Back to square one! Could a WoW: A Realm Reborn save Azeroth?


Back to square one! Could a WoW: A Realm Reborn save Azeroth?

1The deserving beneficiary: Final Fantasy142 WoW: A Realm Reborn3. Sebastian hopes for a secret WoW 2For more

than a decade, Blizzard dominated the online role-playing genre with World of Warcraft. While dozens of potential WoW killers ended up in the MMO graveyard, the Californian hit remained a reliable cash cow, which is still good for sales records with every expansion


Sure, there have been heavily criticized addons. But bad ones were always followed by good ones. After the disappointing Cataclysm came the strong Mists of Pandaria. After Warlords of "Where's the Content?" Draenor, the developers really delivered with Legion. And after Battle for Azeroth, many fans were hoping for Shadowlands. Which brings us to the problem: The Shadowlands adventure, while a small step up from BfA, is far from "outstanding."

At the same time, those responsible drove many TBC fans away from the Classic Outland with the Deluxe Edition and paid character boost. And then, of course, we have the recent events in the Blizzard environment. All of this combined ensures that WoW and Blizzard are under more criticism than ever before. Even early Azeroth heroes are turning away

and looking for another virtual home.

The deserved beneficiary: Final Fantasy 14

The big beneficiary of this period of weakness is, ironically, an online role-playing game that was also considered a WoW killer almost eleven years ago, but then crash-landed. Final Fantasy 14 was not a good game when it launched in September 2010. It lacked polish, lacked content, and generally lacked the quality you'd expect from a Final Fantasy. Square Enix pulled the handbrake, brought in a fresh man in charge in Naoki Yoshida, and had the title redeveloped from the ground up.

However, with the launch of A Realm Reborn in August 2013, the work on the game was far from over. You could tell with each patch, with each expansion, that the developers wanted to do everything they could to make amends and win back the trust of disappointed players. There was never an update disaster like WoW patch 6.1. Instead, players have been treated to a massive content package with each patch, including dungeons, story content, raid challenges, and more. At the same time, Naoki Yoshida's team managed to make Final Fantasy 14 better and better with each expansion. A feat that can only succeed because the developers themselves play their "baby" with fun and - to this day - are wholeheartedly involved.

Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn - The MMORPG in the launch trailer Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn from€22.99

WoW: A Realm Reborn

So it comes as no surprise to us that some longtime WoW fans are currently having a lot of fun in Eorzea


This almost inevitably raises the question of whether such an "A Realm Reborn" reboot can also work for WoW. Personally, I'm very skeptical about that. With Final Fantasy 14, the emergency brake and complete overhaul happened comparatively shortly after launch. So Naoki Yoshida and his team "only" had to break the foundation, fix the weaknesses and problem areas, and then build on the new foundation.

WoW, meanwhile, has more than 16 years under its belt, with countless expansions, system adjustments and level squeezes. Where should you start the reboot? What do you cut? What do you improve? What do you expand? If you ask 20 fans, you'll most likely get 20 different answers.

On top of that, Blizzard developers had already done a reboot for the "old world" with the outbreak of Deathwing in Cataclysm. An incredible amount of time went into the quest and design tweaks to the old world, and in fact, it created some of the most entertaining quests in WoW history. Still, the Cataclysm is considered WoW's first low point because the beloved original Azeroth was suddenly gone and because, at the same time, the endgame suffered while hardly any players took the time to enjoy the retread content while leveling in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.

But I'm also skeptical because Blizzard developers have proven with Battle for Azeroth, Shadowlands, and the microtransactions for TBC Classic that they don't even know what players want and what's good for the game (and what's not) anymore. And then to top it all off, we have Activision in the background, a publisher that isn't exactly known for developing for the players instead of the shareholders' wallets. The debacle of Warcraft 3: Reforged is said to be due in large part to Activision


In other words, the only way a reboot could work is by replacing everyone in charge, distancing themselves from the publisher, and putting only developers who live and love Warcraft on the PCs. But then they have so much work to do that they might as well develop a completely new World of Warcraft 2.

of WarCraft: Cataclysm: Cinematic Intro (german) World of Warcraft from€14.99

Sebastian hopes for a secret WoW 2

I see it the same way Karsten does. From my perspective, players have wanted a different kind of WoW since Battle for Azeroth. And I'm intentionally spicing up the following sentence with a shot of J. Allen Brack: I don't think that's what you want. Because for WoW to really fundamentally change, you don't have to change the game, you have to change those who work on it. Who gives you the guarantee that the creators of Azerite armor, pacts, and more and more Diablo randomness would do anything differently in a WoW 2?

I wish as much as the supporters of a WoW 2.0 that WoW would be a more awesome game. A WoW 2 would really only make sense from my perspective if half-finished systems like Azerite Gear, Shard of Domination, and so on are results of having secretly spent the resources in the background to epically rebuild the world and all the systems in WoW. In fact, I hope so, because it's the best explanation for everything that's happened to WoW in recent years. When even the cinematics like the one to Elune are half-bakedly implemented, it does make you wonder where the resources are being put in. If that's not the case, you should take off your rose-colored glasses.

What do you think? Should Blizzard pull the emergency brake and do a complete reboot? Should they focus on a WoW 2? Drop the online role-playing game theme in the Warcraft universe altogether? Or tick off Shadowlands and just develop the best possible next expansion? Tell us in the comments!

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