Blizzcon. Whee and danke shoen.

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that, for the first time in my WoW life, I bought a virtual ticket to Blizzcon. The only reason I did it is because I wanted the in-game mount they were using as an enticement. Clearly, the ploy worked for some people. I do like the mount, have had some fun flying around in it (not in Argus, of course, because that would be so wrong).

But now I find myself with this virtual ticket to something that I am having a hard time getting very excited about. Kind of like when your gramma gives you $20 and a ticket to the Wayne Newton Comeback Concert Tour for your birthday — you are glad for one part of it, not so sure about the other. Still, you have the ticket so you might as well use it, you think, maybe there will be a wine bar…

In an attempt to generate a little interest in the event, I checked out the official schedule, looking for events I might actually be interested in. The main 2-day schedule calls for something like 40 total hours of actual Blizzard game info sessions on their various franchises, and 70 hours of esports. (I did not actually count the open “community” time, nor did I include the some 15 hours of esports events that happen prior to the opening ceremony.) If you needed any more confirmation that Activision Blizzard is all in on esports, this is it.

Of the game info events, a bit under 8 hours are identified specifically as WoW events. This seems very balanced, given that Blizzard has 5 major IPs/franchises, so I guess at least WoW is holding its own, getting its full 1/5 share of the 40 hours. About half of the WoW-specific events seem like they are just fluffy time fillers, but still, they are WoW-centric, so that is something I suppose.

As far as I know, there hasn’t been much in the way of leaked rumors about any big WoW-related announcements coming in Blizzcon. I guess that could be because Blizz has really clamped down on leaks, or it could just be that there will be no big announcements. I am betting on the latter.

But with only one hour devoted to “What’s Next” in the game, my hunch is that we will get some amorphous description of the next expansion, but no concrete announcement, no expansion name or target date, no information on major new mechanics or changes, etc. Which means my original prediction that Legion will be a 3-year expansion is still viable. Absent very detailed progress on the next expansion, with a beta starting around the first of the year, it seems impossible that we will have a new expansion by Legion’s 2-year anniversary. If I am wrong, I will publicly and happily eat my words.

I really hope the speculation from earlier this summer on the next expansion (Old Gods/Kul Tiras) is not true. I am not sure what would be better, but my gut says almost anything.

And, since I am shamelessly trying to pad this post because I have almost nothing to write about, here are a few links to things I have recently written about the next expansion, in sequential order starting in February of this year. You don’t have to click on them, I am just filling up space. Also setting up a quick reference so after Blizzcon I can go back and verify that either I was brilliantly prescient or epically wrong. 😉

One thing that seems likely is that after Blizzcon we will at least have a general idea of where the next expansion will take place, even if we do not have many details. The real speculation and deep dive data mining can start in earnest then.

Usually my favorite part of Blizzcon is the WoW Q&A, but lately this genre has become little more than a way for Blizz to toot their own horn. I am getting tired of hand-picked questions like, “Can you tell us what part of Argus you like best, and how the team came up with such an awesome idea?” I will probably tune in to watch this year’s session, but I am not expecting it to be very exciting.

So, yeah, only about 10 days until Blizzcon. I am trying to feel the hype but failing at it. Maybe as the time gets closer I will build up a little more enthusiasm. But hey, even if I don’t, at least I have the mount.

7 thoughts on “Blizzcon. Whee and danke shoen.

  1. I suspect a good portion of the time will be devoted to patting themselves on the back for the sucess of Mythic+ dungeons, the Mythic+ invitational, their job well done with content patches every 11 weeks. Will we see an expansion announcement? I’d like to think so, but right now even that prospect is not enough to get me interested in whats happening in Anaheim next week.

    1. Yes, it is a certainty that they will spend a LOT of time patting themselves on the back. The top thing I wold love to hear mentioned — either in the Q&A or obliquely in the “What’s next for WoW” session — is some hint about where they are going with what I consider to be a gear mess. There just is no reason we should have to consult a computer to see if a higher level piece of gear is actually an upgrade for us, or to see how many pieces of gear and how many talents we have to switch out in order to use a new trinket or a certain legendary.

      1. Somewhere along the way they started listening to a certain group of people, perhaps even high level players filling out exit surveys saying that the game got boring once they had gotten s best set of gear. That choosing one set of talents was cookie cutter. Personally I feel that listening to people on why they have left doesn’t help. They left. Try to figure out why others are staying.

      2. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but it certainly seems to explain at least part of the current state of the game. Unfortunately, with the continuing rise of esports in general, and events like M+ professional categories, I think this trend will only get stronger over the next few years.

        There has long been a faction within Blizz that disdains the entire concept of “casual” play. Their attitude has been akin to “If you are not hard core, go play Second Life.” Back in the days when Blizz measured WoW success by subscription numbers, this faction was overruled most of the time. But now that MAU is the metric of success, they seem to have gained the upper hand. The entire idea of MAU argues for hard core players over the drop-in-on-weekends kind of casual player.

        Additionally, with several successful IPs ongoing, I am not sure Blizz thinks WoW is really worth trying to expand in terms of number of players. If they had to drop one IP in order to develop a new one, I think WoW might be it (possibly in second place after StarCraft?). It has to be an extremely expensive game to keep current, it is a very old game model, it does not lend itself to mobile apps very well, and if they cannot adapt it to esports venues it really does not make a lot of sense to keep it. I have not kept up with how it fares for revenue production for Blizz, but I do know it represents an ever-dwindling piece of the earnings pie.

      3. Sorry to crash Marathal’s comment 🙂

        I totally agree with that. It seems that the players that are asked things, are the ones who quit and say the game is boring. Why not ask the ones who stay “What makes you stay?”.

        Let me give you an example: I know someone, in real life, who once was talking to me, and was just trashing the game. “Everything is bad, too much RNG, the game sucks now, I already have everything and its all bad”. Imagine my surprise when he gloated about powerleveling a lot of characters in under a week, maxing out a lot of things. On my way home, I was like “How can he enjoy the game, if his only worry is putting chars at 110 at the speed of light, and then gets angry for not being able to faceroll everything?”

        How can Blizzard value this player, a PVPer (for some reason they treasure PVPers even thought millions of people dont do it), just because he plays since vanilla, more than a player who plays casually and enjoys the game?

        Do I have days that I could spend just speeding through content? Yes. Will I do it? NO! I pay to enjoy the game. People who speed through everything don’t get to say “the content is ___________”

  2. As for the V ticket…

    There is gonna be lots of nice things, don’t focus just on the “Whats New” panel. I promise you’ll find at least one thing you’ll like 😉

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