Tobold's Blog
Friday, April 09, 2010
Is that enough new content?

So after the priest changes announcement came the warrior changes announcement, and they too get a new leaping ability: Heroic Leap. Next to come: Mages will receive Polymorph: Leapfrog, and Death Knights get Inflict Leaprosy, which is like leprosy, only that body parts bounce off instead of falling off.

Apart from that curious new fascination of Blizzard developers with leaping abilities, the main thing I noticed with the class changes is that every class gets only 3 new spells, one at 81, one at 83, and one at 85. Some classes will be lucky enough to be able to use all three, but in most cases the three different spells are for two or three different talent trees, and many players will effectively only get one or two new abilities.

Now I welcome the general idea that Cataclysm should expand World of Warcraft both horizontally and vertically, that is providing both content for new players / alts, and for level-capped veterans. And obviously if "half" of the development effort goes into lower level content, there is less development effort going into post-80 content. Nevertheless the question has to be asked whether Cataclysm offers "enough" post-80 content.

Now a big part of the Cataclysm expansion appears to be class changes which change game mechanics, role philosophy, and how particular classes and builds play in the future. That sure is interesting, and will take everyone some time to figure out. But changes like that aren't the same as creating new content. What I'm a bit worried about is that Cataclysm will have considerably less new spells, talents, zones, quests, and dungeons for the new level cap than previous expansions. Which would mean that people potentially could get bored with Cataclysm even faster than they got bored with Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. And already those two previous expansions didn't have enough content to last the 2 years until the next expansion.

Ideally Blizzard would announce the 4th expansion for World of Warcraft already this Blizzcon, shortening their development cycle from 2 years to 1 year. But more realistically WoW will continue having strong peaks and valleys of player activity, with everybody resubscribing for new expansions and major content patches, and taking breaks when the content runs out, waiting for the next expansion.
In WoTLK, you receive new abilities at 71, 75 and 80.
3 new tools seems like just the right number to add utility without bloating action bars.

There is never going to be 'enough' content for heavy players, however I suspect that slow levelling and infinitely farmable heroics should keep many players busy between raid patches.

In any case, I quite enjoy the downtime to explore other games in the market.
I think the problem they have is that people consume the levelling content too fast.

If half the effort is making new outdoor level up content in places like Stranglethorn Vale then that's effort wasted for raf-ers and LFD levellers.

Most people will tourist it once but Cataclysm will clearly struggle to keep people for 2 years to an even greater degree than WotLK is now.
New abilities at 71, 75 and 80? What are they?

As far as I remember, there were new spells (or spell upgrades), etc every level, much like TBC.

I like the idea of the new content pre end-game; I am not good enough for heavy raiding (my experiences as a pug tank have not been good), and although I like running some of the heroics, I am enjoying the journey on my SAN alt.

I suspect that I will enjoy experiencing all the brand new content as a worgen and a goblin come Cataclysm.

During levelling you get some lulls, but overall the journey is more interesting than the destination - why people want to get to 80 as soon as possible, skipping as much content as they can get away with, is a little beyond me, but I guess its their £8 per month (or however much it costs monthly!)
TBC only offered two new abilities per class, so I'm not seeing this as a game breaker.

Also, everyone loves bouncing. It's just one of those things.
I'm glad there will only be a handful of new abilities and talents. My action bars are already overflowing with things I never use.

Warriors receive Shattering Throw (71), Enraged Regeneration (75) and Heroic Throw (80).

The spell upgrades are buffs to scale abilities in line with enemies' health. They are not 'new content' in the way Tobold was describing.
I too have worries about Cataclysm, but rather that Blizzard won't be able to deliver everything they promised in time. It is a lot.

Consider for one second what you had written if they had announced to introduce 10 new different icons to click on for ecery specc.

k ?

It's good they don't do it. If they want to move WoW forward vertically they should introduce more story, more raids, more dungeons..
That's what they do.

I agree that the number of completely new raid dungeons will probably be limited. But that is set off by the fact that every new zone in the old world will be revamped! All dungeons will need rebalancing and some will offer heroic versions.

All zones will need rebalancing. A new story will be presented in all the zones.

A completely new leveling experience will be offered.

I don't want to sound like a fanboy; I am not. I am pessimistic that they will achieve all they set out to achieve. But if they manage.. well.. There's a lot of content waiting for us.

Just one small example: If they smooth the itemlvl curve between lvl60 and lvl61 dungeons alone, you suddenly have some 5 large (classic!, not streamlined!) dungeons to actually visit while leveling up.

Blizzard focuses on horizontal content in this expansion, because the only way to really vertically expand characters is to add new skills/talents. And there is a limit on how many icons I want to have on my screen.

I don't doubt that there will be a lot of vertical raid/dungeon/zone content.
Some classes will be lucky enough to be able to use all three, but in most cases the three different spells are for two or three different talent trees, and many players will effectively only get one or two new abilities.

I'm not sure that's really a good thing. I know this was discussed with the earlier expansions also, but there are already too many different abilities to use.

