Blizzard’s New MMORPG – More Of The Same, Or New And Improved?

Warcraft Formula GuideThe big Blizzard news of the last week was the transfer of Jeff Kaplan (Tigole) from the World of Warcraft team as lead designer to a lead role on the team developing Blizzard’s new MMO, World of Unnamedcraft.

Kaplan, as Tobold suggests, is the reason that World of Warcraft is such a raid centric game. He was a hardcore raider in Everquest and the inference is that Kaplan bought that influence into WoW. It leads into one of the rumors that Kaplan is moving on because Blizzard have recently softened WoW raiding, making it more casual.

Maybe. But the truth is that any raiding in the original Everquest required a hardcore, achievement focused mindset. Tigole wouldn’t have been alone in the WoW dev team. Blizzard would have sourced quite a few developers from the ranks of the veteran (pre-2002/03) massive gamer ranks.

Anyway the conclusion is that this will lead to many of the same design principles being incorporated into Blizzard’s new MMORPG, whatever it is going to be.

Well, that’s all great as a rumor, but it doesn’t necessarily follow. There are a few factors that will determine if hardcore raiding will be a part of the game or not.

  1. Blizzard’s new MMORPG might not be a hardcore game at all. It’s entirely possible that Blizzard will aim for the other end of the casual market. There are more than a few Asian MMORPG’s that are doing extremely well indeed. One or two of them have more subscribers that World of Warcraft. Could Blizzard be aiming at that market?
  2. Blizzard’s next MMORPG might be a hardcore game after all, but it might not be PvE focused. A solid PvP or RvR experience, perhaps like Warhammer Online, would not really need hardcore raiding.
  3. Raiding might not be appropriate to the setting. Blizzard might attempt to try something really different in their next MMO. It’s been suggested they might attempt an Eve/Elite style game. Would that sort of game be suitable for Hardcore raiding.

I’m thinking that Blizzard will try to move away from the way that they’ve designed World of Warcraft. The prime reason for this is simple. Competition. They are not going to want to compete with themselves.

Blizzard’s goal will be to draw in players who have never played a MMORPG before, and the players who have stopped playing World of Warcraft (and MMORPG’s in general) who would number in the millions. They won’t want to draw people out of WoW.

So my bet is that Blizzard’s new MMORPG will be very different from World of Warcraft, and possibly most of the other MMORPG’s on the market. Jeff Kaplan is probably enjoying himself with work that is very different than what he is used to doing.

Of course, anything is possible.

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  1. Blue Kae

    I’m not entirely sure that Blizzard will be avoiding having their new MMO compete with WoW. Consider how long it is going to be before the new game comes out, versus how long they can continue to grow WoW and release expansions. Their plan might be to have this new game come out around the time that their WoW subscription numbers start to decline, so that instead of cannibalizing their own customers they are shifting them to a new game instead of losing them to competitors.

  2. Stropp

    There will certainly be some players who leave WoW and head to Blizzard’s new game, but I think Blizzard will be working to minimize that happening.

    As for release dates, I suspect possibly 12 to 18 months. Blizz have a tendency to not announce anything until they have something solid. When we get the name and genre of the new game, I’d suspect it’s scheduled for release within 12 months.

    WoW isn’t going anywhere in that time. I can’t see it losing a significant number of subscribers. Don’t forget, 12 to 18 months is in the timeframe of a new WoW expansion. If anything, subscriber numbers could be boosted.

  3. Mr.Chronic

    I still think there is alot to be done in the world of warcraft. It might be very possible that they have 2 more expansions ( although i have never read the books) leaving them more then enough time to work on this new mmo. I dont see this game coming out for another 2-3 years atleast imo, look how long it is taking them to make starcraft 2. They have been talking about the expansion for AGES i was 13 when they started talking about it…IM 21 now, and still…

  4. Stropp (Post author)

    I think there will be a lot more than just two expansions. I very much expect WoW to have a lifespan exceeding another ten years. EQ1 is still a viable MMORPG after ten years and, even with a reduced number of subscribers, are still releasing expansions regularly.

    Even if another game knocks WoW off as king of the hill, it’s likely the subscriber count will be in the millions for years, maybe even ten years or more.

