The Only Problem of Battle for Azeroth Is…

…you’re not feeling progress. And everything you dislike about the expansion is largely described by this paradigm.

Of course the core idea of getting gear to become stronger and getting access to higher endgame content is here. It will always be. Raids and PvP have always been your ultimate goal why you’re doing this – to melt faces more effectively. But definitely this is not enough in today’s WoW.

Was Cataclysm the last expansion where we were happy with it? Because ever since Pandaria we’ve received some other goals to chase, something to follow throughout the expansion:

  • Mists of Pandaria – Halfhill farm and epic cape
  • Warlords of Draenor – Garrison, Shipyard and epic ring
  • Legion – class stories, mounts, order halls and epic artifacts

Each expansion had this extra feature we actually liked to develop. We’ve seen our progress.

We liked to see our bases slowly grow and provide us more benefits – up to the very last days of expansions Halfhill farm and Garrison produced valuables, well-earned, fully functional places we could call home.

We did not see that big of a development within order halls, but we got our own very special class stories, which opened gradually and provided new cool stuff.

There is no such thing in BfA. Our ship is basic, it doesn’t improve anyhow, and establishing new outposts in the enemy lands are basically about opening a new flight path with no stories involved.

We’ve seen our progress with the ring and the cape – having a well-set goal to collect x1000 of this and x100 of that to pass on to the next level, and this was exciting. Providing lore questlines along the way also didn’t hurt. Legion artifacts had this grid to fill – even if you were not chasing the highest weapon levels possible, completing the puzzle, filling all the gaps was motivating even for casual players like myself. You saw and noticed the improvement immediately, and you chose a path to reach the most desired perk.

Battle for Azeroth and its azerite necklace are devoid of that. Your perks are scattered across 3 pieces of armor, your next gear up will offer completely another perks – and you don’t know which. Basically you don’t see where you’re heading with all this. And collecting azerite just to add one more level to the necklace – a digit change – is kinda counter-productive.

Dkh68D8XgAEtg7o

Island expeditions are a big failure. There is no story involved, even the scarce optional pieces of lore that were present in Pandaria scenarios. You can’t do them in your own pace due to competiton, so it’s a race with a single goal of fastest grind – not the thing a group of 3 holy priests would enjoy. Most importantly, it’s a grind for nothing – you may or may not recieve a pet, a mount or a transmog, and azerite collecting is not that exciting. Yet again, there’s no feeling of progress anywhere.

Warfronts are a big playground, which I personally enjoy, and yet their potential is not fully developed. You’re not going anywhere with them – again. Drops are totally random, and grind (although an easy one) is still grind. Introducing the means to work towards the transmog set, the mounts, the toys would help a lot. Reputation has always been a nice and tested way to do that, but there could be something more.

DmWal7AXoAYjbj5

For example, clearing a certain hub could mean your advance towards a certain piece of gear. Some troll-hating group of Alliance soldiers awards you points for slaying Witherbarks, and they will grant you a chest piece in the end. You get points for killing 20 for a quest. You get points for killing rares – once per week.

Finally, they could introduce a Witherbark assault (or our assault to Witherbark) as an event. As in ‘Oh waily-waily, the Witherbarks have a big fat witch doctor who will rally them and attack our lumbermill if we’re idle’. Or they actually attack a lumbermill. Repel the invasion, kill a boss, get your points for Witherbark slayers.

Yes, it sounds like reputation idea, but could be presented in an easier way. When ‘exalted’, Witherbark slayers say: good, now we’re safe from the troll threat! and give you this chest piece (and a couple of mounts).

Storywise, we are also devoid of the endgame progress. Remember Firelands playground where we put together a blooming outpost in the ash, or majestic Suramar which opened the story slowly? Now, freeing Jaina, we have to wait for another patch for further development. I totally believe that this will be absolutely great… but we have no progress today. It worked perfectly in Legion – so why not use the same in BfA? For example, Jaina’s story requires dungeon runs in three zones. They could have been gated behind Proudmoore – Order – Storm’s revered, and/or opened gradually, week by week. Now we’ve burned them through in a couple of hours, and wait for another content to happen. Or was it us who complained about rep gating for the Suramar questline? :)

=======

Long story short, the intentions of Blizzard were obivously great. They made the whole Garrison/epic gear things a lot easier in many ways, addressing many troubles. They’ve introduced completely new features. They’ve tried to address lots of player concerns (when they have shouldn’t in some cases).

Yet they forgot about the feeling of progress which makes MMORPG a MMORPG game. We’re now back to gear upgrades as the only goal where we feel this progress, and for us and for modern WoW this is just not enough today.

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “The Only Problem of Battle for Azeroth Is…

  1. You summed it up pretty well. I look around the pyramid when I’m going from place to place. There are passages that lead to big doors in parts that I wonder, is this coming? Did I miss doing something and advanced the story before I finished? All I see are dead bodies scattered about from the one attack, but that was more than a month ago, couldn’t the art department clean things up? Feels off walking through corpses weeks later.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah, we didn’t get any new “system” like a garrison in this expansion. In Legion, we were kind of suckered into the AP race and they added catch-ups but they are here now so we know better than to chase it which negates the whole Island thing. Like a dog chasing a tail, we’d rather just nap. We deserved a new system to enjoy and don’t have it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Is there a catch up? I think the island awards 2500 AP once a week? The requirement per level always seems to be the same amount. I will admit to not really paying attention that much to it. I’m logging in 2-3 nights a week. Not a lot that interests me. Dungeons award gear I don’t need with repair bills I really don’t need. There is supposed to be goals for Islands but it’s near impossible to focus one with a random player going off where they feel like, if your unlucky like me, the opposing faction targets you in mercilessly and you just want to stop playing. I’ve just been doing the few emissaries that build up, collect the toy or pet, then I log out. I don’t feel a great desire to go beat the bad guy. Probably because there isn’t one. There is no Lich King, or Deathwing.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Well written. I recently watched Bellulargamings last video and he said the following, which sadly rings true for me too. I used the word disconnected about BfA more than once, and I wish I had a solution:

