So, in Ghostcrawler’s Cataclysm post-mortem, he offers some thoughts on the Abyssal Maw:
I feel like I should mention Abyssal Maw again. As with many cancelled features, it somehow took on a life of its own in the minds of players. Believe me, though — you just don’t cancel things that you think are going to be awesome. It was three bosses inside Nespirah, with no unique art. The reason it was originally appealing to us was because we had so many Vashj’ir assets that we could use. But by the time it was time to do the work, we felt like we (and many players) had Vashj’ir fatigue. Now don’t get me wrong — I loved Vashj’ir. I was an oceanographer, remember? Vashj’ir delivered on the promise of an underwater zone, but we feel like most players were ready to be done with it by the time they had quested through that. (Individuals will feel differently — it’s that diverse player base thing again.) Firelands received a lot of new art, from bosses to environments, and we just didn’t feel like Abyssal Maw was going to compete. Who knows, though! We haven’t totally given up on the idea of cool underwater experiences, so maybe there’s potential we’d visit it again someday. (For my money, the zone I am personally saddest about cancelling is not Abyssal Maw; it was the Azjol-Nerub quest zone in Wrath of the Lich King.)
It’s nice to see some recognition for Azjol-Nerub, but this explanation rings false to me. I can’t fault his reasoning (though as an aside, I felt that the biggest reason for Vashj’ir fatigue was the lack of travel locking you in once you started it, not anything about the aesthetics or the mechanics of being underwater). But I do have to wonder about one sentence in particular.
It was three bosses inside Nespirah, with no unique art.
In the development of World of Warcraft, a lot of ideas have been left behind. Sometimes, we see that in the form of unkept promises - dance studio, anyone? Other times, near-finished content gets cut because Blizzard simply decides to take a different route, such as these series of quests that were removed from Vashj’ir, or the original versions of the Warglaives of Azzinoth. I love it when this happens, because often, scrapped or indefinitely delayed content remains in the game, offering a tantalizing glimpse into an alternate reality that never was… or has yet to be.
This will be a four-part series, each post increasingly speculative. Today, we’ll be looking at discarded concepts, places where we know Blizzard took another path. I’ll focus on situations where some relic of the idea remains in the post-Cataclysm world. We’ll next explore seemingly incomplete content, where either blatantly unfinished development took place, or where there is at least the hint that, however unlikely, something more might follow. In the penultimate post, I’ll collect some easter eggs that have been sitting in the game since its release in order to demonstrate the incredible scope that this game was always intended to reach. Finally, I’ll home in on the point where that initial master plan got thrown under a bus, and explain both why it happened, and what it means for future expansions.
So. With our itinerary established, let’s begin.
“All right, I think that's the last one,” called David from behind the rack. His voice was almost lost in the constant rushing of the HVAC, but he saw Merrin’s nod through the tangle of Cat-6 flowering out from the cable harness into the server blades. He sneezed again in the metallic-smelling chilly draft blowing up from the floor hatch, and looked up at the flickering green and amber link lights.
What is a staff? According to Wikipedia, the most relevant definitions are:
- The weapon used in stick fighting
- Walking stick, a device to facilitate balancing while walking
- Sceptre or scepter, a symbolic ornamental rod borne in the hand by a ruling monarch
- Magic wand, a thin, straight, hand-held ceremonial stick
The one and only Boozekin, Aldous, has posted an essay on the relative difficulties of these last two raids, and like many players, he’s of the opinion that Dragon Soul is just plain easier than Firelands was. I’ll concede a loss of a certain type of complexity, but I don’t think that factor was the cause of any drop in difficulty… at least, depending on how you’re defining difficulty. I also doubt that such simplification is cause for concern or evidence of the game’s decline, and I expect that we’ll see raid complexity move back up (slightly) in Mists of Pandaria.
All of it, of course, is due to Looking For Raid (LFR).
This is going to be a very long post. Fair warning.
Update to 1.1.
This version’s primary changes include:
- Not loading for non-mages
- Localization crap
- Detection of specs for which it works:
- If your current spec has 2/2 Shatter, it uses that
- If your other spec has 2/2 Shatter, it uses that (and tells you in the tooltip)
- If neither spec has 2/2 Shatter, it disables itself
- If either of your specs has 1/2 Shatter, what the fuck. Seriously.
- Re-detects your spec when your talents change… I hope.
That last point is why I’m posting it here before public release on WoWInterface. Please be my guinea pigs. If you break it, or find a calculation that looks wrong, lemme know.
I will reimburse the cost of any respecs initiated for the sake of testing (on US-Drenden-H).
Work continues apace on IceCap. I’ve got the bulk of a major rewrite done, and the new version will be all shiny and Ace-ified, ready for localization and better suited for handling spec swaps. The current stumbling block is the new, more accurate approach to finding your unbuffed Intellect, which is, by the looks of things, something that Blizzard doesn’t want to be public.