Last week, Blizzard mentioned that the new Firelands raid would not appear until patch 4.2, skipping patch 4.1 entirely. This is a huge shift from their strategy in Wrath of the Lich King. In Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard released 3.1, which was Ulduar; 3.2, which was the Argent Tournament; and 3.3 which was Icecrown. Yes, they did add Ruby Sanctum in 3.3.5, but that was just a small addition like the VoA bosses. However, in Wrath patches, they only added 4 more 5 mans with 3 of those coming in the Icecrown patch and 1 additional BG, Isle of Conquest, in 3.2.
If more frequent patching means more stuff for everybody, I am all for it. Look at what we know we are getting in 4.1. We are getting two 5 man dungeons with epic gear and rare mounts in them. And we know for a fact that Abyssal Maw is coming in 4.2 with the Firelands raid. And they still likely have 2 tiers of content after that. With going back to old world content, they are opening up the ability to have all the dungeons tuned to level 85 heroics. We could easily see 5 – 7 more 5 mans and at least 3 more raids. If they add in a few more BGs then it will be absolutely perfect. We know for a fact that we are getting 3 15 man BGs retuned for rated BGs.
In addition to expected content, they are going to be adding in guild quest, new questing area for Firelands raid, and new achievements. Who knows what else they are going to have for patches 4.2 and beyond. Path of the Titans may make a comeback. They might fix archaeology to not make it more boring than fishing. The more they can push our in smaller patches, the happier everybody will be.
The main reason I think the are doing this is because of what I’m calling the great drought of 2010. In December 2009, they released Icecrown. From December 2009 until December 2010, there was only one minor content patch and no major content patches at all. As much as I loved Icecrown as a raid, by the time July rolled around, it was getting kind of stale. Hopefully, this new strategy from Blizzard will prevent another content drought from occuring. In fact, Blizzard can’t have another drought like that. Rift has already come out and is garnering a lot of attention. Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out this year and will garner a lot of attention as well. If they have even a 6 month drought this year, there are two viable MMOs ready to take their place this time.
So bravo Blizzard for doing smaller content patches to help keep the game fresh. Hopefully, this strategy will pay off for you in this year where you may have the hardest competition yet.