— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) July 29, 2015
So next week there’s going to be a new World of Warcraft expansion announced. It’s safe to say after Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor that people are wary after 500 days with no new content after Pandaria’s last patch and then the severe lack of content or new gameplay in Draenor. Garrisons quickly lost their appeal when you realised it was no more engaging than a 3d Farmville and even the shipyard featured more timers than actual things to do. We, like so many others, cancelled our subscription not long after reaching the max level, so what will it take for us to renew?
New Hero Classes
Notice that’s plural. We know balancing classes is one of the most difficult things in World of Warcraft, you don’t want raids to be forced into taking 20 paladins or all healers to just be priests, but levelling up a new class is definitely one of the more exciting things to do in an expansion. We loved exploring the world as a Death Knight in Lich King and starting from scratch as a Monk in Pandaria – lets introduce more than one this time and really give the new expansion some longevity.
We think they should both be hero classes, so it gives the designers a little more freedom to create something that’s not only powerful but makes sense as starting off that powerful. For starters we’d like a Witch Hunter anti-magic class. It’d function like a cross between a Hunter and Rogue but with a strong focus on debuffs, particularly around magic. Silences, spellshields, counters, as well as a suite of movement-based escapes. While it might not do as much damage as pure dps classes, it would make up for it with survivability and debuffs. Imagine a spell nullification field during a raid boss, where the raid can gather to be entirely protected from a raid-wide damage aoe.
Secondly we’d like to see something a bit more unusual, a void shifter. This would be a magic-based tank that would rely on a giant health pool and rather than having mana, damage absorbed would power their attacks. They’d be more agile than the current tanks we have and work on intercepting as much damage as possible, jumping into aoes to absorb all the damage, then unleashing it as a channeled beam that would leave the opponent more vulnerable. It would be an interesting new playstyle, to try and throw yourself in the way of everything and fight in phases of damage gathering and then dishing it out. The chance to have a magic based tank would also mean we could have some new art styles in terms of armour.
More meaningful factions
Factions have always been a grind to be feared more than anything else, and while the grind can pay off with some special enchants, a mount or some tabards, it’d be nice if they did more. We’d like the factions to be tied in with the story, changing the path of cut-scenes you see and which parts of the world you use. This was experimented with in The Burning Crusade but we’d like to see it go further with some really meaningful decisions to be made. It’d be nice if it was reflected in your garrison too.
As controversial as garrisons have been, we like the idea. We wish they didn’t provide resources of every type for everyone, we wish they were more interactive, but we like the basic principle of them as a place you can call your own. Hopefully you’ll be able to bring your garrison over to the new areas and customise it a little more this time around. The professions buildings should be gone, except for the professions you actually have, all it does is isolate people
Make all the professions useful
A fairly simple way of achieving this is to make all professions create an important consumable. Obviously alchemists have flasks and potions, scribes have glyphs, enchanters have… enchantments, but we’d like to see this expanded. In vanilla WoW Engineers made ammo and every professions seemed to make something everyone else wanted. Perhaps Blacksmiths, Tailors and Leatherworkers could be the exception as they will be making armour and weapons, but everyone else should have a way to consistently make money from what they are doing, no matter how many other people are doing it.
Overhaul the UI
It’s hard to play WoW at a high level without a plethora of add ons, so it’s about time the most popular ones were incorporated into the UI itself. A modular UI with huge numbers of official plugins would be amazing and Blizzard have been quite good about updating things as they go with the LFG and LFR tools and bags, lets just see them take it to the logical conclusion.
Improve the engine
While many will say WoW has looked the same forever, in fact the engine has been upgraded many times, with new water, weather and animation effects as well as better textures and geometry. We’d like to see another wave of optimisation, making World of Warcraft one of the first games to embrace DirectX 12 and the efficiency it brings. New particle effects, sharper textures and better draw distances would all help to improve the look of the game, without damaging the world they have already created. Let’s make this one a big leap Blizzard, not a tiny improvement to the quality of leaves.
So that’s it, those are the things we want from the new expansions. We haven’t mentioned PvP, Raiding, Dungeons or the story, because those are the things Blizzard are already good at . Every story to the expansions has been engaging, if anything we’d prefer it if they pulled back a little and told a more intimate story, like the excellent Deadmines quest chain or what happened with Onyxia back in Vanilla. We’ve already saved the world, saved Pandaria, and now saved some alternate dimension, lets hold back and deal with some character stories, while Blizzard inevitably drop more hints about the coming of the Burning Legion and the Old Gods.
We’ll be reporting on all the news from Gamescom next week live from Germany so keep checking the page and Twitter for regular updates!