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  • The Time Has Come - Mists of Pandaria - Redux

    With the recent announcement of nerfs to the Dragon Soul encounter on both Normal and Heroic mode, and in light of the leaked release schedule from July of 2011, the time has now come to seriously consider the possibility that MoP will, in fact, launch in Q2-2012. This necessitates a new round of speculation, starting fresh from the information we have.

    I want this thread to be organized, so let's stick to a numbering system for each topic, for easy tracking.

    #1 - Launch Date.
    #2 - Availability of Materials over Time (consider max-lvl only flying, and increased wpvp on pvp realms).
    #3 - Continuing viability of inscription (due for a revamp, per blue posts).
    #4 - Continuing viability of parallelism in professions (e.g. Alchemy for transmutes and Jewelcrafting for tokens).
    #5 - Base Inflation (over Cataclysm - will quest rewards get doubled again? The ensuing effects).
    #6 - Stockpiling.
    #7 - Emerging / Resurging Markets.


    Please try to preface any discussion on these simply with the number given. If you have something new that doesn't fall under one of these numbers, I'll add it to the OP. Good discussion should be repped and if the thread gets big enough, I'll add links to good posts in the OP.

    Gentlemen (and Ladies), start your speculation.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Time Has Come - Mists of Pandaria - Redux started by Stede View original post
    Comments 35 Comments
    1. Stede's Avatar
      Stede -
      I remember @Aeg had considered looking for a job like that a while back. At any rate, it seems there was a recent blue post that hinted towards a coming release.

      But, I don't think the date should limit discussion on the other items.

      Inflation seems to be the likeliest big problem, and yet it presents a challenge - to make more gold in that environment. How do you guys feel about the idea of starting an expansion wiht your buying power cut in half?
    1. Life's Avatar
      Life -
      #1 Launch Date
      August
      They have to beat Q4 otherwise the whole philosophy of "quicker but smaller" content patches, thats fits to faster xpac releases, is thrown in the gutter. Likewise, they put so much into Blizzcon, they can't release sensibly at that time. So, it will be released before Blizzcon.

      #2 Materials
      I think they will be available in larger supllies than we might think. Consider that in Wrath, a L70 could go farm in zones like Sholazar Basin even though the mobs were L76 or so. The farmer could not only survive, but kill the mobs. Timewarp to Cata, take a L80 to Twilight Highlands (L84) and he has problems staying alive, farming is difficult. I think the issues regarding stat inflation that are supposedly going to be addressed means that a L85 will be able to go farm all the new zones. So I think supply will be higher than in early weeks of Cata due to the potential for farming in all zones by current level capped toons, they wont need to level to farm.

      #3 Inscription
      I am thinking that glyphs are still going to be around, and that they will throw in some other stuff like they did with Cata level inscription. The imbalace of ink types required for glyphs may be addressed, but is likely going to be an 'out of time' item and stay as is. I recall they said that the current non-combat pets will be able to be named for their pet battle system - could be a nice scroll business there.

      #4 Professions
      More of the same. If anything, I half expect to see gating via tokens/cooldowns expanded onto several professions rather than just allowing recipes to be bought for gold or farmed materials. Think of the effect on supply / demand of crafted items if the tailor items made from recipes purchased by dreamcloth needed several dreamcloth not just one.

      #5 Inflation
      They don't need to pump more gold into the economy from dailies etc if they are not providing sinks to swallow it up. The LFD tool will likely be used to give sufficient rewards to allow running your weekly instances to cap your points, and provide enough gold for repairs and standard consumables. The Wrath Hog and Cata Vial are not gold sinks as they moved gold around, the Wrath Mammoth was a sink but where was the Cata version.? Let's watch and see if they give a nice expensive flying mount for goblins to spend their money on. I know, where was the mention of inflation.....well, apart from ensuring they dont mess up on the vendor prices again, there won't be any interest in it from Blizz side apart from head scratching as to how to get gold out of the system - which goes back to my fancy flying mount

