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Is Cataclysm the Next World of Warcraft Expansion? 259

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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:17PM (#28668587)

    when coupled with the "Cataclysm" name, one of the Lich King's visions in the new book "Arthas, Rise of the Lich King", everything gets a lot clearer and more certain: ...the silver waters of a vast expanse of water... a sea... ...Something was roiling just beneath the ocean's surface. The hitherto-smooth surface began to churn wildly, seething, as if from a storm, although the day was clear. A horrible sound that Arthas only dimly recognized as laughter assaulted his ears, along with the screaming of a world wrenched from its proper place, hauled upward to face the light of day it had not seen in uncounted centuries...

    Cataclysm most likely doesn't refer to the Great Sundering, but a new event, Azshara raising Nazjatar to the surface.

  • Re: the islands (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mauthbaux ( 652274 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:20PM (#28668605) Homepage

    There are also indications that early design work included some of the islands in this area,

    It's true that a couple of islands appear on the map near the vortex. I heard a rumor about them once indicating that they were at one point accessible to players. Swimming there wasn't possible due to the fatigue that resulted from the deep water. However, if you had a couple stacks of elixirs of water walking, you wouldn't be affected by the fatigue since you weren't swimming. According to the one player I knew who had claimed to have been there, it took about 45 minutes of wandering around with nothing but waves in sight. Once he got to the island, he looted a chest that contained a full tier set of paladin gear. 20 minutes later his account had received a 72 hour ban, and all his recent loot had been removed from his inventory. His theory was that the island was a place where GMs could perform in-game testing of items and whatnot. Obviously this is all unconfirmed at best. and I still have some serious doubts about the story, but anyway, that's the only thing I've ever heard about the islands.

    And just so that this post isn't entirely off topic, here's a link to some of the current speculation on the lore which will be experienced with the expansion. [] As an added note, it's doubtful that this will be the final expansion of the game. Most are speculating that there will be a 5th chapter in which players will get to enter the emerald dream. Again, this is all just rumors and lies at this point.

  • Will Interest Wane? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:24PM (#28668633)
    Will interest wane in WoW simply because it seems like just an extension to the treadmill? Are people getting tired of the aesthetic? These are questions from someone who doesn't see the attraction in the first place.
  • It has a story? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:24PM (#28668639) Homepage
    I might be convinced that the game has a story, but it is presented in such a tedious and boring way that I could never be bothered to pay any attention. All I ever saw was "NPC: blah blah blah kill 20 other NPC's blah blah blah". I can think of many games with poor storylines, and many games with great storylines, but WOW is one of the only games in which I didn't care at all about the storyline.
  • In other news... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eil ( 82413 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:40PM (#28668733) Homepage Journal

    Are questions as headlines overrated? Film at 11.

  • Re:It has a story? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @02:46PM (#28668765)

    "but WOW is one of the only games in which I didn't care at all about the storyline."

    I think the problem is that the the storyline gets garbled because anyone who never played warcraft series (from the first on) won't have a damn clue WTF is going on. World of Warcraft is REALLY bad at what the RTS games were good at: Story telling.

    I really think the MMO genre is not suited to storytelling unless you go the way of Guildwars. Guildwars with more story polish would have been an outstanding single and multiplayer game, even though it's primarily "multiplayer" because the groups are so small and everything is instanced.

    Plus there's no rule saying you can't play the campaign by yourself, and they BOTS/NPC characters you can add to your party, and play in your own instance. Guildwars is pretty much one of the only games that got instancing dead on right out the gate.

    WOW is really a crap MMO from a lot of standpoints outside the aesthetics of the cartoony graphics, I couldn't stand wow when I first played it. I forced myself to play it for 2 or 3 months and it still didn't hold a candle to Blizzards previous games like Warcraft and Starcraft in terms of fun and quality.

    Most WoW'ers I suspect have really awful gaming tastes. I call it the "bottom feeders" MMO. If you're used to single player RPG's of yesteryear it breaks all the conventions and sticks in maddening things like extended travel time (instead of town portal like in say diablo 1+2 another blizzard game).

