Details on World of Warcraft expansion leaked?

One more reason for me to get back to work full time comes from the folks over at Joystiq who are reporting that some of the details of the upcoming expansion to Blizzard’s MMORPG hit World of Warcraft have been leaked:

  • Official title: “The Burning Crusade”
  • 2 new races: Blood Elves (Horde) & Draenei (Alliance)
  • New class: Spell Breaker
  • Max level increased (75)
  • 6 new areas
  • 9 new high-end instances
  • Updated transportation

There’s a shot of the new Elf race over at their site as well, but now I need to plan on getting my Dwarf up to the new level cap. No word yet on a release date, but we’ll know in 10 days whether any of this is true and when we can expect to play it when BlizzCon takes place.

13 thoughts on “Details on World of Warcraft expansion leaked?

  1. I’ve been following the leaked expansion details on the Unofficial WOW site closely, and all indications so far is that there will be no new classes and that the new race for the Alliance has yet to disclosed.

    While there is certainly good WOW lore for having the Blood Elves join either the Alliance or the Horde, many players, myself among them, are upset and feel betrayed that Blizzard stuck them with the Horde.  The Horde has many new race options, like Goblins and Ogres, while noone I’ve spoke with is particularly keen to play Pandas or the ugly Dranei for the Alliance.  Blizzard knew most Alliance peeps wanted high/blood elves, yet it seems that they are using the much anticipated blood elves to help shift the server populations heavily favored toward the Alliance back to somewhere in the middle by giving the Horde a “pretty” race.

  2. Personally I think this all sounds pretty awesome. Not I just need to focus on getting my character up to 60 so I can be ready for when this hits, if it is true.

    By the by, what server does everyone play on?

  3. JCali, I would hope that Blizzard would have good storytelling reasons for putting the Blood Elves on the Horde side, but the fact that it might help bring more people to play that side isn’t a bad reason either. On most servers the Horde is outnumbered at least 2 to 1 by the Alliance so anything that helps get more people to play as the Horde is a good thing in my mind.

    Matt, Anne and I aren’t playing at the moment due to my unemployment, but when we are (and we hope to be again before too much longer) you can find us on the Durotan.

  4. I think this “leak” is a fake – I wouldn’t get too excited about it if I were you. 🙁 A lot of the changes just don’t make any sense. Kessler makes a few good points about it here.

  5. I’m on Durotan and was really hoping for Goblins most of all;yeah I know they’re neutral,but I love the humor and the sassy female comments wink
    Ogres would rock too,or even centaurs but I guess giving them a side could be tricky;perhaps alliance as the Tauren hate them so much

  6. I’m amazed Blizzard hasn’t implemented an AA(alternate advancement) system yet, I’m beginning to wonder if they ever will.  I quit 5 months ago because level 60 was so incredibly boring(no more character improvements, XP is worthless, etc.)  The last thing I’m going to do is buy this expansion so I can play another 2-3 months only to have the same thing happen again.  Thanks, but no thanks.

    Blizzard, please get a clue and learn from your predessessors (Everquest).

  7. Once I hit level 60 I put aside my primary character and started working on alts. I’m not sure what kind of alternative advancement system they could implement or how much more interesting it might be considering that leveling to 60 wasn’t as bad an experience as it was in other MMORPGs I’ve played. Most of the other’s I’ve never had a toon make it to the endgame let alone start up several others to see what they’d play like.

    Lately, though, now that I’ve figured out how to earn gold at a regular pace I’m actually playing my primary level 60 quite a bit as I use him to do most of the gold earning at this point. The addition of the Battlegrounds for three different PVP mini-games also helps liven things up for my primary character and gives new incentives to earn the gold for an Epic mount and the like. Also, the upcoming 1.9 patch will bring with it a server-wide epic quest to unlock new content that’ll be massive in scale.

    So I do agree that endgame content was lacking for quite awhile and I even quit playing for a bit myself, but the situation is slowly improving and I’m back to being a happy gamer.

