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WoW Wednesday: 7.3 Things I’d Like from Warcraft’s NEXT Major Patch

Hang on, I hear you cry between unsuccessful pulls of your Hidden Appearance Boss via the Mage Tower, what are you talking about? 7.2 isn’t even a week old yet! You can’t come along and start speculating on what’s going to happen three months from now, the metaphorical paint isn’t even dry on the inside of Sargeras’ Tomb. Well, whilst you wander around the Broken Shore and attempt to get Gul’dan on farm, I’m here to start looking forward.

Warcraft’s NEXT Major Patch

The 7.2 trailer shows us, for the first time, exactly what the Draenei have lost in this cosmic battle against the Burning Crusade. Once we’re done on the Broken Isles, we’ll be heading into space… but what can we expect to encounter when that happens? It’s time to get the crystal balls out: here’s my list of 7.3 things I’d like from Warcraft’s NEXT major patch.

Not to Have to Wait Too Long After 7.2.5 for It to Arrive

We know that the Tomb’s quest line should complete approximately ten weeks from now and that means (by definition) that you can expect an interim patch not only to unlock that but set the groundwork going forward. What’s still not clear is how long after that it’ll be Argus time, but with Gamescom this year running from the 22nd to the 26th August, and that being exactly ten weeks from when we’re predicting 7.2.5. will drop? It would make sense that all the fates are aligning for that week to be a huge advertising/infodump. Could we get a new expansion reveal? Yeah, I think it is looking increasingly likely, especially with the speed that content’s currently being deployed. That will make Blizzcon, yet again in November, all about the details. It makes a lot of sense to plan that well in advance too.

For Plot Not to Be Hampered by the Speed Physical Content Is Applied

There’s a bit of confusion at the start of the Broken Shore ‘event’ for certain players as to why Illidan’s helping out on the ground. If you’ve not completed the quest in the Trial of Valor, or indeed finished the Nighthold, you’ll have missed some fairly important plot points. If Blizzard’s Narrative Department (that’s totally a thing, right?) could sort this out so it doesn’t happen again, and when we all leave for the Journey to Argus everybody is on the same page without being forced to complete all the instanced content, that might be a plan. I get why the devs want players raiding but some just can’t keep up with the schedules, and that might be worth bearing in mind going forward. Tying the plot to instance events is all well and good, but only if everybody completes them at the right pace.

Not Too Much Reliance on the Z Axis

I understand we’re going to be in space, that’s totally fine. Hooray for a new place to go and another map, because that’s really cool. However, space is just like being underwater except the bar isn’t showing you how long there is to drown but to suffocate instead. It’s just like water, only darker. In fact, that brand new Inky Black Potion you can buy at the Darkmoon Faire that makes everything look like night-time? This is so Blizzard testing the lighting and shading effects for all that lovely new content you’ll be playing across the Summer, I’m sure. You heard it here first: I just hope I don’t have to spend too long without an oxygen bubble or a Goblin helmet or summat.

Please Don’t Make Me Fight on Spaceships Too Often

I get how cool spaceships are. I also understand how bad the Draenei are at driving them. I sincerely hope that we won’t be spending lots of time traveling from place to place in large, static environments (and I really rather hope we won’t see an Exodar clone at some point). If they are as annoying as boats to use and travel around within? It’s gonna get boring really fast. I appreciate the need to travel, but surely if we can go 40 years back in time using the simple expedient of a Portal, there can be more creative ways that get us from Azeroth to Argus. Speaking of which…

Could We Leave Flying Back on Azeroth, Please?

I am concerned that having taken 11 weeks to get a shiny new Class Specific Mount, we’ll now be using it everywhere in the new content, and I don’t think this should be a way forward. In fact, I’m really hoping that there’ll be no independent flying in any of the upcoming content, especially as this is effectively a new continent to explore. I’d also like to quietly add that although the current content in terms of rares, chests and ‘hidden’ rewards is very nice and all, it is beginning to feel distinctly samey. Please don’t make Argus another episode of the Timeless Jungle Shore. You have enough people on your staff now to reinvent the wheel and push the envelope simultaneously.

Please Don’t Make My Future Green and Purple

Although I grasp that the Legion’s uniform is green with purple everything, this is not that attractive long term. One of the biggest single pulls of the Broken Isles is the fact there is a decent range of variety in locations. I will freely admit I got a bit hacked off with Val’sharah after a while because even lush green got a bit repetitive. This game works best with contrasting styles and spaces when all is said and done. If we’re condemned to spending six months plus with only black as the backdrop and these two colors in the palette? I don’t care how great Argus is, it will drive many people insane. I know I’m not the only person either who’s pointed this out with the current Broken Shore location. I just hope that there’s some thought into reproducing backdrops of the scope we’ve come to expect from this MMO.

Challenge Does Not Have to Mean NPCs and AI

I’ll let you into a secret. I have no interest in getting a new skin in 7.2 for my Artifact weapon, and any ‘challenge’ where I have to gear to a certain standard before having a chance to complete the task is really never going to happen: I don’t need that kind of validation in a video game anymore. I’m here to kick back and relax online, and that means, at a push, traditional puzzle solving, not some stupid aerial ballet that relies as much on my ping and lag as anything else. I know that’s not likely to happen when all the budget is on making players raid, but I feel duty-bound to point out that if the only thing about 7.2 that moves me is plot and transmog achievements then there’s probably some room to extend the definition of ‘challenge’ away from just an AI scenario. Just saying.

Warcraft's next major patch

So there are my seven wishes, but that leaves us with a .3 shortfall, which covers three key factors. Two of these have made a welcome return to Warcraft development cycles: transparency of intent and communication to the player base are at the best levels I’ve seen probably at any point in this game’s life cycle. The one thing that is missing, however, is production quality. The speed at which content is being shifted is beginning to show some flaws, and I think that maybe a return to Soon (TM) as a mantra might give some much needed time to ensure that content is as good as it can be in terms of polish and thought before the next patch goes live.

It also doesn’t take a genius to work out that ‘new’ content is being very specifically tailored, one assumes to minimize workloads for certain departments, and the number of recycled assets in the Broken Shore points to a future where the only time everything is reimagined is as a part of a larger process. Patch 7.2 may be the biggest content patch the game has ever offered, but a surprising amount relies rather too much on existing resources for my liking. If this is a way to cut a few corners to save time, I understand the rationale, but I think I’d rather see Blizzard focus on quality over quantity. There, I said it.

I’m looking forward to logging in today however to continue the Broken Shore storyline, but I’d be lying if I said I’m invested in anything else currently in any great detail. In fact, my biggest single interest remains farming Legacy content for transmogs because that’s what fits best into a busy real life schedule. I appreciate all of the praise and complaints I’ve heard over 7.2 since launch, and in many cases the individuals are perfectly justified in their issues. That’s how this game continues to function: play it your way, at your pace, and it all works out just fine. Once somebody else starts telling you what is important or what should be prioritized all that can change pretty fast.

Therefore, at least for me, I’m happy to look forward to what we can now expect after the Pillars of Creation are returned to their final resting places. Once that’s done, who knows how the Legion will react. What I can guarantee, however, is that you’ll start hearing about it sooner rather than later…

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