We sit at the one month point of the warlords expansion and it is time to play around with a little bit of speculation. However I do not believe there is any speculation needed. I am completely willing to go out on a limb here and make a prediction, but I do so without any risk of being wrong because it is an extremely strong limb. The next expansion will not be out in 11 months.
Blizzard has promised that this expansion will only last one year. That is not going to happen. The way the staggered raid releases are set up I can see maybe, just maybe, the next expansion coming as early as one year after the release of the second starting raid. But no way in hell one year after the release of warlords. Nope, not going to happen, never.
I personally think I would like to see this expansion gone as soon as possible. I'm not exactly happy with the feeling I am playing on a live beta, even if I am enjoying the game right now. I would not object in any way to only having 11 months left to it. Sure, if it goes by that quick I will never be able to complete mythic as I did with siege as I am a casual raider with friends that are just not up to that level of play, but that does not bother me. As long as I finish normal (now called heroic) like I have been doing, or coming close to, for the years since I started raiding, I will be more than happy.
That is one reason I do not see them sticking to a faster release schedule. There are more players like me than there are players above me, in terms of progression. And there are much more under me. So they will not, or should not, cater to the ones above me and they most definitely should cater to those below me. While it does not matter to me if I do mythic, as I consider that bonus content for when I am bored and not actually part of the main game, to some people having the time to get into mythic and finish it is very important and with a sped up release schedule it will basically lock out the vast majority of the player base that wishes to see mythic but just can't do it on a short schedule.
Another one of the reasons I do not see that happening is blizzards track record. They are dreadful with releasing timely content. I know they are trying to get better at it. At the beginning of mists it looked like they finally nailed it. Mists probably had the best first year in terms of content patches released in the history of the game. There was nothing not to like about it, unless you disliked having so much content. There was just a lot to offer and they offered it all. For a moment it really seemed blizzard would be living by their word and making faster releases. It did not turn out that way when we sat in the same raid for 14 months. Hey, I did not mind, it took me 9 months to finish heroic (now mythic) and I am happy to have had that chance. But I would still say it went on too long.
Add all that to the fact that warlords is effectively still in beta. Yes, I know it has been released, but blizzard has been releasing a flurry of changes left and right of recent. All changes that should have been made on beta. Changes to professions, the same ones I wrote about here being in an unfinished state on beta, changes to achievements, and changes to other things. All of which should have been adjusted on beta. As it turns out, it is being adjusted on beta, a live beta.
So adding that all together. Blizzard not wanting to cut the raid season really short, because it wants people like me to have my 9 months at the end of the expansion to get a mythic kill, their track record of being really dreadful with timely content releases, and the fact that even if warlords has been released it is still not a finish product, we will absolutely, one hundred percent certain, not be seeing a new expansion in 11 months as promised.
So now that we got that out of the way and it is no longer a discussion, the expansion will last longer than one year, it is time for the real question, how long would you like to see this expansion last?
I know that the expansion still has that new car smell for a great deal of people, and everyone knows we all like something more when it is new, so I am expecting some people will over estimate how much they are enjoying the expansion because of that. My opinion however is going to be more based on the what I believe would be best for the game and not the fact I am enjoying myself at the moment.
After the next raid is released, blackrock foundray, in January, I would like to see the expansion follow the mists design. Meaning I would like to see a content patch three months later in April followed by the last raid, as there are only supposed to be two this expansion, three months after that in July.
I personally believe that a 6 month cycle to raids is fair enough that it gives the people that want to push the top level of raiding enough time to finish it, the people that do it for something to do the time to dabble in it, and everyone else the time to finish up the top difficulty they are capable of clearing.
I also believe that the last raid of the expansion should last a little longer, nine months in my opinion seems to be fine. No more of this 14 month stuff please. But I also believe that just because the last raid came out doesn't mean that it should mark the end of content for the expansion. So after the last raid is released in July I think it would be nice to see some sort of catch up island, like the timeless island, released three months after that, meaning in October.
That would leave us with 6 months of no content while we prepare for the new expansion which should, in my opinion, come in April of 2016.
If it worked out to be that pattern I would be very happy, but for blizzard, my opinion on what I believe would be a good release schedule still seems like a very ambitious endeavor and I do not believe they would be capable of keeping up with the schedule that I laid out. So don't expect that to happen. But I would be very happy to be proved wrong by blizzard and glad to eat my words if they can make it happen.
So what do you think this expansion should play out to be? If they keep to only 2 raid tiers do you think my design would be nice or maybe you think we will get a third tier, or 14 months in one raid again. Let me know.