World of Warcraft

WoW: New is always better! Or maybe not after all?

When we look at past patches and expansion, it's easy to see that the developers have tried quite a few things in terms of features. We had the artifact weapons in Legion, essences and azerite armor in BfA, pacts, soul bonds, and media in Shadowlands. Some of it worked halfway, some of it was introduced as a stopgap, because some of the features didn't work at all. But all features have one thing in common - after the end of the respective expansion they are history. In all cases, the developers have put more or less work into something that disappears after a short time.

As long as there are always new features that replace the old ones, that's not so bad, you might think. Because the developers have the opportunity to learn from the previous features and make it better. But wouldn't it also make sense if the developers would stick to one feature instead, and make it ... well ... over time, make it a good feature?

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were also not in the state we know today from day one. The first version of the Mythic-Plus dungeons was half a balancing disaster, many old tier sets were poorly thought out, and even the talent matrices of the early days were barely thought out and offered very little customization of one's character.

Over time, however, the developers have put in quite a bit of work and today it's impossible to imagine the game without such features. The same goes for things like enchantments or today's system of gems. Compared to earlier expansions, these are much more structured and understandable today.
WoW: New is always better! Or maybe not after all? (3) Source: Blizzard The developers could certainly do something similar with some of the existing features. Mediums can be kept, for example as glyphs, and the artifact weapons could have been kept and expanded with a bit of creativity in terms of lore.

Planning for the long term

However, the developers had already decided that all of the above features would only play a role in the respective expansion before they were implemented - and they were designed accordingly. A continuation in later addons would have required a lot of additional work for adjustments.

WoW: New is always better! Or maybe not after all? (2) Source: buffed

Instead, and I'm probably not the only one who would like to see this, it would be a great idea to design upcoming features in such a way that they can be retained in case of doubt. The developers could look at how well or badly the respective feature is received during the expansion and only then decide whether to throw it out again or perhaps keep it with some adjustments and integrate it into the game as a fixed component. I'm sure the developers regret in retrospect that they more or less unnecessarily banned artifact weapons from the game for all time with the end of BfA, for example. Also read these interesting stories0

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Boring in the long run?

On the other hand, of course, this can also turn into a negative. If the developers only concentrate on perfecting existing features and constantly adapting them to new expansions, then variety naturally tends to fall by the wayside. Because, even if many of the Shadowlands features don't particularly appeal to players, they still ensure that the various expansions always feel different.

If every expansion had the same features and only differed in terms of story, then boredom would surely set in at some point and some smart person would write a column about why the developers only focus on existing systems and don't dare to try anything new. So it's a matter of finding a happy medium.

In my eyes, that would be, if the developers in the future actually leave the back door open for new features, not to throw them away again after the extension. Something like that could certainly be taken into account in the design. If feature A is badly received, then it is left behind at the end of the expansion for reason XY, but if it is well received, then we turn the story at that point a little and integrate it into the entire game.

What do you think about the flood of features and systems that are thrown at us with every expansion? Do you like the variety, or would you prefer that the developers rotate through less and focus more on perfecting the existing systems?

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