Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sunset Now

And so it begins...

When we sit down in a year's time and look at what 2014 has brought us, what will we say?

It may seem a bit pre-emptive, looking a full year ahead when 2014's not even here (lalalalalala Oceania Readers, can't hear you) but I can't help thinking that we'll be celebrating the Year When Everything Changed, at least if Blizzard do it right. 2013 was the year when lots of really well known names and faces left Azeroth for good, and many people as a result maintained it would never recover. It was the year many people found it easier to fight with each other rather than pulling together to a common cause. It ended up being typified by words like 'toxic' and the notion of community evolving to mean different things to increasing numbers of people...

I reckon everyone could really use a change of direction. It is time for new people to step up to the plate and hit the balls right out of the park.

Fortunately, Celestalon appears to have done just that.

That's a no-nonsense tweet, right there. We wanted change, well we're getting it, and with a substantive hit to anyone currently making a living as a Jewelcrafter to boot. This Tweet not only tells it like it is, but I sense is a potent indicator of what we can expect in the weeks that follow: everyone's going to be affected by this, change is coming, is inevitable and is likely going to be HUGE. What it means for the average player of course won't immediately be apparent until Blizzard can get as many people as possible playing the game and that means a Beta Client, and (I have to hope) that it'll be sooner in January rather than later. Without Mr Street in the mix, many will still (mistakenly) believe the game is without a direction, that all those assertions he's made that Blizzard play a team game are just to make feel better that nothing will change as a result. These guys not only go to the Bathroom with a plan, but they have several contingencies and a choice of emergency exits should they require them.

2014 will be the year that either made or broke the game.

Let's hope not, shall we?

That's the great thing about the Future, nobody has a clue... except, of course, if you know your Future is a certain past you wrote a decade ago. The trick then is to mesh that seamlessly into a system that people don't need a maths degree and six websites in order to maximise, that means that every Guide everyone ever wrote is likely to become redundant as a result. This is the time not only for change, but for people to take this data and make sense of it, to transmit it differently, via a new tranche of Social Media outlets. 2014 is where everyone has a chance to stand up and make a name for themselves as Warcraft becomes yet another new incarnation of itself, and Blizzard hopes that with titles like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm keeping players reminded of how great a franchise all this is wrapped up in, people will be enticed back to the game. If they pull it off, the gaming industry won't have seen anything quite like it.

All we have to do now is wait.

Then we have to ask how long for a Beta, and I find myself thinking that if Blizzard are going to make good on their promises, it will indeed be Soon (TM) Tweets like the above one say to me this stuff's in place and ready to roll. The only way we find out for certain is when the dust settles and Blizzard get back to work.

Frankly, the Future cannot become the Present soon enough.

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