Return to the Promised LandNovember 26, 2008
Because a lot of fret and worry has been spilled over the number of WAR players who (supposedly) returned to WoW for the expansion pack — including, it seems, the formerly WAR-only Casualties of WAR guild/blogger social network — I’ve tried to stay aware of what’s been going on over there in Blizzardtown. As far as I can tell, a majority of people are giving the following two reports:
- Wrath of the Lich King is very well-done, interesting, pretty and caters well to the casual player.
- And it’s very, very quick.
“Quick” not as in “someone hit level 80 within a day of launch”, which is the sort of insane goal that’s expected from hardcore geeks, but “quick” as in “the bulk of the pre-launch level 70s are now, or shortly hereafter will be, level 80.” The Burning Crusade wasn’t anywhere near this speedy with its population ascent — trust me, I was there. It remains to be seen how much of the new end game Blizzard’s rolled out will retain the current crop of players, but this lightning-fast chow down of the new content gives me a gut feeling that after another month or two, gamers are going to get restless once more. Including and especially the ones who returned from WoW from WAR.
I mention this because this is a narrow time window that may be a blessing in disguise for Mythic. They have a few months of being able to blame Wrath of the Lich King for subscriber drops before the onus falls fully on them — and they have a few months before the famous game-hopping crowd could be searching once more, possibly looking to give WAR a second chance.
If WAR beefs up, shores up its weaknesses, incorporates the new tank classes, gets the ball rolling on serious oRvR fun, improves game performance, and really ups their PR — EA should be throwing a lot more muscle behind this property than I’ve witnessed — then, sure, it could be a second, “soft” launch of WAR, one to fully convince players that the title’s on the way up in the world, and is so much more worth playing now than ever before.
Of course, that’s a lot of “if’s”, including the presumption that WoW-WAR gamers will get bored with Lich King in that time period. In any case, the public profile of Lich King should die down enough to let the other MMOs regain their voice and slice of the journalistic pie — and that might just be the right time to begin trumpeting WAR anew.