The announcement for the release date of the next expansion is less than two weeks away now by my estimation and we are still getting a slew of information day in and day out about things being added to Mists. It is beginning to seem, more and more with each announcement, that blizzard is going all in with Mists.
After trying to bluff with a bad hand that they named Cataclysm they are low on chips. Another bluff like that and they could very well go from being the table leader to walking home with their tail between their legs.
They announced Cataclysm saying it would be the biggest expansion with the most content ever. They said they would release new patches faster than ever before. They said a lot. They where bluffing, none of the things they said where true, not even one, and in the end everyone saw their hand. They had nothing. A pair of twos could have beaten the hand that Cataclysm was.
With Mists they have been dealt a new hand but the people sitting at the table can't just take their betting big once more as proof they have a good hand. They are going to need to wait it out to see it. They are going to have to let them play it out and see what they have.
From all this information it is hard to believe that Mists is just another bluff. They showed us what looked like a very advanced preview at the last convention and they kept it up by not only having a huge beta that was willing to invite anyone that bought an annual pass but adding many additional things to the beta that are functional but we where never even told about.
After having convention announcements for a dance studio and a path of the titans and seeing both cut before the finished product came out you have to look at this as a complete reversal for them, something we have never had the occasion to see before from them. They are adding content that was not announced. We are going to be getting more than they promised, not less. Is this all one huge bluff or are we getting ready to see blizzard whip out the royal flush?
I happen to be from the school that is hoping for the best but expecting the worst. I fell for their bluff last time. I had high expectations of Cataclysm. I was duped. I and millions of other people, some of them got up and left the table after being so insulted by the Cataclysm bluff, expected so much more the way they had played their hand. Once bitten, twice shy.
We won't get fooled again with that type of boasting about the best expansion ever but seeing blizzard going all in on this expansion has one wondering if they do actually mean it this time. Are we really going to get the biggest expansion ever now? Are we going to have more content than ever before? Will we have faster patches and more things to do? I know they did not say any of that about this expansion, they said it about the last one and I am still waiting for them to deliver on that. I am holding Mists accountable for the debt Cataclysm left behind from their unfulfilled promises.
Lets just take a look at some random numbers that are being thrown at us.
8 - New questing zones.
1 - New hub city for each the alliance and horde.
3 - New battlegrounds
1 - New arena.
10 - New or redesigned dungeons.
1 - New dungeon difficulty mode, challenge.
1 - New dungeon type called scenarios that can be done by any group make up.
10 - New scenarios.
3 - New raids
10 - Classes completely redesigned
30 - Specs completely redesigned
1 - New spec, guardian druid
1 - New class, monk
3 - New specs for monks
1 - New race, with dances, emotes and movements designed just for them
1 - New mini game, pet battles
10 - Different classes of pets
350 - Over 350 different abilities pets can have.
300 - Nearly 300 new pets
100 - Around 100 wild pets that can be captured
20 - Over 20 new factions to encounter
1 - New faction completely designed to be for lore only
6 - New cooking specializations
5 - New guild levels with redesigned bonuses
50 - Over 50 new mounts
550 - Over 550 new achievements
1200 - Over 1200 new quests
... so far.
All that and so much more.
An updated archeology that allows 6 digs per site and more pieces per dig, a wide variety of achievements for it and new collections, new races and new rares. The new farming thing and new cooking containers. The new creatures, new battles, new mechanics, new focus, new this and new that.
Many classes will find themselves with new resources like locks and arcane mages while other classes will find themselves with new ways to manage what they do like all tank specs and shamans with their totem change.
The changing and removal of things for hunters which is of course of special importance to me like the removal of minimum range and the change to needing expertise make for a new feel to how we do things for the second expansion in a row in our ever evolving class.
There will be so much to do game wise to begin with and everyone will need to relearn their class to some degree or another as most all abilities have changed, new abilities have been added, long known abilities have been removed and while it all remains the same there will be a fresh take on everything.
There are many new glyphs, most for fun and some that will be hard to decide on. Druids will be able to be the good old tree all the time now, they can be a stag travel form that can carry a passenger, they can be an orca when they swim, there is just so much to do. Hunters can even use a glyph to teach Fluffy to fetch now.
There are world bosses that turn all the mobs around them into elites and have raid like mechanics in an open world setting which could be great fun or amazing havoc, either can very well be an exciting thing.
The world Pandaria covers appears to be more than we have ever seen in one expansion and the scenery is not only visually exciting but seemingly well thought out. It is also all connected, something the world misses because of the disconnected questing areas in Cataclysm.
It seems like they have put so much into this expansion, for every bit they didn't do in Cataclysm they did it twice over in this one. They are betting the farm on it, they are pushing all in.
They are correcting a lot of the errors they made with Cataclysm, such as the previously mentioned connected areas. Hemet Nessingwary has made his return and he is all over the place. Alchemists once again have reusable healing and mana potions. Some forgotten currencies have been addressed like the dalaran cooking tokens.
Everything they screwed the pooch on in Cataclysm they are seemingly making some adjustments to in Mists and if there were ever a sign of good things to come that would be it. A game might be judged by its much bigger over all but it touches the minds of its players with the little things, something blizzard seemed to forget in Cataclysm. Even the little stuff matters.
Blizzard is putting all in. They are not just putting in the big chips this time, they are even putting in the little ones. They are effectively saying this hand is a winner. This hand is the best hand they ever had. They are really all in this time and they intend to win.
Do you think they have what it takes to win this hand after the horrible bluff that backfired called Cataclysm?
We can all hope. I'm not quite ready to bet the farm on them winning yet but for some reason I don't think they are bluffing. I think that they really believe they have a good hand this time.
For me the key will not be when Mists is released, the key will be when the first patch comes out. If it is more content and a raid and it is three or four months after the release of Mists I'll believe they are in it to win it. If not, all this build up, all these goodies, all of it was just another elaborate bluff. Just like the bluff they sold us when Cataclysm came out saying it would be the largest expansion ever with more patches faster than ever before.
Word to the wise blizzard, don't bluff your users again. Last time it cost you big, next time the losses could be worse. You've got our attention, time to wow us blizzard, no pun intended.