What We'd Like to See (and Not See) in the Next Expansion
Last week, Blizzard revealed that it would be hosting a special press event at next week’s Gamescom. Fans of Blizzard’s titles began speculating which one would be the subject. Yesterday, however, that guesswork ended with the World of Warcraft team going on record to announce that a new expansion would be the centerpiece of the press conference.
Many WoW players are pinning their hopes on the Eye of Azshara, a name that Blizzard trademarked late last year (and the subject of our WoW column earlier this week). Rather than focus on what we’d like to see lore-wise, let’s take a few minutes to look at the things we’d like to see (and NOT see) from a feature standpoint in this next as-yet-unnamed expansion.
What we want in the next expansion:
Better, more expansive story - the story that expands what we already know about the World of Warcraft as well as its races (Gnomeregan!), adding depth to the lore instead of changing it just to make the mechanics work.
New dungeons and scenarios, small group content, random open world events.
PvP – WoD was to see PvP being reborn with the introduction of Ashran, however that didn’t work the way it was intended. PvPers, both hardcore and casual, wish for new battlegrounds and arena maps, along with achievements, titles, mounts and etc. it would give.
Raids should not be the only focal point of the end-game - it is obvious that the raids are the crown of the end-game content, however, it leaves people who do not have the time or wish to raid with next to nothing. End-game content should be provided for all categories of players, be it PvPers, PvErs (raiders or not), pet battlers, achievement hunters, etc.
More class diversification - Classes have become increasingly homogenous. Demonology Warlocks and Beastmaster Hunters have a sameness about them, indeed all classes feel too much the same, with too little diversity. Add in the fact that each spec within a class is nearly forced to use the same exact skills to be viable, and you have a recipe for boredom. We’d like to see more class-specific content: scenarios/questlines (such as the Warlock’s quest for Black Harvest, which resulted in cool permanent special effect as well as title, were you to do it before WoD or taming of Gara for Beastmaster hunters), transmog sets (Kor’kron Dark Shamans), challenges, etc.
A return to viable crafting and make all professions (i.e. archaeology) rewarding, not boring. Gems and enchants, for instance, gave players a chance to come up with something totally unique for themselves, but with their removal (mostly) in WoD, players are forced into cookie-cutter builds, armor choices and rotations. Possibly mini-events during grinding to add the effect of suddenness.
Time-walking in now-unavailable content (i.e. vanilla Zul’Gurub or Naxxramas); story-driven scenarios that would show events in the same manner as Caverns of Time (possibly, Siege of Undercity that took place during WotLK among others).
Wardrobe system – more void storage, dyes, ability to hide pieces of equipment.
New class - For instance, a mail-wearing mid-range class. At the current time, there are only two mail-wearing classes (hunter & shaman), while there are three plate wearing (warrior, paladin & death knight), three leather (rogue, monk & druid) and three cloth wearing (warlock, priest & mage) classes.
More frequent MEATY patches - Smaller content patches should be released that contain new dungeons, PvP maps/battlegrounds. In short, patches should add depth to the expansion, and to not bloat it up. However, adding S.E.L.F.I.E. cameras and twitter integration is not deep enough. :)
Updated graphics and new story content in old locations - through the Warlock’s Black Harvest quest you get a glimpse of what is going on in Outland’s Black Temple during MoP, however, it is not widely known as the location remains same as it did during TBC for those not taking on that quest, by choice or virtue of being a different class.
New race (naga?)
Housing - Players have asked for housing for a long time. While on paper, garrisons seemed a type of housing, in practice, this simply was not so. Give players a place to hang trophies, display achievement banners and a variety of buildings to construct. Many of these types of items could be dropped in older content dungeons and raids. Kill Onyxia? Great! Give us a replica of her head to mount on the wall next to the fireplace since the original bloody mess is on a pike in Stormwind.
Black Market upgrade - put useful, craved items up for sale and no less than a dozen a day. Three or four items a day out of the vast catalog of fantastic and much-desired item catalog, mounts, transmogs, etc. is simply not enough. And while we’re at it, less trolling with pets that can be purchased for 50 silver somewhere in the world.
Things we don’t want to see:
Ashran - “Yo, dawg, we heard you like PvE, so we added PvE to your PvP, so that you can PvE when you PvP!” Hardly a player would say that Ashran is anything but a colossal mess. No more!
Garrisons - great idea, but not in its current state. People want housing, not Facebook Farm (see above). Among other things, garrisons also made crafting way less important than it was before.
Shipyards - Just no. One garrison was enough, and we are speaking of dying followers and some 24+ hour long missions in here.
Endless repetitive grind in a tiny location like Tanaan. While dailies are a part of MMO life in general, and in WoW in particular, the seeming endlessness of this particular location was beyond ridiculous. These have been more than just dailies, even turned to hourly tasks to renew missions, not to mention the upkeep on one’s garrison.
Alternate universe - Going to Draenor had momentary appeal -- to see Outland as it was before was exciting on some levels. However, becoming the focal point of the invasion of Draenor by becoming a commander of military forces took the focus off the story (such as it was) and the notion that characters are minor players in an expansive story somehow lost the whole point of WoW. We went from being secondary to the story to becoming THE story.
Apexis - apexis shards got old during TBC (Ogri’la!), but WoD took it to a whole new level.
No recoloring of expansion specific mounts - If you’ve been to Draenor, you’ve seen boars in a few variety of colors, wolves with blue or green colored eyes and clefthooves with slightly different skin tones….all “unique and rare” mounts that only felt like so much of the same. Give us unique and mean it.
There is no doubt that more could be added to either of the two lists and we’d like to hear your thoughts about what you’d like to see, or not see, in WoW’s next expansion. Let us know in the comments.
Be sure to tune in to MMORPG.com on Thursday, August 6th at 9:00 am Pacific / 12:00 pm Eastern for the event and our own live blogging about all the happenings at Gamescom!