This Thursday Blizzard will be holding a special event in Los Angeles where they will be debuting the new opening cinematic for Warlords of Draenor as well as announcing the release date for the expansion. In addition there will be a live interview with some of the developers as well as a screening of the first episode of a new animated mini-series called Lords of War. This new series will probably be a lot like the last series they produced, The Burdens of Shaohao, which I loved. The event will be live streamed over at WorldOfWarcraft.com on Thursday, August 7 beginging at 9:30AM PDT. I’ll be attending the event so if you can’t catch the stream I’ll be doing my best to live tweet reactions and any interesting bits. You can follow me @rezalackey. It’s going to be awesome to see this new cinematic in a theater - I can’t wait to see what they’ve cooked up!
We all hate click bate, right? I can’t be the only one. My least favorite of all time has to be something along the lines of “WoW is Dying.” Please. As we approach year 10 of the worlds most successful subscription based MMORPG, revenue for the franchise has never been greater even with active subscribers sitting at 6.8 million, the lowest it’s been since the original launch of the game. This is because pre-orders for the upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor, are sitting comfortably at over at 1.5 million units. In response to these numbers that were released during the latest earnings call last week many publications were quick to fire off articles about how the game is hemorrhaging players and on its way to a quick death. While the numbers don’t lie, the game is far from dead. Truthfully, it’s about to get a whole lot healthier.
There are two key reasons why numbers have fallen so greatly since the previous earnings call which was at 7.6 million subscribers. First, it’s very typical that just before a major new expansion launches numbers tend to be at their lowest for that expansion cycle. This is usually because very little content is being added to the game as developers are hard at work finalizing the upcoming expansion. A game could go months without seeing any new content but in this case it’s been nearly a year. Even though there is a ton of content already in the game including the latest raid, Siege of Orgrimmar that was introduced last September, it wasn’t enough to satisfy a majority of players for an entire year. It’s a bit baffling as to why it’s taking this long for the next expansion because we’ve heard numerous times from Blizzard that they are ramping up their content release schedule to offer more in a shorter time. While this was certainly the case with the content patches during the Mists of Pandaria expansion, which I was very pleased with, everything has since come to a screeching hault. But there could be - and hopefully is - a very good reason for this: I am willing to bet that once the new expansion hits, we’ll be seeing content unleashed at a pace we are not accustomed to since it’s all being developed simultaneously with the retail expansion itself. What does this mean going forward? Hopefully it’s Blizzard increased content distribution plan beginning to fire on all cylinders. Once the retail expansion ships, all future content patches for it could theoretically be in the can and ready to deploy (of course there will need to be tweaks and balance issues addressed as the expansion plays out) and the next expansion could begin production while we’re only weeks into Warlords of Draenor. This of course would mean much less of a wait between Warlords of Draenor and what ever expansion comes next. Regardless, a massive new content expansion is about to hit as well as some interesting new special events:
It’s hard to believe but we’re quickly approaching WoW’s 10th anniversary - the game originally shipped nearly a decade ago on November 23, 2004. Funny enough, that date was the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise so this November will also mark the 20th anniversary of Warcraft as a whole. To commemorate this milestone Blizzard has announced that there will be limted time in-game events in World of Warcraft and briefly previewed a few things players can expect.
First, Tarren Mill vs. South Shore: The Rematch. A brand new Battleground will be going live that centers around the endless battle between the two towns in a Deathmatch-style fight to the finish. It’s assumed that a team will win after gathering a set number of honor points that are earned by defeating other players. Players will rank up by defeating other players but will also be worth more the higher their rank. Get several kills under you belt and expect to become a targeted enemy by opposing team. For anyone who was playing back in vanilla WoW you’ll certainly remember the endless skirmish between the two towns and this Battleground will be sure to recall those days.
Next players will be able to adventure back to Molten Core in a newly tuned 40-player Raid Finder version of classic Raid. Yes, 40-player raids are making a brief return and all max-level players will be welcome. The fact that it is for max-level players has me curious as Blizzard didn’t say specifically what player level it’s for - nothing says “level 90,” just “max-level.” So does this mean the expansion will be released by the time these anniversary events kick off? We may know in just a few days. By completing this raid all participants will receive a new Core Hound mount and achievement. Core Hound mount. I’m so there.
Lastly, all players who log in during this event will earn a new pet, the Molten Corgi.
Let me know what you think about the anniversary event in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter @rezalackey.
Further Warcraft reading: