Sunday, July 24, 2011

Da Future

Click here to see a full version, and don't you dare consider this "confirmed."
I apologize to readers who think I must come back to this topic like I'm picking at a scab on my knee but I just can't stop looking at the future of our game here. originally posted the document linked above about a year ago and reposted it this past week to note that a few more elements of that time-line had come true (the new localized version of WoW for Brazil that was announced this week, in partiular).  Boubouille is about as careful a conduit of "leaked" material as they get.  He didn't fall for that recent forged document about material being prepped for Blizzcon and he clearly runs sources in and around Blizzard with accuracy and care that the finest news outlets in the world should admire.  That's his disclaimer on the bottom and I'll reiterate that anybody would be a fool to use this as something to plan your life by or to go posting in the general forums about, but it's proving accurate so far.

So far.

If this plan is accurate, Blizzard has one hell of a year to finish out.  The suggestion is that Diablo 3 and the next round of Starcraft will apear in the fourth quarter, as will SC2 "Phoenix" though I don't think anybody knows what that is (Google offers no simple answers).  Diablo 3 is due, no questions about that. I'm less sure of what to expect about SC2 on that timeline. I've read about alpha play on that title, and the teaser trailer is out, but if there were to be a fourth quarter SC2 release, then I'd think beta news would need to start cropping up in the next month or two. Surely no later than September.  If SC2: Heart of the Swarm is really going to appear around the same time as Diablo 3.

(and um... that in itself doesn't make the best sense. Blizzard ought not release two major titles right on top of one another)

As for WoW ...

The fourth expansion looks to be slated for second quarter 2012 which is merely a year from now. It would also be about 18 months (give or take a bit) from the release of Cataclysm.  WoW's fifth expansion is planned another 18 months or so beyond that in the fourth quarter of 2013.  Is faster turn-around good for this game?

It may be. We have all giggled over the typical Blizzard answer "Soon" (TM) for their expectations of release dates of any content, but it has been clear for some time now that our fave company is struggling to produce content fast enough for us to consume. We have seen how they can cut corners when necessary.  A faster expansion turn-around becomes the next logical step in this process of keeping Warcraft viable. I can, and probably will, worry about the quality of this content, but yeah, it's probably coming.

San Diego Comic-Con shook a few nuggets loose when Metzen and a few others showed up to pitch some swag. Late in the panel, it became a free-for-all Q&A and questions were asked as to what Thrall was up to.  Metzen: "One day, come on, your Warchief is coming back. Right? There's more with Thrall."  Coverage goes on to note Metzen slobbering over his fave character and trying to deny Horde bias by stating that the next two Warcraft novels would be primarily about Alliance characters. But the key message delivered was wait until Blizzcon.  In all honesty, I predicted return of Thrall to the Horde settles a few things in my mind. There has been talk of Thrall ascending to take on the roll of the Aspect of Earth (a position vacated by Deathwing) but I would argue there was no way Thrall could realign with the Horde and take on a semi-mystical position such as that.  If he's going back to the Horde, then whatever his relation to the Aspects is involved, it is probably temporary.

But Blizzcon is the key date coming up (and that date is Oct. 21-22). A few weeks ago, I predicted the Naga and Queen Azshara to step front and center as the primary antagonists of the next expansion. (I stand by my prediction, though with a few more doubts.) I have no question in my mind that we will hear an official announcement about the next expansion Soon (TM).  Haha. No, really, we will hear before Blizzcon in October. If there really is an SC2 and Diablo 3 releases this year, those will be the centerpieces of Blizzcon, and not WoW.


  1. Lol. Less than 24 hours after I post this, they announce the Diablo III beta will be starting "Soon" (TM). That still makes me think that we won't really see any SC2 for a while longer.

  2. Well you might just have to reconsider that the new SC2 wont happen at the same time... if you download the latest Beta Profiler (for MacOS at least) is has SC2 in the title of the App...