I love a party with an Atmosphere, so don't bring Russ Abbot along...
I'm not here, so as you read this I have to apologise. Don't worry, I won't be enjoying myself too much. However, what I will be doing whilst being not here is thinking ahead to the next month, because... well, if you don't think Blizzcon's going to be HUGE this year, then I sense you don't grasp the general mood around these parts. There is an awful lot riding on Blizzard's next step forward, and I'm already conscious of a great many wheels in motion. That silence you can hear right now, punctuated by the quite obvious sound effect of a cricket? That tumbleweed that just rolled past, peppered with red and blue bits of shiny paper?
Calm before the storm, my friends, calm before what might end up as the perfect storm.
|Roger's Prosthetic Hand Attachments had a solution for everything.|
You could argue that never has so much rested on one Expansion before. This is a new place we find ourselves in, and we have arrived with a measure of speed that in gaming terms makes Usain Bolt look like a Giant Tortoise. Game patch times have not only been picked up, all the content just keeps on running. The speed at which Blizzard respond to customer concerns means that we can complain about LFR difficulty and get the nerfs on the table within a week. This really is the Modern World of instant responses, and that means that I'd expect once we get to Blizzcon, there'll be a fully-fledged new Expansion, ready to Beta Test.
Or will there?
The current silence about anything Blizzcon related isn't a surprise: we only just got 5.4, people are still bedding in, you can't even get to Garrosh in LFR yet. I wonder if that wing's opening was meant to co-incide with the one month to go countdown or whether it was a happy accident, but I'd like to bet that as soon as we get to the 8th, there might be some hints of what is to come. There's been a lot of speculation as to whether we will have playable data in our hands, and with the timings we've seen for previous patches that would make sense... but there's still not any copyrighted new Expansion name yet (there's another possible doing the rounds, but it is nothing like confirmed) This has led some people to speculate that there may not be an Expansion at all and you know what, I think they may be right.
I'll tell you what the new release of the game's going to be called, shall I?
World of Warcraft: 10th Anniversary Edition.
No need to register new trademarks or get a new site sorted. No requirement for being sneaky or to hide information from key organisations, because it's just the same game, but without the need to encumber itself with a title. It encompasses all that is great about the game with one phrase: '10th Anniversary.' Nobody else's MMO will make it to being 10 years and still be this popular, AND HAVE A MOVIE AT THE END OF IT. I'd also suspect that has a lot to do with the decision, because the film now has a confirmed 2015 release date and if Blizzard want to keep this relevant they have no choice to keep the game rolling on for OVER TWO YEARS. Just think about that for a minute. You will not want your game to tank in those intervening 24 months. You will be absolutely and totally insistent that not only does it keep on rolling onwards, but it GETS BETTER.
What this means in terms of gameplay, is of course, the most closely guarded of secrets but somewhere right now in Blizzard HQ someone is making AV presentations for Blizzcon. Items are being produced, and I suspect they'll not look like anything new because that would be an automatic indicator they're Expansion-based to begin with. That's how Blizzard will keep the measure of secrecy intact, because to the rest of the world none of this stuff looks any different, but it will be. Maybe after all that joking and laughing that Blizzard won't go back and correct the multitude of mistakes its made over the years with all kinds of different aspects of the gameplay, that's exactly what they chose to do, to reinvent the game from the ground up for the 10th year it comes into existence.
Fortunately, soon we'll soon have less than a month to wait for an answer.