Wild, Steamy, Unrestrained Speculation!

April 11, 2008

Ever since WAR’s 131st delay, announced last month, WARiors have nervously fidgeted and twitched thinking about the new release window — and the potential battle royale between the heavyweight champ (World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Little Kitty, er Lich King) and the plucky upstart backed by a multi-billion dollar corporation with plans for complete world domination via the Madden franchise. The very real worry of WAR not getting a clean start, but instead potentially being crushed by WoW’s installed fan base before WAR gets a chance to make it on its own, is founded in this chain of logic and naughty, kinky speculation:

1. WAR’s new release window is the ever-vague “Fall 2008”. This could be September 1st, it could be December 20th, it could be in the year 2525. We don’t know. We don’t even have a guarantee that Mythic won’t delay the release yet again — although there are higher-than-ever doubts about yet another pushback.

2. Blizzard is hard at work on a second WoW expansion. They’ve been hard at work on this expansion since gas was a more manageable $1.98 a gallon. Although Blizz’s president stated that they wanted expansions post-TBC to pop out at one a year or so, nobody, including the guy’s wife, took him seriously. Mold has migrated across entire states faster than Blizzard develops and releases products.

3. The end of 2008 will spell almost two complete years since WoW’s last expansion, and many people figure that two years is enough time to get what constitutes a handful of new zones, dungeons and one class out the door. Meanwhile, the mold is creeping ever further down the road.

4. Ergo, if WAR has a vague “fall 2008” release, and Wrath of the Lich King has a misty “sometime later this year, maybe, perhaps, possibly” release, the assumption is that they’ll be going head-to-head on the same weekend and gamers will develop a nervous breakdown trying to choose between the two.

If you ask me, and since you’re reading this I assume you are, this whole chain of reasoning is as flaky as it is flimsy. Yes, it would’ve been great if WAR launched in Q2 and had a chance to really build up a huge following before Lich King attacked those numbers. Yes, it’s a slightly scary thought that the possibility exists that those titles might launch relatively close together. Yet it simply is speculation of the murkiest kind.

As with all predictions in the game industry, what we don’t know could swamp a landfill. We have absolutely no proof or promise that WAR will release in early or late fall 2008, or even fall at all. We don’t know whether WAR’s subscriber numbers will make any noticeable impact on WoW, or whether WoW’s expansion will keep would-be WAR gamers away from that title. There are so many variables to consider that my head just hurts thinking about it. What about the players, like myself, who plan to subscribe to both games? What about the people disillusioned with WoW who have already quit, decided to play WAR whenever it releases, and WoW’s expansion has absolutely no pull on them? What if WAR does go head to head with Lich King — and pulls off an upset of immense proportions?

Let’s keep in mind that in November of 2004, a lot of folks thought it was an absolute disaster for EverQuest 2 and World of Warcraft to release in the same month. EQ had a built in subscriber base, they got the jump on WoW by a good few weeks, and nobody really foresaw the immense domination that WoW would soon exercise.

I think Mythic’s attitude of “Let’s create a great, fun, polished game and release it when it’s finished, and let the chips fall where they may” is absolutely correct.  They shouldn’t be bullied by expectations or release schedules to push or pull their release date based on the same speculation we have.  In any case, with the recent “breaking news” that Lich King has gone into alpha status — seriously?  Only alpha so far? — I’d say it’s a safe bet that Lich King won’t even be ready for a fall 2008 release unless Blizzard is hiding some big cards.  And who’s to say they’re not?

There’s a great Bible verse that speaks to this situation, for those WAR fans out there concerned about all this: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:27)   Speculation is all fun and games, but when you start twisting yourself up over what could be an entirely imaginary, hypothetical scenario… well, there’s that askew perspective again we’ve talked about.  Que sera sera.



  1. I may have my dates wrong here, but didnt WoW’s first expansion, TBC, go into alpha in August 06 to be release Jan 07 (a 5 month difference). 5 months from now is Sep 08, so a fall release date for WoTLK is possible. (though i’m not 100% certain of the date of TBC alpha)

  2. Yup, of course it’s possible, and those are the same TBC alpha-to-release dates I got. My point is, with Blizzard you really can never be sure what’s gone on in the past will equal what will happen in the future, particularly when it comes to timelines. Sure, they could release fall, and sure, it could slip to ’09. Don’t think Blizzard is too concerned with rushing their product at the expense of polish either.

  3. The potential is there for a great or not-as-great-as-it-could-have-been launch for WAR if it coincides with WotLK but you’re right, it’s all based on speculation. Unfortunately, for most WAR fans who aren’t in beta, speculation is the only game they can play right now.

    Technically, isn’t your argument of this being a non-issue somewhat hypothetical as well? Muahah, caught in the trap of speculation! Unless we have hard evidence either way, all we can do is guess. 😛

  4. Mhm! Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes, and speculation can be fun. I guess if I’m going for a moral to this rambling post, it’s that “We just don’t know. So don’t pretend you know. Let’s talk about things we know a bit more about. Like how many A’s should be in WAAAGH! I’m going with three.”

  5. I’ve seen too many dates tossed out for various games. Starcraft II has also had a late 2008 date tossed out, but I don’t believe that for one second. WotLK should make it out by the end of the year, but I don’t think they’ll bring it out before WAR hits. I think WAR, if they do hit in early October, might make it out up to a month ahead of Wrath. But both should definitely be hitting by the end of the year. If Wrath gets pushed back any further, it won’t be good, since they’ll be out of content again, with patch 2.4 being stale. Although I guess it was stale when it came out, since it was just more of the same old crap. Speculation is fun, but all I know is that I won’t believe any game is coming out until it’s gone gold. Wrath won’t affect WAR, since those who are going to get WAR are going to get it, and those bored with WoW are bored with WoW, Wrath isn’t going to revolutionize that game. Plus there’s a much better game coming out, Fallout 3! WAR has to worry about Fallout 3 more than Wrath.

  6. […] Wild, Steamy, Unrestrained Speculation! – 100% RDA of uncertainty […]

  7. *dons tinfoil hat*

    We don’t actually know what state WotLK is in. Blizzard has been working on their freaking xpac for ages and there really isn’t that much content announced. For all we know, as soon as EA Mythic announces a hard release date for WAR, WotLK could be finished up on very short notice and set to release on the same day.

    Hey, I’m just sayin’.

    *removes tinfoil hat*

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