I once created a subject a while ago noting my interest in wow had faded mostly because I was making a point of how we, as teenagers back then have grown into adults and thus have higher expectations.
Similarly, lets point out a few things that need to be put into perspective for players seemingly dedicated to the desire to see WoW Die or simply wish that their rapture prophecies were true.
World Of Warcraft will End At Level 100!
Weather that is true or not, I sincerely doubt it, what I do suspect is that level 100 will be the end game "cap" but the end of the game itself? Hell no, Level 100 is a nice even number to suggest you've reached the pinnacle of leveling advancement and I admit after that I feel the game needs to change direction, perhaps introducing heroic leveling or some other system other than using an extra 5-10 levels per expansion to add more content.
Certainly, having a level cap would give more focus to other aspects of the setting like say, the story, which would be a prime focus seemingly of late. A level capped expansion might take away from some players hunger for progression but add instead a lot more depth to the already developing universe of Warcraft even if it is very well developed already.
Story aside though, this also gives opportunity for new, harder and more forced progression to raiding content that might finally make those hardcore idiots shut up once and for all about exclusivity. Having future expansions after level 100 that focus entirely on developing hardcore only raiding content might encourage hardcore raid guilds to return and bring back competition for raiders.
Its also a good way to focus on PvP, which has long been overdue for some attention since it was flatly ignored in MoP (sorry but I don't really consider most of the new PvP content in MoP nearly on par with what they added in WOTLK 2 expansions ago). This game really needs to bring back its hardcore AV matches where things took days, in fact, bring back tarren mill vs southshore in some spiritual form, I want war again, not just arena raging.
Truth be told I think that at level 100 PvP should have two separate systems, one that focuses on BG progression and one that focuses on Arena progression so I can finally enjoy my war zone atmosphere again of having armies fighting armies for conquest of the world.
So opinions aside form my minor rant here, the point I'm trying to say is that there is ALOT left to add, not all of it requires LEVELS to add it, so even if they cap at level 100 it does not mean the game is going to die, there is plenty they can alter, adjust and adapt to continue the franchise.
Azshara, Kil'Jaeden, Sargeras whose next, the Titans? Blizzard is running out of bad guys!
I heartily agree on this point, which is why one thing that troubles me is that while WoW will never die it may run out of "themes" that haven't been left in the back lore to bring into the forefront. This is where WoW may unfortunately begin to decline after those themes have been explored, and I fear it may be what ultimately causes the game to stagnate.
However, Blizzard has pulled rabbits of out the hat before with Pandaria, so it isn't impossible to add something new to an old universe and expand on things that might not have had much attention before. I believe Blizzard could easily expand the setting beyond Azeroth to threats in the stars themselves, evidenced by Outland. Now I don't think WoW should go to the point of becoming a hybrid space fantasy but that doesn't mean it cant have a little interplanetary conflict between a new world and Azeroth.
Then there's going back in time, a theme some would hate others like myself, if done right, would love.
Time travel is a theme entirely possible if done right, leaving room for alternative timelines, potential changes to history, and even permanent changes to the canon universe itself.
However, the biggest thing I think WoW needs is a long term antagonist, we have been going through big bads like candy in this universe and we need at least ONE bad guy that not only WINS, but constantly manages to elude us from the final raid until the very end. You see, there's a divided opinion that some like the idea of a new guy every time, but I believe new gets stale when its happening constantly, and that's why we need a reoccurring antagonist for once, someone that will never quite go away no matter how much you try to get rid of them, someone we have to actually find out how to kill permanently and develop new means of doing so.
The important thing about having a constant bad guy that has the same face is that for once, you have an antagonist you can identify that you recognize their deeds, their style, their method of doing things, and it becomes familiar. That too can stale in time but so far not once in WoW have we really had a bad guy that continues to be a threat after an expansion. I am personally hoping Garrosh will be that bad guy, since hes seemingly being set up for the role of antagonist in a future expansion yet again. Sometimes its good to have a villain you can continue to meet more than once, because when you meet them again its just another sweet moment to hand their ass to them, maybe even chop off an arm this time.
