Top Five Predicitions, Top Five Pasts
The World of Warcast Podcast, which is five years old, asked its listeners to list the five best things to appear in World of Warcraft over the years and to predict the next five big things. Good idea!
I’m interested in what you think of this list so do comment below!
Top Five Highlights So Far
Some of these are strictly personal, others are game-wide and fun for everyone.
1. Getting me to play
I resisted playing WoW because I found the idea of paying a monthly fee to play a single game fairly ridiculous. No game was worth that amount of money—I thought.
But four months after launch some industry friends gave my spousal unit and I press passes to the game. Well, I couldn’t exactly not check it out if it was free, hmm? Three days after that we’d each bought a copy of the game and the rest is history. I’ve put more hours into WoW than I have any other computer game, for certain. Although I think D&D still reigns supreme in terms of total game hours but that’s only because I’ve been playing D&D for 30 years (and still am).
2. Daily quests
Daily quests were a significant addition. They put gold into characters’ purses which itself did several things: it reduced the influence of gold farmers which relaxed their activities and benefited everyone, reduced the impact of repairs for raiding which welcomed more people into it, gave everyone something to do that was neither quest- nor raid-related, and made it possible for more people to gear up to do more things.
If daily quests disappeared tomorrow the impact would be serious. I think we’ve all come to rely on them to some degree or other.
3. The Burning Crusade
I was stricken by the varied beauty of the zones in Burning Crusade. It was wondrous and I’ll never forget the multiple sequential jaw-dropping experiences I had merely by riding over a hill to see something completely grand and unexpected. To me, BC showed the potential of what a fantasy computer game could be.
But at the same time it had a very serious flaw which was to be corrected in the next expansion…
4. The Wrath of the Lich King involves me in the story
“You are not prepared” was the slogan for The Burning Crusade and it was uttered by some fellow with horns. Illidan, was it? It’s moot because I never once saw him (literally not ever) nor saw his influence in the world that I’m especially aware of. Thus a mere slogan is the extent of his involvement in The Burning Crusade for all I know. Even as I write this I don’t know how to even find him. He’s in some dungeon somewhere but I’ll be damned if I know which one. At the same time he’s locked away there, never to have an impact.
Why even have a major villain if he’s going to be so secreted away and uninfluential?
Northrend was a complete reversal on that poorly implemented policy. It involved me and made me concretely aware of who the villain was and profoundly motivated me to make the effort of killing him. The Lich King appears all the time over a wide variety of quests in a wide variety of locations and directly affects my activities.
As a result I’m much more personally involved in Northrend’s story. I have a clear idea of what’s going on, why it’s bad, why I have to stop it, and what I should do. The Lich King is in Icecrown Citadel, the tallest evilest-looking structure in the entire continent and everything points to him.
He’s the most important thing in Northrend—he’s the focus and that’s how a major villain should affect me.
5. Continuous improvements to everything in the game
UI, raiding, questing—the list is vast. The game today is nothing like 1.0 years ago and that’s the best highlight of them all. Everything has gotten better or, at the very least, different to where the game continues to be fresh even beyond the new content.
Certainly some changes have upset people but speaking for myself I’ve approved of virtually every change made. WoW is a better game and it continues to get better.
Cataclysm should be the result of everything they’ve learned over the past five years and represent excellence. Speaking of the future…
My Top Five Predictions
What’s to come? I wasn’t sure whether to put things I thought the most likely, things I most want, or what, so I mixed everything in.
1. There will not be guild housing
I was all for guild housing—almost pining for it—until it was pointed out that if everyone hung out in their guild house then no one would be on the streets and the game would look and feel empty. In an MMO, that’s very bad.
Yes, there are possible cool things one could do with housing but I don’t think the benefit of those things would outweigh the negative of lonely streets.
2. AFG Chat
Away From Game. I think (hope) this is an easy and obvious prediction. RealID, Facebook integration, the mobile Armory app, all these things point to the thing that I actually want most of all: The ability to chat with my guildmates from anywhere. Keyword: guildmates, not RealID friends. They’re two separate things and I want them both, actually.
Chatting with guildmates would extend my sense of community with the people I play with the most often and I would value that a great deal.
As a corollary, I wonder whether we’ll see expanded guild website pages sponsored on Blizzard’s site, complete with forums and the like. I suppose it’s possible. Blizzard has already announced better Armory pages for guilds showing more information so perhaps going a little extra distance wouldn’t be too much, maybe?
3. More vanity items for purchase
Another safe prediction, but what I mean by “more” is a greater variety of things for sale, aside from pets and mounts available now, and they’ll come out more often. Perhaps we’ll see loot cards from the previous TCG for sale, for example.
4. Increased character customization
This is a wishlist item—I don’t think it will come to pass. It seems that every other game out there has greater customization for characters than WoW does yet Blizzard seems intent on not devoting resources to get us out of silhouette-level differentiation.
I’ve said before that in Aion everyone is human but the customization is so well done that walking around the main city it’s like you’re among a wide variety of races. But Aion was built from the ground up with that capability. In WoW there are actual different races but that’s the only differentiator. It’s just a silhouette. We all look the same and dress the same when we step into the light. To go back from that would require too many resources and there will always be something to step in front of that effort, be it a patch, expansion, or whatever.
Maybe the most we’ll ever see are armor dyes.
5. Vykrul and Merloc as playable races.
Just kidding. Everyone knows they’re going to be ooze and ghost.