Late here for me, but I’ve been sifting through various WoW fansites, the official forums, and twitter a lot today. I’m not going to get into the merits of this topic, but I do however believe that they just don’t have the budget in some area to really flesh this expansion out as it should’ve been. And why it’s so strikingly lacking compared to it’s predecessors.
Seriously. I really think that they’ve got some sort of major constraint on their budget, man hours, team (still), or whatever it may be.
Take Ashran for example. It’s the most efficient, cost effective alternative to a separate Battleground and Capital Cities. It’s art seems to be very reused to a degree that suggests a tight purse or timetable, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of overall complexity as compared to a Shattrath or Dalaran. Not even as much as the Shrines, as it lacks their utility.
Even the battleground itself on Ashran speaks of tight purse strings.
What would be more cost effective? A PvP enabled area, a bunch of NPCS, and miniature objectives in the middle of an already fleshed out, pre-existing area?
Or a brand new, completely unique map that would need it’s own niche design, appeal, scenery, and mechanics? Nope, probably not that. Seems like the thing to do if you don’t have the resource budget to flesh out separate places, right?
The hottest topic this game has probably ever seen.
From the undertones with which some of the developers on Twitter seem to speak with, it’s almost a decision they didn’t want to go with. They seem to fully understand why it’s so divisive and infuriating to a lot of the community.
But again, if you have no budget for the time and effort it would take to make every nook and cranny accessible, every quest designed with it in mind, as well as a great deal of other assets, then well what do you do?
You cut it. Opt for a cheaper alternative: Faster and direct flight points. Plain and simple.
“Ability bloat” – “Ability prune”.. Well, see the thing about the “bloat” is that it only really seemingly hurt a handful of classes and specs. If you were to say, “well then only some of these classes are getting their bars clogged with nonsense — we’re going to cut chunks out of everybody ” that doesn’t make much sense.
But if you say, “we don’t have the budget of (money/time/people) to balance new abilities on top of the existing ones throughout the expansion, instead we’ll cut a bunch them and then just buff a few that are left as they level” only then does it start to make sense. Cost effectiveness strikes again.
Really for me, it’s quite striking if you take a step back and look at this expansion from the point of “how can we make do with less?”. You can play “connect the cost effective dots” with just about every controversial decision, removed piece of content, and suspect design.