      #6 Stockpiling
      Things that will be attractive to pandas and monks. Prepare for an explosion of activity from new toons as many people roll new toons - IF Blizz give us another character slot or two. If they stick to the 10 slots we currently have per server that is going to have a big impact on the 'fun' people can have. I have 10 @ 85 on my main server, I'm not deleting them. No slots = no panda / monk for me. Anyway, heirloom enchants will go like hot cakes the first few weeks (I wish essence of air stacked beyond 10), and the time consuming netherweave bags will be too hot to handle. Considering current items to stash away until they are in short supply, I tend to think that Cata mats will become a good bet. The ablilty to level quickly through Cata content (only 5 levels, not the 10 we had to go through from Wrath to get into Cata areas) into the MoP content is going to inevitably give less opportunity to harvest Cata mats whilst levelling in the future. So, hypnotic dust and savage leather seem easy long term investments, more so the dust which is often silly cheap currently.

      #7 New - Renewed Markets
      Ignoring the impact of the new profession materials, I can't decide if "Pet Battle System" will give a surge in the pet market, or if "Account Wide Pets" will kill it. Cooking profession bonus to pandas....so yes lets provide plenty of recipes, along with other profession items (idea for a new competition: How many copper rods can you sell in a week.?) Still early for me to think too hard on this, but I'll come back to it in time.

      TLDR: It's another expansion, the lessons we have learned from previous ones will stand us in good stead.
    1. Alaeriel's Avatar
      Alaeriel -
      Apparently there's no 2012 Blizzcon, so we can take that into consideration when speculating a launch date.
    1. Thanateros's Avatar
      Thanateros -
      Quote Originally Posted by Life View Post
      I think the issues regarding stat inflation that are supposedly going to be addressed means that a L85 will be able to go farm all the new zones. So I think supply will be higher than in early weeks of Cata due to the potential for farming in all zones by current level capped toons, they wont need to level to farm.
      It's true - many level-capped players will probably level by farming (at least with their twinks). BUT - and don't forget that - they won't be able to FLY. That's a big MINUS for availability of materials.

      Quote Originally Posted by Life View Post
      The Wrath Hog and Cata Vial are not gold sinks as they moved gold around, the Wrath Mammoth was a sink but where was the Cata version.?
      Oh, the Hog and the Vial WERE gold sinks. You have to get half the materials from NPCs to build them. If you were lucky, you could get some hog parts from the Leviathan in Ulduar - but not for the Vial. Still 29k Gold (a little less with GPerk) - gone, forever. Used to build more NPC flats and houses ^^
    1. Belrandir's Avatar
      Belrandir -
      Edit:

      Quote Originally Posted by Life View Post
      #1 Launch Date
      August
      They have to beat Q4 otherwise the whole philosophy of "quicker but smaller" content patches, thats fits to faster xpac releases, is thrown in the gutter. Likewise, they put so much into Blizzcon, they can't release sensibly at that time. So, it will be released before Blizzcon.

      I agree with this, except Blizzcon is cancelled, so expect one release in that time frame.

      #2 Materials
      I think they will be available in larger supllies than we might think. Consider that in Wrath, a L70 could go farm in zones like Sholazar Basin even though the mobs were L76 or so. The farmer could not only survive, but kill the mobs. Timewarp to Cata, take a L80 to Twilight Highlands (L84) and he has problems staying alive, farming is difficult. I think the issues regarding stat inflation that are supposedly going to be addressed means that a L85 will be able to go farm all the new zones. So I think supply will be higher than in early weeks of Cata due to the potential for farming in all zones by current level capped toons, they wont need to level to farm.

      We don't know what they will do for stat inflation, but even if they squish item levels, it won't work this way. They will squish the item levels after an expansion comes out- not during it. So dont expect to be able to kill 89s at 85 easily, and no flying till 80. Supply will definitely be limited initially.

