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Is Cataclysm the Next World of Warcraft Expansion? 259

Posted by Soulskill
from the either-that-or-it's-not dept.
ajs writes "There has been no official announcement yet, but a number of moves by Blizzard Entertainment seem to indicate that the next expansion for World of Warcraft could be titled Cataclysm. Speculation began when Blizzard trademarked Cataclysm recently, and then later when a test server briefly popped up with the word 'Maelstrom' in its name. If true, the name would fall neatly into the WoW lore and expected expansion list. The Cataclysm is another name for the Great Sundering, an event that created a swirling vortex of water and mystical energies (the 'Maelstrom') that has appeared on the world map in-game since release. There are also indications that early design work included some of the islands in this area, which has long fueled anticipation of a Maelstrom-based expansion involving the former Night Elf noble, Azshara, queen of the Naga and the Goblins whose main city is in the south seas."
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Is Cataclysm the Next World of Warcraft Expansion?

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  • by Dr.Horrible Protoge (1343633) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @01:59PM (#28668477)
    They've already said that max level will be 100... so there's at least 2 more. And with 10 million players I very much doubt that 2 will be the end.
  • by Dr.Horrible Protoge (1343633) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:01PM (#28668489)
    ALSO... Blizzard has also been working on a BRAND NEW IP MMO that has yet to be announced.
  • Not News (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:18PM (#28668589)

    This isn't news for nerds. Hell, it's not even NEWS. It's a lame conjecture. I think even WoW nerds would wait for something to actually -happen- before considering it news.

  • South Seas Lore (Score:4, Informative)

    by MEDIEVALDRAGON (768784) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:21PM (#28668619) Homepage Journal

    Here is some lore of each isle in the South Seas:
    http://wow.incgamers.com/blog/comments/south-seas-lore-the-eye-maelstrom/ [incgamers.com]

  • by Hubbell (850646) <brianhubbellii@l ... om minus painter> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:26PM (#28668647)
    Actually, with all wow servers in china being shutdown for the foreseeable future, they only have ~4 million subs.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @03:08PM (#28668943)

    Maybe it is a lame joke, maybe he's a WoW hater who wishes it was the last, whatever the case it has no basis in reality. Currently, there are over 11 million subscribers to WoW where a subscriber is defined as someone who has paid to play in the last month. That number continues to increase, and accounts for about 60% of all MMO players. Eventually, it's popularity will peak and numbers will start to wane, but not at this point. Right now, it is still extremely popular.

    Well, as you can probably guess, Blizzard and more specifically Vivendi (their parent company) aren't stupid and wish to make as much money as possible. That means they'll keep releasing expansions and content for WoW because they want to keep all those subscribers. They aren't going to say "Let's just let the game atrophy and have everyone run off to play something else." They want those dollars, they will keep developing it.

    What's more, an MMO doesn't even have to be growing to be worth developing content for. It just has to have enough players such that the money pays the bills to run the game, pay the developers of the new content, and make a profit. Thus you find even old games are still under active development. Everquest released their 15th expansion last October, and they've got a 16th planned for this November. It has been running for a decade, and the sequel has already been out for a couple years. However people still want to play, so Sony is still making content for it.

    So no, this isn't the last WoW expansion. They are going to keep working on that game to keep getting subscribers for as long as it is profitable. To do anything else would be to incur the wrath of their shareholders.

  • by Cookie3 (82257) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @03:16PM (#28669007) Homepage

    They've never said 100 is the max level. That statement is GENERALLY attributed to the fake "expansion list" that people keep linking to. Here's the original source for that list:
    http://wow.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=21;mid=119012268058738816 [allakhazam.com]

    It's fake. The 1st expansion, Burning Crusade went live in January 2007 -- but Wrath of the Lich King was announced (INCLUDING zone information) in August of that year. By September, all of that info was everywhere, including approximate level of the zones, preliminary notes about possible raid zones, etc. Basically, the list used readily available data based on RPG sourcebook material, in-game quests, and instruction manuals for previous Warcraft games.

    Further, even if the list was legitimate: It makes no sense why a multi-billion dollar company would continue to base its video game's success or failure on a sole wordpad document transformed into a PDF.

  • by Killjoy_NL (719667) <slashdot@nOSPam.remco.palli.nl> on Sunday July 12, 2009 @03:22PM (#28669053)

    By 'shut down' he meant that the company that should have taken over, still haven't gotten all their ducks in a row, meaning that the people there can't play on the servers unless they move to Taiwanese servers.
    So you're only partly right.

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @04:41PM (#28669569)

    peculation began when Blizzard trademarked Cataclysm recently, and then later when a test server briefly popped up with the word 'Maelstrom' in its name.

