BlizzCon & Expansion

Game publishers Blizzard are holding a convention at the end of October. There's a lot of speculation about what will be announced there - thus far, they've been very good about keeping things quiet. It's confidently expected, though, that the first information about an expansion for World of Wacraft will be released. I'm guessing as well that it's about time for Starcraft II on the PC, following Starcraft: Ghost as a console game. There's been some speculation on a "Galaxy of Starcraft" game, but personally, I can't see them diluting the WoW audience if they can help it. However, I've got a list of things that might be in the WoW expansion, and I want to get them down here, and see in November how I'm doing.

The first and obvious item is player housing, which is, as yet, completely absent from the game. I'm not as convinced about this as many people are, mainly because I'm not sure what housing could do that's not already in the game. And I wouldn't want to see duplication of existing facilities in housing, because the single-point auction houses and crafting areas are a great strength of the game at present. Houses are nevertheless a draw on thier own as customisable, visible possessions, and guild houses possibly even more so. They could contain more storage space - that's something that's at a premium even for my level 20 characters, let alone higher levels. In guild houses, this could be shared storage, allowing common pools of trade materials and so forth.

It's possible that houses might enter into PvP play as fortifications - it'd need to be possible to flag and unflag them like players for this, though, as otherwise you'd risk coming back to a "dead" house every time you logged off. There could also be stables, trophy rooms, libraries (containing guild rules, shared blueprints or maps), message boards, taprooms, and merchants. All of these, though, are covered to greater or lesser degrees by existing content.

There's speculation, too, about the Hero Classes. It looks to me like these will be something along the lines of prestige classes in D&D - extra classes, to which experienced players can "graduate". These would either be branches of existing classes, or a free choice of a new set. Effectively, these would raise the level cap - they have to be an increase in capability for characters, or there's no incentive to use them.

New classes and races are almost a given - goblins could easily become playable, and centaurs, quillboars, and the like are possibilities as well. As to classes, there are no music-oriented classes yet, despite the existence of (as yet inactive) drum shops in Thunder Bluff, so a bard class could be a possibility. There's room for a second stealth class, perhaps. Necromancers are oddly missing from the ranks of player characters, despite warlocks' presence. There's no berserker class, as such. And there're any number of possible hybrid classes.

I think that given the RTS background of Warcraft, and the shattered bits and pieces scattered across the world, that vehicles are a likely addition - war engines and ships are the most likely, with flying vehicles much less so. If these things appear, then a new profession might involve constructing them - or would that be a specialisation of engineering? Mounted combat might happen, too.

And if there are ships and vehicles (and even if there aren't), there have to be new places to go; some of the inaccessible areas of the map will be opened up, and new islands will appear. A whole new continent could be added, or parallel worlds or dimensions - demons come from somewhere, right? Orgimmar, the Undercity, Ironforge and Stormwind are all carefully built so that not all the space in them is used, and I think it's very likely that more buildings will appear in each of them. An instance of some kind seems likely in the Undercity as well.

Finally, an extra character dimension of some kind would be interesting. At present there's race and class, and then guild and faction as less deep dimensions. Allegiance, deity, clan, or castes could be added to this, for far greater complexity.

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Posted by Drew Shiel at August 29, 2005 1:53 PM

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