Hello, and welcome to speculation week.
When Activision Blizzard (Actizzard? Seriously, stop with the annoying double names) announced that World of Warcraft’s lead designer Jeff Kaplan was to leave the WoW world to head up the company’s “next-gen MMO,” speculation ran wild.
World of Starcraft? Diabloquest? Lost Vikings Adventures (yes please)? Blackthorne’s Call?
Regardless of setting, I’d wager that they’re working on whatever will replace WoW. Reasons:
• They don’t want to compete with themselves. If they release a somewhat similar game to WoW and operate the two alongside each other, few people would play both. And Acti-Blizz would never create a game for a small niche market.
• Development time. Acblizzion isn’t exactly known for their short development cycles. If they’ve announced a game, it usually takes at least two years until release day. And MMO’s have a longer than average development time. Can you really see WoW as the undisputed champion in four, five years time? Maybe, but BlizzAct would be wise to be ready when people eventually lose interest, before some other game/developer catches the player’s eye.
So what happens if the WoW user base is still growing when their next game is nearing completion? It’s doubtful that they’d stop producing content for the game simply to focus on their new title. But two internal teams competing for the same market doesn’t sound like the best idea.
Other companies have run more than one MMO at once, but none have even been close to WoW’s size.
Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how they handle things.