There is a limit to how many different abilities you can use in combat depending on how dexterious you are. The more abilities the harder it becomes to play the game physically. You already have to twist your hands very much to perform certain tasks that you don't have placed in the most common positions (1-5, alt+1-5, + a few others depending on your keybinds). I guess having inventive keybindings and macro-enabled keyboards and mice helps, but should that really be a must-have for playing WoW?

It's much better if the new abilities are sort of a better version of your standard abilities and thus you can replace one of those older abilities.
Players will be getting new abilities via talent trees, when passive abilities are removed or redesigned to be more interesting. I doubt you'll have ability boredom anytime soon.

And in tBC, we got a new ability every 2 levels. Now you don't see them because they've been integrated over the levels (Viper Aspect, Water Shield, et al)
Three new spells should be enough. Already hard enough to find a place on your bars.

As Bernard says, I don't mind playing other games in between WoW periods. Blizzard should mind however.
I think there's definitely enough new content in Cataclysm, especially considering they are practically rebuilding the original world. Whether there's enough new high level content though will be a different matter.

To that, I would say no and will predict people will get bored unless they start creating alts and working their way through the levels again. However, it may be that Blizzard intend to release more raid content periodically after the expansion to try and keep high level players hooked.

At the end of the day though, Blizzard could really do with increasing the rate at they release expansions.
i'm not really sure that new abilities count as content.

i've got 7 classes at 80 and all of them feel like they have enough buttons to press. if blizz were to add a new ability per level from 81-85 with the expectation that all 5 would be used at end-game by all specs then the level 80 rotations would be unrecognisable by the time we're doing 85 raiding.

also, change is good for MMOs but i'm not sure that the massive overhauls should necessarily be viewed as "content" either. it feels more that blizzard feel like they've painted themselves into a corner on a lot of stats and mechanics and are doing a full reset to fix problems because the small fixes aren't achieving much any more.
i think it's great that they're doing this. it's a brave and fascinating decision. but it's something they feel is necessary rather than content they're adding specifically for our enjoyment and edification.
Yep, I'm worried too. Rogues, for example, get three abilities, one of which is limited-use and boringly utilitarian (swapping combo points between mobs - woo) and one of which I'll never use (defensive ability when we're getting hit - if you're getting hit in a group, you're doing it wrong).

And frankly, I ain't thrilled about Smoke Bomb either. So, nothing to look forward to class-wise.
Although they're only mentioning three new abilities per class, Blizzard has never claimed these previews are comprehensive, nor did they say there aren't other new abilities coming. So I think it's a bit premature to say each class is only getting three new abilities. There also seems to be a fair amount of class rework going on under the hood (see Death Knights for example) so while you might get just a few new abilities, many players are going to have to deal with new class mechanics.
I think a few people have missed Tobold's intent. He wasn't saying that it will necessarily be abused.

But that even when used with the utmost good intentions that it may result in negative backlash due to a perceived detriment to the target.
In Wrath, most classes got 2-3 abilities trained between 71-80. For example priests got:;maxle=80;cr=10;crs=1;crv=0

As other commenters have pointed out, a lot of the "Wrath" changes were actually in the pre-wrath 3.0 patch, with changes to talents (i.e. adding Penance, Guardian Spirit et al), and changes to lower-level parts of the tree.

TBC had a few more abilities for many classes, but you'll see that for any given spec, there were maybe 2-3 new spells. Unless a new ability replaces an old ability, this is a good thing, as a player can only comfortably manage maybe 12-18 abilities before there's too many buttons to push. (IMO)
When do they cut and run from WOW?

They have to be working on their next MMORPG, right?

They are, Walter.
I could be wrong, but I seem to remember hearing people complaining that a lot of the "new spells and abilities" in WotLK ended up not mattering very much, and that really it was as if every class got one new ability, and that was it.

Assuming my memory was correct there, I'd say Blizzard has realized that the only things needed for "new higher level content" is bigger numbers, a new ability or two, and a bunch of new places to go and things to kill.
@Tobold, they specifically removed Heroic Leap from WotLK because it broke old world content, they said when it was fixed (old world redone) that it would be brought back.

This also explains the priest thing. They have new tech for WoW because of the reworking of tools, but most of it they couldn't use because of how old the old world was. By remaking it using WotLK tech, it will allow them to do more movement based effects.

As for lack of content, it looks like a good chunk of Old world will be for 80+ not to mention that Underwater will also be a part of the 80+ exploration. This means that Azeroth is expanding vertically. With the path of the Titans profession, it seems that overworld exploration is the focus of the new expansion.
"Most people will tourist it once but Cataclysm will clearly struggle to keep people for 2 years to an even greater degree than WotLK is now."

I think that depends on what raid content that they offer. Hopefully they figure out new ways to get people raiding without the hassles of a pug. They've made it clear that they want people to raid more than anything else. I also seem to remember a recent post where GC or a blue conceded that the endless running of heroics everyday is zero fun after a month.

I say wait and see at this point.
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