I've been meaning to write a preview of the Burning Crusade for Curmudgeon Gamer. I believe I'm familiar with the requirements. Mention the two new races, raised level cap, flying mounts, new land, socketed items, and *poof*, apparently hordes of WoW fans descend on your site to read for the hundredth time that these things still haven't changed! I don't even have to play, have interviewed someone at Blizzard, heck, have done much more than read the Blizzard press releases. Wow.
Some sites unnecessarily go so far as to add something new, like a screenshot that's not been shown before, sometimes actually from the expansion, or a quick note like, "Will the forums be updated too?!!" Macworld admittedly goes one better, with new screenshots (I think) and a Mac-specific comment about OS X 10.5 adding multithreaded OpenGL support that could be useful in, well, any 3D game on the Mac worth playing. So the second bit was particularly at home in a WoW preview.
So though Macworld's preview isn't quite a standard example of the WoW previews' kwality, these pages on the Burning Crusade have taken a pretty interesting tack to the generic preview. Generally, like in the Macworld preview here, the company has to give the authors inside access to the still in-development game. To pay for this access, as I've said before, the previewer must then write as if every feature is potentially revolutionary and every bug, well, potentially won't exist and is, therefore, not worth mentioning. For Burning Crusade, Blizzard doesn't even have to give inside access for the free pub. A press release is more than enough, in this special case, for not just "news" notes' but whole previews' worth of lovefest.
One might also note that Macworld takes the love fest a bit farther than usual when they mention...
At last check, Blizzard pushed back the release date of the Burning Crusade from the end of 2006 to January, 2007. Objectively, the release date has only slipped a few weeks, but it's enough to make WoW fans seethe with rage at not being able to get their hands on the add-on when they expected to. Trust me--it'll be worth the wait.
Perhaps it'll be worth the wait for those who don't have, say, scads of extra play time this coming holiday break, but Blizzard's going to lose some cash because a number of kids aged 12-22 are going to have a lot less time to play and, therefore, a lot fewer reasons to reactivate or start up a new account. It's one thing to pimp the new game, but Cohen's editorial riff is a bit unearned. Must have been some pretty slick insider access he's buying. (That said, Cohen's generally one of the fairer game reviewers, regardless of platform. Maybe he has a weakness when previewing.)
(And yes, I know, it's me with more WoW content. If Matt can take up so many inches with Tomb Raider [not] on PSP, well...)
In the last Next-Gen.biz podcast they had their own take on the WoW expansion delay: it's win-win for everyone. Other companies will be able to sell more of their games over the holiday because people who were going to buy WoW expansion for Xmas now will put their money into other games. But Blizzard won't miss out, since those same people will still shell out for WoW when it comes out.
I'm not sure if the players actually run their wallets like that, but sadly I know I have pulled similar stunts with my own spending.
No no, don't look at that man behind the curtain. Look at the man behind the OTHER curtain -- the one where all the genre-busters who have decided that repeating what amount to press releases can constitute previews.
Of course, now that I think about it, I've looked at him before, and did a better job the time previous as well. Sorry folks. Back to the curtain Matt's looking behind. Were this a proper rag and not simply a blog, the editor would have to eat crow.
Leave it to the professional shills to see a silver lining in that more dollars overall might make it into gaming thanks to Blizzard. I still think they lose cash for missing a period where people have time, motive, and opportunity to become addicted, the holidays.