  8. Once I hit level 60 I put aside my primary character and started working on alts.

    Any MMORPG that forces you to make an alt whenever you hit the level cap is misdesigned.

    Players should be free to continue leveling their mains at all times, in Everquest there are something like 540 Alternate Advancement Points per class after the level cap, this makes it practically impossible to max out your character.

    Lately, though, now that I’ve figured out how to earn gold at a regular pace I’m actually playing my primary level 60 quite a bit as I use him to do most of the gold earning at this point.

    Spending 2 weeks farming gold to buy an epic pair of boots that increase your dex by 4 points is not my idea of fun or time well spent.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things about WoW that I like, but that makes it even more frustrating to see Blizzard dropping the ball with fundamentals.  Ensuring players never ‘max out’ their character is the first rule of long-term playability in MMORPGs. 

    From another forum:

    The nice thing about the way EQ did it, is that there was diminishing returns on time invested, because AA’s gradually became less and less useful. Let’s look at it mathematically:

    (the actual numbers are arbitrary, the principle is not)

    Leveling to max takes 20 days /played, and gives you 2000 “power”.

    Getting your first 100 AA takes 20 days /played, and gives you an additional 500 “power”.

    Getting 101-200 AA takes 20 days /played, and gives you an additional 250 “power”.

    So on and so on, until you cap your AA. It’s a great system for longevity, because players who want to play more, get rewarded for doing so, in small doses, but its on a curve that someone with max AA is never going to be twice as powerful as a person with none. At least, not based on AA’s alone.

    I don’t think this same system would be as effective if you removed the AA aspect and made it work the same way on a strictly level basis. By changing mediums of advancement, you create the illusion of a somewhat level playing field. This encourages players to be more inclusive of one another.

    For example in EverQuest, when searching for group members, everyone in the /who was 65 (assuming you have a max level group). It wasn’t without getting more familiar with a person that you learned how many AA they had or what their gear was like. This is a subtle, but extremely powerful community building tool.

    Hurray for AA!

  9. Any MMORPG that forces you to make an alt whenever you hit the level cap is misdesigned.

    No one is forced to make an alt character simply because they hit the level cap. I did it because I wanted to check out the other classes, but there are plenty of people who continue to play their level 60 regardless of having hit the cap.

    Players should be free to continue leveling their mains at all times, in Everquest there are something like 540 Alternate Advancement Points per class after the level cap, this makes it practically impossible to max out your character.

    That’s great and all, but having played both EverQuest and WoW I’ll take the latter over the former anytime. The number one thing I hate about EQ is how it’s designed so that after a certain level you pretty much have to party up to make any reasonable progress. In WoW I soloed a good portion of my time. I want the option to join a party if I feel like it, but I shouldn’t be forced into it by the game designers which is pretty much what just about every other MMORPG tends to do.

    And, honestly, even if I had 540 alternate advancement points to work with I don’t know that I wouldn’t just create an alt once I hit the level cap for EQ if, for no other reason, than to play something else.

    Spending 2 weeks farming gold to buy an epic pair of boots that increase your dex by 4 points is not my idea of fun or time well spent.

    Nor mine, but that’s not why I’m doing it anyway. I am gathering gold in part to purchase some newer equipment for the PVP Battlegrounds, but I’m also doing it to make the lives of my alts much easier. Not to mention that if my goal were only to buy epic armor it would improve my stats considerably more than 4 points. I have enchants I can cast that do better than that.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things about WoW that I like, but that makes it even more frustrating to see Blizzard dropping the ball with fundamentals.  Ensuring players never ‘max out’ their character is the first rule of long-term playability in MMORPGs.

    [Long description of AA points omitted.]

    Personally, the day that WoW starts emulating EQ is the day I’m likely to quit for good. EQ left a very bad taste in my mouth and is, in my opinion, a great example of everything that’s wrong with an MMORPG. Your mileage may vary.

