Google+ ALT : ernative: MoP Released July 24th, 2012.

Monday, May 07, 2012

MoP Released July 24th, 2012.


2012's Top Holiday Destination. OFFICIAL.

I have already said (in certain places) that I predict a July release date for the Expansion, at which many people have scoffed. Last Thursday night this included my Husband, who challenged me outright to explain my reasoning, and so I did. When I was done he leaned back in his PC chair, looked at me, and gave me a look that I don't see that often. It was the 'yes actually you might have a point there' look. If he thinks I might have a point, I'm confident enough to share with the group.

Here's what I told him.

The Loading Screen music is done. This means, by extension, that the Official Soundtrack is written and recorded, as that initial eight minutes is a 'mash up' of all the main themes we'll hear in zones. This indicates that the 'atmospheric' side of the game is pretty well advanced.

I also mentioned that as soon as we start seeing Panda voices, then I'd say things are really moving along. I notice the two Racial Leaders have their voice emotes in game as of Friday morning... :D

Recipes are normally some of the last items to be added to the game files. Friday's beta push sees them in droves, and although not all of the items to make them actually exist, this give a clear indicator Blizzard is working to ensure that the crafting side of the game is ready to go.

However, we've seen no Raid Content, and this is normally a fairly major part of the testing process... or at least it used to be. Firelands and Dragon Soul however underwent an awful lot of internal testing and relatively little 'live' testing before we saw either of those. I am going to guess that Blizzard intends to keep a lot of this closer to their chests than they have before and we will see as little if not less testing than has been previously offered. This is how I outlined what I'd consider the progress will be up to my theoretical release date:

MAY: Diablo 3 releases on the 15th and as everyone who had a Free Pass to beta also gets a copy of this game, I'd expect to see a significant drop of in testers, with only those committed to levelling and participating remaining, which means that Blizzard will want to get as much feedback as possible prior to that point. I'd also expect to see the game in a shippable working state by the end of May.

JUNE: Raid testing, further tweaking, with the event to link Cata and Pandas starting at the end of June.

JULY. Hype. Buildup. Blizzard work out what will be in the post expansion patch. BANG.

However, there is one question that remains: why launch in the middle of the Summer? Summer's normally an awful time for the game, with no-one around to play or fill raids. However, if Blizzard chose to release in July, with the Pet Battles alone as an incentive, I think people would play. In fact, I think they'd do it in their droves, and I think this may be a key that Blizzard is counting on. I think Blizzard are one of the few companies that could release a game when they wanted and not have to worry about people not buying it. Take up is never going to be an issue when you have given a million people the chance to beta, when you know all those people have already paid subs for a year to your existing franchise to have a chance to see your new ideas first.

I'm staying with this, and if I'm wrong I may well be forfeiting something as a result. We will see. For now, I say that Mists of Pandaria releases July 24th 2012.

You'll get to book your own release date starting tomorrow.

5 comments:

Henry said...

Possibly, if they do a summer release, then the first patch could be pre-Christmas and they could do a sale or something and do a "big push" to get more subs.

TheGrumpyElf said...

July makes a HUGE deal of sense.

You do know that they like to put little hints in telling future dates just like that did with the gnomeregan thing in wrath that the gnome say 12.7% chance of something or other. It was an in shot at the release date for cataclysm being December 7th, which it was.

I've been saying July for an extremely long time and it was not just me making up a date, it was because I had reason to firmly believe it was July.

The panda portrait you get from the Dalaran fishing bag sells for 7 gold. 7 = July. It didn't always sell for 7 gold. It was changed to 7 gold sell price. ;)

So I figured July, or, the even more oddly perfectly fitting August 7th, which just happens to be a Tuesday, the same day of the week they release all their new stuff.

So, it will be Aug 7th, or just before that a week or two.

Which interesting enough, perfectly fits your guess as well.

We both came about our ideas different ways. It is interesting we came out with roughly the same dates because of it.

El said...

In short, I'll eat my hat if Mists of Pandaria releases in July. The counter-arguments:

There is nothing "normal" about the order is which content is added to beta tests. For example, The Burning Crusade's professions arrived almost complete at the start of beta testing - an expansion in which the last content to be added were quests (in Shadowmoon Valley and Blades Edge Mountains). But after completing an outrageous amount of content for Cataclysm, the quest-design team are now working so fast that almost the whole of Pandaria was quested out back in March. Meanwhile professions are relatively incomplete considering there is no new profession in this expansion (complete lack of herb or mineral nodes is far more significant than the existance of a few recipes) because they are the responsibility of the same team that is trying to design Monks, psuedo-talents and loot statistics.

Major gameplay components are missing. It isn't just raids (and battlegrounds) that need testing. Scenarios, a headline feature are completely unavailable. Pet Battles are yet to be properly tested, another key feature. Both are major changes. That both means they will require extensive testing, and means that Blizzard will not commit to a release until they are satified that the feature will ship. And they won't be satified until they've played it! Plus vast amounts of minor (but unavoidable) content is still missing. For example, many dungeons don't yet have loot: Sounds trivial, but there's a huge amount of manual labour right there. Likewise there is almost no icon artwork: WoW expansions typically add around 2,000 icons, which someone is going to have to draw! Or translation: Localisation is something we English-speakers don't notice, but must be completed before a worldwide release.

Aside from content, there are still fundamental technical problems in the beta. Every test build has been prone to random disconnects and extreme lags, interspersed with all manner of client and server crashes. It's not that beta brings these bugs, it is that in spite of over a month of fixing them, they are still happening. At a technical level, Mists of Pandaria continues to be a train-wreck, with lots of work to do behind the scenes.

Finally, while parts of the online world are very responsive, marketing still has to deal print publications, distribution with retail stores. Both need 2 months notice of a release date, which would mean Blizzard would have to announce a July release date in the next few weeks. Blizzard's "when it's done" release reputation simily prevents commitment to releasing content they haven't even managed to get onto their unstable test servers yet.

Jonathan said...

I must concur with El, who summed up many of the counter-arguments which popped into my head on reading this post. I would also add the following:

- The fact a version of (note, not necessarily final) the loading screen music is in the files is not conclusive proof of anyting. Unlike a film, where scoring takes place once you have a near-finished picture to write to, computer game music can be recorded at any time once you have the feel of zones etc. locked down.

- The beta isn't even unlocked beyond, what, level 87 or 88 yet? There's a swathe of end-game content yet to be implemented and tested.

- Blizzard are going to want the focus to stay on Diablo III for the first month or so after release

- The timing for the last two expansions is instructive:

Wrath - Beta started 18 July, release date announced 15 September, released 13 November

Cataclysm - Beta started 30 June, release date announced 4 October, released 7 December.

Blizzard are about three months ahead of the timetable for the last two expansions, having started beta towards the end of March. And yet the Cataclysm beta went on longer than the Wrath beta, despite their institutional knowledge of how to do WoW expansions growing each time.

I'll save my actual guess for the competition, but suffice it to say I don't believe there is a snowball's chance in hell of a release date this side of August.

The Godmother said...

Some fabulous points being raised here, thank you for taking the time to respond guys. I am happily looking forward to being wrong, it is just how wrong I actually am that is going to matter... :D