Its also about context, and I think lately Blizzard has only started to touch the surface of that since WC3. They understand what it needs to make a story but for a bad guy, or a central evil that keeps being interesting? They need a little more than blow up everything or corrupt it, they need something that is PERSONAL to you, someone that YOU recognize and YOU really want to kill because they have wronged YOU personally in some painful and angering way.
Really what the next expansion needs and the expansions after that need is a personal nemesis for the hero, someone that will make your life "hell" until the day you finally confront each other for the last time in a climactic duel of fate.
Even so, Blizzard can still just make new villains and equally that isn't always a bad thing. Sha were a good idea even if they were new and consequentially lacked nostalgia which is what interests people most. We'd like to meet someone like Gul'dan because the char is familiar to lore, but like DW, having an old antagonist come into the fore might not always be a good thing. So either it has to be an old villain done right, or a new antagonist done even better, like Wrathion for example.
WoW's Dying, its player base is going to decay to nothing, WoW will go Free To Play!
WoW's subscribers are still a whopping 7 million even if that isn't nearly as much as it was. Given their credit they are STILL the most subscribed mmo to date and this means blizzard is in the right NOT to go free to play, why go free when your still the one making the most money on subs?
Blizzard also pointed out rightly so that F2P is a highly competitive market and that since a lot of other f2p games are doing particularly well (Gw2 for example) WoW going F2P might not actually be for everyones benefit in the long term.
Will WoW Go free to play? I dont know.
My foresight is that WoW's free trial will extend over time, not necessarily free to play, but the main content, for example, vanilla wow, 1-60 will probably go free eventually. Outlands, Northrend and the rest will follow expansion by expansion, but this gives Blizzard a medium to avoid having to go fully f2p while giving players enough content to let them try the game before committing to it.
I do think this system will happen, because Blizzard already has effectively done it with the level 1-20 leveling content now being entirely free on permanent trial. This proves Blizzard made a step in the first place towards making F2P in WoW and it will happen, just not the way most other F2P games do.
It makes sense for blizzard to offer more of the game as expansions go on to players that wont pay because that way they can appease a new customer base while equally attending to their main subscription audience, attracting new customers with old world content and the ability to level in it.
Plus, that means trials would get level 60 raiding, which I'm sure old school hard cores would love to revisit in some form.
So, ultimately that is what I see for WoW's future, it will go F2P, but not entirely, and I don't think that means its going to end, but it will inevitably get to a point where it stops being popular as it has been these last few years. WoW is in its twilight years, the sun is setting for its glory days, but its death is far beyond now, even when it stops being popular that wont mean it will die, in fact, WoW is probably going to last a good 10 more years even after it reaches something like 3 million subs or less.
WoW is like Everquest, its too good for its own good so even if it stopped being good it would remain valued to a large quantity of diehards, it will never quite perish from MMO gaming because it MADE the genre popular and marketable, so its existence is a template to every MMO ever made presently since its creation. This game, "MADE" Pc gaming, online gaming, and mmo gaming extremely marketable, and as such, will continue to do so for a very, long, time.
In conclusion to my point, please stop trying to think WoW will die or that level 100 is the end, because even if things change, the game wont, its always going to be here, even when "I" stop playing, even when many others after me do, it will never, die.
It will just stop being what it is now, which in many a way it already has.
As I said in my last topic, the golden age of WoW long passed, and really what we are seeing is its twilight era, like the roman empire it built, expanded and grew powerful, but now its over extended its borders and slowly piece by piece its being torn apart by smaller yet no less interesting MMO's that are gradually eating a piece of the glory that WoW made for MMO's in the first place.
WoW is not a bad game, it never was, it just became so good that it couldn't possibly live up to its own hype which nothing that good ever can.
So be content that WoW is here to stay and even when it stops being amazing it will never stop being a legacy that defined the MMO genre as a whole.