Tobold's Blog
Friday, June 15, 2018
Still not WoWed

My original plan was to simply ignore World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion, Battle for Azeroth. However Blizzard now sent me a beta invite. And so I thought that trying the expansion out for free would be worth doing. But after a couple of hours in the beta, I was even less excited about the expansion than before.

Because the beta is on another server, with another client program, starting up the game plays the trailer. But not of the Battle of Azeroth expansion (although I know there is one), but of the previous expansion, Legion. Now the theme of Legion was how Alliance and Horde have to work together against the Burning Legion, so the Legion trailer is full of King Varian Wrynn talking to his son about this need for collaboration between Alliance and Horde. And then you find yourself in the Battle for Azeroth expansion, with a first scenario about Alliance and Horde fighting each other as mortal enemies. Of course that transition will be somewhat smoother in the release version, but for me the episode was a poignant reminder of how arbitrary WoW lore is sometimes.

Just like in my previous short visit to WoW, I was just mashing buttons through the scenario. I don't like that due to constant changes and large number of buttons I can't remember the optimum control scheme. I like it even less that it doesn't really make a difference whether you master a complex control scheme or you randomly mash buttons. At least at the level of the scenarios and quests it doesn't appear to make a difference, and I haven't even distributed my talent points yet.

I will still play a few hours over the weekend, but I don't believe that will change my mind. Battle of Azeroth is still on course to be the first WoW expansion I don't buy.

I played alpha and it left me pretty jaded.

Get wrecked/have misadventures while travelling, crashland in new zone, get captured/stranded briefly, gain assistance from the helpful and virtuous but quirky new race, get slowly introduced to their culture as they learn to trust/accept you because you're murdering things that inconvenience them, regroup with your cohort, take the fight to the local Medium Bad with a brief foreshadowing appearance from the Big Bad.

WHICH EXPANSION/ZONE AM I REFERRING TO? Bloody... all of them, really.

The Horde side was heavily Troll-themed, which left me even more disappointed/turned-off. I've never really found much appeal in the whole Voodoo-Jamaican-Aztecs thing they've got going on. (Would it kill them to hire some real Jamaican voice-actors? We know they've got the money.)

The need to force you to the ground and make everything look majestic and awe-inspiring meant that there was a lot of riding through empty, boring areas, dragging out the travel time to something tedious.

I played for a couple days then decided I was done. I doubt I'll play at launch.
I liked Legion a lot more than you did, so I am really only expecting "more of the same" as a good thing (maybe closer to "good enough" thing). I have yet to see any major changes, I think with the massive success of Legion (especially in comparison to Draenor) they feel they "got it right" and don't want to stray too far from that formula, which is fine by me. My biggest concern is with the theme of the expansion, I want to know if you are force-fed PvP, or if it just means fighting more Horde/Alliance NPCs.
I'm surprised that you felt that there were too many buttons to press. The consensus on beta now is that there's too few buttons.

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