As much as World of Warcraft fans might want it, a console release just doesn’t make much sense in the game’s current state.
Early today, Gematsu spotted a new rating for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands in Brazil. The interesting part of that listing is that the game included both PC and Xbox Series X as platforms. That, in combination with WoW finally getting a form of controller support, lead to some assuming that the MMO was finally getting a console launch. As expected, the listing is now changed to just PC, but the internet still has hope. Unfortunately, a console version of World of Warcraft, in its current state, just doesn’t seem likely.
Not sure if this is an error, but World of Warcraft: Shadowlands was rated in Brazil today for Xbox Series X + PC. https://t.co/PVcoSIn1ii@Blizzard_Ent @Warcraft Can you provide some insight? pic.twitter.com/h1n1lLUXIY
— Gematsu (@gematsucom) July 27, 2020
The first thing we need to talk about is the new controller support. It’s important to remember that this isn’t exactly what you might be thinking. You can’t just plug an Xbox One controller into your PC and play WoW. This move instead, gives you direct API access, which should allow users to adapt things like the Xbox Adaptive Controller to help out disabled gamers. That’s, of course, awesome news, but it doesn’t mean the game is ready for consoles.
Just think about how many abilities would have to find a place on your controller. I’ve taken an extended break from World of Warcraft, but I can’t remember a time where my Hunter’s basic rotation involved less than six button presses. And then you have tons of utility skills that need to be accessed at a moment’s notice. Each class is different, but every time I’ve tried out a new class, it seems similar. In its current state, there seems to be too much going from a gameplay perspective for a console port.
None of this is even considering how much of a nightmare the current menu system would be on a console. For your everyday user, it just makes zero sense for this to be real without some drastic changes.
Now, that doesn’t mean World of Warcraft will never come to consoles. MMOs can work with a controller. We have tons of proof. However, WoW would need a dramatic reduction in abilities or a change in how they work. Not to mention some serious UI changes. I’m on the record saying now is the time for World of Warcraft 2. There’s only so much you can do with an engine that released in 2004. If Activision-Blizzard ever does make that move, I expect a console release would be a major part of development decisions. Until then, I’m not holding my breath.
World of Warcraft is available now on PC. The Shadowlands expansion drops later this year for anyone looking to hop back into Azeroth.
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