    Blizzard don’t need to scrimp and save on WoW to build the new game. Team members might change, but the teams will be kept up to capacity.

  5. Alex Girs

    I really can’t think of a Blizzard doing an MMO of Starcraft or Diablo. Since Warcraft have incomparable amounts of lore compared to starcraft and diablo combined, thei simply don’t have a story to make such game.

    As a extremely dedicated Blizzard follower, I expect them to do something radical. Something in their style, Original. They haven’t really copied other games that much.

    A point against my earlier opinion, Blizzard have been extremely faithful to the franchises, it’s almost clear they’d be continuing one of the two other games with an expansion. Then again, Starcraft 2 is coming and it have been parted into three different games, and Diablo 3 coming too, it would be inconvenient for them to release another product to those series.

    As for WoW, honestly I believe it’s going to last for more than 10 years. I think there are extremely few games with growth comparable to WoW, that fell in a few years. WoW is going to last for a long time. WoW have so much to offer, that even though I’ve played it for 2 years now, with an average of 3-5 hours a day, I still feel that I’m missing more than half of the game.

    Waiting for the new MMO is going to be interesting and I’m really waiting for it.

  6. Pingback: Blizzards New MMORPG - Will It Be Hardcore? | Stropp's World

  7. cyberbian

    First you say they don’t have sufficient lore for Starcraft or Diablo to be viable candidates.
    In the next breath you suggest they will totally abandon any known lore, and strike off in a totally original direction.

    How do you decide what to have for breakfast without starving to death?

    Perhaps you are hedging your bets, but it looks lndecisive, and completely self contradictory from where I am sitting.

    My bet is Starcraft Universe for PS3 and Xbox, 50 Million or more boxes in homes world wide before Christmas 2009. More than enough market to start a completely non-competing MMORPG. With Blizzard’s money they can write completeley new and unique lore for the existing franchise.

  8. stshameless

    well i hope they find a way to continue the wow lore but from what i’ve seen and heard they will release one more expansione that will finish off the current lore. also jeff kaplan has been given the reigns on the new project which means a couple of thngs to me. it will be fantasy based, i.e. swords and magic. and two it will be of a wow/eg style gameplay. that being said, i think it will be something original, as far as the lore goes anyway.

  9. Artanis

    I want to see/hope that it isnt fantasy based. Its going to be compaired to WoW way to much and people will either stay with WoW or go to the new one. I would really like to see an orginal Sci-fi mmo. I think if Blizz comes up with a new universe to prevent flooding the market with to much SC/Diablo stuff, they will get a large audence. And if they do a really well done sci-fi game (EVE meets Tabula Rasa) then they will get a nice large market that dosent compete with the fantasy based WoW.

  10. stshameless

    well i agree something different would be cool, i also believe that for the most part, anyone who will play an mmo, already does. that being said i think that if any game to be released is going to prosper its going to hurt another game. i heard the blizz will unveil their new one around october which means playable around summer 2010. and while i’m sure there are plenty of sci-fi fans out there, i dont believe that a sci-fi mmo would really rise into the rankings of current mmos. anything different that might challenge is definitely going to have to break the mold. with rapture coming out relatively soon and blizz new mmo in the works im sure even the mighty wow will suffer. but i think my point is, from a market viewpoint, fantasy >sci-fi. nothing else will sell enough to compete.

  11. Stropp (Post author)

    stshameless said: also believe that for the most part, anyone who will play an mmo, already does.

    Remember that, almost exact, comment was said by a lot of people in the MMORPG industry during the years Everquest was dominant with 400K players. Then World of Warcraft was released, and we all know the rest.

    I expect that sooner or later another game will be released that increases the overall population of MMORPG players by another order of magnitude or two. Don’t forget, the MMORPG industry is still in its infancy, as is computer gaming, compared to other forms of entertainment media. There’s a lot we haven’t seen yet.

  12. Midnightrider

    In response to Alex Girs saying, “As a extremely dedicated Blizzard follower, I expect them to do something radical. Something in their style, Original. They haven’t really copied other games that much.”

    I agree they have originated a lot of their own stuff but if you remember, in the beginning, they were striving to create an online Warhammer MMO but the negotiation on rights to that world fell through and Blizzard developed it making enough changes to avoid lawsuits with Games Workshops. That is why you see so many similarities with the races and the two opposing factions. World of Warcraft has been heavily inspired by the Warhammer FRP.

