and revamping can give the player a better connection to the world if they’re done right and not just simple rehashes…cough cough Naxx.

So all in all this expansion concept does show some promise and it’s great to see Blizzard shaking things up a bit. I just hope they can pull through and keep it interesting. I haven’t had that problem yet so here’s hopin’.

Breedo knows that when two suns are shining, the battle becomes blinding.

10
Jul
09

Predicting the next wow Expansion: Hero Class Time!

rodney_dangerfield

So in my last post I went into a pretty long loregasm about Cataclysm and the races that might be included in a watery Maelstorm endeavor. This time around I’m going to suggest some classes and other thoughts on what I think could make it into a third expansion for World of Warcraft. First we’ll start off with the basics.

What are the requirements for a new Hero Class?

  • Must be connected to the lore of the expansion. This one is a given, just like a new race, a new class must be involved with the story of a new expansion, just as death knights are a major part of Wotlk whatever new class must join the fight against Azshara for a reason.
  • Must be playable by all races. This one isn’t definite, it could just be for Death Knights. However, I don’t see Blizzard not allowing certain races be certain things if they didn’t do it for death knights I don’t see them doing it for anything.
  • Must have a starting quest hub. The Death knights set a precedent for this and it’s expected of all future hero classes. More than likely the class will start at at least level 55 and will have it’s own area to ‘learn’ how to play it. They won’t be released into the world as high level with no training grounds and its doubtful they’ll start at level 1 either.

These requirements are not very stiff, in fact most classes could fit into these with relative ease. There’s a lot of other problems though that aren’t set by death knights but more by Blizzards current vision for the game. First, what type of class will it be? Looking at the talent trees and the outcry for more healers these days the new class will almost certainly be able to heal. The death knight was created to fill a vacant hole of tanks that players experienced at the end of Burning Crusade because at that time most players found tanking boring or too hard, depending on the class. DKs made tanking exceptionally fun I mean my mains a DK tank for cryin’ out loud, but it also proved their plan worked. Players still need tanks and can at times find a shortage but the discrepancy between healers and tanks is growing larger especially in the pugging/casual area.

This means the new class will more than likely not be a tank. There’s no reason for them to add two tanking classes in a row. The new class instead will be able to heal. I don’t see them allowing every tree of the new hero class to heal. It seems like a mistake they’re still trying to correct with every patch that they allowed every dk tree to tank, a healer would have a similar problem. The new class will probably have a single healing tree and it also won’t be a pure healing class as all healing specs have at least one dps spec. The conclusion is that we’re looking for a dps/healing hybrid much like a priest or shaman.

Now we know it will be able to heal we can try to figure out the armor it will wear. I don’t see any chance it will wear cloth as that tier is already packed (priest mage warlock) and while plate has only paladins with no other plate wearing spellcasters I doubt the new class will wear plate simply because there aren’t many in the lore that do. That leaves either leather or mail as they each have one spellcasting class (druid and shaman) vying for their loots, just like plate but both are more likely to be worn by healers. Plus for dps gear theres already 3 classes going for plate and another would make it 4 which would be absurd.

Another addition with Death knights was the brand new runic power/rune system that only they use. It’s pretty obvious if they do include a new hero class I doubt it will simply use a mana bar or energy it will most likely have some ‘gimmick’ like the dk’s system. I doubt it will be anything new or groundbreaking but it will be something different that attracts players who never heal to give it a second thought, just as DK’s did for tanking.

Alright so with these stipulations which hero classes qualify? Let’s have us a looksee(I’ve included links to wowwiki’s descriptions which do a fine job, I’m just adding my own thoughts):

Runemaster (http://www.wowwiki.com/Runemaster)

ultimatesinister

Ahh, the Runemaster, WoW’s version of the Monk from other fantasy settings, these guys have a pretty solid fanbase and are actually my front runner for a new hero class. They basically fit every criteria except for perhaps the leather/mail one, they almost exclusively wear cloth, but I can see them fitting into leather if need be. They are honorable protectors who can heal and would have a new way of combat, mainly martial melee combat with their fists or a staff. Their ‘gimmick’ would involve invoking various runes, like the death knights as well as possibly using a combo point system to heal opposed to mana. The only problem with something like this would be a rune master would never worry about going out of mana, something that is necessary to keep fights hard on healers and challenging for raids.

