Tuesday, October 20

Its becoming increasingly clear that developing entirely new "game systems" each expansion, only to scrap them at the end, has become an enormous sink of hours and effort



With rumors now swirling that pre-patch and the expansion may be delayed due to continuing issues with bugs and the fundamental game, the question has to be asked: how much of this is because of the enormous required effort focused on covenants, soulbinds, conduits, and legendaries?

It's pretty self-evident from the systems that keep being introduced each expansion (artifacts+legendaries+class halls into azerite gear into covenants), there's a substantial amount of time required from developers, quality testers, bug fixers, etc, to get these systems off the ground.

That's all well and good if these systems add to the game (there's plenty of existing debate about whether or not these systems are good or bad, that's not my point with this post). The problem is that Blizzard likes to spend the entirety of the development cycle shipping these systems for launch, then iterating on these systems through the expansion itself, and finally reaching a state of fulfillment towards the close of the expansion.

Then...they scrap the whole thing. This is now the third expansion in a row to have huge game-system additions (not counting garrisons, though maybe I should) that provide an enormous increase in required hours to the development cycle. Not one of these systems lasts through their own expansion.

Why? Why go through all the time of building these things only to just get rid of them at the end of the expansion? Why couldn't we have continued to iterate on legendaries into BFA? Instead of azerite armor, we could have introduced a new set of legendaries - ones that gave the same traits as Azerite gear, like Shrouded Suffication and Blaster Master and even class-neutral things like Overwhelming Power. These could have just been an extension of the system that was developed.

But instead, we spend all this time just building new things. And now it's happening again. There wasn't enough time spent fixing class designs or bugs or things that players are begging for Blizzard to pay more attention to, because the only thing that seems to matter for Shadowlands is Covenants.

Whatever ends up happening in SL and the expansion that comes after, I hope Blizzard finally develops a system to the point where the players and the devs are happy with it, and then evolves it for the new expansion instead of leaving it to rot.


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