When warlords comes out we will be at a nice and even level 100. A nice end point for a leveling process in my opinion. Being it seems the only true reason for a new box release to come out is to give us new levels and new zones we need to wonder if it is even worth having new expansions, at least as we have come to know them, as in buying a new box every 2 years for 50 bucks give or take.
If I had to guess I would say that we will get more levels with the next expansion, be it 5 or 10, but levels none the less and they use these levels as a way to sell us a new box. I do not believe that is needed and if anything this long wait between content patches has done nothing be reenforced my opinion on the matter.
We sit around for a year doing the same old same old for what seems like forever again, just like we have in the expansion before this and the one before that. It has become a pattern, a pattern of abuse of their power as I see it over the player base that loves the game and keeps putting up with it. They know we will stick around, at least in large enough numbers, so they let us stew.
When mists came out and for its first full year blizzard showed us exactly what could be done when they put their mind to it. We had story patch followed by raid patch followed by story patch and then raid patch again. Every three months we were given something and then it stopped dead in its tracks because, to paraphrase, "if we give any more new content it will delay the expansion".
The question is, do we really need a new expansion? Could they have just added new zones and new story content and new raids and dungeons and kept moving forward instead of leaving us in a holding pattern while we wait for a new box that we will in turn need to pay for even though we pay every single month for it already in the form of our subscription fees.
Being the game uses the subscription model I think I would prefer to pay an additional 2 dollars every month for my subscription, which would be 48 over the 2 years and effectively the cost of a new box, and continue to have new content every three months in one steady flow instead of having them throw everything together into a box and call it an expansion.
The big sell of an expansion is new levels with the new zones to level in anything else, historically, could be added as a patch. Raids, dungeons, new mini content like the garrisons will be, heck even some zones have been added as patches, so there is no way they could say it can't be done.
They could change the leveling model now that we will be level 100. When they want to do a complete gear reset, which is something we routinely see when we move to a new area in a new expansion, instead of giving us a "catch up" zone like timeless island in a patch which give us lower than raid level gear, they could move us to a new patch of land where we step into the new world and have a full zone of quests that all offer gear equal to the current highest gear which means top level raiders just move along as is to the next raid zone and anyone in lesser gear gets to play catch up to heroic level gear through the questing process, this would be a perfect gear reset through a patch system instead of the one we use now with the box system.
Then we could go through the cycle, that we now know of as an expansion, where they instead release a new zone every month or so with new gear until we get to the next raid tier being ready. They could "level" us that way or level us through gear. We would get mini raids within that new leveling process be it at 105 if they continue the leveling model, or at a higher gear level if they completely abandon the leveling system to leave us at an even 100. There is no need for an expansion, there is only a need for patches. It can be done and it can be done smoothly. Instead of them having to work on one huge expansion to sell us in a box, they can release bits and pieces of it over the course of time so we always have a taste of something new, of moving forward, of being invested in the game.
We had a taste of what could be in mists. Every three months meant something new we could do. I liked that, I want more of that, and the main reason this long wait seems worse than all the other long waits before it is because we have seen the future of content releases, we have seen how quick and smooth and quality they can be made, and we want more, we expected more. If anything, we did not expect to wait a year for a new box, which is basically what we are doing.
I am not against warlords and whatever may follow as an expansion, but I am against the idea of new boxes and waiting a year without content so blizzard can make a box sale cash grab. It is not needed any longer. They can just keep tacking on content in patches instead of making us wait. It might need for them to redesign how they do things but it would not be anything that they can not do.
I think the time of box and subscription has passed. I think the time of subscription is on its way out. However I do believe in the box or subscription model. I think blizzard can really start building back players and moving up in subscribers if they ditched the box system and just kept added new content as they made it so it always had something new coming out. It would give people a reason to stay subscribed longer which in turn means more money for them, no less because they would not longer be selling a box.
If they were releasing new content every three months it would warrant a subscription fee a lot more than releasing no new content for over a year. The subscription numbers have dropped and will continue to drop because people are leaving while there is nothing to do. Blizzard is doing, what I believe, a fine job in pulling out all the stops to try and get people to come back, trying to get people to subscribe, for the events, for the bike, for buffs, for anything they can throw out there that might lure people back, but I just have to think wouldn't they have been better off, from a business standpoint, to just make it so these people never unsubscribed to begin with? Instead of making such huge sweeping efforts to try to get people to come back it might be a better idea to try and get them to stay in the first place.
Moving away from the box system to a straight forward patch system would mean new content more often and one fluid forward moving story where we always have something to do, somewhere to head, and progression to make instead of having to be put in the position we are now where we wait with nothing.
Of course the idea of keeping us getting new content, like if we had gotten some small content patches (at least) every three months for the year we were waiting plus the box would work even better for blizzard but because they seem either unwilling or unable to do so in my opinion means we would be better off as a whole, from a player standpoint, if they just ditched the box system completely. Also, like I mentioned, continued content releases would also be better for business in my opinion as it would give people a lot less reason to unsubscribe when compared to now.
So do you think it is about time we say goodbye to the box expansions and just get updates every three months instead? Even if they increased the price by $2 a month to compensate for the loss of the box sales?
I think it is about time, but that is only because I want more content more often even if in small doses instead of a huge influx once every two years. That is my opinion at least, what is yours?
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