Friday 14 August 2009

This was something I wrote a few days ago but then got ill and didn’t post it. Still I enjoyed writing it so I thought I might as well put it up.

While having my usual morning peruse of blogs and gaming sites I nearly spat porridge over my computer when I saw on that Worgen and Goblins will be the new races for the next WoW expansion “Cataclysm”.

BlizzCon ticket…..$125
Plane ticket…..£399

Having the new races and expansion revealed by leaks two weeks before you go….Fail!

This news comes apparently from “multiple sources close to the situation” although of course caveats still apply to this as might be a load of crap. However sites like Massively and Gamespy have been running with it so I assume they may have heard similar rumours to not treat the news as mere speculation. Certainly rumours have been floating around for quite a while going back to Burning Crusade that the Worgen would be a playable race. I am surprised by the Goblins, I always assumed it would be some offshoot of ogres but I guess they want to give the horde a diminutive cutsey class and the Alliance a savage class so as to try and rebalance the factions.

The fact Blizzard has its own convention and does not feel the need to attend big gaming events like E3 shows the incredible popularity their games have, companies would kill to even have one franchise with such recognition and sheer money making potential let alone three. Blizzcon is a major part of Blizzards yearly PR and I can’t even imagine how much work goes in to prepare for those two days.

So I do wonder where these rumours have come from and what “multiple sources” would have revealed it. I assume it is someone Activision side who has dropped these hints as Blizzard has always been very media savvy and ran a tight ship, while rumours always surround their games, in the past when they announce they will reveal a new game at a convention most people will have sussed which of their three main franchises it would be. Not to hard to work out Koreans love Starcraft – announce Starcraft 2 in Korea = Mass hype, Blizzard love and mountains of cash come 2010.

However while we may have known what was going to be announced we never knew any details. I was lucky enough to go to the worldwide invitational in Paris where they announced Diablo 3, while everyone I met apart from one insistent German pro gamer who told everyone who would listen that they were announcing World of Starcraft, knew that it would be Diablo 3 we didn’t know what else was being announced. I expected a few screenshots of early work and some artwork but instead we got an onstage demo and an in-depth look at the Barbarian. By the end of the weekend I was sold on Blizzard, bought Diablo 2/Starcraft again and even re-subbed Warcraft for 2 months before getting WoW fatigue.

Just thinking about this news I feel it is pretty big for World of Warcraft and how now Blizzard may need something else on the cards that weekend to blow the fans away; we all knew the name of the expansion when Blizzard did legal fillings for the name. That in itself isn’t much of a big deal but two entirely new races are pretty important to what they will do with WoW. With Aion getting good press, the Star wars Old Republic MMO creating hype tsunamis every time a little bit of information on the game comes out and a few existing MMO’s like Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings and Warhammer looking to siphon off as many bored WoW fans as possible a major announcement at Blizzcon of the expansion coupled with subsequent Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 announcements it would have helped Blizzard start up the hype train and maybe try and steal back the position of most eagerly awaited MMO from Starwars.

Of course this isn’t doom and gloom for Blizzard even if I may have made it out to be, the fans will still lap the convention up and I am sure Blizzard has some great ideas for the new races – if they are actually being introduced. It could very well be a bit of viral advertising to get the fans hyped up and then completely screw with WoW fans minds by showing something else entirely. There also is all the information behind “Cataclysm” which I assume will mean Vanilla WoW content being cluster bombed with new content via some kind of major world event and one or even two new hero classes. I expect a great amount to be revealed and another classy intro movie to be shown.

Then there will be the Starcraft 2 details plus the game will be playable, hopefully with even more screenshots of the campaign along with the next Diablo 3 class and Warcraft the movie getting a few mentions.

Just expect on the main stage at the opening announcement

Mike Morhaime: And now to announce Blizzards newest game…World of Warcraft:Cataclysm

Crowd: …..

Mike Morhaime: With new races…the savage Worgen and the enterprising Goblins

(Crickets Chirp)

Mike Morhaime: AND …..MURLOC

Crowd: Oooohhhhhh….

(I can dream)

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