World of myCraft

Last week, Blizzard issued a massive release of new information about Mists of Pandaria, the next expansion pack for World of Warcraft.  The information confirmed that the expansion will include a Pokemon-style mini-pet battle system announced at last year’s Blizzcon.  It also announced a new in-game faction that will allow players to take care of their own farm, reminiscent of the hit Facebook game Farmville.  While these additions are only a fragment of the new content being offered, the two games within the larger game seem to signal that Blizzard may be setting World of Warcraft up to evolve to a more immersive content delivery platform where players can tailor the kind of game experience they want while still experiencing the Warcraft universe.

Pet Battle System
source: mmo-champion.com

Massively-multiplayer persistent worlds inherently appeal to many gamers for their ability to preserve a player’s time invested playing a game.  Playing WoW’s in-game version of Pokemon or Farmville will offer players experiencing burnout entirely different game experiences within the persistent world without having to switch to a new game or platform.  Perhaps more importantly, players who never were into crawling dungeons or fighting other players in arenas now have a reason to try and perhaps stick with the franchise.   Blizzard has always had a strong track record of taking established game paradigms and expanding them in new ways, so their incorporation of highly successful game that appeal to a variety of audiences only makes sense as they attempt to make World of Warcraft more applicable to an increasingly diverse gaming audience.

Tiller’s Farm
source: mmo-champion.com

Even more interesting, perhaps, is the fact that these alternative games within the larger game seem ripe for adaptation into mobile platforms.  Blizzard recently expressed interest in eventually offering a way to experience the game via the iPhone and other mobile platforms.   It will probably be some time before players can experience the entire game on a mobile platform, but Blizzard already offers ways to access parts of the game experience via mobile apps to chat with players in game and conduct business on the in-game auction house.  It would not surprise me if we saw mobile apps fairly soon after the expansion allowing players to engage in the pet battle system or managing their farm while on the go as well.   These new alternate games not only diversify what World of Warcraft players experience, but also potentially how they experience it, likely setting the setting the bar for future MMOs.

World of Warcraft may be getting up there in age, but these developments make me confident that Blizzard has a few more tricks to show us and that gets me even more excited to learn what the company has in store for Titan.  In the meantime, I’ll just have to wait like the rest of the annual pass holders out their for their turn at the Mists of Pandaria beta.

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  1. Actro
    March 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    While there may be a day when all of World of Warcraft is able to be played from a mobile device, I don’t think it would be all that popular. I think it just depends on what it is you are trying to accomplish. Parts of the game, such as the new farmville feature and the pet battle system, are perfect examples of things that one could do on a mobile device with relative ease. Other parts of the game, such as Player vs Player combat and even most Player vs Environment combat, would be difficult to achieve on a mobile device without some new interface for the game. Sure if our mobile devices could read our minds then this would definitely be possible, but for now the fact that I have 30+ key bindings to press when playing the game almost requires that I have a keyboard and mouse (with attached buttons) just to play effectively.

    Mobile devices are getting pretty advanced though. I have seen people running WoW through their iPads, however slowly that may be, so I don’t think it will be too long until it can even be played on a cell phone. The question I guess isn’t can we do it, but should we? Do we actually want to be able to play World of Warcraft on the go? I could see myself doing some daily quests, or perhaps farming for some ore/herbs while waiting for my bus, but I don’t think I would enjoy any type of combat without the comfort of my ole keyboard and mouse. I mean, it aggravates me at times to play on my laptop. The game isn’t as responsive as my desktop, the latency is over 3 times as much generally (Could you imagine the latency on a 3g/4g network?), and using my touch pad is just painful!

    I suppose only time will tell. For the time being I am ok without having WoW on my mobile device. Would I get the mobile auction house or guild chat for my phone if it were free? Probably, but as long as it costs extra I can wait until I get home where I can relax to get my game on.

    • March 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      I completely agree that a full version of WoW is out of reach, but I definitely foresee them trying to push more of the micro-games out into app form. The Mobile Auction House is a proof of concept that it works and these new additions are, as you pointed out, probably fairly easy (compared to other parts of the game…) to app out.

      I didn’t really get into the pricing of the main WoW apps, but it’s definitely something to consider moving forward. In some ways, I’d almost rather them up my subscription .50 cents a month and give me access to all the mobile content than piecemeal charge for individual app access. If WoW was free to play, I think the additional charges would make total sense, but as it stands, I’d rather it be bundled into the subscription fee – or even better, into the Annual Pass.

  1. April 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm
  2. July 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm

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