Time… there’s never enough time. There can also be too much time. Days can drag on for some people, while for others it goes by in a flash. Timing the markets to buy and sell stocks is a common occurance, and many people can make or lose a whole lot of money if it’s done right or wrong. Trying to set out content in an ongoing online game that has been around for over six years is a big gamble no matter what the outcome is. Some people blaze through content so fast that it’s outdated shortly after it’s released, while others take a lot longer to catch up.
Recently, Blizzard announced that they were going to delay the release of the Firelands raid that was originally going to be included in patch 4.1, which is currently on the public test realms. At first when there was no mention of a raid, people were confused since it was said that there would be one in the Firelands (announced back at BlizzCon). This was even more confusing as through the usual datamining of content, a new model of Ragnaros was found along with other items and abilities. It was said that the reason behind this is for the pacing of content.
On a post in the official forums, Community Manager Bashiok said that they had learned from a previous mistake from Wrath of the Lich King, which was the time between Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader. Our guild can attest to this, as we had progressed up to Vezax (second last boss) before ToC was released, and didn’t down him until afterwards. The gear that we received from the new raid helped, but that’s not the way that it’s supposed to work – you progress within the raid tier that you’re in, not from gear from better raid tiers.
Back in Vanilla, there were many patches with smaller sizes that added things gradually over time. In Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, there were fewer patches with more content within them. In Cataclysm, we’ve been seeing a lot of updates through hotfixes and a couple small patches so far. If we go back to smaller, more frequent patches, I don’t see that as being a bad thing. There might not be a raid with each new patch, but if we have other things with them I can’t see it being a bad thing.
For example, if we have the odd-numbered patches have 5-man instances in them and the even-numbered patches have raids, then have the expansion go up to patch 4.6 instead of 4.3, is that so bad? The biggest thing is timing. If Blizzard can put the patches out in a decent amount of time, this won’t be a problem. As long as there aren’t huge spaces between patches, I believe the player base will remain happy.
I’m quite glad that we’re being given (from what I’ve seen) two great 5-man dungeons in the meantime, along with the other changes being made… but please don’t make us wait too long.