People, after two years of waiting the next BlizzCon is mere days away. The doors to BlizzCon 2013 will rip open Friday morning in Anaheim, California where a crowd of thousands will zerg-rush their way to a sea of empty chairs for the opening ceremony. Bathed in moody ambient lighting and sound, the thunder of the coolest nerds in the sphere of gaming will be heard across the world. With just days left, we have passed the go/no go status check for BlizzCon. The schedule is released, virtual tickets available to all and the closing band announced - all systems are Go. This week on the WoW Factor, I make a few predictions and create a wish list on what I hope to see announced. Keep in mind this is all based off pure speculation, which leads to:
A quick side note before BlizzCon: If you happen to come across any leaks or small tidbits of what may or may not be announced, I implore you to ignore it and wait to discover what Blizzard has in store for us the way the meant to reveal it. Spoilers suck and ruin otherwise tremendous moments.
Things I’d like to see in WoW 6.0
The BlizzCon opening ceremony is typically where all of the big announcements are made. This year, the big announcement we’re all anticipating is the next World of Warcraft Expansion. With Mists of Pandaria's storyline having recently wrapped up (or so we think), there were a few unanswered hooks along the way that may hint at what may lay ahead (especialy if you completed the legendary quest line). Then again, those hooks may not pay off until years from now. The point is we have no idea what’s next for WoW as we approach it’s ninth anniversary. So, here are a few things I am hoping to see in the next expansion, or WoW 6.0.
First, the story. Wherever the narrative takes us next, I hope for it to be as well constructed and presented as it was in Mists, if not more so. The story during the Mists cycle was the best we’ve seen to date from Blizzard that wove wonderfully through the quests and zones. Great set-pieces, voice acting and characters made the gameplay more meaningful and substantial. I would love to see more story brought to dungeons and raids. We got a good taste of this in Mists but I think there is room to add much more. Perhaps the raid bosses can be fleshed out a bit more in regular quests or even in dungeons and scenarios. I would really love to see small in-game cinematics that would introduce dungeons and scenarios - give players a quick 45 - 60 second introduction and explain the setup of the instance. Similar to each class introduction when you start a new character.
Speaking of scenarios, I have a strong suspicion that we will see more unique implementations of this technology similar to the proving grounds and the Trove of the Thunder King loot runs. An idea that I wrote about previously was to tie solo scenarios to the profession system giving players a daily or weekly event to partake in that relates to their chosen profession. More solo content would be welcomed by many players I believe.
Another idea that I would love to see that could be implemented using the scenario system or as a standalone battleground would be some sort of horde mode. Teams of three, five or even 10 or 15 can work together to defeat increasingly more difficult waves of creatures and bosses and see how many waves they can survive. Think of it almost as a continuous, multiplayer brawlers club.
On a similar note, I expect WoW 6.0 will deliver several new battlegrounds. I’d like to see some sort of aerial battleground using mounts or airships. Or a battleground in the middle of the ocean using naval ships. The return of a massive battleground like the original Alterac Valley would be great to have back in the game as well. Some players want to feel the struggle of PvP - Horde vs. Alliance - but don’t want the anxiety of direct player versus player contact, and so a battleground similar to the original Alterac Valley which had quests and gathering turn-ins would be great to have back. Heck, it could even be its own zone like Tol Barad or Wintergrasp.
One of the greatest achievements in Mists was the great sense of exploration. Unlike Cataclysm, all of the new zones were adjacent to one another and quests neatly flowed between them. The environments and design were unique from zone to zone and provided many wonderful landscapes to traverse. I expect the next expansion will follow a similar design in that all of the new zones will be linked and compliment each other. The Timeless Isle that introduced dynamic questing is what I believe to be a wonderfully disguised experiment to see how players take to this new type of gameplay. I imagine we’ll be seeing much more of this type of questing throughout the leveling process in WoW 6.0 and not just play a role in end game.