Other abilities include laying giant ‘rune fields’ on the ground that buff allies and hinder enemies that stand in them. I can see them easily getting a rune that does the same as heroism as long as you fight within it or a rune that does moderate area damage while the enemies are inside it. Their dps trees would involve melee with one more focused on buffing and debuffing while the other on pure damage. If balanced correctly they could recieve a bulk of friendly buffs only weaker and only able to be cast one at a time giving them a good niche, “we dont have a certain class tonight so you do ‘x’ buff”.

Another positive they have going for them is Blizzard has admitted they considered and even devoloped the Runemasters up during Wotlk’s start but decided to stick with death knight instead. They obviously already have a foundation. The only major problem would be connecting them to Maelstorms lore. It wouldn’t be as obvious a connection as death knights to Arthas but being that they’re good and have huge connections to the earth from which they draw their runes they could easily seek to stop the seeking “tide of war” that Azshara is leading against the solid ground. They also have a similar skin tone selection that death knights have when you create them, as you could give them rune patterns in the same way death knights got pale skin.

Chance they’re in the Cataclysm Expansion: 75%

Shadow Hunter (http://www.wowwiki.com/Shadow_Hunter)

scorpionking

The Shadow Hunter is another possibility as they fit almost all of the requirements. They can heal, wear leather or mail and are a ranged/new type of class. They’d probably share upgrading bows with hunters which is something Blizzard has mentioned as a concern in the past but also they’d bring another physical ranged dps to a raid. There are a few problems though, the Shadow Hunters are exclusively trolls, theres really never been any other kind, so fitting them into the “can be every race” clause would be quite the stretch. They also don’t really care for outsiders at all so saying they train other races would be far fetched as well.

They do have a major connection to the Maelstorm as the troll capital is on an island in the South Seas so there are bound to be shadow hunters. They would also bring a solid gimmick in the use of voodoo as their energy source. Theres quite a few ways this could work I’d probably stick with a do damage to gain voodoo use voodoo to heal/buff your party. This would make them feel less like a healer and more like a dps but also give them an ability to heal. Their trees would probably be two ranged dps trees and a healing tree, one of the dps trees focusing on nature damage and the other on physical, one more dot oriented the other more burst oriented.

The chances Blizzard adds them to the game are very high, but the chances they’ll be playable aren’t so much. If it weren’t for them being exclusively trolls I’d put them at least as high as Runemasters but because they are quite reclusive and seeing them run around as any race would be fairly confusing I doubt they’ll make it in as a playable class this expansion.

Chance they’re in the Cataclysm Expansion: 30%

Dragonsworn (http://www.wowwiki.com/Dragonsworn)

kain

The Dragonsworn are more of a dream of mine than anything. I can see them as mail wearing knights, much like Dragoons of Final Fantasy lore who use pikes, spears, staves, and warhammers to battle evil with valorous zeal. To me they’d be much like a paladin but instead of swearing to the light they swore to the Dragon Aspects and their talent trees would reflect that. It’d be best if each aspect could have a tree but because they can only have 3 and theres 5 aspects that’d be a bit much. What I would do instead is make a healing tree that’s red/green together, a ranged casting tree that’s just blue and a melee/debuff tree thats black/bronze. If you really wanted just 3 aspects then I would make it a red tree for healing, a green tree for melee/dot, and a bronze for ranged caster, but I like to include all 5 aspects, even if ones ‘evil’ and ones without a leader. Technically the blues should have a leader by next expansion and though the blacks leader is evil it doesn’t make all of them inherently evil so they could be included as well.