  10. You make some interesting points.

    That’s great and all, but having played both EverQuest and WoW I’ll take the latter over the former anytime. The number one thing I hate about EQ is how it’s designed so that after a certain level you pretty much have to party up to make any reasonable progress.

    I agree with you, but this has nothing to do with AA points.  WoW has made hundreds of improvements over Everquest, but that does not mean they didn’t make some major mistakes and omissions along the way.  The game could be much better. I truly believe some version of AA points would bring back thousands of disgruntled players.  By ignoring this issue Blizzard is releasing a travesty of an expansion.

    No one is forced to make an alt character simply because they hit the level cap. I did it because I wanted to check out the other classes

    That’s fine, and I did the same thing but after a while even that gets old.  Most players get attached to their main and want to keep playing it, not being able to use XP anymore is a massive letdown.  One of the main appeals of an RPG is character growth.  The game teaches players that their efforts will be rewarded with newer and better skills over time, in WoW that comes to a screeching halt after the character hits an arbitrary level cap.  It breaks an unspoken agreement with the player, and ruins a big part of the game.  That left a very bad taste in my mouth.

    but there are plenty of people who continue to play their level 60 regardless of having hit the cap.

    Yep, and they’re mostly chinese.

  11. As do you…

    I agree with you, but this has nothing to do with AA points.  WoW has made hundreds of improvements over Everquest, but that does not mean they didn’t make some major mistakes and omissions along the way.  The game could be much better. I truly believe some version of AA points would bring back thousands of disgruntled players.  By ignoring this issue Blizzard is releasing a travesty of an expansion.

    Give them some time and a little credit for what they have accomplished. EQ didn’t have AA points at the very beginning—I know because I was there at the beginning—and I also know that AA points are not a standard thing in most MMORPGs so referring to them as a “missed fundamental” is a bit of a stretch. They do sound like a good addition to the game, but how many years was it before EQ got around to putting them in? Give WoW a chance to figure out their innovative contribution to the genre. What if they manage to come up with something that’s even better than AA points? Wouldn’t that be worth the wait as it was for EQ to get their innovation?

    Sure the game could be much better, but what game couldn’t? I can think of plenty of ways I could improve any of my favorite titles, but then I’m not a game designer working under a deadline trying to satisfy 4 million subscribers who all think they know what the game should have either. Of the MMORPGs out there though, I have the fewest complaints about WoW and I enjoy it the most.

    Let’s also keep in mind that we’ve only been given a broad overview of what the expansion is going to contain. There could be a lot of things they haven’t told us about yet. It’s a bit early to be making judgments about it.

    That’s fine, and I did the same thing but after a while even that gets old.  Most players get attached to their main and want to keep playing it, not being able to use XP anymore is a massive letdown.  One of the main appeals of an RPG is character growth.  The game teaches players that their efforts will be rewarded with newer and better skills over time, in WoW that comes to a screeching halt after the character hits an arbitrary level cap.  It breaks an unspoken agreement with the player, and ruins a big part of the game.  That left a very bad taste in my mouth.

    It’s also the nature of the beast. I think we’re coming at this with different expectations. I’ve been playing MMORPGs—before they even went graphical—long enough that level caps come as no big surprise or disappointment. Ultima Online had them, EQ had them, Ashron’s Call 1 & 2 had them, Earth and Beyond, Eve Online, so on and so forth. It’s great that EQ has figured out a way to offset the level cap to a degree, but it really doesn’t bother me all that much that WoW hasn’t, yet.

    It also helps that the folks behind WoW have managed to exceed my expectations in so many other areas that I have confidence they’ll eventually come up with their own solution for the level cap dilemma eventually. There’s no shortage of folks on the forums discussing the shortcomings of the end game and I’m sure the developer’s aren’t ignoring them, but WoW just turned 1 year old yesterday whereas EverQuest is over 6 years old having launched the same year I moved into this apartment. I want to see what the folks at WoW come up with rather than see them emulate a game I don’t particularly care to play anymore.

