Monday, September 15, 2008

Wrath hype on Warhammer's Launch Week Continues

Well, neither Warhammer nor Wrath is out in stores yet, but already some of my predictions have proven false. I predicted that Blizzard would unveil the launch date for Wrath on the Oct 7th weekend during Blizzcon, and that patch 3.0 would be on the live servers before Warhammer's second monthly bill comes due in mid-November. I was a month too slow on both (well, I did kind of hedge that they might try to get the expansion out by mid-Nov). Apparently, they didn't want to risk having players wander off to Warhammer and miss that announcement, so they let fansites do the announcement for them; Wrath launches Nov 13th, just shy of WoW's fourth anniversary.

A few random reactions:
What left for Blizzcon?
One of the reasons why I'd predicted a release date launch at Blizzcon was that there isn't much in the way of immediately obvious stuff for them to announce then. Starcraft II and Diablo III are already announced, and neither is (as far as anyone knows) near launch. It doesn't make any sense to roll out the secret fourth project with both of those AND Wrath still in the horizon. Presumably DIII will actually be playable at Blizzcon, and they will probably roll out one more playable class. Perhaps there will be a beta kickoff for one or both.

Still, one would figure that they would want SOME WoW-related announcement for an event that falls a month before the expansion launch. With the beta in full swing, and the 3.0 patch on the PTR's (quite possibly live, or perhaps going live the week after Blizzcon), there aren't really any secrets about what's in the expansion now. Perhaps they really will let the event go by without any real WoW news, but that would seem like a disappointment.

Collector's Edition Disappoints
Two years ago, I shelled out an extra $30 for a TBC Collector's Edition that included an art book, a making-of DVD, a soundtrack, a mouse pad, some TCG cards I've never used, and a blue whelp non-combat pet. The Wrath CE will be identical down to the blue whelp non-combat pet (which will be a Frost Wyrm instead of a Nether Drake this time). Seriously, couldn't they think of SOMETHING original? Baby Tuskarr/Wolvar? Ah well, guess I shouldn't complain, that's $30 I don't have to spend and less hassle to try and chase down a copy of the CE.

What does this mean for the Battle with Warhammer?
If you've been keeping your eyes on this situation (see my Battle of the War-MMORPG's tag), Blizzard really wants players to know that their expansion is on the horizon. For Warhammer and Wrath, that really means that November 18th is Judgment time; the second monthly fee for Warhammer would come due a week after Wrath's launch. If Warhammer hasn't made its case within its first month and a half, players may leave for Wrath and not return.

At any rate, I would imagine that Blizzard is now out of press releases for at least three weeks til Blizzcon. The stage is now Mythic's to do with as they can.

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