The problem with this class is that the Maelstorm, unless it includes a lot of dragon lore involving Deathwing as well as it’s island fun, won’t have enough about dragons to make this a very viable choice. There won’t be much connecting them to Azshara, but a reason could be made simply that Alexstrasza sees her as a huge threat and has rallied her greatest champions. Regardless of how they are included i would love to play as one. Their playing style would probably involve some sort of combo point energy plus something new like maybe charging abilities to do more damage or healing.

If it were up to me I’d jump on this class in a heartbeat for a new expansion but considering they aren’t very prominent and don’t have a huge connection to the Maelstorm, I doubt it will be included for the next expansion. I can dream though!

Chances they’re in the Cataclysm Expansion: 25%

Tinker (http://www.wowwiki.com/Tinker)

isaac-asimov

Tinkers! Yeah! These guys are what gnomes everywhere have been waiting for, a healing class they can be! A Tinker is different from an Engineer in that they’re not just doing it as a job, they’re doing it as a lifestyle. Every tinker builds their own bot or ‘mech’ and has it as a pet. This pet would change depending on the talent trees but also you could customize it with things you find and build, much like runeforging for death knights. The trees would probably revolve around a pet dps tree, a ranged physical dps tree and a healing tree that uses potions and gravity shields to ‘fix’ damage. I imagine their healing tree to be like a disc priest with powerful single target heals and maybe a few bursty ae heals but nothing like a holy priest.

They would be a ranged pet class for their dps trees but there’s only two of those right now and I figure they could use certain magics and physical abilities depending on their choice of attacks. A flame thrower for instance would do fire damage while shooting a gun would be physical. For the pet tree I’d focus more on the bot than the character itself,  maybe even have it do more damage than the Tinker. There are quite a few players who miss the pet classes of old mmo’s who were known for their pets, not for the damage the player does and would love to return to a class like that. For their ‘gimmick’ I’m not sure exactly what would set them apart from hunters, maybe a combo system that exploits weaknesses. The pet tree could have a lot of neat pet buffs maybe even letting the Tinker ride the bot for a short duration and other things of that sort.

This class actually would fit very well with the lore of Maelstorm, what with the introduction of Undermine, the only problem is they aren’t usually known outside Goblins and Gnomes. That problem however is not a big deal as either race could easily teach these things to the rest of their faction, as they’ve taught them engineering already. That would be another glaring issue, distinguishing the Tinker from the Engineer tradeskill but I think if you focused on what a Tinker can do that an engineer can’t the differences should be obvious. I like the chances of this class making it eventually but probably not this time around.

Chances they’re in the Cataclysm Expansion: 20%

Other Random Thoughts:

Alright so thats a good amount of new Hero Classes that could be included in a Maelstrom expansion. There are quite a few other ones that I don’t know as much about that are being tossed around, like Sea Witch (Vashj?), Brewmaster, and Blademaster. I see these as maybe being included at some point, especially blademaster, but I don’t particularly see it for this expansion. Another melee would just be overboard. Some players believe there won’t just be one hero class introduced but two or three. I don’t see them bringing more than two in but I’m fairly certain there will be at least one as they will not leave Death Knights as the only ‘hero’ class. They’ve already set a precedent, I doubt they’ll break it. So what else can we expect besides these races classes and zones?

Well with Burning Crusade Blizzard announced paladins and shamans would be available on both factions, something months before they’d said would never happen. Did they know they were going to do this? Probably not, as no other MMO had tried what they’d done. You can’t keep a game balanced in pvp or pve with a completely different class on two warring factions. It wasn’t as bad as say giving one side a healer and the other a dps or something but they realized they couldn’t keep the game even at the rate it was going and it made perfect sense to put the classes on both sides. So will there be anything as game breaking and shocking as this? I think there will be. I believe that Blizzard will allow cross faction communication and even grouping and raiding with the next expansion.

The hippo seems pleased.

The hippo seems pleased.

