Staff Writer Garrett Fuller considers the upcoming expansion
No release date has been announced. There will be a level cap boost to 70. There is a Horde race. The Alliance race has yet to be seen. There will be new instance dungeons. There will be new raid dungeons. There will be a new zone with flying mounts and quests. All this sounds nice and good, well actually not all of it. In this editorial I want to try and bring up some questions about what The Burning Crusade will mean for five million players.
That is right, five million! Congratulations Blizzard on the largest selling MMORPG to date! In doing more research on this game I am most surprised at the sheer amount of people who play. From executives and celebrities to my friend’s twelve year old son (who still beats me in duels), it seems like everyone plays this game. Is everyone happy with the content and game-play of Warcraft? Some yes, some no, we have all had a lot of things to say about the design of the game and its flaws. The biggest question players have is what will The Burning Crusade bring?
Another problem that players recognize and Blizzard has scarcely addressed is all of the experience players have received from quests while at level sixty over the last year. I for one have done countless quests and PvP runs and received thousands of experience points. Will those experience points be worth anything in the level seventy grind? I read that one player has been saving up his token rewards from all the Arathi Basin and Alterac Valley runs he is doing in order to cash them in when the expansion comes out. That way he will get a jump on experience. Other players may be holding off on doing quests at level sixty until the expansion comes out in order to finally have the experience be worth something. It seemed that for months experience for level sixty characters meant nothing, now there is suddenly value again to gaining experience, or I should say waiting to gain experience.
The expansion will bring a new race to both the Horde and Alliance. The Blood Elves for the Horde have already been previewed. While I like the idea of adding new races to MMORPGs, they do not particularly have a huge impact on game play. Yes there are new zones to explore and it certainly adds a new look to the game.
The question is would the players like to see new classes? I think a new class would definitely change the game. Both factions would now have another option to boost their groups, raids, PvP strategy, and overall game-play. I have no doubt that adding a new class from a design and development perspective is a very difficult task. I think players would jump at the chance to try something new. I know everyone who has played Warcraft has tried each of the classes in one form or another, whether as a main or alt or a second level sixty.
Alas, a new class may not be on the horizon for some time. Will I play one of the new races? I doubt it. I play Horde for the bad guy image of Trolls, Orcs, Tauren, and Undead. The Blood Elves look too pretty for me. The Britney Spears and Brad Pitt fans will like the California surfer image of the elves. I think my friends are planning an all Blood Elf guild named “Point Break.” After all, Blizzard is located in San Diego.
One suggestion I read which I found very interesting was between now and the expansion why not start a new character? That way when The Burning Crusade is released you’ll have two options to level from sixty to seventy. I dropped my shaman for a while to play a priest. I do have other alts but none that ever made it very far. Mostly because I was too concerned about end-game content like my PvP rank, or making sure I raid with my guild to gain faction and DKP points for items. With little information for players to base their choices on and the possibility looming that all level sixty items and content will take a back seat to the high and mighty level seventy, maybe now is the time to level that alt you have always wanted to play. I have seen other top guilds on my server doing something similar. Many people are starting anew in hopes that the expansion will not pressure players to compete in the end game arms race. Many level sixty players wait in endless PvP queues or raid hours on end to get anywhere in end game content. If what Blizzard says is true about adding more small dungeon content with the expansion, then players may have better options for epic or end game gear than just big raid dungeons and PvP Battlegrounds.
I ask the MMORPG community, what will you do? You are level sixty, you have made it through all the end game raids and gotten your purple items, you have reached the top PvP ranks, what is next? On the verge of the expansion with little information these questions remain in player’s minds. Oh and thanks Joe for the “Point Break” reference, it had me laughing all afternoon.
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