So after Thursday’s rage-inducing debacle we have received some answers to the many questions that arose. For the record, I was really upset by the Thursday release, as well as the timing, but in fairness, when you make a decision like that it creates more questions then answers. Thankfully, they actually answered them, so we are all good on this topic now. Let’s start by discussing some of the interesting new ideas that will happen around the WoD launch!
First thing’s first, my initial concern was that a Thursday release date was both abnormal, and very bad for our guild. The issue was that many of our players can only play during the times we raid each week (Tuesday and Wednesday nights), and since we would have NONE of those days during that 5 days of WoD, I assumed a sizable portion of the guild wouldn’t be raid ready for week one.
Let’s discuss why this is no longer a concern:
Thursday as a release date is certainly crafted by Blizzcon, but apparently also because of it being a world wide holiday celebrating the end of World War I, the first large-scale modern war that effected every person on this planet. Now, for those of you who don’t know, November 11th (the tuesday that the game should have been released on) is Veteran’s day in USA, and Armistice day all over Europe. This is a national holiday here, and likely even more important in a place like France, so releasing a game on this day is absolutely bad business. But even with that explained, the next bit of information takes any doubt out the window.
In order to facilitate everyone leveling and enjoying the 10 year anniversary properly, they have decided to delay normal and heroic (previously Flex and Normal) Highmaul for 2.5 weeks after the expansion launches. This is actually EXTREMELY important given the timing and its effect on the world first race. Let’s discuss actual dates and why its such a big deal.
Expansion launch: November 13th.
Week 0.5 complete: November 18th.
Week 1 complete: November 25th.
Week 2 complete, Normal raids launch: December 2nd.
Week 3 complete, Mythic World First race begins: December 9th.
This avoids Thanksgiving entirely, which is November 27th, a very pivotal date that world first guilds from EU would exploit as US membership would have to miss time with their family to raid or miss raid and hinder progress. Huge concern completely bypassed.
To be even more clear, previously, Mythic raiding would have started the week of thanksgiving, so three days into raiding people would have to battle a holiday.
The future after Highmaul:
So if you were around for Pandaria’s launch, you would remember 1 week of preparation, then 4 weeks of only MSV with three weeks of Heroic at the time. This time, with the 2.5 weeks worth of preparation, we also get confirmation that the second raid of this tier will come even later. To quote:
@oliviadgrace But seriously, probably in that ballpark. 4 weeks for MSV -> Heart of Fear was too fast.
— Ion Hazzikostas (@WatcherDev) August 15, 2014
He says 8 weeks seems reasonable, which I could agree with, but this brings up a major concern in my eyes. Just how long is this tier meant to be? Is it going to be like MoP where its 4 months total and we barely have 2 months of the hardest raid? It seems that way based on things we will discuss shortly, but if you give 8 weeks to highmaul, and 8 weeks to foundry you are really cutting the tier in half. I suppose it will depend a LOT on what the gear and progression are like, but as of right now, I am very excited.
To extrapolate on this assumption, let’s look at more exact dates. THIS IS ALL SPECULATION AT THIS POINT. Fair warning.
Mythic Higmaul begins: December 9th.
Two weeks in, Christmas: December 23rd (Tuesday) – December 26th (Friday.)
Three weeks in, New Years: December 30th (Tuesday) – Jan 2 (Friday.)
Week four, Previous Mile Marker for next release: Jan 6th.
Week eight, proposed Foundry Launch: Tuesday Feb 3rd.
Week nine, Mythic Foundry Race: Tuesday Feb 10th.
This follows the projections assuming 8 weeks is the goal, and especially with two weeks nearly lost to Holidays, I see it as realistic. This makes 6 weeks of typical Highmaul experience and seems very comfortable for my taste.
Quicker Expansions, 2 raid tiers:
And here’s where things get weird. Tom Chilton was interviewed at Gamescom before any of this even came out, and revealed some really strange topics for discussion. The rest is all out there, but the strangest of them was the following quote in regards to the “Patch Cycle”:
“Some of it will depend on the time before the next expansion after Warlords. It is very possible that if we are successful and there is a shorter gap, then we won’t necessarily want to have multiple raid tier content patches. Each raid content patch needs about four months to breathe. Any less than that and it feels like you really rushed through the content.”
So now you see why I mention the 4 month thing, and agree that their immediate plan will be 2 months of Highmaul and 2 months of Foundry. Also, this statement is even more confusing knowing what we know about blizzard’s development. To me, this says they already have two raids planned and finished conceptually. One set is launching with the game. The other, contains Grom as the end boss with heavy legion influence, also confirmed in the interview. Adding a third somewhere in between doesn’t ring with a sound business plan, but it certainly doesn’t prove anything.
Either way, if they DO manage to pull this off, it means that they will be close to sticking to the plan they addressed at the 2011 Blizzcon, stating they wanted to release a new expansion every 10-12 months.
This fits PERFECTLY with their raid schedule, but assuming everything can follow this path is absolutely silly. They have to actually develop the content properly and in that time frame, and we all know this is very unlikely. So take it all in perspective. They said the SAME thing about MoP.
The first two tiers of MoP were perfect length, and then WoD was a nightmare for them. Its obvious a FULL year of SoO was never intended, especially knowing they entertained a full year of the entirety of MoP.
Tom is saying they want it done this way to motivate the group and set the tables. We all know what Tom wants unfortunately isn’t always what Tom gets!