    With that in mind, I do expect Blizzard to attempt to create something very new and original or according to their other created worlds (Starcraft or Diablo). I don’t believe Blizzard intentionally ripped off Games Workshop. It just kind of worked out that way because it looked like they were going to be able to create a Warhammer game and they had already put in some work toward that.

  13. Midnightrider

    Stropp said that computer gaming was in its infancy. I am seeing a trend that it may be experiencing a SIDS (Sudden Infant Deth Syndrom). While a few games like WoW are extremely successful, many of the game makers are dropping out of the PC market and going full bore into the console market. Because of the pirating issues, the gaming companies are losing a lot of money in PC gaming such that they are seeing they can make more money by dropping off a new game every year than putting a ton or resrouces into developing a game that will be copied and distributed illegally over the internet. Obviously, many games like WoW that are subscription based can’t be pirated unless they are played on a private server but the game industry as a whole is at a critical point such that there isn’t a huge selection out there these days.

  14. Herbie

    Bliz said in the past that they believe eventually a game will come out that will take subscribers from WoW and that they would rather their customers move on to their own game then something else. Think it was at E3.

  15. Cherreb

    Regardless of stealing players from the fame franchise, the game wtill still more then likely rock. What they always indented on doing is keeping the same flow between games, having that comfortable feeling as you delve between game titles.

  16. EricGORE

    In regards to the comments suggesting that this might be a Starcraft or Diablo MMO, it’s not. Blizzard already announced that this would be a completely new franchise. Which is good news! I’m just REALLY curious to see what direction they’re going to go with this. Guess we will have to wait and see. All I hope is that they give it a more mature style, unlike they did with WoW. Don’t get me wrong, it works for WoW, but I more enjoy the mature gothic feel of Diablo or Age of Conan. Although, Conan was a big pile, you get my drift…

  17. Spam F2 proc 1

    People in my alt server and I have been talking about this. (It’s an Rp server, so there are global channels.) We’ve come to the assumtion that the game will share Time Cards/Game Time with WoW. This way, WoW players can experiance the new game and, if they like it, they’ll be able to play both. This would increase the amount of Game Time purchased and, potentially, double the amount of expantions bought. Of course, whether or not they would keep this time share program, or how long, we havn’t decided. If so, it’ll probably be for the first year or two, so the game would grow in popularity.

  18. Me

    First off, people are getting tired of wow… being a wow player myself etc.. i know several people that have either left the scene all togeather or have switched servers to presumably raid some more =P. I myself will be tided over when scII is relesed. until then i play starcraft and pray its world of starcraft or somthing fresh and new. sorry for bad spelling its 4:30 and i’m too lazy to fix it

  19. age of conan guy

    Blizzard’s goal will be to draw in players who have never played a MMORPG before, and the players who have stopped playing World of Warcraft (and MMORPG’s in general) who would number in the millions. They won’t want to draw people out of WoW.
    [spam removed]

  20. some guy in Canada

    First of all, this will be a brand new MMO from the ground up. Saying this, Blizzard can do and make absolutely anything they wish. It was stated that the MMO genre is still in its early stages, this being said many new possibilities are still available. I am hoping that Blizzard attempts to make a completely new and revolutionary MMO. I don’t mind fantasy or sci-fi, as long as there is some sort of warrior melee class.The possibilities are endless, much can be done.

    Whatever it is, I am sure it will be amazing. However, I don’t expect this to come out any time soon, seeing as how long a sequel to starcraft is taking, and a new Diablo, I am assuming 4-6 years before this new MMO will be released. Probably even longer than that.

  21. Stropp (Post author)

    Thanks for your comments everyone.

    @some guy in Canada – Yep. I hope Blizzard make something new and revolutionary too. But… to date their track record has been in taking tried and true concepts and perfecting them. They don’t really try to innovate. Even most of WoWs UI enhancements are simply taken from popular user mods. So I doubt that the new and revolutionary will be what we see.

    Which will probably lead to the holy trinity of MMORPG class design, Tank/DPS/Healer. So I expect you’ll get your warrior/melee class.

    Will it be amazing? Perhaps. I expect it to be a top notch game, but amazing? I’ll believe it when I see it.