      #3 Inscription
      I am thinking that glyphs are still going to be around, and that they will throw in some other stuff like they did with Cata level inscription. The imbalace of ink types required for glyphs may be addressed, but is likely going to be an 'out of time' item and stay as is. I recall they said that the current non-combat pets will be able to be named for their pet battle system - could be a nice scroll business there.

      They have already stated they will change this, though we don't know in what way or how drastically. Good call on the rename scrolls.

      #4 Professions
      More of the same. If anything, I half expect to see gating via tokens/cooldowns expanded onto several professions rather than just allowing recipes to be bought for gold or farmed materials. Think of the effect on supply / demand of crafted items if the tailor items made from recipes purchased by dreamcloth needed several dreamcloth not just one.

      I wouldn't be surprised to see more JC like gating on other professions.

      #5 Inflation
      They don't need to pump more gold into the economy from dailies etc if they are not providing sinks to swallow it up. The LFD tool will likely be used to give sufficient rewards to allow running your weekly instances to cap your points, and provide enough gold for repairs and standard consumables. The Wrath Hog and Cata Vial are not gold sinks as they moved gold around, the Wrath Mammoth was a sink but where was the Cata version.? Let's watch and see if they give a nice expensive flying mount for goblins to spend their money on. I know, where was the mention of inflation.....well, apart from ensuring they dont mess up on the vendor prices again, there won't be any interest in it from Blizz side apart from head scratching as to how to get gold out of the system - which goes back to my fancy flying mount

      Inflation isn't always a bad thing from Blizzard's perspective, anything that reduces our buying power keeps us playing. Why do you think they increased quest rewards in Cata by so much, and why did they raise the gold cap? Also the chopper and vial are gold sinks, since a significant portion of the mats are vendor bought.

      #6 Stockpiling
      Things that will be attractive to pandas and monks. Prepare for an explosion of activity from new toons as many people roll new toons - IF Blizz give us another character slot or two. If they stick to the 10 slots we currently have per server that is going to have a big impact on the 'fun' people can have. I have 10 @ 85 on my main server, I'm not deleting them. No slots = no panda / monk for me. Anyway, heirloom enchants will go like hot cakes the first few weeks (I wish essence of air stacked beyond 10), and the time consuming netherweave bags will be too hot to handle. Considering current items to stash away until they are in short supply, I tend to think that Cata mats will become a good bet. The ablilty to level quickly through Cata content (only 5 levels, not the 10 we had to go through from Wrath to get into Cata areas) into the MoP content is going to inevitably give less opportunity to harvest Cata mats whilst levelling in the future. So, hypnotic dust and savage leather seem easy long term investments, more so the dust which is often silly cheap currently.

      Yes.

      #7 New - Renewed Markets
      Ignoring the impact of the new profession materials, I can't decide if "Pet Battle System" will give a surge in the pet market, or if "Account Wide Pets" will kill it. Cooking profession bonus to pandas....so yes lets provide plenty of recipes, along with other profession items (idea for a new competition: How many copper rods can you sell in a week.?) Still early for me to think too hard on this, but I'll come back to it in time.

      You will absolutely see a spike in pet demand. Most current collectors only collect on one toon anyway, but you are about to see the amount of collectors spike dramatically. Also some pets will be in much higher demand than others. One other thing is some expensive pets might be more likely to be bought if you can use it on all of your characters instead of just one.

