All eyes are on Blizzcon. This is of course the slowest of all news weeks, but one thing that I have read this week (Source unknown) that there will be no additional patches for Mists of Pandaria. Much as been made of the speed of the patches for the current expansion but in reality if a new expansion is announced as expected at Blizzcon, then it is likely to take 12 months to release. All expansions I believe have been released in Autumn / early Winter, and there is no reason to believe that the next expansion will arrive any sooner. This will make a 2 year expansion which also is not unusual, so in fact the only patch that came out quicker than expected is probably 5.1 and that was only to distract people from the pain of the Golden Lotus.
The assumption of most commentators is that we can expect a pre-expansion launch to tidy up the loose ends with the Sha and Garrosh storylines. I am guessing from the disjointed storyline and the addition of one scenario, that Blizzard will not make the same mistakes as last time.
Patch 5.4 is not quite 2 months old, and already I am guessing that people are becoming bored with the current content. The raid still feels fresh and flex is absolute joy, to raid with guild members and friends in a relaxed environment, but Timeless is starting to grate with the endless grind, considering this is an area with infinite possibilities, why are we still doing the same two weeklies and a daily quest?
Cataclysm left the player with only Dragon Soul for consolation and the difficulty settings were quite low, so a lot of people had killed Deathwing on the day of release in LFR and on normal after a few weeks. The Lich King was a much more hardy opponent and needed several buffs/nerfs before the average Joe even had a chance to defeat him.
The only thing in our favour is the re-deployment of the Titan Team, this means spare resources can be used to provide more content in patch 5.5 and the rest of the team can concentrate on the new expansion. We will only know how far advanced the expansion is during Blizzcon and the inevitable playable demo.
On the subject of the expansion and the Warlords of Draenor, I am thinking that we might be visiting a new set of zones, rather than a rehash of the Outlands. People who claim to be Lore Nerds suggest that Draenor was blown asunder and the bit that we have found so far is the Outland. This leads Blizzard to yet again pull a rabbit from it's ass, and find a new continent floating in space.
The refresh of Azeroth during Cataclysm was not a huge success, even though everybody acknowledges that it needed to be done. The result was that resources were taken away from the endgame and the results speak for themselves.
As this is the season for predictions, I will attempt a few of my own:
- The new expansion is Warlords of Draenor.
- No new expansion for at least 9 months.
- Heroics 5 man instances will be re-introduced.
- Scenarios of multiple sizes will continue to be used to compliment and advance storyline.
- A major change to LFR either using flex technology or content that needs only one Tank or fewer healers.
- Dailies and Weeklies will be used for content and reputation, but not as the only source of reputation gain.
- Gear will not be available only through the medium of Valor and Justice, Factions will once again require gold.
- Commendations will continue to be used for Alt reputation gains.
- The next expansion is for 5 Levels only.
- The squish is coming, and certain unintended items will become BiS. Some levels will becoming difficult and others ridiculously easy, especially around the old level caps
- I anticipate no new class, but possibly a new race (available to both side)
- New character models for all, with PC upgrades for many
- New improved levelling for Tailoring, Leatherworking, Enchanting, Jewelcrafting and Fishing.
- Jewelcrafting to return to a discovery method for all gem cuts except for PvP
- No new professions
- Radical changes for Warriors, Hunters and Rogues.
- Normal 10 and 25 man Raiding to be replaced by Flex.
- No replacement for Wintersgrasp and Tol Barad
- Legendary to continue to be a questline available to all and achieved by the few.
- No major change to the Talent tree, 1 new level added at 95.
- Valor upgrade vendors to stay.
- Scribes will be able to make coloured Gear Ink to assist in the Transmog process.
- PvP vendors will be hidden in a cave with no indication where to find them.
- No new farm or upgrade to existing farm.