I was about to write this week’s WoW Factor on Patch 5.0.4 when I started seeing all kinds of reports from payers about Warcraft taking the hit from Guild Wars 2. Now before you get the wrong impressions, I want to talk about World of Warcraft’s staying power in this article. WoW remains one of the best MMOs ever made and while new designs and concepts coming into play over the past few years have made other games amazing, Warcraft still remains an amazing game.
So with Patch 5.0.4 there are a lot of additions for players as the Mists start to roll in. Going down the list I want to highlight a few features that I think very much add to the game. Somehow over the past few years people forgot that MMOs are social games. Warcraft is bringing back some tools to get people playing together again. Cross Realm Zones is one of my favorite features of the patch.
Allowing players to group up and quest together is what MMOs are all about. Adding this feature in really brings groups back together to explore the world. That was always so much fun in the beginning and now with Monks joining the ranks, there will be a lot of players back in the older zones. To me, this feature is very important, I only hope WoW expands on this in the future and adds more tools for players to get together.
Another great feature is AOE looting. This will cut down on the time it takes to loot corpses while leveling up. Simple and effective I just wish it was in from the beginning. However, now is a good time to add this in as with Mists a lot of players will be going back to PvE. It would be great if they added more to looting in general and allowed for players to share both XP and loot on kills…good idea right?
Ok now that we have highlighted the features of the game. We have to talk about how World of Warcraft will stack up in the next few months. In all the years I have worked on MMOs honestly Guild Wars 2 is the first true and honest challenge to World of Warcraft. The game is populated all the time and continues to grow. Whether you believe internet reports or now, there has to be some effect on Warcraft.
Now the big thing here that Blizzard does best is learn from its competition. Some of the features old and new that are coming back to MMOs are things that the team in Irvine really should be taking a close look at. There are some great elements which allow you to check out of the theme park and back into some of the more social and sandbox features of MMOs coming to the table.
For a game that was built on an RTS legend of Warcraft, I still think World PvP is an area that WoW really needs to improve on. There have been attempts, but if anything over the last few weeks has been taught to the industry, it is that PvP is very important to MMOs. WoW does have a decent end game strategy; however raids get old and guilds break up and their needs to be more for players to do. If World of Warcraft prepped its next expansion to really come in as a PvP juggernaut for the game, I think you would see a ton of players return.
Think about that, sectioned zones for Horde and Alliance to truly go to war. Factions and allies, something really bringing the War back into Warcraft. To me, this is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle that WoW can add to the game which would really bring players back into intense game play. WoW has done well attracting the casual crowd, but working on some solid warlike mechanics…that would rock the game back into an amazing state.