WOW! I mean literally, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusades expansion looks incredible! Let me say it again, WOW! Before I go into the details, I would like to pose this question. Why cant every game company be as innovative, bold and dead on as Blizzard? It amazes me to see a company that can do so many good things for their players and continue to push the envelope of what a MMORPG or any Game, for that matter, should be.
On to the details. A few interesting things have been pointed out in this recent GameSpy article on World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusades. Lets start with the big ticket items. All new raids will be capped at 25 players. I think that is a great move. The current Ranking Ladder system for PVP is going to be scrapped. This is a big deal. Its the equivalent of EA dropping the ranking system from Battlefield 2 because they realize how flawed a system that requires power gamers to prey on casual gamers really is. In its place, there are going to be true tournament style PVP arenas called the Gladiatorial Arena System. Think CAL for MMORPGs. Players will form teams to compete in three different brackets: 2v2, 3v3 or 5v5. Even cooler, this system will allow inter-faction fighting. Now the Horde will be able to PVP against the Horde and the Alliance will be able to PVP against the Alliance.
Another cool PVP feature is the addition of a neutral city in the expansion that can be captured by a faction. The faction that controls the city will reap the benefits of its Quest Givers and NPC shops. In a move that really brings World of Warcraft closer to its RTS brothers, there will bombing run griffins doing Area of Effect damage and siege towers that can be destroyed. The flight paths will be fixed, but it sounds really cool.
The GameSpy Article is 3 pages and definitely worth the read even if you are not a WOW player. The ideas in this article are the pinnacle of what outside the box thinking can do for a game. Other game companies could learn a lot from Blizzard if they are paying attention.