It feels like we know more about what we won’t have with WOD than what we do have. Looking at the expansion with a more positive light may be important for helping us understand why the expansion is taking so long, and what we’re waiting for. I’ll go with three categories: Things confirmed that we will get (e.g., new content), and things Blizzard plans to give us that may lead to improvements in quality of life (e.g., system changes that may have downstream positive impacts).
Confirmed for WOD release:
- We will gain 10 new levels, boosting us to 100. This is 5 more levels than the previous expansion.
- We will have access to new leveling zones, filled with many new quests, story, progression, and rewards. This will be filled with amazing artwork and music.
- We will have access to new max-level content in zones.
- We will have new character models for some of the races ready at release.
- We will have a new garrison feature, that allows you to build and customize a plot of land. This will allow for tasks relevant to crafting, as well as quests where we send followers out to do stuff for us for rewards.
- A new PVP playground called Ashran which PVP players will enjoy.
- Other PVP system improvements, such as skirmishes and spectator modes.
- More PVE content: new raids, new dungeons and scenarios – filled with new threats to overcome.
Likely improvements in WOD that will benefit players:
- An improved PVP ability system with regards to pacing of combat. A greater reliance on sustained damage over burst, and an emphasis for smarter crowd control use over stacking tons of crowd control ends up being an overall positive improvement to PVP play.
- More intuitive gearing for PVE and PVP. Changes to the gearing system will reduce the amount of time you have to spend tinkering with an item after you get it, freeing your ability from having to rely on tools like Ask Mr Robot to tell you how to fix your gear every time you get an upgrade.
- More intuitive spell toolsets overall, and improvements to hopefully make the classes more fun to play. If you have a button, that button likely has a meaningful purpose for you as a player – and you will hopefully not have an overwhelming number of buttons where one button is only marginally better than 4 other buttons that do the exact same thing.
- Additional new character models for races beyond what they can finish for release.
- An improved raid structure and lockout system that will make it easier to play with your friends or strangers. For example, the new flexible size content (e.g., if one of your guild members doesn’t show up, you can still raid) and only one hardcore raid size (allowing for better guild recruitment, new guild formation, and comparing your team to other teams) may have good consequences for guilds. The new looking for group system will allow for forming normal-mode raids with strangers.
- We may potentially get improvements to the long-distance travel system as a consequence of other travel changes.
Overall, there is still a lot of positive things coming with the expansion, which may offset the problems that people are concerned about. If beta actually starts soon and we get a chance to experience these things for ourselves, it may actually turn out that the expansion holds more good than bad. I just wish Blizzard did a better job of showing us what we DO get, and making everyone feel excited about it.