    It seems in many ways MMO's are sabotaging all the lessons learned about making fun games to extend playtime for $.

  • Expansion List (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cyxxon ( 773198 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @03:21PM (#28669043) Homepage

    Haven't seen this posted, so here we go... this list was "leaked" or whatever before TBC, AFAIK remember...

    - Draenor Set

    Azuremyst Isle - 1 to 10
    Bloodmyrk Isle - 10 to 20

    Eversong Forest - 1 to 10
    Quel'thalas - 10 to 20
    Hellfire Peninsula - 58 to 62
    Zangarmarsh - 60 to 64
    Terokkar Forest - 61 to 65
    The Deadlands - 63 to 67
    Nagrand - 64 to 68
    Blade's Edge Mountains - 66 to 70
    Netherstorm - 67 to 70
    Shadowmoon Valley - 69 to 70

    - Northrend Set

    Borean Tundra - 67 to 70
    Howling Fjord - 67 to 70
    Dragonblight - 69 to 72
    Grizzly Hills - 70 to 73
    Crystalsong Forest - 72 to 75
    Zul'drak - 73 to 76
    Sholazar Basin - 75 to 79
    Storm Peaks - 76 to 80
    Icecrown Glacier - 78 to 80

    - Maelstrom Set

    Gilneas - 77 to 80
    Grim Batol - 78 to 81
    Kul Tiras - 79 to 82
    Kezan - 81 to 86
    Tel Abim - 83 to 85
    Zandalar - 84 to 87
    Plunder Isle - 86 to 88
    The Broken Isles - 87 to 90
    The Maelstrom - 89 to 90

    - Plane Set

    Pandaria - 1 to 10
    Hiji - 10 to 20

    Wolfenhold - 1 to 10
    Xorothian Plains - 10 to 20

    The Green Lands - 88 to 91
    The Dying Paradise - 91 to 94
    The Emerald Nightmare - 94 to 97
    The Eye of Ysera - 97 to 100

    Deephome - 88 to 91
    Skywall - 91 to 94
    The Abyssal Maw - 94 to 97
    The Firelands - 97 to 100

    - Legion Set

    K'aresh - 96 to 99
    Argus Meadowlands - 97 to 100
    Mac'Aree - 99 to 100
    Maw of Oblivion - 100+

  • by Kingrames ( 858416 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @03:42PM (#28669185)
    Then you'd have been impressed by the latest expansion, which made all the questing very story driven, interesting, and added memorable moments to just about every quest.

    One of the WORST quests in the northrend expansion has you free a storm giant, and ride his back while he runs around squishing legions of the undead and exacting revenge on his captors. Then you set him free, and unlike the old world quests, he's not back in the cage when you run around there later. He's actually free.

    Then there's the dungeons, where you fight bosses with all sorts of fun abilities, like the one that renders the entire party insane - forcing you to kill your teammates twice, or the one that you ride a dragon to fight the boss, or the one that gores party members at random forcing you to play without a party member for a short while.

    They've come a long way from the boring version of wow. Even though I did get burned out after the expansion hit, it wasn't because of the game, but the people in it. I think that makes it as much a success as any game can be expected to be.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 12, 2009 @05:23PM (#28669955)

    This is true. Look at the original EverQuest. They are still making expansions for that.

    Yup, and another is due out this November. And, while this will probably be modded as flamebait, WoW was the best thing that ever happened to EverQuest, from my perspective as someone that's played it continuously for nearly 10 years now: It lured many assholes from EQ, and the remaining population is, overall, much better for it, at least in my experience.

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @10:00PM (#28671759) Homepage Journal

    one of the shittiest creatures in-game, which many people cant fit into a place and come to like. it would be another gnomeragan.

