Monday, March 26, 2012

The Shattering of 2014

Blizzard's press blitz approach to last week's info dump certainly got them some headlines, but it also ran the risk of having interesting bits slip through the cracks.  I was listening to last week's episode of All Things Azeroth when one such bit struck me - apologies to those of you who undoubtedly noticed and blogged this last week.

For those who haven't been following, one of the announcements was that wildly unpopular Horde Warchief Garrosh Hellscream would be the final raid boss of the Pandaria era.  Setting aside the absurdity of having a two faction game in which the two factions always agree on who needs to be stopped next even when the target is the LEADER of one of the two factions, this raises an interesting question - are we going to be due for another massive revamp of the game's entire leveling content in 2014?

Pandaria's final patch would presumably arrive no sooner than late 2013, and presumably the ill-fated Hellscream would get to keep his seat while players line up to depose him.  By 2014's expansion, the early questlines of the Shattering, in which, for example, Sylvanas and Garrosh discuss the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Lich King, will be three years out of date.  Will Blizzard want this to be the first thing new visitors to Azeroth encounter?  However, how can they tackle this problem without having the scope creep out of control in the way Cataclysm did, resulting in a far more extensive overhaul than Blizzard had anticipated?

In some ways, the peril of having made WoW's story so timely is that the new content will go out of date that much faster.  I suppose it would be innovative if Blizzard did replace all the content in the game every 3-4 years to keep up with the lore, but that does not sound like a sustainable effort. 


Anonymous said...

The scope was the issue in Cataclysm. Redoing every leveling zone was a gargantuan effort. Redoing and updating a single zone could be done in a patch though. For instance, I envision a patch where the alliance takes back Stromgarde and revitalizes it and Arathi as a whole.

Kierbuu said...

Hadn't thought of that, but you are right. Getting rid of Garrosh would make changing several zones fairly mandatory. He plays a role in the Forsaken 10-20 zone, the Troll 1-5 stuff, and provides the big ending (and inspiration) for Stonetalon. Kind of hard to leave those areas alone after deposing him as Warchief.

Maybe this will give the quest team a chance to go back and undo some of the oh so linear quest structure and add a little self direction to the early game. Dunno, but this could be interesting.

The Renaissance Man said...

God, I hope not. One of the biggest problems with Cataclysm was the dearth of endgame content due to the resources poured into the Azeroth update. The overhaul completely failed to execute its primary goal, and repeating it would only compound the decline.

Shintar said...

The story throughout the levelling content is going to get more and more screwed up regardless of what they do with Garrosh. A new panda will start out on its island, move on to the old world where everyone talks about how Deathwing just blew everything up (one expansion ago), Outland (three expansions ago), Northrend (two expansions ago), go back to fighting Deathwing for five more levels and then go back to Pandaria. I would say that Garrosh isn't the biggest of their problems in terms of cohesion there.

Yeebo said...

"Setting aside the absurdity of having a two faction game in which the two factions always agree on who needs to be stopped next even when the target is the LEADER of one of the two factions"

I got a giggle out of this. And yeah, what Shintar said.