But is a World of Warcraft sequel even needed?
World of Warcraft, the world’s most successful MMORPG ever is turning 10 this year and despite signs that subscribing players are declining, the game is still going strong with a new expansion, (with some considered graphical tweaks) Warlords of Draenor giving WoW retirees a reason to jump back into the game.
But would Blizzard consider bringing out a sequel to the WoW? The short answer is yes, although things are rather more complicated on face value. Speaking to Game Informer Blizzard’s Tom Chilton said of WoW 2, “It’s something we have talked about. It’s something we have talked about for ten years.I think that there are a lot of challenges there in seeing how World of Warcraft II relates to World of Warcraft, do they live alongside each other, does one feed into the other, what is that product, etc. These are challenges that have to be figured out before that becomes a reality.”
Although WoW subs have dipped to 6.8 million it seems unlikely that the game is going to drop to the point where it no longer becomes financially viable to run, at least not for a fair few years yet.
Looking back to the days when Sony ruled the MMORPGs with Everquest, the sequel Everquest II served to iron out a lot of the imbalances of the original (making it at least possible for classes to solo). World of Warcraft however continues to provide balances in its ever-expanding game world and a lot of the problems you had with early MMORPGs such as EQ were taken on board before the game even arrived.
What Blizzard have done very well with WoW is to streamline a genre and make it as easy to access as possible, whilst also managing to have more of a 'soul' compared to competitors, you can see all these factors at work in the WoW card spin-off Hearthstone.
Exactly how you could make a game different enough to warrant a WoW sequel, if indeed one is required at all, becomes a pertinent question.
That’s not to say that a new potential WoW game wouldn’t benefit from a new engine, graphics etc but, as WoW has shown, you don’t need loads of polygons to make a game more immersive.
What are your thoughts on the issue? If you're a retired WoW player would seeing a sequel make you consider going back to the game? If so, what is it a new potential WoW would have to do to gain your interest?