Now now read me out, I’m not insane. Currently with the ongoing story of Wotlk they’re building up a war between the two sides again, a rivalry that’s really based on nothing but two obnoxious leaders who are angry for no reason. I believe that something devastating will happen in Icecrown Citadel, maybe Jainas death? This would galvanize both sides into realizing who the true enemy is and lead them to defeat him. This would be a complete 180 turn around from how things appear now and the devs have mentioned that the next expansion will have surprises that will be unbelievable or that we’ve never experienced before. I think that the Goblin city of Undermine at the very least will allow cross faction communication and if not certain raids and grouping, then at least an AH and the ability to communicate in certain areas. This would easily fit the devs ‘shocking revelation’ and be a fairly surprising twist after the way the game appears to be headed.

Many people argue that this will never happen because the game is called World of Warcraft. I realize the title has war in it but that doesn’t mean it must be a war between the two player factions. Technically in the game right now the players are at war with like 10 different world shattering evils, any one of them can fit the war motif. It wouldn’t change pvp as really pvp isn’t really included in the lore anymore, none of the characters who die in a pvp instance stay dead and since you can fight and kill each other in ranked arenas on the same faction its the same as fighting in a battleground. Some players think that this would be the end of WoW, when they have to team up with the “dirty” other faction but I think it’s something they’ve been building up to for quite some time. Only recently did they start sparking the war again with Varian’s blatant orc hatred and Hellscreams stupid kid who thinks hes a badass or something spouting off all the time. It’s obvious they’re leading this somewhere and i think its to crossfaction communication…I could be completely wrong and instead the next expansion will have like 12 battlegrounds for an all out war because of the events of Icecrown.

What else will they throw in? Almost definitely a tradeskill, they’re 2 for 2 so far but for the life of me I can’t think of anything they could possibly add. If anything I’d like to see some customization options added to spells, more stuff like the dalaran arcane brilliance and things like that just for visual flair. I don’t know that a tradeskill is what can achieve this but if they let mages shoot pink frostbolts or felhunters wear sunglasses I’d totally be down. If they wanted to start working towards player housing they could add some kind of new gathering skill like lumberjacking where you go collect wood and make sweet patio furniture and stair rails or something.

Alright thats probably good for this one, if you made it this far you’re quite the trooper. I appreciate the readsmithing you just endured and if you have any comments feel free to leave em, I welcome ’em all.

Breedo much like the King Beetle plans to fly headlong into the blazing unknown.

08
Jul
09

Predicting the next Wow expansion.

blizzcon_exterior

So as I’ve mentioned before on this here blogspace internets, I’m a pretty avid player of World of Warcraft. I have a few level 80 characters, 2 of which are pretty well geared…one with all of Ulduar cleared in 10 man sans ol’ Alganon and most of the 25 man cleared, the other a glorious pvpsmith with a handful of Ulduar epics. Like most fans of the game I’m anxiously awaiting Blizzcon…well I guess ‘anxious’ would be a bit melodramatic…let’s just say I would kill for it. So what’s all this hubbub about!??1?

Blizzard will announce a new expansion for WoW at Blizzcon, it’s 99% certain. That’s as certain as you can get without knowing for sure, like if someone asked you “Tom Cruise eats chalk right?” thats how certain we are. The past Blizzcons have fluctuated between “huge game breaking announcements (ie an expansion) to nothing special (ie why did we hold this again?)” This years Blizzcon is one of the former, as last years was just bland, almost no new information with Wrath of the Lich King only a few months away and most of which had already been slowly seeped of surprises.

So what can we expect in the next expansion? Well that right there is the 11.5 billion subscriber question, and it takes a bit more brain gumption.  Last week Blizzard copywrited(copywrote?) the term Cataclysm for the use in computer gaming. Ohhh, thats sort of like the time I copywri…I trademarked…the term Cathyclysm, a tale in which the Cathy comic comes to a horrible yet foreseeable end…Anyway, they also took it for marketing a ton of things (like stickers!) that are usually sold with an expansion (STICKERS!), which cause many to speculate that the Cataclysm is involved with the next WoW expansion. So what could the Cataclysm be?

