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  1. #1
    Scumstation's Avatar Super Moderator ♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰
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    Blizzard: 'We know that we have a lot of work to do on new player acquisition,'



    World of Warcraft is an amazing game, at least for veterans. For newcomers, it's almost impossible to get into. As the player base ages, how does Blizzard plan to address getting new blood into Azeroth?

    What you need to know
    • World of Warcraft is one of the industry's biggest success stories, with non-stop operation for very almost 20 years.
    • Now owned by Microsoft, World of Warcraft has recently had a successful run with its Dragonflight expansion, alongside World of Warcraft: Classic modes.
    • The next expansion, The War Within, just hit alpha testing ahead of an expected Q3 2024 launch.
    • Recently, we attended an event in London to discuss The War Within with Executive Producer Holly Longdale and Associate Game Director Maria Hamilton.
    • Holly acknowledged that the new-player experience is less than ideal, and said that improving it will be a big focus in the future.


    Launching later this year, expected around Q3 2024, Blizzard is launching The War Within. The latest expansion for World of Warcraft also kickstarts a new Worldsoul Saga, with expansions Midnight and The Last Titan also already revealed.

    Recently, we had an opportunity to play The War Within's early alpha version, and go hands-on with the games new Delve mini-dungeons, flavor-rich Hero Talents, and new Warbands feature. We also enjoyed the privilege to speak to Vice President and Executive Producer Holly Longdale, and Associate Game Director Maria Hamilton about World of Warcraft's past, present, and future.

    For this first piece of content we have coming on World of Warcraft: The War Within, we asked about World of Warcraft's new player experience, which has arguably been lacking in recent years. What are the big problems with WoW's onboarding process, and is Blizzard planning to address it? Here's what Blizzard had to say on the topic.

    Maria Hamilton noted that in The War Within, new players will be pointed to the Exile's Reach tutorial island, and then emerge in Dragonflight, rather than Battle for Azeroth. Dragonflight's self-contained story and more modern content should provide a better experience for players than Battle for Azeroth did in yesteryear, given the fact Battle for Azeroth takes place right in the middle of a major storyline saga. Dragonflight essentially kicks off a new one after a short time skip, and should serve as a better onboarding point.

    However, I personally still don't think it's good enough.


    Gnome players have been waiting literal decades to "retake" Gnomeregan, the gnomish capital city and classic gnomish level 1 starting city

    The classic World of Warcraft experience of cultural areas like Mulgore, Teldrassil, Gilneas, or even Kezan provide a much better and far more immersive introduction to the game. The Cataclysm revamped levelling experience through the old Azeroth zones also provides a far bigger, more epic "adventure" than what is offered even in Dragonflight. That RPG feeling of essentially as a trainee soldier in the Horde or Alliance army, and gradually growing into your power, eventually working alongside major characters — is totally absent for new players in modern WoW. It's this lack of RPG feel that makes it so hard to get new players into the game these days, and also I think why WoW Classic has been so popular for players wanting a deeper RPG experience.

    It's easy in my view how Blizzard could prepare World of Warcraft for the new generation. Another Cataclysm-style revamp of the old Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms lands, including a revamp for the new player starting areas, with new low-stakes characters and enemies that could serve as evergreen context, would be absolutely ideal. Right now it makes no sense to see Sylvanas or Garrosh in the Cataclysm levelling experience from a timeline perspective, and the "Chromie Time" time-travelling explanation feels like a band-aid over a much bigger, much more confusing problem.

    I would make a set of characters whose sole job is to basically stay within those old lands. Smaller low-stakes enemies that exist only in those areas, and are essentially defeated when players beat them in the game's various, forgotten classic dungeons. Those zones don't need major characters or high-stakes cutscenes and things of this nature. And if you did want to sprinkle in a cameo from a faction leader here and there, make it so that they'd be easily replaceable to keep those areas feeling "evergreen." There will always be new quillboar threats in the Barrens. There will always be the odd demon making their way down from Felwood. Duskwood will always have its cursed creatures, and so on. The old world still has vast potential, even without a major graphics pass — although that would be nice too, time permitting.

    Exile's Reach and Dragonflight cannot, and will not, be able to replace that feeling of traversing Silverpine or Duskwood the first time. Hopefully, Blizzard will re-tread these lands in the future, with a more "future-proofed" mentality than Cataclysm's previous revamp had.

    World of Warcraft: The War Within has no fixed launch date, but most expect it to launch somewhere in the Autumn if the usual alpha development timelines line up. The major features include mini dungeons in the form of Delves, a new major raid, a ton of new dungeons, four large new areas, Earthen playable race on both Horde and Alliance, and much more.


    Revamping the nostalgic lands of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms would give players a reason to make fresh alt characters.

    It's looking like another win for the World of Warcraft team, after the generally well-received Dragonflight expansion, which re-focused the game's philosophy on evergreen upgrades to the experience rather than transitory, expansion-only features.

    Where the aging MMO goes from here is anyone's guess, but there's clearly still tons of potential left to find here. An Xbox version? A hit Warcraft TV show like Fallout on Prime? Will I finally get playable ogres?! Only time will tell. One thing is for certain: I'll be playing until the servers are eventually turned off.


    Blizzard: 'We know that we have a lot of work to do on new player acquisition,'
  2. Thanks AnubisAccounts, hackerlol (2 members gave Thanks to Scumstation for this useful post)
  3. #2
    hackerlol's Avatar Admin(kind of) ShoutBox Dweller
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    well if they go back to being old Blizzard post microsoft acquisition, new players will come.
    as we did once..

  4. #3
    Scumstation's Avatar Super Moderator ♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰
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    Originally Posted by hackerlol View Post
    well if they go back to being old Blizzard post microsoft acquisition, new players will come.
    as we did once..
    Think i've said before but I think it's highly likely WoW will come to consoles (gamepass also)- just a matter of when. They're definitely pushing patches faster and with more content than we've been used to for the past few expansions which is great. I hope too that now with the microsoft acquisition, blizzard will get the funding and support they need and want.

  5. #4
    hackerlol's Avatar Admin(kind of) ShoutBox Dweller
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    Originally Posted by Scumstation View Post
    Think i've said before but I think it's highly likely WoW will come to consoles (gamepass also)- just a matter of when. They're definitely pushing patches faster and with more content than we've been used to for the past few expansions which is great. I hope too that now with the microsoft acquisition, blizzard will get the funding and support they need and want.
    is it possible to have an mmo like wow on console?
    the sheer amount of actions and buttons required

  6. #5
    Scumstation's Avatar Super Moderator ♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰♰
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    Originally Posted by hackerlol View Post
    is it possible to have an mmo like wow on console?
    the sheer amount of actions and buttons required
    Yeah there are things that could get in the way but it is possible. Consoleport addon existsfor controller use to be possible so if blizzard actually implemented official support, I can see it working for sure on consoles.

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