World of Warcraft has reigned supreme as a subscription MMO in a time when free-to-play seemed to be the only way forwards, but the game is now getting too long in the tooth.
Blizzard won. We can say it now. After all of the years of purported “WoW-killers” who managed to do little else but fall on their own sword, it became clear what would kill WoW – itself.
The long-standing MMO based on the equally long-standing Warcraft franchise has taken the world by storm, given millions of players fond memories, and helped shape the very genre that it became a part of.
And yet, all good things must come to an end. The current version at the time of this writing, Legion, has proven to be both an apology for the failings of Warlords of Draenor, and a hard push by Blizzard to show that they are as keen as ever to support their games in their trademark fashion.
Unfortunately, there’s only so much they can do to stem the entropy that Azeroth will be forced to give in to.
WoW, like any other game is – at its most fundamental level – still just a piece of software. The game engine has been modified and tweaked beyond the belief of many, but there’s a limit to just how much one engine can do.
Blizzard has taken to updating the aesthetics of the game via new animations and textures, giving the world a fresh coat of paint, but the truly problematic area lies in the inner workings of the world.
MMO players expect to have new and engaging content on a frequent schedule – after all, what are they paying a monthly fee for?
The problem, then, stems from the notion that is a finite amount of system design that the developers over at Blizzard have access to.
As such, there will come a time where the content that is being produced for players to clear is inherently derivative as all other options have been exhausted in one form or another.
That being said, one should not deride Blizzard for the challenges that they are facing. At this point, any change and tweak they make sends out unknown ripple effects across to other areas of the game, and the devs are relegated to performing a highly elaborate balancing act that spans years.
What WoW truly needs, is a sequel. Blizzard would be foolish to abandon the MMO genre completely – not after the success of WoW helped them fund the likes of Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm.
The IP of Warcraft is a beloved one, and one that has only grown to be more colorful over the years. As such, it is only fitting that we bear witness to a grander evolution of what the universe of Warcraft can offer up.
If Blizzard could show us what new tech they have to really blow our pants off in the same ways that WoW initially did, a sequel may prove to not only be the right way to go – it might be the only way.
The in-game lore has been moving to grander designs for some time now, and Legion has only pushed it further forward. Blizzard, if you’re reading this, it’s time for Worlds of Warcraft. Take that cosmic aspect you’ve been hinting at and just run with it.