Most speculate that it’s referring to the events that created the Maelstorm in Warcraft’s history. Basically when the Well of Eternity was destroyed it ripped the land of Azeroth in half forming the seperate continents that are in the old world game currently. Before that they were one giant Pangea style landmass, I assume with volcanos dinosaurs and albinos, but because of the cataclysm they were broken in half and drifted away from each other…much like Emmanuel Lewis and Alex Karras after the final season of Webster. What appeared between them was the Maelstorm a “swirling vortex of power” the Naga hail from.  It can be assumed that this would be where the expansion would be set, the Maelstorm and its surrounding islands which harbor a large variety of locals from goblins and pirates to crabmen and dinosaurs.

Theres really nothing else tying the word Cataclysm to WoW’s lore. The only other thing it could mean, if it’s still an expansion, is that the world of Azeroth has entered a “new Cataclysm”, changing the entire old world and bringing in new beasties and villains. I don’t see this as a very likely possibility as that would take a serious amount of work, but it would actually be very neat if they used phasing technology once you hit a certain level or did a certain quest, and you saw an entire continent rip in half or something. The likelihood of this however, as I mentioned is very low, as it’s almost certainly referring to a Maelstorm-style ocean expansion.

So what would a Maelstorm expansion entail? There’s plenty of ground to cover for new zones, tons of new races to introduce and bad guys to loot…I mean vanquish. The main villain would almost definitely be Azshara, the queen of the Naga, who according to the art below looks sorta like Ursala from The Little Mermaid. Sweet, I’ve always wanted to fight a giant squidlady. Another area would be the peninsunation of Gil’neas, a kingdom of humans who said “You know what, fuck it.” and locked themselves away from the rest of the world. Everything that’s happened to them since then is a mystery which is wide open for exploration in a Maelstorm expansion.

Hot.

Hot.

Besides those areas, theres the Bloodsail Buccaneers who have been involved in a ton of the quests in original WoW as well as a few in Northrend. Their base/island/fortress would definitely be involved as well as their grand pirate leader, Duke Fairevere. A rival nation to the pirates would be Kul’Tiras a nation of humans who have allied with the Alliance in the past, they ship most of the goods the pirates pillage and would likely be a pretty large quest area.  The Goblin town of Undermine would most definitely be the new city hub, like Dalaran and Shattrath before it. The areas are mostly tropical except of course the Maelstrom, but they do include a variety of species and geography much like how Lich King didn’t have only snow areas but forests and tundras.

Another possibility is the inclusion of Deathwing, a major lore figure who has yet to be seen in the game. Blizzard likes to put dragons into a major element of the story such as Malygos going insane for Lich King. This would also give them leeway to include some other old world zones players have wanted to see for quite some time, like Grim Batol. Plus you can never go wrong with evil dragons.

So besides locales what else will draw players into the expansion? The lore could actually be a problem as many players have stated they see Arthas as the main villain of Warcraft and that fighting someone besides him after hes “dead” would seem a step backwards. I don’t agree as Arthas has really only been a major character since Warcraft 3 and there has been plenty to play off before that.

What Blizzard will have to do is convince people Azshara is a bigger threat than even the Lich King, which really she could be as she not only has a kingdom of intelligent, super powerful devout followers, opposed to the thoughtless undead of Arthas, she rules the entire ocean. It’d be akin to the Alliance and Horde both twice as large and working under one ruler. The amount of power she could demonstrate if she were to attack the land would be phenomenal especially if she was backed by a powerful force, say an Old God or Deathwing.

Blizzard would have to depict her doing something at the end of Lich King that causes the player factions to target her. Much like Arthas had a brazen invasion of the capital cities she will have to do something of that magnitude to get players to come after her. I doubt it will be the same as an invasion every expansion would grow very old, besides I see her a much more cunning and sneaky villain than Arthas, she’s someone who would assassinate a faction leader or somehow create a coup. Perhaps she won’t even be involved at all but one of the island nations leaders comes to the factions and informs them of her quickly spreading influence and asks for help.

