You want WoW news, you got it

WoW Cataclysm wallpaper.It figures just one day after I write a post wondering what happened to everyone’s favorite MMO, Blizzard decides to unveil some of the major changes coming to each of the game’s ten classes. Oh, except Paladins, but really, who likes Paladins anyway?

Technically, we don’t have the changes just yet. There was a post on the official forums, though, that said we’d get a preview of the new spells, skill changes, talent trees, and other class modifications to be found in Cataclysm within 24 hours. As to the Paladin thing, here’s what Blizzard had to say:

The paladin is still deep in development. Instead of giving a preview that would be potentially less comprehensive than the other classes we made the decision to post it when it’s ready, in order to properly honor the paladin class and those that play them. The wait isn’t too long however as we’re expecting to be able to post it on April 16.

I would never have guessed that “deep in development” meant one week from public consumption, but I’m not a developer now, am I.

This is a big day for the crackheads. It’s the first real news about specific changes in Cataclysm since the expansion was announced.

Source: WoW Forums


What happened to WoW?

WoW April wallpaper.The last I heard of World of Warcraft was that it’s losing steam. Blizzard’s juggernaut finally stopped growing and has actually been on the decline. The Cataclysm announcement seemed to spark interest for some a while back but without a hard release date, it’s tough to keep ex-WoW players’ interest.

I was thinking today about my former days as a WoW player and I realized I haven’t heard a single thing about the actual game in at least a year. I fired up Chrome and made my way to the official site to see what I had been missing. As it turns out, not much.

The first two news stories are about new fan art and a couple new wallpapers. Further down the list you’ve got some news about the CCG and an announcement for a shamelessly branded wireless headset. The only game content story is about new Random Battlegrounds, which from what I can gather is just a way to queue for all the battlegrounds at once for some extra bonuses. It sounds like something that could have been implemented years ago.

It’s pretty tough to revisit WoW without thinking about the game’s eventual demise. At this point Cataclysm seems like a stopgap – just another way to buy time until the next great MMO. The revised leveling system and zones sound cool, but I’m willing to bet people will still burn out when they get to Outland/Northrend. Can you imagine leveling to 80 again? I know I can’t.


Activision gets almost 70% of its revenue from three franchises

Tauren dance, baby.Activision’s fiscal report for 2009 contained some seriously juicy news. First, there’s the scandal at Infinity Ward. Second, there’s this. The report included statistics regarding the company’s revenue sources, revealing that a large majority, like 68%, come from just three franchises: World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Guitar Hero. The report also noted that WoW accounts for a whopping 98% of Blizzard’s revenue.

The obvious concern is for one of those franchises to flop. One bad Call of Duty and suddenly Activision doesn’t look so stable. As the company puts things, “Due to this dependence on a limited number of franchises, the failure to achieve anticipated results by one or more products based on these franchises may significantly harm our business and financial results.” I would say so, fellas.

We already know that rhythm games are on the decline and WoW hasn’t grown in more than a year. No wonder Blizzard’s trying to push Starcraft 2 out the door by mid-year.

Source: Kotaku


D&D Online got the free-to-play model right

D&D Online.Everyone loves a free game, especially a free game done right. Take League of Legends – the game has been around for less than a year and has already been downloaded more than a million times. It’s a great model, but one that hasn’t been as successful in the MMO world. Dungeons and Dragons Online is bucking that trend, continuing to grow both its free and subscription fee paying user base.

Turbine announced that the game has seen more than a million players in growth since the re-launch last September. Paid player subscriptions have also doubled, and the game’s store transactions are blazing along at three times the industry average, giving the franchise a 500% growth in revenue. Can you imagine what WoW’s numbers would look like if Blizzard could pull that off? Are there numbers with that many zeroes?

CEO Jim Crowley summed up the success quite well. “We’ve known all along how great this game is and by implementing an innovative new model that put the players in charge of how they pay and play DDO Unlimited, we’ve successfully expanded our reach and injected new energy into the game. Without a doubt, DDO Unlimited is a hit!”

Source: Kotaku


Blizzard still wants to release SC II in the first half of the year

Starcraft 2 interface.Depending who you ask, Starcraft II has been in development as long as 10 years. The game finally entered closed beta earlier this month, which is hopefully a sign that we will see it go to print before the end of the year. Blizzard is staying optimistic as far as timetable is concerned. The latest Blizzcast included Chris Sigaty, production director for the game, who said they were shooting for first half of the year for release.

“We were targeting three to five months for the beta, we’re really at a three month period of time for the beta at this point. We are still targeting the first half of this year, so with that in mind, it really shortens the window of time with our major content patch coming out pretty close to the end whether it’s even worth it putting out the map editor at that point.”

The map editor is one of the things that has everyone all hot in the pants, but it wouldn’t be so bad not to have it at release. Just remember, you’d be playing StarCraft II. Are you really going to get hung up on a map editor?

Source: Blizzcast Ep. 13


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