Last night at Gamescom Blizzard opened the dark gates of the Warlords of Draenor, the fifth expansion of World of Warcraft will release on 13 November 2014. This November Blizzard also celebrates 10 years of World of Warcraft. The big question is:
Will the lost horde return to World of Warcraft to face the Iron Horde at the gates of Draenor?
We can all agree that World of Warcraft (WoW) birthed the biggest generation of massively multiplayer online role-playing gamers. She is the mother of most who love the genre. We can agree that WoW laid the foundation, that she was the queen of MMORPG's for decades and that she taught many of us to appreciate this wonderful genre.
We can, also, unfortunately agree that a horde of once faithful World of Warcraft followers left Azeroth for good.
Will we return? We did not return to dance with the Pandas, and we won't return to face the Steel Horde. Why? Because World of Warcraft has an outdated MMORPG model. She lost her youthful beauty; she did not mature gracefully. The changes she did make were too little too late. Others came who enticed us with their no subscription business model, their enticing graphics and new gameplay features.
The electronic playground also spawned a new breed of online games which require less from us, but which gives more, much, much more. We don't have to spend hours grinding away to level cap (and then some) to play the likes of Destiny. Sure, Destiny doesn't offer the depth of a game like World of Warcraft, but it is beautiful and immersive in its own way. WoW will have her faithful following until the day gaming comes to an end, and I am grateful that they keep her alive. She is after all a memorial of the MMORPG genre.
The problem with another expansion is that a lot of old school Word of Warcraft players lost faith in her. Adding shallow features like allowing players to jump to level cap, or giving our characters a slight facial customization upgrade - these are not the changes we want. Send her for a complete facelift, make radical changes to her gameplay (especially to combat), go easier on the cash it requires to enjoy her company. Do something radical that will shock and awe us.
Because we want to return. We feel her call like that of a Siren, tugging at our hearts. We yearn for her embrace, and we will never be totally free of her. But we will love her from a distance.
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