WoW, just Wow

world-of-warcraft-iconWhat do I mean by that?  I will include a qualifier.  If we do not already live in a very much self obsessed naval gazing world in which one of the often quipped lines is “What is in it for ME”, the emphasis on the me.  In a time where we are becoming even more concerned with technology and what it could potentially do when taking a photo of my junk for Instagram or tinder.  And now, I read this.  Nothing too much about this other than a couple of items. 

So.  World of Warcraft prides itself on its expansive lore, massive stage, intricate levels for raids and an ever increasing number things that they aren’t boasting too much about, deaths from people playing extended periods without food or water, the proliferation of gold sellers and slave trade, oft in countries without strict laws around labour and even increasing number of addictive elements which means you keep throwing your $15 a month for the game boasting about 10 million players and they would never go free to play, even if releasing a WOW2, which they won’t, but I can explain that later.

So, how does this fit into the scheme of things.  World of Warcraft was bleeding genuine subscribers, as in people who play the game to advance and enjoy it.  These are not people who collect gold, sell gold or any.  I am sure these number in the millions, but Blizzard would never ever release those figures.  They released Mists of Pandaria to much derision among the gaming community and even those faithful to the lore.  Pandas was a word Echoed when the first trailer for the expansion emerged.  Then Pet battles a form of in game Pokémon for those who were not already addicted and ones with the OCD of must collect everything just had another area to go into, not to mention, many pets on offer, were to buy, not earned in game.

Warlords of Draenor have removed much of the crap that stuck on from the Panda release and has restored Blizzard to the top of the world.  Then is, Twitter, post information in twitter, linking items earned etc…  OK.  So all of this is now within the game client, so once, if someone desired that used an external device to communicate their achievements on Twitter meaning they had to leave the game client to do so, now don’t worry, we have you covered there.  So fear not to be attacked by an NPC of even another player if you are flagged for PvP, you can keep your eye on the game and send that important tweet.  OK.

Then this, S.E.L.F.I.E. camera.  Once upon a time I could position the camera in game, to look at my face and press Print Screen.  Then we find this was too much effort for some and that is why they didn’t use it.  Then they included this.  FOr those who feel that a physical “selfie” is perhaps not what the world wants simply because your physical persona might be more akin to…

20080625-pkqd22y7wtrefbu2nycwcputuy-preview

Than…

blood-elf

So why not.  I am not entirely sure about this, certainly there are many who will use this.  But who are they aiming to use this.  Are they playing World of Warcraft or is this really a feature that the community at large ash flooded the forums in WOW to voice their concerns that they want a “selfie” of their digital beings in game and make it look like a proper “selfie”.  And also with the ability of offering lens to change the affect of what the character looks like.

I do jump into World of Warcraft occasionally, nothing to do other than just explore the new content, but this has been greatly reduced since Pandas and I was tempted to get the new expansion but then to see this coming in a patch.  Mmm, I am thinking I will stick to my SWTOR for now.

Addendum: World of Warcraft 2

This is purely my opinion and chances are I am wrong, oft I am when voicing my opinions public.  It is sure one way to assure that something the opposite what I said happens.  Anyway.  There has been speculation over the fate of World of Warcraft, this was prior to the release of the latest expansion pack, Warlords of Draenor ands it increase in subscribers.

Any MMO out there would love the subscribers of World of Warcraft, even half that.  I will not get into the numbers they report versus the actual numbers.  But, WoW was a game that one might not say redefined a genre since MMOs existed before that and were much the same but they popularised it and in some manner have turned this genre around where so many companies are wanting to have an MMO in order to have the massive success that Blizzard has had with World of Warcraft.

There has been a few updates of late that had spelled the direction of the game and what they are planning on doing with it.  Cataclysm was a time I very much waned from the WoW universe because of the massive changes they made to the game world.  Sure Deathwing strode, well more like flew in, carving the land asunder.  This moment in the lore was the perfect time to update the engine (the VERY OUTDATED ENGINE) running WoW to use DirectX 11.  They did this quietly in patch 4.1, the game will perform better on Windows 7 machines or newer because of the changes to the WDM /WDDM drivers for the cards that use the different versions of DirectX (a problem prevalent in SWTOR and certainly feature in a large number of my posts).

This change, is a massive change.  To update the underlying engine to us the DirectX 9 rendering pipeline or the DirectX 10/11 is no mean feat.  Blizzard have the cash but their reasoning behind it was not due to any need to.  Windows XP support ended 2014, therefore the release date of 2011 was hardly to mitigate the this end of life for XP.  Since you can still use the DirectX 9 engine with the selection or unselecting of the checkbox in the options.

It was done to ensure longevity of the game.  With DirectX 12 coming in Windows 10, 2015, this meant that using DirectX 11 meant the game was still going to run on newer and newer version of the operating system (I know it runs on Mac but that doesn’t use DirectX).  It was also not long after the DirectX changes came the changes to use 64bit code.  So, we have a change to DirectX 11 and a change to the client (which you can select either 64bit or 32bit clients) which enables a greater use of memory if available.

We also now have the release of updated player models. 

original

As you can see in the image, the changes are drastic.  This isn’t just a change to the models this also pertains to the expressions on their faces for emotes and the like.  If there was any chance that World of Warcraft 2 was coming even in the next couple of years their changes to all of these elements was not really required.  From a business perspective, you don’t pay for an outlay unless there is a return on that outlay.

One might say that this could also be a test bed, releasing all of these changes to the engine and the game will serve to provide a stable footing for World of Warcraft 2.  But to release a new user pays MMO in a market where unless you force the addicted players of World of Warcraft to shift they won’t go anywhere and if the game is the same why change at all.

I believe we will have another 5 or more years of World of Warcraft, but as now I have said there won’t be, chances are we will see it from Blizzard this coming E3.

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Posted on January 28, 2015, in Article, Games and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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