We’re 1 year into BfA (feels longer) and a few months from Blizzcon. So speculation about what’s next is due!
See, a leak is really only a leak if there’s some sort of bad news. Even the Blizzcon announcements are not all rosy, there is always some trepidation around the various bits. When you read something that is all good news, then you take a hefty spoonful of gullible along with it.
That said, wish fulfillment is thematic. It’s focused on what people think is a problem today that needs to be addressed, combined with the perennial “more things”. In that vein, these speculative posts seem to share similar points:
- Old God themed expansion. This one seems fairly obvious given the current state of the game. That said, the current storyline is pointing strongly to a merger of the two factions after deposing of Sylvanas.
- New classes. Seems there’s a new class every other expansion. The actual class…
- Level squish. Blizz have been upfront on this already.
- Horizontal progress systems. Fair to say that Blizz has not been able to make the AP system from Legion/BfA feel rewarding without a grind. Which in itself speaks volumes about the challenges of system designers that 3 years of iteration still doesn’t work.
- Full world revamp a-la Cataclysm. This one seems far fetched as the resources are absolutely better used elsewhere. People spent what, 4 hours leveling in vanilla content nowdays? That the point is here at all I think focuses more on the fact that more recent expansions are much better designed than previous (duh).
- Reversion of classes. BfA removed many of the class-focused aspects found in Legion (through artifacts), and the general trend has been more and more homogeneous classes. Really, there isn’t much difference between any of the classes in a given role (melee, range, heal, tank). Class flavor is always a hot topic.
Most expansion speculation has had these points, with some minor variations, over the years. Expected. Some are more likely than others (level squish vs. world rebuild).
I have low expectations when it comes to the next WoW expansion. The primary reason for this is as follows:
Blizzard’s success is predicated on perfecting existing successful systems in place within other games.
It has been a long time since Blizzard has actually improved on an existing one. Weapon artifacts came with a similar grind as found in LOTRO/DAoC. Followers in WoD/Legion were +loot tools rather than an actual gameplay change. Role-agnostic content (island expeditions) had no incentives. Point being that Blizz can certainly spot successful systems, but their ability to perfect those systems is seriously lacking. Which is fine… since it really means that the development talent across the entire market is no longer entirely found within Blizz.
(Side note. Starcraft 2 has no competition, so is a weird side case. Overwatch has done some really solid work. HotS & Hearthstone…they appear to have leadership issues.)
Blizzcon is certainly going to be an interesting event, and I do fully expect a ton more “leaks” to come out between now and then. Maybe some Diablo4 while we’re at it…