    “Your game doesn’t make sense. You spent so much time trying to tightly craft a player experience that you’ve forgotten how players play your game. (…) (…)

    The fundamental design philosophy of Blizzard in regards to World of Warcraft is wrong. It is not in alignment with humans; human emotions, human nature. It’s so depersonalized, so disconnected from the human experience of playing a game like World of Warcraft. It’s got this fake, artificial excitement, that, at the end of the day, robs the game of meaning. (…)”

    I believe you are right; Blizzard had the best intentions. And much of what we see in BfA might even be a result of us, the players asking for it – but not realising what it meant and Blizzard not realising how it should be implemented.

    Like, people, especially hardcore raiders said they didn’t want to endless AP grind. We don’t have that anymore (right?) But now we have this “flat, dull” experience with the Necklace instead.

    I also think, that the whole seperating Horde and Alliance on two different Islands might have backlashed. As Alliance I feel – again – disconnected – from Zandalar. Yes I have some quests there, but I do not have this deep idea of what is going on, compared to Kul Tiras. So my BfA experience is three zones.

    One might argue, that that is how it’s meant to be, and I should just level up a Horde Character to see the Quests there. But some of us just prefer to play one char, one race, one faction, some of us do not have the time to devote to a whole army.

    But again. I have no quick solutions to what you wrote, and up until recently, I thought I was belonging to the minority with these thoughts.

    I would like to see the traits from the Azerite Armor be put onto the Necklace though, and just be done with it. And have them be set in stone, Less randomness. And no more Azerite Gear.

    I feel sorry for BfA, if it will be mostly remembered for the Azerite Gear mess and the “Wait for it” story.

    The art team of BfA has outdid themselves, it is so beautiful and well made.

    I love my Halfhill farm :)

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s not a new thing that if you play only one faction you’re missing out important things, and I’ve always said that. Even if you’re leveling in the same zone.

      For example, do you remember a horrific bombing of a druid tree in Stonetalon mountains? If you play for the Horde, you’ll learn that Garrosh EXECUTED the officer that gave this order. Yes, the orc, and his own officer. Yes, the warmongering Garrosh. If you play only Alliance in Borean Tundra, you’ll never learn what is Kel Thuzad doing there, protruding as a flagpole among the blighted fields. And so on.

      In Legion they went as far as providing class-specific questlines throughout the expansion. If you play only one toon, you’re effectively missing out not one, but 11 major questlines – surely that’s a lot more punishing than the current state of events.

      I must say that, although the factions got their own stories, this separation is executed perfectly. Hell, I sometimes wonder if the Horde has more flight paths than the Alliance in Kul Tiras ) You are free to explore the other continent, encouraged to do so, and many questlines are shared as well. No, this is not the backfiring thing. After all, the other continent is meant to be your enemy’s war base, and what you are most motivated to do there is grab the available resources, secure your invading forces, and find the means to undermine the enemy efforts where possible. Even so, they fill in a tad about sethraki or drust threats. Of course you shouldn’t know how Rastakhan is a failure, or how Kul Tiran lords are all in disaster – it’s internal business.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think you are absolutely right; not all quests should be 100% identical to both factions. I just wish that this was not the case for 50% of the games quests in BfA. The Class Halls made perfect sense, and someday in many years I look forward to be able to do them all :)

        Like

    • Had to split my answer in two comments :)

      My goals now are like always – reputations and collecting transmog from Uldir. And I’m quite a long way from that, so I don’t complain I’m bored.

      It is interesting though that the current gameplay calls for everyday, but shorter sessions. Isn’t it good for an aging player community who simply do not have enough time to play the game at full scale like before? See, half an hour daily for an emissary, 3-6 hours per week for a raid, an hour for warftonts and an hour for expeditions is what your toon needs to effectively progress forward and keep up. Throw in mythic plus if this is what you do. I find this alt-friendly, and, frankly, quite relaxing after the strained routines of Legion. If you look at the content from this angle, it’s suddenly a big plus.

      I love BfA for being so beautiful, for letting us learn the previously mentioned-only Zandalar and Kul Tiras, and for giving us down-to-earth, almost mundane questing experience before we once again get our hands full with cosmic threats.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That is exactly what I meant with us, the players, asking for it ourselves. Blizzard more or less gave the playerbase, that is the most vocal, what they wanted; Less pressure in having to log on and do a bunch of stuff. But I am afraid, that most players do have 3+ hours a day to play, and they might like to see more carrots, that they are guaranteed to catch, if you can say that.

        For sure, looking at it that way is a big plus! I for one do not mind it, but I never minded it in Legion either; I loved my Artifact weapon and was in no rush. Those 3 last months of Legion, I think you referred to them as lull, were a great time for me, because I caught up with everything I chose to do :)

        I agree, all those side quests made some parts feel like Duskwood, for example. No “High and mighty Arch Druid”, just a stranger, passing by, offering their help for a while.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s