Besides lore there will most definitely be new features. The last two expansions added first 2 new races in Burning Crusade and then a new class of Death Knight in Lich King. Can we expect more of this for whatever comes next? The answer is yes. New races are fairly easy to implement and can give players a reason to play even more, something Blizzard wants to happen. New classes, while much harder to implement, do the same but also give the player base a direct connection to the new expansion as well as give them a completely new character to experience. Blizzard will not leave Deathknights as the only ‘hero’ class so there will almost certainly be a new one for that reason as well. First though, lets take a look at what it takes to even be considered as a racial candidate.

What it takes to be a race for a Maelstorm Expansion:

  • Must be connected to the lore. This is the most important, a new race must be involved with the workings of the Maelstorm and have some direct reason for joining the conflict otherwise there’d be no reason to include them.
  • Needs a reason to join a faction. For Burning Crusade the Blood Elves joined the Horde because they were scorned by the Alliance and needed help following their leader. They weren’t outright accepted like the Draenei were for the Alliance but they still had a reason. The Draenei on the other hand were forced to crash land by members of the Horde, that gives them plenty of reason to want to join and fight.
  • Needs to be reasonable. There are some races that without a major change to their design will never be playable. I highly doubt we’ll ever get to play as glorious crabmen because not only do they not fit the top two but they wouldn’t be taken seriously. Some say Draeneis were the same before their model change and that could be a valid arguement but without futher examples I don’t see certain races ever being playable, races without legs for example.
  • Needs a home. So far there have only been two new races, but both had their own starting areas and capitals. It could be that Blizzard just made an exception with these two and plans to add more that simply begin like the gnomes and trolls, in another race’s town, but I’d find that unlikely. In order to connect to the new race there must be some starting ground…a newbie zone. If they ever add a mass influx of new races maybe they could be refugees to a major faction’s town but I don’t see them adding any race in the third expansion who doesn’t even have a home.

Alright so who does that leave?

Goblin

goblin

Goblins are likely to be a major contributing race to a Maelstorm expansion. They have a huge merchant town and a vast amount of ships and information. They also have close ties to both factions but have only officially joined the Horde during the second war. They broke it off however as working both sides is more profitable. That’s the problem for them to be playable unless its a brand new offshoot of Goblin who has different ideals theres almost no way they will commit to one side. The only other chance for them to be a playable race would be for them to be neutral and either pick a side during creation or work both sides as a faction free character. The chances of being faction free however are miniscule and while choosing during creation might be interesting it doesn’t really bode well for “a reason to join a faction” when you can join either at a whim.

Chance they’re playable: 45%

More likely to be on the: Horde, the goblins have joined them once before and it would be much more likely than to join only the Alliance. The alliance already has gnomes anyway which fits a similar role goblins would bring.

Pandaren

panda

The pandarens are a favorite of many fans, some of which have been demanding they be included as playable in an expansion. Rumors floated during the vacant Alliance race debates of Burning Crusade that they were supposed to be the Ally race but were axed because of China’s adoration of pandas. This seems more a vast exaggeration to me as Chinese people do love them some pandas they are not going to ban a game because it depicts a giant pandaman’s death. They do have some pretty harsh censors in place anyway so if all else failed Pandarens could just become giant black bearmen and still serve the same purporse. I think the major problem for most of China was that they were pandas but they wore traditional Japanese garb, something that is pretty taboo over there. The more pressing problem i see with Pandarens is that while most love them some fans hate them. They did start as a April Fools joke so to some taking a giant pandaman seriously would kill what “realism” of the fantasy world that is Warcraft is left. I however think it’s just as realistic a giant panda can talk and fight as a giant cowman can. They may not be included simply because of that, but I do think there is a chance they could still make it as playable…just not a great one.

Chance they’re playable: 40%..if not in this expansion then they probably won’t ever be.

More likely to be on: Alliance, this was a tough call but there are a lot of similarities between Pandarens and Dwarves but enough to still have a pretty big disparity and bring something new to the Alliance, unlike for the Horde who already have the Tauren which have a similar disposition as most Pandarens.

