World of Warcraft: The Next Ten Levels (or Wrath of the Lich King if you prefer) was announced on Friday, and burst over the blag-u-spore with a crashing wave of… meh. Or perhaps bleh, and a bit of blah, and a touch of hrrrm, a dash of hrng and 3/16 fl. oz. (that’s 0.2 teaspoons, or one microbucket) of other onomatopoeic expressions of not being particularly impressed.
It’s not hard to understand the level of apathy, it doesn’t look like there’s anything particularly earth-shatteringly original in there yet. Then again, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and nine million subscribers can’t be totally broken. The Death Knight could be interesting, the sketchy outline in the current wiki article sounds like runes might offer quite a flexible hybrid. Quite how they’ll crowbar an Alliance Death Knight into the lore I don’t know, but it’s already such a sprawl that a third undead faction who hate The Scourge and The Forsaken (but quite like the Alliance) wouldn’t be totally out of place. Inscriptions sound very much like Enhancements from City of Heroes, a bit of a tweak without changing anything too radically, not so different to slotting gems. An entire PvP zone, presumably including the siege weapons and destructible buildings mentioned, is the World PvP of TBC taken a bit further, and could suffer as badly as that does with faction imbalance. Customisable hair styles, though, woo!
I’m slightly surprised by the timing; it feels like The Burning Crusade is only just out. I’d expected, as the original end game was expanded with Zul’Gurub, Ahn’Qiraj and Naxxramas, that there might be some more raid content added to TBC before another expansion Then again, there’s no release date (or even vague suggestion of a release date that I could find), so WotLK might not be out until 2013. Or maybe it’ll be next week… It’s a bit of a dangerous game; as with TBC, it sounds like most existing loot will be outclassed fairly quickly, which removes one of the main incentives to keep repeating content at level 70. If you really like the sound of the Death Knight class, it removes the incentive to invest a lot of time and effort in existing characters. You don’t want to announce new versions too early, but then you also need to keep interest going, particularly with a number of new MMOGs coming soon. An early 2008 release is feasible, Wrath of the Lich King vs Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, anyone?
My initial reaction was, as per everyone else, “meh”. Then again, I’m feeling a bit “meh” towards MMOGs in general at the moment, either from a summer slump, or some deeper ennui. Thinking about it a bit more… I’ve rather enjoyed levelling up to the cap and running a few instances twice before, why not again? Maybe I will dust the old rogue off once more, if there’s nothing else grabbing my attention at the time.