More Content, More Quickly

A few words on Blizzard’s new design goal of “More Content, More Quickly”

What players are supposed to think it means:

We will get more of the content we care about (dungeons and, more importantly, raids) at a faster pace than before.

What Blizzard thinks it means:

If we distract players with the filler content (dailies, rep grinds, mounts, pets) we will be able to deliver the same amount of content as before, but package it as more content received at a faster pace.

What it actually means:

Basically, nothing.

Here’s what I mean. Under the old model, content patches would take roughly 4-6 months and would release a large content item (generally a raid) plus some smaller filler items (like some dailies or heroics) all at once. What they’re doing now is releasing the filler first after 3-4 months and then the raid another 2-3 months later. It’s the same amount of content and the same amount of time between raids as it has always been, they’re just releasing filler earlier to keep people busy while they wait.

As an example, compare 5.1 & 5.2 with 3.1. Patch 3.1 released 5 months after Wrath launch and contained the Argent Tournament daily quest hub and the Ulduar raid. 5.1 released the Landfall daily quest hubs and 5.2 is releasing the Throne of the Thunder King raid. PTR should be up “early January” so assuming that it hits live after only one month and releases February, we’re looking at… *drumroll* 5 months after MoP launch for them to release an Ulduar-style raid. Sound familiar?

The only difference between this model and the old one is that they’re releasing the filler first to keep folks occupied while they finish up the raid. Again, not a bad model, and I think that overall it’s a good change. However, there’s no need to pretend that it’s some earth-shattering new change of pace or an increase in content, because it isn’t really either of those things.

In effect, the only content we’re getting “more quickly” is the filler/gating content, and that is only coming quicker when you look at it in a vacuum. That is to say, we still get a new set of filler material every 5-6 months and we still get a new raid every 5-6 months. All they have done is stagger the cycle so that the release of filler content no longer coincides with the release of progression content.  In other words, everything is coming at the same intervals as before, but now releases in different months.

If you can spare me another of my long-winded analogies, when all is said and done, Blizzard is using the same “trick” that restaurants have been using for ages. Restaurants don’t give you free appetizers (like chips, soup, salad, or breadsticks) simply to be generous. They do it mainly because those items are cheap and easy to prepare and keep you occupied and sated while your actual meal is being cooked.  And if your entree is a little bit undersized when it arrives, who cares? You’re already full from the snacks. You still go home full and the restaurant spent much less money filling you up on “free chips” than they would have with an impressively-sized steak. The new model is the same. Your steak is the same size as it was before, and it takes just as long to cook, only now your side dishes are served as appetizers.

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One Response to More Content, More Quickly

  1. Beetlezombie says:

    Couldn’t agree more, and I like the restaurant comparison.

    I’m curious if it’s going to work to their advantage. My annual pass runs out soon, and I haven’t decided yet to keep my sub running or not.

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