Genius and Not Genius

Genius idea – releasing the first info about the new expansion patch on the Rift Launch day.

Not Genius idea – the info you release is about the revamp of old raid content to level 85.

I often use WoW as my leaping off point for game design discussions. It helps because so many people have played it. It also helps because the game is sufficiently huge that they make really good choices and really terrible choices. Today they had two really terrible choices.

First off, there is the release of information about patch 4.1. This is a very very good thing. It is very important to keep people’s interest and give them a reason to keep beating their heads against the wall they have reached. It is vital to the anticipation of players.

BUT. The information they released is completely lackluster. They are revamping 2 old raids into 5 man dungeons. Revamping old content is a pretty cool idea. It brings back old stuff, makes it relevant, and gets players to see zones they might not have ever seen. However, that is not the information you lead with. The LAST thing current wow players who are feeling kind of burned out on the game want to hear is that they are going to have to be running content they have run 50 bajilion times before. I ran ZA and failed to get that bear more times than I want to count. I soloed ZG and failed to get my tiger more times than I want to count. Do I want to do those instances again? Sure, maybe. Do I want to farm those instances like Wrath heroics? Oh god no. Even Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep (SFK is one of my favorite instances of ALL TIME) are borderline mind numbing to me.

If they really wanted to draw attention from Rift they needed to have the big bad, Ragnaros, in all his glory, (not the new model, it looks stupid) and show the epic encounters of the new raid. Hook, line, sinker. Showing that they are returning old content, no where near as appealing as an entire GAME worth of new content.

They almost saved it though. Almost.

With the Zuls returning, you may be wondering about the unique mounts that were once contained therein.

O.M.G. Queue squees of joy and pleasure from every.single.mount.collector. Tigers! Raptors! and Bears! OH MY! And then the great depressing downer. They aren’t the same mounts. This is a new raptor mount. A new panther mount. A new bear mount. It’s not the old ones returned. It’s new fakers in their place. Everyone who has or has wanted on of the Swift Zulian Tigers will tell you in a heartbeat that a panther is in no way, shape or form even remotely close to replacing the ONLY orange tiger in the game. Even having an orange tiger with different armor would be better! Everyone knows that the draw of the ZA bear was the funky armor.

So not only is Blizz asking us to re-run old content that we have possibly run dozens of dozens of times before, but we aren’t even getting the shiny at the end that so many desperately want and would be WILLING to re-run the old content hundreds of times to get. This could not have been more fail.

The state of Cataclysm, and the lead in to 4.1, has simply convinced me that once more, as with BC we are at the mercy of the B Team. Clearly there are two teams working on WoW. One, the A Team, that makes things like ICC and the Dreamwalker fight, things like Ulduar and Yogg. The other makes things like ZA the Original and mind meltingly hard Karazhan, things like ToC with it’s one room and dull boss fights.

Blizz, bring back the A Team please, before you kill yourselves.

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