  22. tommy Johnsett

    I wonder what genre its gona be. I really hope to god its gona be cyberpunk. But one thing we can all expect is this is gona be BIG. blizzard pretty much set the standard for MMOs and so far no one has been able to step out of WOWs shadow, so will blizzard step up?

    I just dont want to wait.

  23. Skip

    Well, I like fantasy. I love Blizzard. I trust them.

  24. Smexylord

    i think it’s not going to come out until some time until 2015. they have peen planning sc2 right after wc3 came out and i don’t think it will come out until probably a few more years. and they already said its not going to be based off of sc or diablo, so it;s going to have a completely new story. but i think we all can agree that no matter what it is,just by the pure fact that it’s going to be made by blizzard means it’s going to rape every single gaming company out there in the ass ten fold!

  25. Iskaid

    The best thing for them to do is to come up with a new concept and change the market. That’s why WoW was so successful.

    If they approached WoW thinking whether they’d go for EQ or UO players it never would have been successful.

    Reframe the market around your product, definitely try to branch out to new players and existing MMO fans of all varieties. They will have to think big, or it will flop. WoW will set high expectations and they won’t be able to reach them without something revolutionary.

  26. Kurifu

    They might release it as WoW is going on. There are tons of new mmorpgs coming out soon and they are only getting better. Let’s face it, WoW has lost alot of it’s magic since level 60. Countless instances just to get loot and not even caring about story. They may bring in a fresh game unlike WoW to recapture those subscribers (like me) who have had a falling out with WoW, instead of having them lured into a newer, more exciting mmorpg. Alot of people are playing Aion, and while it looks pretty, still reminds me of new WoW, bad WoW. If they come out with a new game, I hope it’s not so focused on gear and “dps”. I miss old fury warrior. I miss BWL. I say R.I.P. WoW.

  27. CrackHead

    Well I think a new type of WoW, but a better fighting system, more specabilities more races differen PvP and PvE systems and more different and bigger creatures. Not Wow2 but personaly I like Taurens and orcs etc. Cuz that Asian style is too boring

  28. metallica09

    to be honest blizzard should focus on WoW for now as people have said previously the lore of WoW is bigger than diablo and starcraft combined, though i do not think a starcraft mmo will do any good. WoW needs more, im starting to lose interest in it my self, its just not the game it used to be for me.

  29. metallica09

    on top of that cataclysm is coming out in around 6-8 months , i would expect them to be working on that instead of a new mmo

  30. Stropp (Post author)

    @metallica09 — thanks for your comment. I see what you’re saying, but don’t forget that Blizzard is big enough and financial enough to fully support World of Warcraft and to establish a development team to create their new MMO. Just because they’re building a new game, doesn’t mean that they are pulling back resources on WoW.

    In fact, as you say, since Cataclysm is coming out soon, they probably have a separate team working on that as well.

    WoW is bringing them a ton of cash, more than enough to fully fund the development of many games.

  31. Blackbirdz

    Personally I really hope that they bring out a new fantasy MMORPG with similiar aspects of WoW but which builds further on it while being a serperate game.
    I played WoW for about 2 years from about a couple of mouths before TBC.
    TBC was the time when my WoW gaming was maxed, raiding in the 2nd best guild on the server, playing all the end game content. The WOTLK came out and about 2weeks after this I fizzled out and stopped playing all together. It just became all very samey samey.
    For me, if blizz were to release a new MMORPG similar to WoW, then it wud be very likely to bring me back to the world of mmorpg games, to play something new and fresh while keeping the same general genre of game.

  32. Sagittis

    In World at War you can pick from 7 different continents each representing its real population. For example, North American Indians, Aztecs and Kanooks ;), European Goths, Nomads and Archers, Asian Ninjas, Assassins, and Samurai to name off a few. Nice twist would be the Atlantians and Sumerians. Each faction would have a ladder type progression when for example to become an archer you’d have to be a hunter first then join the “cause” and become an archer and to progress further perhaps to a gunman or anything of that sort to a higher status. This way you’re not playing the same toon throughout its life. Customizable gear is also a great option much like AION has done. Gear color shade it’s time is long over due in many mmos. Active combat system or something new along those lines more interactive then pressing 1,1,2,2,1,3 or as simple as 1 with the right macro.
    How about introducing a social interaction with web cams. So instead of seeing your toons face in the picture bubble you have the option to put yourself in there. I think it would bring a community closer at end game for raid time. Most people stay with mmos as long as they do, due to friends and relationships they developed over the years so instead of going to face book or whatever they can see each other in the game if they select that option. But defiantly a better social environment is needed.

