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As many avid Blizzard fans can tell you, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is releasing sometime this holiday season, the fourth expansion in the Warcraft series. But as information is trickled out to the public, I have begun to wonder- Is this really a step forward for the series?
At this point, Mists of Pandaria has begun to look a bit like another cycle of repetitive content. The developers have increasingly been giving in to the temptation to regurgitate and recycle their old subject matter. With each new expansion since Wrath of the Lich King, players have experienced an increasingly strong sense of déjà vu. Blizzard is cannibalizing the game in an attempt to satisfy the demands of its players, new “heroic” versions of old dungeons and the recycling of old instances and various bosses are the result.
I began playing WoW shortly after the release of The Burning Crusade expansion, I stopped actively playing shortly after the release of Cataclysm. I have admired and respected Blizzard for a long time. But gradually I have begun to have doubts, and I know I am not the only person with these doubts.
Players have sounded off on forums with confusion, frustration, and general apathy towards many of these new features and changes. The overall player base has already been in decline since the release of Cataclysm, dropping almost 2 million subscribers from its peak of over 12 million in 2010, and current attitudes make it difficult to say how Mists of Pandaria will do.
Perhaps the great King of the MMO-RPG genre is reaching the end of its rule. Perhaps it will soon be time for a new game to lead the pack. Will this new game be the mysterious Project Titan that Blizzard has been working on oh so secretly? I still have confidence in Blizzard that it could be. But hey, only time will tell.