The Warcraft brand has been a huge success for Blizzard Entertainment over the years. A recently released statement from the gaming giant boasting more than twelve million subscribers has left little to argue about regarding their formula for success. They have epitomized all that is the MMO community, and left the competition in the dust while doing it. I have to wonder, however. With their new expansion Cataclysm set to go live in less than one month, the level of excitement on the live servers seems to be minimal at best.
Already feeling heat from the changes made to raid lockouts and class balancing so far ahead of the expansion, many people (myself included) have simply opted to find other things to do during the time we would normally have been playing the game. This could prove costly to Blizzard in the end, because they run a huge risk of people discovering more enjoyable things to do with their time than grind up to level eighty-five on release day. What's worse is that many of those who have stopped playing are not excited about the new expansion at all.
Those with healing classes considered as "mains" are by far the largest group feeling a sense of disassociation. The problem most commonly heard on vent, in chat, or in their forums is that all healing classes experienced a monumental upheaval of abilities, cooldowns, rotations, regeneration. Literally, every single detail about every healing class has changed with the latest patch, and will continue to change until the character is max leveled. There are no more "niche" healers. Every healing class is being homogonized so that any class should be able to keep a tank alive and any class should be able to keep a raid alive. Adding insult to injury was the comment from Blizzard that homogenization was not the goal.
Even dps classes are feeling the bite of change as well as tanking. Threat looks to be much more of an issue in the new expansion than what was experienced in Wrath of the Lich King. Dps classes will be unable to unload on a target because with the new tanking abilities, threat generation has such a slow ramp up time that even the most disciplined DPS will have trouble staying underneath the tank.
The main issue I see with this expansion right now, however, is this. With less than four weeks remaining until it goes live, people should be so excited that this is coming. Everyone should be absolutely living in fear that something might happen that they can't get to the store in time or get the digital download. Guilds should be positioning themselves for server firsts and granting raid slots. People should be absolutely foaming at the mouth for this thing right now because it's so close to being here. The problem is that none of this is happening. I play different characters on several different servers and I have surveyed my friends list and guilds over all of them. Granted, my numbers aren't a representative sample of 12 million subscribers. But I should have at least found ONE person who had decided to purchase the expansion. So far, not one person would commit to it (myself included). I might change my mind tomorrow, but today, I am not sold yet. Are you? Feel free to post a comment and let me know.