      TLDR: It's another expansion, the lessons we have learned from previous ones will stand us in good stead.
    1. KaliopeLlane's Avatar
      KaliopeLlane -
      Quote Originally Posted by KaliopeLlane View Post
      Two - they would have to launch a Beta in the next 30 days or so in order to have time to get an expansion out the door before Blizzcon becomes a factor. I read somewhere that it takes them 2 months and saps around 50% of their staff to put on a Blizzcon, it's doubtful that they would push a major release close to that. So you can likely rule out large sections of Q3 as "Blizzcon" time.
      In light of today's announcement that there will be no Blizzcon 2012, this appears to confirm my theory that Blizzcon is a huge distraction from dev time

      Given that Diablo 3 is already in Beta, I would guess that MoP will take the late summer/fall slot that Blizzcon was hogging up. I'm sad tho cuz I was going to try to go this year...
    1. Elen's Avatar
      Elen -
      Press events invariably occur just before the start of beta testing, so the mid-March press tour suggests April beta start, release absolutely no earlier than September. Also it may suggest that Blizzard are skipping non-internal alpha test completely, since "a press tour in 6 weeks" is apparently the most interesting thing Blizzard's PR are able to announce today - for any other game, the date wouldn't interest anyone except the journalists themselves until the tour was over. As an aside, based on rough Tyrael's Charger stats, I reckon about 10% of the active player-base will be expecting beta invites, which would be at least 100,000 customers. I doubt they will all be invited at once, since testing normally only uses 4 or 5 servers worldwide.
    1. Backthief's Avatar
      Backthief -
      Also

      I am considering making a lvl85 with Herb/Mining (i am a non-gathering goblin)
      Back in Cata launch, the stacks were worth 250g/stck. The first weeks in MoP will be highly profitable for those two professions.
    1. Bibär's Avatar
      Bibär -
      So, I just watched Legendary and they made a compelling argument (based on a blue post by Zarhym) for Blizzard putting away with the concept of distinct servers for MoP. If I recall correctly, blue post stated they want to make a bold and spectacular change to deal with faction-imbalance and low-pop servers. They also said that they didn't have the time/ressources to do the programming in the past, so it seems like it is quite a big change. Disclaimer: I'm quoting from memory here!

      Obviously, this would have quite an impact on AH PvP, potentially increasing the market size by one or two magnitudes, remove the ability of one person to control any market (100k stacks of common mats like ores and herbs might be a common sight).

      Do you think this change might really be coming and what kind of consequences would you expect if it happens?
    1. Sterling's Avatar
      Sterling -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bibär View Post
      So, I just watched Legendary and they made a compelling argument (based on a blue post by Zarhym) for Blizzard putting away with the concept of distinct servers for MoP. If I recall correctly, blue post stated they want to make a bold and spectacular change to deal with faction-imbalance and low-pop servers. They also said that they didn't have the time/ressources to do the programming in the past, so it seems like it is quite a big change. Disclaimer: I'm quoting from memory here!

      Obviously, this would have quite an impact on AH PvP, potentially increasing the market size by one or two magnitudes, remove the ability of one person to control any market (100k stacks of common mats like ores and herbs might be a common sight).

      Do you think this change might really be coming and what kind of consequences would you expect if it happens?
      This would bring on unprecedented changes. Think about it. Overnight, all goblins are competing on the same AH.

      Oh, you just scanned the AH for deals? Too bad, another WT scanned it 30 seconds ago, and another just before that.

      Gouging wouldn't work anymore, on goods like Fel Iron, Rods, Golden Draenites, etc. I could go on and on about the "repercussions" of a global AH.
    1. Elen's Avatar
      Elen -
      @Bibär - Blizzard have the technology to merge (and split) realms (it was tested in one of the expansion betas), so some level of merger of low population realms would be possible, but only within the constraints of traditional server/database technology. For context, Classic-era WoW supposively broke Oracle, so Blizzard were very close to the limits at release. Subsequent improvements in computer specifications have largely been used for features like achievements (which require lots of tracking data).

      One unified regional realm would be technically far too challenging, because WoW is still designed around traditional MMOG shards: A move away from shards requires a fundamentally different approach to database and communications design, which can be incredibly difficult to retrofit to an existing product. Not that the gameplay is designed for a single realm either: How is anyone's graphics card going to survive Stromwind or Orgrimmar with 200 times as may players present?