Wolvar

beast

The Wolvar are another great rumor from TBC but this time they could actually be involved. If Arugul makes a move in Northrend and reveals something about the isolated kingdom of Gilneas, something horrible like they’ve all been turned to werewolves (sweet) that would give a link between the expansions but also open up the kingdom as a new faction. This faction could join either side, they were never great friends with much of the Alliance, but also bring a new savage race to the game something fun and different, akin to the Draenei. I think out of most new race ideas this one is one of the more solid ones as many players want to play as one and they have a pretty epic backstory. The only problem would be that wolvars are one of the few races in Warcraft that are inherently evil. They were brought from a plane of hate or something, so to team them up with a faction would be a stretch…unless they were diluted of course.

Chance they’re playable: 45%, like the pandaren if they don’t make it in this expansion they probably won’t ever be.

More likely to be on: Alliance, I went with Allies for this one mainly because they don’t have a race like the Wolvars already as I imagine them being a lot like orcs. This could of course make them more likely to join the Horde but deep down they’re still humans so I think the allies win out.

Naga

cobrat

The Naga have a huge history and would be a perfect candidate for a new race in a Maelstorm expansion. While they will probably be one of the major forces of villainy they could easily have a ‘good’ offshoot who doesn’t see the point of their queen’s expansionist ideals and murderous intent. This would be a lot like the blood elves of the horde after they found out Kael’s plan. The major problem however is they have no feet so no..shoe slot…and theres no telling what they’re ride for mounts. Another problem is there are literally two ‘good’ nagas in the entire game and neither are very friendly with either side.

Chance they’re playable: 20%

More likely to be on: Horde, the Naga have a similar ordeal that the Blood Elves faced in TBC and a similar outlook on the rest of the world as the Forsaken. The only problem is believing theres a group of Nagas who think their Queen is wrong, a rebellion that is much more understandable coming from a Blood Elf.

Drakonid/Dragonborn

charmander

This is one of my favorite ideas for a race, the dragons left from the various experiments throughout the game. Any of them could work, from Deathwings tampering in Blades Edge or the work of Nefarion in BWL. There could easily be one faction who is ‘good’ who escape their captors and join a side to fight back against their oppressors. Plus how cool would it be if BWL was a starting ground for a new race…I’d be all over that. The problem is most Drakonid are huge and not very understanding of human ways so joining a faction would more than likely be beneath them but really the same could be said of Draenei before they had their model and lore changes.

Chance they’re playable: 20% in a Maelstorm expansion…ever? 70%, dragon races are all the rage these days.

More likely to be on: Either, Depending on how the lore is written either side could work with a race of dragons, fighting back against more than likely Deathwing. Just like the death knights before them which both sides accepted, they really could go either way.

Furbolg

berenstain bears

Furbolgs have a huge connection to the Emerald Dream, which I haven’t mentioned yet but could very well be involved in a Maelstorm expansion. They also have tons of animations and could easily get an updated model to become a new player race. They also have plenty of room for a capital and great ties with the Night Elves already. The only problem is in just a Maelstorm expansion they don’t really fit.

Chance they’re playable: 20% in Maelstorm expansion…ever? 70%

More likely to be on: Alliance, while the taurens do have some connections with them and they are on good terms they are definitely better friends with the Night Elves. They also bring a more savage race to the alliance which some people say is still needed.

Alright thats enough for now. These are my thoughts for the next expansion but I’m only halfway done. Next post I’ll put what I think would make for good hero classes as well as some other ideas for what they’ll be adding thats  “completely new and different” for an MMO. Most of the above  race ideas can be found on http://www.wowwiki.com and have many more ups and downs than I mentioned, I just made my own opinions for them for this particular expansion. If you have some thoughts I welcome those as well just toss em in the comments.

Breedo would like everyone to know it took way to long to find out the name of the snake in Mario Brothers 2. It’s Cobrat btw.