Kind of busy so no thumb-sucking analysis like I kind of have an urge to do, but a trend seems to be emerging I think is worth looking at: going back and fixing your old stuff instead of/in addition to adding new stuff.
Cases in point: the big one of course being World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm which presumably will be announced this weekend and has been leaked *every*where. The highlight of this, and what anecdotally has everyone I know that plays WoW all aflutter: revamping old world zones with the design sensibility and polish that Blizzard has picked up on since they launched the original game. Or, if you’re more cynical, that since all the top tier people are working on Mysterious Unannounced Project, the B Team is in charge. (Which I find somewhat amusing, if only because for good or for ill, more WoW players know who Ghostcrawler is than who Tigole was.)
Blizzard isn’t the only one to do this: Funcom also just announced their new Age of Conan expansion yesterday, and one of its stated goals is to address the drop in quality seen between the early 1-20 levels of Tortage and the rest of the game instead of just moving the level cap up 10 levels. This caps a year-long effort by the live team to, uh, fix the game. Which, surprisingly (or not), is more popular with players (and former players) than just adding more shiny on a broken base.
Damion Schubert took a contrarian view (to be fair, before the new blizzard (har) of news was released). I know personally I never want to set foot in Molten Core ever, ever again. But really, that’s only because Molten Core was… really bad. I didn’t mind redoing Naxxramas when, after the latest expansion was released, became the new Karazhan (aka the default raiding dungeon for people just starting to raid) because I never really saw Naxxramas the first time. Some content recycling can be good, especially if the majority of your player base never saw it in the first place. It’ll piss off your hard core (for making their achievements less achievey), but so will many other things. Such as, say, your continuing to breath oxygen.
Anyway, it’ll be ironic if after this weekend we find out from Blizzard that the new expansion is really “World of Warcraft: PAINFUL RAID EDITION” which has nothing but 80 man raids, pants that you have to level up to unlock resilience, and a new level cap of 256. But given the general reaction from what’s already been leaked, I don’t think so.