    A test server named Maelstrom? Now I know they're pulling shit out of their ass, as Maelstrom [wowwiki.com] is an existing RPPvP server that launched in September of 2006.

  • Re:It has a story? (Score:3, Informative)

    by myowntrueself (607117) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:40PM (#28670089)

    Actually, something that I think a lot of people fail to notice is that extremely high detail graphics in a computer game, eg Age of Conan or Crysis, are HARDER on the eyes than the simpler graphics in, eg World of Warcraft.

    The graphics in WoW are VERY high contrast.

    This means that its very easy for the eye to pick out the details it needs in order to see what is around you.

    In high-quality graphic games the contrast is usually pretty low, they seem to compress the color palette quite a bit. This means that the eye has to work faurly hard to pick out the details of a scene.

    Age of Conan was particularly bad in this respect (ignoring the other ways in which the game was 'bad'). Almost everything in AoC is a washed out brown or green. I couldn't play for more than a few hours at a time without my eyes aching. Yes, I have a decent monitor, yes I have decent graphics card and computer.

    I can play WoW for hours on end because its very easy to look at.

    Cartoony graphics ftw!

  • Re:It has a story? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:28PM (#28672289) Journal

    The Death Knight introductory sequence has another odd moment to it - something I found novel and rather fun. When you walk into Orgrimmar to face Thrall after your "conversion", the locals want to lynch you. They don't, but the tension it builds is remarkable. I've never seen another game where you were hit with rotten fruit and insults by NPC's on a quest, rather than swords clubs arrows and spells (sounds like a card deck, eh?).

    "The Scourge killed my family, you monster! (FWAP)". You finally get to Thrall and face "You have seconds to live." I nearly wee'd meself.

    In my opinion the game play has become more complex, the UI change on the various quest mounts is refreshing, the game play changes a lot - jousting takes an entirely different skill set, for example. This is not the button mashing your parents knew! Add in the "world instancing" of places like Icecrown and we have moved far, far beyond the old kill-loot-sell-equip of MMORPG's of old.

  • Re:It has a story? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ajs (35943) <ajs@nOsPam.ajs.com> on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:01AM (#28672733) Homepage Journal

    Well, there's "story" and then there's "story".

    Just to give you a sense of how seriously different WoW (as of the Wrath expansion) is on this point, let me describe the events of the Wrathgate from the Horde point of view (warning, spoilers):

    • FIrst you do some generic questing.
    • Then you are sent to the Wrathgate to help with the effort against the Lich King
    • In a cut-scene, the Lich King appears, slaughters a major character and is then attacked by a rogue faction of the Horde, killing another major lore character
    • Once the dust has settled (cut scene is over) you are now in the same place, but there are burning bodies everywhere
    • You are sent back to the Horde home city, which now has refugees who were never there before and you're informed that the Horde has descended into a civil war and a major city (Undercity) has been lost to opposing forces
    • You then proceed to join two of the horde leaders to wipe out the incursion, where you kill another major lore character who has been working along-side the leader of Undercity since the game was launched.

    The ability to personalize a zone to a particular player's progression through a quest line means that they can change anything they like, and to some extent things change expansion-to-expansion as well (e.g. the return of King Wrynn on the Allinace side, which replaced the faction leader for the Alliance, a major change to the World PvP game).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 13, 2009 @01:18AM (#28672795)
    It's the standard term in the Game industry to represent what you just said, build a bridge and get the fuck over it.
  • by 2meen (728316) on Monday July 13, 2009 @06:28AM (#28674055)
    Well, you're both correct. Blizzard used to be owned by Vivendi Games, who in turn was fully owned by Vivendi (a French company). Vivendi Games and Activision merged to form the publicly traded Activision Blizzard. Vivendi currently own 54% of Activision Blizzard ( http://www.vivendi.com/vivendi/-Group- [vivendi.com] ).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:42PM (#28678381)
    Although I agree with your general points - WOW remains popular and this is not going to be the last expansion, you are inaccurate on several points. There are not 11 million subscribers by your definition, more like 5 million since the Chinese players were blocked (over one month ago)and it is unlikely they will be back anytime soon. http://www.marbridgeconsulting.com/marbridgedaily/2009-06-29/article/27358/rumor_netease_wow_approval_process_postponed [marbridgeconsulting.com] The idea that WOW accounts for 60% of all MMO players is a fantasy. Possibly WOW accounts for 60% of western subscription model games, certainly nothing remotely close to that when one includes ftp MMOs - which are played by MMO players. There is also evidence that the ftp/microtransaction model is the growing business model for MMOs. I speculate it will become the dominent MMO business model in the next five years or so.

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