  • Cataclysm (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 12, 2009 @11:40PM (#28672345)

    I certainly hope not, as "The Cataclysm" is the name for the war-ending event in Beyond War, a game that has had that fiction posted since 2001. If so, then their PTO filing violates knowing prior use by an MMO publisher and damages will be high regardless failure to perform a correct due diligence search by the PTO. They should stick with Maelstrom if they want to keep the money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:55AM (#28672707)

    The playerbases of EQ1 and EQ2 are quite top notch players. In WoW, you take a risk at a random pickup group. However, in the EverQuest versions, anyone who doesn't know their class's role in a group doesn't last long.

    EQ1 is considered extremely hardcore, but these days, the reputation is somewhat unfounded. You can start a character at level 1, pick up some mercenaries (NPCs that can tank, heal, even res) and grind solo (although grouping is a lot better) to 85. All EQ2 classes can solo, although you can do well for grinding exp if you mentor a lower level and go through lower level dungeons.

    I highly recommend either EQ game for someone who is sick of WoW's animish-look, and who wants to level and raid with people who know their stuff. No game is perfect, but on average, the playerbase quality is much higher in Sony's MMOs.

  • by Vastad ( 1299101 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @02:38AM (#28673123)

    Goblin City? Hmmm...does this mean the Horde will finally have their comic-relief counterpart to the Gnomes?

    What would the Alliance have as a new race? Pandaren?

  • by kenp2002 ( 545495 ) on Monday July 13, 2009 @12:21PM (#28677977) Homepage Journal

    You are looking at total volume numbers. You need to look at the month to month and over a year for growth. a 2% growth rate, in general isn't growth. Inflation eats a certain % of new players. Given a 3% rate of inflation you need to clear at least 1.5% subscription growth per year just to cover inflation. So on a chart the first 1.5% is wiped out (inflation adujsted).

    So lets say we have 100,000 subscribers for something in January. The next month we have 101,000 subscribers. That is 1% growth. The chart investors and executives look at shows +1000. They could care less about the total volume on a month-to-month report. Now for Febuary we have a total of 101,500 subscriptions. The chart now shows +500 (50% reductino in new enrollment). The next month we see 102,000. Again +500 (0% change).

    That is the longevity of an MMO. The month to month change. What happened with EQ, Shadowbane, ... , DAOC, Warhammer, and AOC is that the month to month growth eventually tapers and hits 0 (no loss, no gain.) They dump the expansion and temporarily for the first 3 months or so they get +20,000, +15,000, +10,000 but rapidly decline back to 0. Then the problems start. the normal non-expansion month to months start to drop even more rapidly. Instead of +500, +480, +320, and such you get +500, +250, +80, -20, - 60.

    Then you have to dump another expansion and Get +12,000, +8000, +250, -120, and so on.

    The highs get lower and lower and the rate of decline faster and faster. After about the 4th expansion so far based on observation and analysis, you are litterally in the hole at all times save the expansions. There amount of content is too vast for new players to get in and STAY in.

    Eventually the annual report comes out and your only up, say, 4% of the population.

    Operation costs went up 6% and the mandate comes down to cut costs by 3% to bring it back to parity cost wise.

    Devlopers then have to try and augment newer players with an easier experience in an effort to better control retention which alienates long term players more often then not (easy mode) which causes more of the long term month-to-month players to drop (they'll show up at the end of the year.)

    Rentention number are important, just as much as new enrollment but the enrollment numbers tend to be inversly proportional to the volume of content. Too much and you don't get new players to hold on more then 3 months (They get lost in the content.)

    Expansions breath new life in to a game that has become a grind for a large number of EXISTING players.

    So either you don't play or you just lack any deep insight on what is occurring.

    Neither. It's called statistical analysis based on their reported population and account numbers across all servers using regression analysis (specifically we used Autoregressive integrated moving averages [ARIMA]) using expansion release dates, reported populations, sales figures, and information provided in shareholder conference calls as well as quarterly reports as regessors.

    I have no interest in insight or speculation, I'm interested in analysis.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell