WoW – More content than ever before?

World of Warcraft promises to satisfy fans’ hunger for content. But apparently Dragonflight will be much smaller.

The mood in the WoW community can currently be described as “cautiously optimistic”. As we have already analyzed in our podcast, you can do relatively little wrong with the dragon theme. Dragonflight reflects on the strengths of World of Warcraft in its basics. Return of the talent trees, revised crafting, a large new game world with many secrets and an interesting new class. In addition, there was the big announcement that Blizzard has swallowed the studio Proletariat. Nearly 100 new employees are mainly to ensure that WoW gets more and faster content. More specifically, it was said by John Hight, the general manager of Warcraft:

We know you’re really hungry for new content, and I’m really proud of the way our development teams are working to meet or exceed those expectations – there’s more happening in World of Warcraft than ever before, and this is just the beginning.

That’s an announcement. One that will be hard to talk your way out of later.

Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision, also confirmed this. He may not have the best reputation with the gaming community, but his word carries weight. He stated:

Over the next two years, we plan to hire hundreds of the best developers to meet the needs of our World of Warcraft players. Proletariat’s outstanding team will be a key component in our efforts to hire new talent.

So it may seem odd that the next WoW expansion, Dragonflight, has so far turned out to be rather small and unimpressive. Dragonflight – at least at first glance – does absolutely no experiments and does without parasitic systems.

If you only take a rough look at World of Warcraft, you might frown in surprise at the announcement of “more content”, because it doesn’t fit at all with what Dragonflight promises:

  • No big new system like pacts, Torghast, islands or warfronts.
  • Only 4 new areas (For comparison, Battle for Azeroth had 6 new areas, Shadowlands had 5).
  • 8 new dungeons is also rather the lower standard of an expansion

Sure there are a few fresh features, like the new class of the Callers of the Dracthyr or the dragon riding. But dragon riding seems at first glance to be more of a sideline that will be replaced by traditional flying later on, and a new class is welcome – but nothing completely unexpected.

What does “more content” actually mean for WoW?

If you ask the World of Warcraft player community what kind of “more content” they absolutely need in the future, the answers couldn’t be more varied. While for many players “more content” means new dungeons, raids, and battlegrounds, World of Warcraft is much more than that. There are numerous fans of small niche tasks in the game that PvE or PvP pros can only roll their eyes at because, from their point of view, that’s not “real content”. But when you add up these smaller groups that are interested in content like pet battles, transmogrifications, toy collections, achievements, new character customizations, or roleplaying, it does add up to a sizable number of players with very different interests. Together, however, they make up a not insignificant portion of all active players. New recruits to the WoW team should not only help satisfy the content hunger of PvE junkies, but also cater to just such niche content. After all, it was this variety of content that has kept World of Warcraft loyal fans for years. Mike Ybarra, the “President of Blizzard Entertainment” seems to see it that way as well, because he talks about the creative freedom the team needs when he says:

We put players at the forefront of everything we do, and we work hard to meet and exceed expectations. […] A critical point if we wanted to take care of players is to take care of our own team – we need to make sure we have the resources to create experiences for our communities that they’ll love, while giving our teams freedom to explore even more creative possibilities in their projects.

Of course, again, that’s pretty open-ended and leaves a lot of room for interpretation. But “creative freedom” can really only mean creating more and different content that sometimes only appeals to a certain niche of players – but it’s those players who have often had to take a back seat in recent years.

New employees probably won’t be relevant until after Dragonflight launches

But when will the new developers come to fruition? Even if this is of course a bit of a look into the crystal ball: Pretty sure not at the launch of Dragonflight. Although the beta hasn’t officially started yet, Blizzard has most likely been working intensively on Dragonflight for the last 2 years and has already completed most of the expansion. This may sound strange without a started beta, but there is no other way to realize a release date still in 2022. Beta versions of World of Warcraft are usually already extremely advanced and it’s just a matter of fine-tuning. Even if not all features are playable at the beginning of a beta, the majority of them are already included in the game data and only need to be “turned on”.

So the 100 or so new Proletariat employees who are now expected to work on World of Warcraft will probably have little to no impact on the release of Dragonflight – but just beyond that. Because World of Warcraft wants to “bring content faster and more often, and even exceed fan expectations in the process.”

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More content for everyone? At least that’s what it could mean.

Maybe it all also means that Dragonflight will be a more compact and generally shorter expansion, which will therefore get fewer features to slow down the whole World of Warcraft cycle a bit – before it goes into the next expansion with a much bigger team. What is clear, however, is that Blizzard is once again going out on a limb by claiming to bring more and faster content to the fans – because Blizzard has promised that more than once in the past decades. And slowly but surely these promises don’t bring more than a tired smile out of the longtime players. But this is countered by the sheer size of nearly 100 new employees. Should this increase in manpower not be able to create either more frequent or more extensive content, a hell of a lot would have to go wrong. And Blizzard simply can’t afford that anymore in terms of World of Warcraft.

However, the fact that Blizzard is hiring so many new employees right now could also be aimed at much later success – namely with the next expansion. Because as soon as it goes into the launch period of an addon, the active work on the next expansion already begins. While players were still romping around in the Shadowlands beta, work was slowly but surely already being shifted to Dragonflight. It’s only logical to assume that the same will now be the case with Dragonflight.

Even though Blizzard is already making big promises, we probably won’t see the effects of this until well after Dragonflight launches. But then it could be a glorious time for all content-hungry heroines and heroes in Azeroth. Or how do you guys see the whole thing?


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