Tobold's Blog
Thursday, July 30, 2015
World of Warcraft : The Dark Prophet

On the World of Warcraft loading screen there is the announcement that there will be an announcement of the next expansion on August 6th. Personally I find those "we announce that we have something to announce" things a bit silly. Furthermore there is apparently a leak, which might or might not be complete fiction. I once made up the announcement for the second WoW expansion that I called The Freezing Jihad, and got a surprising amount of things right, from the new level cap to the ice theme. The monk I predicted got added later in Mists of Pandaria.

So for comparison with the real announcement, here is the "leaked" one:

The expansion will be called The Dark Prophet

New level cap will be 110

New class introduced, the Shadowstalker, a sort of magical ranger without pet

8 new zones with 2-3 new dungeons per zone

Location will be the South Seas, filled with trolls and naga

Instead of a garrison players will get a ship, which can travel around, and get a pirate crew

As you can see, the "leak" is full of relatively predictable stuff. Which doesn't make it less likely to be true, because who expects something really ground-breaking from Blizzard?

Curious how a Shadowstalker would differ from a Lone Wolf MM hunter.
I would be surprised to see a new class although I guess it would give me something to use my 90boost on.
At a guess, a Shadowstalker would have a real Stealth mechanic, and more overtly magical specials. Currently Hunters also encompass the magical, sneaky sniper mechanic, but that can also be said to be outside the core archetype (woodsman With an affinity for animals). The Hunter class would be changed if they did in fact add something like the Shadowstalker, but IMHO there's room for both.

The game already has classes that could be said to be step on each others toes - mages/warlocks, rogues/warriors, rogues/monks. The game has design Space for similar classes.
You heard it here, first!

Finds own trumpet

Blows it
That "leak" comes from reddit/4chan, I say 100% made up.

About the predictions: more Trolls are always nice; I don't care about a new class; new level cap is just a number; 16-24 dungeons would be really great.

While I love the idea of my own ship it doesn't seem plausible, after Vash'ir we'll probably never have a big water zone again. Also it would again be heavily phased, can't see a thousand ships on a high pop realm allowed in the same area.

While I personally liked Vash'ir there are a lot of people who didn't. I remember a 65 year old guy in BC who just couldn't get to Serpentshrine Cavern, we always had to summon him.

What I wish for are better stories between all those quests that come in 4 (kill 10 boars, get 3 items, explore that area followed by kill that mini boss). Nothing in Warlords made me really care about the troubles of those quest givers, all forgotten. Warlords is a very solid expansion (if I forget about the time/universe-travel background story) but not groundbreaking and I don't think we'll ever see anything "groundbreaking" again.

They should again make long series like the chain about Crusader Bridenbrad in Icecrown. Or chains that lead to dungeons to be resolved there like all the stuff we did for Drakuru. Make sets drop in dungeons to be collected and upgraded when content patches heighten the ilvl.
About the pre-announcement, isn't is essential to tell people that you'll be putting on a press release or notification in advance so that the people can make plans to get informed?

I also think it is a vital step of hype control. Without it people would be speculating like crazy about what Blizzard was doing at Gamescon while others would continue with their no-news until Blizzcon stance. It you see people stating materially incorrect assumptions about your intentions and you are able to comment but do not, are you misleading by omission?
More predictions:
gear in the item shop
What, no Emerald Nightmare?

They may expand heirloom gear to be as good as heroic gear, but they aren't going to sell raid level gear for real money. Certainly not directly.

My guess is the ships will be stationary, much like the ones at the Stormwind docks. The difference will be you can click to "travel" to another dock, where the ship will once again be stationary, just at another dock. You will never manually control the ship, it will be a cut scene animation. And yes, it will be phased just like the garrison.
@Redbeard - wasn't that sorted in books that were referenced in Cataclysm?
Samus said "they aren't going to sell raid level gear for real money."

Samus, they've been doing this since the WoW Token was introduced. While "certainly not directly", the reality is you can buy raid level gear for real money: buy a WoW Token for real money, sell it for gold, use that gold to buy BoE raid drops.

Well, I agree, and this is why Blizzard has no reason to start doing so directly. There would be a huge outcry from players, with no real benefit.
They would probably sit out the outcry from players like they did with everything added to the shop before.

But... selling gear directly is a very hard thing to get right in a game that has gear as its core reward for activities meant to make you play longer. Sell too high of an ilvl and you devalue your own dungeon/raid designs. They already botched it with Apexis gear. There is virtually no reason to run mythic dungeons and citadel LfR with 695 gear via dailies. Heck even normal mode if it weren't for the set.

The ilvl span is simply too wide for pve to nail it on selling gear.

Selling pvp starter gear would be easier. Instead of crafted starter gear we now have pve items scaling up in pvp. Remove this scaling and sell it for cash is something I can definatly see in the future.

Prediction: complete overhaul of heirlooms to make them gain ilvl as an expansion progresses and be usable as starter/catchup gear. Increase the gold cost. Sell upgrade tokens every expansion for a lot of gold. Sell a lot of wow-token in the process.

I'm referencing all of the spam e-mails that try to get you to give up your WoW password because of "exclusive beta access to the next WoW expansion: the Emerald Nightmare!"

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