Friday, March 20, 2009

What the world could be like

I can't stop thinking about what's in store for World of Warcraft in the future. Heck, with games like EverQuest (the first one!) and even Meridian 59 still going strong, I don't think we'll ever get to see a completely new, stand-alone New World of Warcraft. In fact, WoW 2.0 is much more probable. Did I just pull that out of my ass? Well, kinda, but hear me out.

I spent the last week rummaging through old world content and with Outlands and Northrend out and about, it really shows just how long WoW has been around. It's not that the graphics are bad, because they're not, but the world mechanics are rather outdated.

Stromgarde - tear it down and blow it up! (Source: Wowwiki)

Take for instance Stromgarde Keep (I actually noticed it's Strom, not Storm... whaddya know...). You essentially have a full-blown war going on here, with parts of the city in hands of different fractions - ogres, assasins and allies, oh my. You even get an occasional troll. Yet this place is basically a bunch of mobs standing around with nil, zip, nada interaction going on between them. Had this been WOTLK, this place would be constantly shattered apart by explosions and epic combat. I've been to puppet shows with more action. BTW, that's what I do with my free time - watch puppet shows.

There's heaps of places that could benefit from better design and more scripting. In fact the whole place could do with some tidying up here and there, not to mention the atrocious, in my opinion, fact that due to old design decisions, it's impossible to use flying mounts in Azeroth, because a single, 3D world plane doesn't really exist – as I understand it, each zone works more like an instance, thus the narrow border passages everywhere (I might be totally wrong here though).

Undermine - it could happen! (Source: Wowwiki)

The thing is though that as new expansions come and go, the leveling experience is deteriorating. Before you can get to the new content, you have to zoom past all the old stuff. Sure, we've got Death Knights but then in order to get your mitts on them, you still need to go through the old stuff at least once.

My guess is sooner or later we'll get a whole new old world, with a revamped leveling experience. The next expansion might not contain as much high level content as BC and WOTLK did. Raiders will get new, awesome raids, but the lowbies will get at least one new playable race, which – hear me out – will have it's own 1-58 leveling experience. Heck, maybe with revamped zones the 80's could get more reasons the re-visit Azeroth.

The point I'm trying to make is that from the technical and graphical point of view, there's no need for a sequel and there won't be for ages. We still have, however, a bucket load of places which could be updated or re-vamped. I'm hoping to see Gilneas and Undermine from the back of my dragon. I want to see Outland-sized Duskwood and Feralas. I'm hoping for a big war with air bombing runs on Stormwind and Orgrimmar.

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