The more I think of WoD, the more I think it’s an attempt to reboot WoW in its entirety – WoW2 if you will. Here are a few items to support that theory.
- Everyone is given a “free” level 90, with the option to purchase more. This bypasses 10 years of content, provides you all the gear you need to start as well.
- Each profession can be completed from 1 – max in WoD through catch-up mechanisms. This invalidates any gathering node from 1-90 and all crafting items, which also guts a fair chunk of the economy.
- The story is a 30 year return in the past with new characters. The actions of the past 10 years have next to no impact on the events in WoD, with the exception of Garrosh breaking out of jail. The lore context is not used at all (Illidan, Lich King, Death Wing) might as well not have existed, other than a kick off point. Reminds me of Marvel’s What If?
- A near brand new graphics engine for combat and presentation. The game doesn’t look 10 years old and the new architecture is based on merged realms.
- All mechanics have been drastically simplified, which has dropped the skill cap by a large amount. It’s much less an RPG as it is an action game.
- The only reason to do any of the “old” content is for achievements or pets/mounts/toys/transmog. Given the power curve, you don’t need other people to do this.
In reality, the game is more accessible today than it has ever been. If you skipped 2 expansions, you can easily jump in. Never played before? Probably the easiest MMO to get into on the market today. It’s clearly the least feature-rich expansion ever launched and you’d have trouble convincing me that it took 13 months between patches just for garrisons.
Simple sells. It sells enough to put the game back above 10m subscribers. Are garrisons enough to keep those people around longer than 3 months?
It’s certainly an interesting balance of changing the game enough to attract new folk while not alienating their core audience.