Releasing a version of World of Warcraft that includes every expansion pack up to and including Cataclysm is the next thing Blizzard needs to do to grow its subscriber base. In fact, it's not even an option at this point. One of the astonishingly difficult areas of MMO development is the problem of getting new players up to speed. Sure, you can keep adding content and making old players happy, but when the barrier to entry becomes too great and too expensive, new players are turned off immediately.
In my opinion, you'll see the full game, vanilla to Cataclysm, in one box for around $50 sooner than you think. It has to happen. When I went to GDC and listened to Tom Chilton's developer talk, this exact issue came up. The developers wanted to package everything together to lower the barrier to entry, but it was not their decision. Now there is no choice. Lowering the barrier to entry will raise subscription numbers.
You think Blizzard is ever going to finish fleshing out the zones they didn't get to before the Cata launch?
Zones like Arathi Highlands were not fleshed out to the extent other zones were because they were not really needed. For Cataclysm's 1 to 60 content, it turned out that WoW had too many zones. The game's original makeup had these zones and their multitude of quests because, really, there was a very undefined questing path, and these places existed to give leveling players more options. Now, with the new leveling progression and pace, some zones fell by the wayside as places themselves.
Arathi has some great story moments for the Forsaken, if you're interested. It's not much, but it is there. As for other zones that didn't get fleshed out as well as they could have, honestly, only Silithus and Arathi come to mind as the bottom of the barrel. I feel like Silithus might be getting a revamp at some point in the story, and Arathi is just too inconsequential these days to matter. It's just what happens when you have too many zones from a bygone era.
Seriously, though -- do you think the Refugee Caravan will ever get where it's going? (I guess that's an Outland refresh question)
I like to pretend the refugee caravan is safe and sound right now.
Where are the elemental planes in relation to Azeroth? Another dimension altogether, or occupying physical parts of the world?
The elemental planes either exist at the core of Azeroth or are prisons within the Twisting Nether, according to Wowpedia. To me, it seems more likely the first option, where the elemental planes sort of live below Azeroth like a Photoshop layer. Firelands, for instance, begins to materialize into Azeroth during the invasion of Hyjal, from beyond our dimension/reality. The Abyssal Maw also begins to materialize in Vashj'ir, Skywall in Uldum, and Deepholm in a variety of zones. These places are "crossing over," as it were, because the bonds that separate the elemental planes from Azeroth are weakened by Deathwing.
Question for the qeueue: Would like your opinion on the success/failure of archaeology :)
I do not think that archaeology is a failure as a secondary profession. It has the right amount of fun perks and story lore that people who engage in secondary professions would expect from it, and with recent patches, it got a nice little monetary upgrade. However, archaeology failed in its randomness. Something needs to be done about the progression and potential of getting cool items versus hoping and praying for them. The time sink is pretty high -- and that's fine -- but even with a huge time sink, there should be some more ways at figuring out what your next rare item will be.
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