      A cross-realm auction house might be possible technically, but I doubt that would be much fun to play, with constant competition on everything. Gut feeling is that if they wanted that, it would have happened already.
    1. calianna's Avatar
      calianna -
      That would be absolutely mind-boggling. You are definitely looking at two orders of magnitude as you have over 100 servers.

      Edit: I think @Elen is right, you'd probably see something like battlegroups before a full merge.
    1. Bibär's Avatar
      Bibär -
      Well, the way it may work is like SW:Tor is doing it: Basically some kind of phasing with a dynamic load balancing around the current realm-servers. You would not have more people in one place than now on max pop servers because above some limit, people that login are put in another phase (think Orgrimmar I, II, III etc). If you group up with someone, you would get the option to switch to a common phase (could automatically choose the one with the lowest load) or even check on login for people on your friendlist/guild to put you in the same phase.

      The main problems on the technical side would probably be to develop a robust and player-friendly phase-/load-balancing system that doesn't interfere with gameplay too much as well as working out how chats rooms like General and Trade Chat could work without being totally spammy.

      But the whole move away from distinct realms is rather speculative at the moment, I'm not so much interested in the technical challenges (that's basically Blizzard's job to worry about ) but more in the potential opportunities that might present itself with regards to gold-making.
    1. Stede's Avatar
      Stede -
      For anything that is instanced, this is already live. Are we sure they were talking about something different?
    1. Reverb's Avatar
      Reverb -
      Eve does it by having one mega cluster to rule them all, and in the latency lag them.
    1. Bibär's Avatar
      Bibär -
      Quote Originally Posted by Stede View Post
      For anything that is instanced, this is already live. Are we sure they were talking about something different?
      I am pretty sure they were not talking about raids and instances running on different servers than the open world itself, it's been like this for quite some time. What I meant was basically "instancing" the open world itself, but in a dynamic way, so that you can switch to the "instance" where the rest of your group/guild/friends is. I think Everquest II had a similar feature as well, but the zones had loading screens and you were asked which instance of some zone you want to join. Might be hard to do it with the huge world WoW has.
    1. Stede's Avatar
      Stede -
      Guild Wars was like that, and I hated it. I don't think I'd like that kind of model.
    1. Thanateros's Avatar
      Thanateros -
      It's not THIS unlikely. Just think about how Blizzard tries to bring forward the Cross-realm raids. Sure, this one is only possible for instanced stuff. But looking at how fast the server population dies, they HAVE to do sth to keep ppl from leaving. Not everyone is willing to pay for a server transfer, and some servers simply are dead.

      And about the goblin problems... Sure, there could be problems. But on the other hand, think of it as the WT project. New danger - but also new possibilities ^^
    1. whitfan's Avatar
      whitfan -
      STO had something like what Bibar said...few servers, but each server had something like 100 instances of each area available dependant on load. Sad thing was you'd only ever see like 50 people max in a zone (even the main cities) so it made it feel dead. Easily avoided by setting the pop limit higher but the risk is there.
    1. Whitewolf's Avatar
      Whitewolf -
      A boring Tuesday morning maintenence so I may as well zombify this thread...

      On the idea of Blizz blending all the realms.....

      I can't recall exactly where I read this, but I do recall that in a discussion regarding the 10-character-per-server-50-character-max cap, a Blue poster had indicated that rather than introduce additional character slots for servers, they were looking at the possibility of allowing all 50 slots on the same server. I recall thinking at the time "Well, that's overkill." (I had images of me managing 40 individual guild banks for storage.) I couldn't understand the idea of a complimentary jump from 10-50 when most players probably would be happy paying $5-10 for an extra slot or two. (The method Guild Wars used.)

      But if this was a case of a Blue poster hinting at a server-blend, it would make sense.

      To balance that, I suspect Blizzard makes a substantial percentage of their WoW income from non-subscription services, with server transfers topping the list. I don't see them just leaving that money on the table unless they're really feeling they could save the money through such a consolidation.