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Will Wrath really be ready by November 13?

Zach Yonzon

Soon. This used to be Blizzard's favorite word, a nebulous term that assured us that they were working hard on things. Blizzard always used the phrase "when it's ready" to describe something they were working on. Historically, getting things ready could take a long time. Years, even. This was the Blizzard we all came to know and love. They took their time with things, but at least you knew that they weren't going to release anything half-baked. 'Soon®' was actually a very reassuring word to us.

This time around, though, 'soon' is actually November 13, Wrath of the Lich King's shipping date. The announcement came as a surprise to some of us, specially those who were in the Beta and knew a lot of the classes still needed balancing. But a confirmed release date is always exciting and I suppose that overshadowed whatever doubts we might have had about Wrath being ready in time. And then yesterday, Koraa posted something over at the Hunter forums that greatly disturbed me. Talking about Trap Mastery, he said: "this will now be the 41-point Survival talent. Granted, not very sexy for a 41-pointer but we'll do some changes there in a future patch (after WOLK ships)."

Did I read that right? Did Koraa actually admit that they'll be shipping Wrath of the Lich King with a Hunter talent they know isn't ready for primetime? Didn't he essentially say, "we know it doesn't work, but we'll fix it after we release it"? I don't know about you, but that just doesn't sound like the Blizzard we've all come to know and love. Even Ghostcrawler mentioned that the 51-point talent Riptide wasn't going to ship with the intended sounds and animation. Am I supposed to be apprehensive now? Because honestly, I am.

We're about a month and two weeks away from Wrath. The golden master of the game should be pressed really soon, shouldn't it? This means we actually have just a couple more weeks, maybe less, to straighten things out before all that code is compiled and pressed into DVDs, packed into those nifty little boxes, and shipped out to where we can get our greedy hands on them. So how come things don't feel as ready as what Blizzard usually describes as "ready"?

Don't get me wrong, I like what I've seen so far in Beta. The game looks great, the story is shaping up phenomenally, and even the little touches -- especially the little touches -- are wonderful. But there's obviously a lot more work to be done. I'm very hopeful that things will balance out in the end, but Koraa's post really upset me. It indicates that Blizzard is willing to put out a game that they know isn't finished, and that's extremely unsettling. Blizzard has never been a slave to release dates and it's always worked to their advantage. If it means getting a better game, this is one instance where I'd rather have Wrath shipped later rather than sooner.


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