|Place your bets now...|
No 10 man Raid in 4.1, eh?
This will not go down well in certain circles, I fancy. Undoubtedly it will increase the number of 'Warcraft's rubbish now, I'm off to play Rift/Minecraft/wait for SW:TOR' threads, coz if you're not able to epeen other people in 'superior' gears or brag on Skype how you got a Server First... no, let's just not go there. It is interesting to see Blizzard publicly admit that they released the Crusaders' Coliseum too soon after Uldum, and that they want to 'package features like raids, dungeons, and daily quest hubs into smaller content updates and release them as soon as possible, rather than wait and release them as large but infrequent updates.'
What I think a lot of 'normal' players fail to grasp is the amount of information Blizzard now have available at their disposal in relation to what players are doing in game on any given day. Giving us two five-man dungeons as a 'stop gap' between the three ten mans currently available and a new raid makes a great deal of sense: raiding guilds can run it to fill gaps in team gear between heroic attempts and raid farms. Non raiders get access to new gear and points to go towards existing tier items, but they have to work for it. Everyone has new mounts to lust over (and I cannot believe those new versions of the old classics won't be anything but a low drop rate or a massive token grind) and it gives Blizzard more time to tune the Firelands. It also makes logical sense that we could expect post-4.2 to see another 'classic' raid environment given the once over for the five man 'market'. I'd not put it past Blizzard to already be considering splitting Karazhan into 'wings' a la Scarlet Monestary as it's 'story' is fairly self-contained and it would be relatively simple to update that to the Deathwing era. Considering it's position and significance in Warcraft lore (I'm looking at you ), what's the betting the Bronze Dragonflight might have some involvement to boot, linking rather nicely back to the War of the Ancients. As we're promised a view of the Blue Dragonflight's future in Coldarra in 4.2, who's to say what could happen next?
It's clear however that Blizzard has a real desire to 'update' as much of the old 1-80 content as possible. While five man Dungeons remain a permanent fixture whilst levelling, the old raid content is pretty much untouched as you level, and this transform a raid to a 5 man/new raid content approach (while not popular in some quarters) has the advantage of an existing framework to start with, which can be built on with far more ease I would assume than designing new instances from the bottom upwards.
Was I right to be nervous when Blizzard updated Onyxia, that we were at the start of a slippery slope? Is the future of Azeroth really about going back to the past and doing it all over again?