I think it's been successful in allowing for actual choice. I'm not really sure that it jives with my playstyle though -- I like a bit of science and math in things, and while there is certainly some of that in the new talent system, it's not like it was in the old days when you had a set, scientific way of crafting the ideal spec. There is certainly some of that, don't get me wrong, but it's much more subjective and situational.
I might just be a cranky old man here though... things have changed. And while it's not really bad, it's just not the ideal system for me. To each their own.
As far as 6.0 goes, I suspect we'll see just minor modifications. I doubt we'll see another complete overhaul. I really doubt it.
Does the recent subscriber numbers change your mind about the announce Beta at Blizcon timeline on the next expansion?.
If Blizzard were to keep to their 18 month release cycle that would put the next xpac in 2014 and TESO, Wildstar, EQ3 and GW2 expansion perhaps arriving in 2013. I would think without a new expansion, then a further 6 months into this expansion we would see a lot more sub declines. Doesn't WoW expansion "need" to launch in 2013?
The story for MoP isn't done yet, and it's planned out in such a way that Blizzard knows exactly (within a month or two) of when the next expansion is releasing. There's buffers and everything in their plans, I'm sure, but they've got a target date already no doubt. These things are just planned out that far in advance.
What I do suspect will happen is that the next expansion will be digital only. The worst thing that Blizzard could do for its image is have launch parties that are smaller than Mists (which we already "small" compared to other releases, yet larger than every other game out there). The digital only distribution would also allow for a faster release turn around, which is ideal (although already planned for, and not bumped up because of the sub numbers). Take all that with a grain of salt though, that's just my wild predictions.
What these new sub numbers mean is that Blizzard hasn't found the magic egg to revitalize WoW. That's it. They need to find something to attract new customers, something to make WoW be WoW 2.0 without really changing... in other words, there needs to be new models.
Is it possible or likely for Blizz to use one of the hundred unused servers to create old world event scenarios/phases? Every time I leave Stormwind, I get ported to a new server, could my server host a vanilla naxx zombie invasion, while another hosts the opening of AQ invasion, and a third the opening of the dark portal? if they wipe the loot tables so there's nothing to farm, then it would be a fun social server event that would use mostly systems already in place. Maybe add some statless armor for transmogging. possible?
This is actually something that comes up once in a while, so I figured I probably should answer. It's nearly impossible for Blizzard to go back and use the old WoW servers. They've significantly upgraded the backend of WoW over the years, to the point that, from my understanding, the system itself is very complex and demands newer server hardware. This can be seen in the major physical investments that Blizzard has made over the year.
I doubt that we'll be seeing a return to the old content either. The designers have stated numerous times that they want to move forward with content and story progression, not backwards. If these things were opened up again, we'd just see the backwards progression, and that's exactly what they want to avoid.
That said... I do agree that scenarios of old events would be a very cool thing to see. Unfortunately I just don't think it's in the cards.
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