Strap in, and lets go for a ride

Okay, so I’m going to be totally spit-balling here. Take nothing that I mention as honest to god insight, or top-secretz-newz! I’m going to be jumping to conclusions all over the place like a man in a wheel chair after a botched suicide attempt. So, sit down, pull out your favorite drink, craft your tin-foil hat (don’t forget the feather!), and buckle your seatbelt, because I’m going to throw wild speculation at your face and brains.

I think we will have an expansion announced this summer.

Dun, dun, DUN!

I know, I know! Andrew (or  “Shadow” – whichever you prefer), you’re a crazy man! They aren’t going to release an expansion, or even announce one anytime soon. They are just now releasing a city revamp. No WAY they have had the time and manpower to get this kind of thing started. We all KNOW it’s in maintenance mode anyway, right?

Yeah, well, despite my imaginary commentators sensational statements and jack-ass comments, I disagree with the fundamentals of those out looks. Everything we have had in the last 5 months has pointed to a nice uptick in the game. Outside of the billing fiasco, player numbers have been on the rise. I only have anecdotal evidence for this, but when I talked to Carrie, she said something akin to the same. She even mentioned the recent out-pouring of positivity they had been finding.

More people + happy people = revenue stream!

It’s not all about the money, but it is somewhat about that. WAR has been branching out to different markets, even though the Asian ones are reportedly having servers moved to the states (most likely due to an unhappiness with the provided service there). More markets means more money as well, keep them happy. Hell, resources have been spent on giving us stupid boy-band hair (albeit – initiated for foreign markets), and that wasn’t on anyone’s radar for a long time. That’s evidence that content development can take place without the public becoming aware of it. I heard once, that a great MMO studio is always about three to four steps ahead of their current place. I don’t doubt that Mythic isn’t myopic or short-sighted enough to focus only on the NOW.

So, we know that studios plan long-term in this industry. We know that content can be developed without our spies finding out. We also had a bit of uncharacteristic flavor text in our recent patch notes.

“The rumors started first. Sickness. Deaths. Before long the rumors weren’t just whispers but screams echoing into darkness – The red plague had come.”

Well, that’s odd. What more can I say about this that Mykiel hasn’t already? Not much as it turns out. People have been CLAMORING for Skaven for, well, forever. Since the creation of the game, there have been people begging to swarm the over-world with pestilence, fang, and tail. The red-plague is the thematic introduction of skaven. Now, I don’t think that they will actually be a playable race (go cry in a corner, I’m sorry, it just isn’t going to happen), but I do think that this is a great realm of content that can be explored.

Additionally, and I’m not trying to be heartless, or un-feeling about this, but rewarding the entirety of the game population fo the billing snafu might be an indicator as well. Double experience & renown to EVERYONE. It’s a great way to win back faith and trust in the player base, HOWEVER that’s not a decision that ever gets made lightly, and this kind of stuff is usually seen in days before an expansion in other games. This was by no means a light response, as Mythic wanted to do their utmost to demonstrate commitment to the player base in a very tangible and significant way (and I think they did), BUT, perhaps wanting to push players closer to the cap for an upcoming expansion might have made that an easier solution to swallow.

Lastly, it’s just time. The game has been out for a long time now in terms of MMOs. Over a year and a half now. That’s a significant span for any MMO to go without having an expansion. Admittedly, there were some complications over that time period, but the waters seem smoother now, and a path charted. Players are reaching RR80 on character at a far more frequent rate now, and the general populace of casuals is even seeing significant portions of the end-game gear/progression. Something needs to be done soon to encourage people to stick it out. Hell, even my casual, alt-itis striken ass is going to be 80 soon. Having now played four characters to 40, two more to 30s, and a ridiculously combined play-time that probably surpasses 75 days (do NOT tell my wife), I’m starting to feel a bit lacking in the things-to-do department. So, a hook needs to be planted to keep the masses engaged.

Like I said, crazy spit-balling, conspiracy-theory, tin-foil hat, out-of-my-ass supposition. Take it for what it is, the rantings of a wild man.

About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

9 Responses to Strap in, and lets go for a ride

  1. openedge1 says:

    Lets take into account that WAR officially launched September 18 and Age of Conan launched in May of that same year…and AoC has the expansion on the way..

    You may have a point.

    I am leery on the “sub” numbers though, as my anecdotal evidence is swayed the opposite way…but, more “steady” than loss at least.

    But, my evidence does NOT take into account freebie players.

    Finally, the turnover rate for free to paying looks good based on many a discussion in global and the forums…(Twitter, etc.).
    Expansion…I may question. “Major update” I may say yes to.
    One single huge update like the City Siege to introduce the plague, and maybe an expansion in 2011 IF the game continues any small growth.

    Age of Conan came out of the red recently thanks to the expansion news, so lets hope WAR can do the same.

    As I keep saying…my two favorite games right now, happen to be the two biggest failures of 2008; AoC and WAR. Lets hope that the trend of gains can go from AoC to WAR as well.

  2. Bootae says:

    I think you’re right, I want you to be right, the rumours make sense. But it’s been a rocky 2 years or so, we just need a more solid clue to help us gain confidence of expansion goodness.

  3. murkin says:

    Seems you are becoming slightly burned out on the game. Anyway they have to do something quickly here. A few people on Volkmar actually have multiple 80’s.

    Also keep up the good work Shadow.

  4. Lyram says:

    I think you may be right. If the skaven won’t be a playable race, though, I don’t think it’ll be a full-fledged boxed expansion. It may be another live expansion similar to the Land of the Dead launch. If it is a boxed expansion, then I hope it’s more substantial and RvR focused than LOTD. A concurrent Order and Destruction invasion of the Skaven underworld would be interesting, culminating in a PvP contest for Skavenblight similar to the new city mechanic.

  5. krosuss says:

    Joke all you want, you know you’ll be rolling a Witch Hunter with the coolio hair!

    You know my thoughts on this. If not a mention of a full-blown expansion perhaps we’ll hear about some significant new content.

    What makes you think the Skaven route is a deadend? Perhaps they are being held behind glass with a “break in case of emergency” sign? They won’t appear until it is vitally necessary to boost the game? I see them as a silver bullet.

  6. Sara says:

    I’d love it, as we all would, but I certainly wouldn’t mind waiting a fair while longer for it to be the best and cleanest it could be. We all know how better the game itself would’ve been had they had more time.

    Oh and one small thing. Not EVERYONE got double experience and renown. So they didn’t boost the whole population closer to the cap. Just the unlucky half. Or three-quarters.

    Or did I miss something?

    • Shadow war says:

      True, non-NA players did not. Also, I think it will be announced only, and released in Xmas 2010 or more likely first/second quarter of 2011.

    • Kesarin says:

      To my knowledge, it was only the US servers that got the XP/renown bonus, since the overcharges didn’t affect the European servers. I may be wrong.

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