    Of course if that’s not good enough for some folks there’s plenty of other MMORPGs out there that they can switch to. I certainly did when I found myself unhappy with previous games. I even stopped playing WoW for a bit, but mainly because of lack of funds (I’m only playing know because of a gift card I received).

    Yep, and they’re mostly chinese.

    Bit of a cheap shot, don’t you think? Or do you forget that there’s plenty of Gold Farmers in every MMORPG out there. Being that I know a lot of folks who aren’t Chinese who still play WoW almost exclusively with their level 60 mains I know the above claim isn’t true. For those folks it’s all about the Battlegrounds and they’re happy with that.

    Speaking of which, the Battlegrounds is a form of progression with diminishing returns at the end game with it’s Honor Point system which does offer rewards for their accumulation. Granted, it’s only an option for folks who are into PVP battles, but it’s still an option.

  12. It’s also the nature of the beast. I think we’re coming at this with different expectations.

    I guess that’s the crux of the problem.  I’m always frustrated when progress seems to take a step backwards.  I had assumed AA points were a ‘killer app’ feature for MMORPGs and that any competitive next generation MMORPG would curb the end-game with some form of alternate advancement.  I hadn’t given Blizzard much credit because they omitted AAs in their original design, and the boredom of the lvl-60 game was the last straw for me.

    Maybe you’re right.  Maybe they are just getting started with WoW and the best is yet to come.  I would like to believe that.

    The challenge for me will be to forestall my prejudices long enough to give WoW another try.  Most of that will depend on this expansion.  I’m just one of millions of potential clients and Blizzard probably couldn’t care less about my opinions, but speaking for myself I hope they fix some of the glaring problems with the game.  If thousands of people are complaining about the boredom of the end-game, then it’s probably worth addressing.

    I’ll be keeping my eye on the expansion with bated breath and fingers crossed…I’d like to have a reason to play again.

  13. warning, long post incoming.

    The challenge for me will be to forestall my prejudices long enough to give WoW another try…..I’d like to have a reason to play again

    I’m in the same position. I need to get a closer server (I moved from Niagara Falls, ON to Calgary Alberta over the summer), since Gorefiend is full during pique traffic hours and getting on is sketchy at best; lag is consistently 350+ even on a 7.0 Mbit connection. I left WoW for a number of reasons.

    The primary one being that characters weren’t adaptable enough. I’m not asking that everyone be a healer, for instance, but the characters I have the most fun playing are Paladins and Druids. My main was a 48 Warrior. All of them have the ability to serve different roles as you need them, both in parties and alone. A warrior needs to stop and change equipment to do that, the other two don’t. If they’re going to go so far as to say “you don’t need to be in a party to play this game” then why design a character to a particular role in a party?

    I’ve heard a lot of Rogues, for instance, complain about Warriors that can outstrip them in damage per second during dungeons – fighters have to sacrifice a lot to do that, and it does restrict them in the things they can accomplish (you won’t see a leather and cloth-draped Warrior tanking). That should be the player’s option, however, and not forced onto them by design.

    The inflation on mature servers was another one. You had to be a high-level to really take advantage of the superficial “added value” of blue text on an item (since you found them a lot more often at higher levels and they were more highly valued by the mob of 60s buying for alts). Questing hit a sort of pitfall between levels 30 and 40 (except in STV), and item creation (except for potions) wasn’t worth anything because of the huge selection of items available to you that are often far more useful than the ones you can make.

    Last, there’s an implicit recommended race for each class, which, again, I think is a mistake because it directs character choice and removes that aspect of creativity from the RPG. I hold the same stick up there as I held up with Diablo II and the skill synergies (then they upped the difficulty to compensate and killed the game entirely).

    But the thing that kills me most is that they look to me, the customer, to improve their product and recommend fixes while I’m paying for it. If I’m telling you proper how to make the game better, I better be profiting from it – and playing an improved game (for the months that it may take to implement those changes) is not enough. I won’t be waiting on this expansion to satisfy me because they continue to let significant parts of the game rot while they add to the rest.

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