Blizzard announced their plan of action for the next "however long". I would love to fill that "however long" in with an actual time frame, but we all know Blizzard. So without any more BS onto my commentary and highlights.
"BlizzCon is quickly approaching, and we're preparing the lineup of programs, dev chats, and the concert to be held at our inaugural event. I’m very happy to announce that we'll have the first public showing of the expansion for World of Warcraft at BlizzCon. Attendees will be able to view the work that is going into the project and hear some of the eagerly awaited details. To those of you who won’t be able to make it to the show, please keep an eye out for the game magazines that will be hitting newsstands right around BlizzCon, because some of them will feature in-depth articles on the expansion with plenty of information about how World of Warcraft will be evolving."
-From this Gamergod.com interview from an actual face to face interview with a WoW developer, Shawn Carnes, and not a PR campaign release... we know the expansion is due in late 2006. The "in depth articles" is just a fancy term for these magazines to sell copies and its sad to see Blizzard playing along with it. Don't bullshit the community when the community has great sites like Gamergod.com to get the real deal from the developers.
"One feature we’re excited about is the addition of mid-sized raid dungeons. While the epic 40-player encounter is challenging and rewarding, we feel that a mid-sized raid can serve as a dynamic and fun departure from 40-player raids as well as the standard 5-player parties.
-Finally they are listening. People have been complaining about the fact that there is no middle ground. There is hardcore and then non-hardcore. The gap has been growing for months and 15-20 man raids are the ONLY ANSWER to at least closing the gap a bit. Hopefully these will work out for the best and pick up groups will be able to do them reliably like the current 5-15 man dungeons.
"At the top of the list are some major changes to Alterac Valley. We hope players have been enjoying the experience our epic Battleground provides, with its wide variety of goals and tasks. That aspect is something we definitely want to keep in Alterac, but we also want to make it more accessible by lowering the launch requirement from 30 players per side to 20. We also plan to shorten the length of time required to complete a game of Alterac Valley. Some of the changes we’ll be implementing to accomplish this goal are balancing out the terrain, slightly decreasing the landmass, and improving the queue to ensure balanced teams for each game."
-Man I almost feel like they've read my blog and have actually listened. Amazing huh? However it is too little too late. People will be flooding Arathi Basin and Alterac Valley will go the way of Warsong Gulch... a ghost town. Too many people got free AV exalted status and gear along with insanely high PvP ranks for doing nothing. By leaving AV in its current condition for so long it has alienated too many players from caring about battlegrounds.
"Another popular player request has been for us to increase outdoor PvP battles. Prior to the Battlegrounds, the outdoor landscape was fraught with PvP. However, once the Battlegrounds were introduced and NPC dishonorable kills were implemented, outdoor PvP greatly decreased. We want to bring back the hectic action of mass PvP, but with some improvements. One idea on the table is to place a capturable objective in the exterior environment."
-Let me spell it out for them. Double the honor gained outside battlegrounds. Give capturable objectives that can't just be ninja'd by half a dozen rogues. Observer ownage commence.
"Character-Transfer Service. Another feature of the Web site we'll be implementing is fee-based character transfers."
-Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy! I am not thrilled about the "fee-based" part, but finally I may have a chance to jump ship and move with friends that I was seperated from due to the queue problems at launch. This will be mad $$$ for Blizzard. I am only afraid that many small servers may be emptied.
So there it is... flame away.