If there is a time, now is it for pre-expansion servers

| Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I'm experimenting with a new posting technique known as "being sick makes me very easily confused and further weakens my ability to distinguish reality and the nonsense my brain constantly throws at me." This will be short.

Cataclysm is basically the sequel to WoW.
The old story is gone and the new story is the new story.
So we're going to lose a lot.

If this were a single-player game we could still stick in the old game and play that again.
We can't do that, which I dislike.
This might be an appropriate time for a pre-expansion server set, since so much changes.

However I doubt many people would play them since there would be no advancement after ICC and the dragon raid.


nyohahahah said...

There are people who don't buy certain expansions or stop their EXP so they can raid old raids at level.

That said, this is still a terrible idea, since

1) Blizzard won't do any updating or patch fixing or whatever to these servers.

2) They will be a complete waste of money, since not enough people will actually roll on them to make them worthwhile.

Justisraiser said...

The technical limitation to this is that Blizzard would basically be forking it's code base and have to maintain the pre-Cataclysm code. This is usually what people don't understand when they wail for "Vanilla servers."

Let's say during a Cataclysm patch, a vulnerability is discovered at the operating system level. They're using some standard operation system function to do X, but that function can be exploited. So in the next patch or hotfix, they either use a different function X or upgrade the operating system to a new version without the exploit.

Well, now they need to do the same thing for the pre-expansion server too. So for any issues like these, it's essentially double the work.

From a business perspective, they're probably banking that despite the demand for Vanilla servers, most people would log in, mess around for a few hours, and then go back to raiding at level 85. A big part of the magic of Vanilla was just the sheer newness, if anything the gameplay and mechanics were much more clunky and tedious (5 minute blessings anyone?) than they are.

Klepsacovic said...

1) You're just making stuff up.
2) That's uncertain, though I do suspect it's true.

@Justisraiser: The actual amount of work depends on how they're writing the patches and where the problem is, but you're right, it is a potentially large problem, especially if they had different teams for the server types, leading to ever-increasing differences in the servers that make it harder to apply one-size-fits-all fixes.

The blessing issue that you raise is something which constantly bugs me, that people cannot seem to differentiate between mechanics and content. Certainly there is overlap, places where the mechanic is the content (such as Razorgore, where I believe regardless of mitigation, a tank could not have generated sufficient aggro on all targets to keep them off the healers), but I think we can agree that reasonable buff durations can coexist with older content.

Justisraiser said...

Klep --

You raise a good point about mechanics and content. Some people say "AQ was so much fun" and other people respond "Yeah nature resist gear for months sucked." Presumably you could make a version of AQ without requiring nature resist and it's win-win for everyone.

Still, even if you have servers where you freeze the game at patch 3.x and let people play on them, I think you'd find very few people would. I loved Final Fantasy 4 and when it was re-made for the Nintendo DS I bought it. It entertained me for about a week and I haven't played it since. In WoW, as in most things, the only thing worse than nostalgia is irrelevance.

Klepsacovic said...

I hate to delve into specific cases, but I believe the nature resist was part of the content, a way of shaping the speed of progression and of adding a clear "this is different" label. However the painful pace and cost is something which I would reduce, particularly the original need to go all the way back to even Maraudon for NR gear.

To the more relevant point, I'm afraid you're right, that pre-Cataclysm servers wouldn't do so well. Maybe this actually isn't the time. Instead, I think they could have a place when WoW is mostly dead, replaced by something else, and is sustained by a niche audience, much as other old MMOs are. In that case a pre-Cataclysm server could actually mean 'new' content.

Lupus said...

Well, I know that the hardcore Raiders wouldn't play on a Pre-Cataclysm server, but I would love to be able to. I don't plan on ever getting it and am still stuck at BC. Now, BC vs. WotLK added some new geography, but it is easily cordoned off. Cataclysm would be devastating to those without the expansion. There would be no point - all it would do for them is move their quest-givers around since they wouldn't have access to the lore quests that explains what happened or has the player explore the new version of the Barrens, for example. (Mind you that I'm just a lowly Casual, so I don't make a difference, but we pay the same subscription cost.)

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