  33. tillix

    the most imba wolrds mmo can be done by blizzard and the key to win all markets ll be if they make Diablo mmo , not like this is being reliesed, i mean real 3d game.can be called ”the world of diablo” so simple and so perfect with the imba ”hardcore servers” [ imba when u die in pvp u just die- cannot recover body-adrenaline in these servers is at top in pvp] and Great world known in gamers story.something like demons and angels fight.
    tip: OFC blizzard ll add air fight mechanics in the new game [as always happens, mmos grow , mmos copy each other . see: aion air fights

  34. Wait4it

    Played WoW since vanilla. Great game, fun game, but it seems to me that excitement for the game is diminishing and I expect more and more people to take breaks between now and Cataclysm. Even with Cata coming soon I think WoW is peaking out, Blizz realizes this and is thinking about the next revenue stream. Good Thinking! My hope is that the next MMO they put out is a: Gamma World, Borderlands, Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Otherland, Neverwhere, Matrix, Enders Game type original. Some cross between Magic and the Modern or Future world. The story being that you, the real person in real life, when you sit down to “play” the game, are transported into another world and when you log out, you come back to your RL. With the content being developed around a world that has a nice mix of magic & technology.

    Yeah…make it…do it… it……….do it.

  35. Rob

    Anyone ever heard of Dark Ages of Camelot? (Daoc) It’s a older game kinda like WoW. It was a big hit for not being avertised in my opinion, the pvp system was brilliant. The game has died out and the people who owned it , (mythic) i believe sold it to EA.. EA just needs to worry about Madden and leave the fantasy games alone. Daoc was based off some real life events and some of the places in game were real, which was cool. Also there was 3 factions to Daoc. Hiberina , Albion and Midgard which is AWSOME. insted of just horde and Alliance. I would love to see a new game with 3 factions again like WoW,Daoc fantasy game with a good pvp system. Lets face it… Even with the new x-pack coming from WoW, the game is getting old and boreing. I mean how many times are you gonna enter that same arena or do the same BG or dungeon.. it sucks. They need a frontier with towers to raid and relics to take for realm powers and certain places to go.. make trade skills a little harder to do and make them more valuable so we dont have 1 billion JC’ers and Engineers running around. anyways , im just blabbing away my 2 cent aint going no where anyhow / cheers

  36. Mike at DFO Wiki

    I’m just waiting for Diablo 3. That is going to be Blizzard’s next MMORPG. However, I don’t know if Diablo 3 will be more like WoW or Diablo 2. Diablo 2 is more of a 8-player multiplayer game whileas WoW is more of a “true” MMORPG in the sense that you have the chance to interact with everyone on your server.

    We’ll just have to wait and see how Blizzard does it. I don’t think Diablo 3 will be killing off WoW though.

  37. Stropp (Post author)

    Hi Mike, thanks for dropping by.

    From the reports D3 is an evolution from D2, and may have a brighter, more colorful, look. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

    However, Blizzard have already stated that their new MMO will be a brand new IP, so while D3 may have some MMO-like features through Battlenet (and in fact D2 did as well) it’s not the subject of the MMO in development.

  38. ville

    it feels sad that blizzards era of wow is over. even with the new mmo the feeling ive got when i completed awesome q chains. one thing i hate is that they moved upp all instances(old) to new ones hate it!! wow should have stayed as it did in vanilla gaah!!

  39. Supreme taco

    With the release of cataclysm I’m bored with WOW I think they should make one maybe two more expansions where we get an epic final battle against the burning legion. I personally love sci fi fantasy stuff but After wow a sci-fi would feel alot fresher. If it’s fantasy I hope for a more serious mode however that would be kinda like diablo. So I want a sci-fi thing possibly like mass effect.

  40. Anonymous

    hey bob, I still play DAoC and to date it still has a good population and the best PvP of any game imo

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