This post is an expansion of my yesterday’s comments. I’ve mentioned that I’m experiencing a huge gap between my own feelings and what I am reading, watching and listening in WoW-related media from other players. Likewise in Draenor – while my WoD gameplay was rich, full of events and kept me busy from day one to day last, people blamed it to be the worst expansion ever. Literally overwhelmed by the number of negative posting, I’m urged to express my thoughts – focusing on positive features.
1. The new and the best from Legion systems are here.
Legion introduced lots of quality of life improvements and overall gaming experience.
To name a few:
- We have got flight master’s whistle – a genious feature that allows us to walk out of the world quest area, hidden in a ravine.
- The flight point approach is much different from what we’ve seen so far – they are plenty, they are convenient, and your travel time to the required area is literally 30 seconds upon landing.
- The world quest system is simple, comprehensible, allows a lot of choice and is highly rewarding. BfA is now pulpably scaling the gear rewards, so your gearing up with WQ only could take 2 hours of gameplay to allow you to warfronts and LFR.
- World bosses were new for Legion, and they are an extra chance to gear up.
- Reputation tokens are your great help to boost rep.
- Mob scaling may not be tuned perfectly, but in the long run it’s a bliss. While your leveling process may be a bit hobbled because of scaling, it takes three days of gameplay at most, and the rest of the expansion is your endgame. It is important that mobs stayed relevant throughout the expansion, and gearing up eventually makes ‘Three-five players recommended’ soloable without question on every class and spec.
- Due to scaling, you have an extreme variety of options and zone leveling order, and quests are plenty and more than enough to get you to 120 without bonuses.
These all things made it to BfA unchanged, and they do work just the same way or better.
2. Some of the Legion’s systems were improved.
Our mission table was polished once again. Now all our champions are capable of questing (no one left sitting on a bench), and the missions themselves became highly optionable. Azerite, pet charms and reputation tokens are an awesome addition to your routines, but they are totally not necessary. In other words, your mission table doesn’t feel like a chore in BfA. The champions do not require collecting gear to become efficient, and their gear provides bonuses for your professions if you wish so.
Profession quests are now limited to gathering, they do not require multiple dungeon runs, so they could be done in one seat, and overall provide a great deal of easy adventure.
After endless elven/vrykul architecture and bleak landscapes of Legion (except Val’sharah and Suramar city), we’ve got a nice environment to be in.
In Kul Tiras we are deep in salty, sea theme of Tiragarde with its peaceful or pirate-adventurous soundtrack, Drustvar is your gothic British horror – but not all dark, due to sunny mountain regions, and Stormsong sways between Alpine and Dutch environments.
Zandalar offers all the range from adventurous movies – a jungle/Jurassic park of Zuldazar, magnificent bogs of Nazmir, swarming with life, and Arabian desert of Vol’dun. Each and every location is highly pleasant to be in, and there’s no one that I hate to visit (like Azsuna, Suramar or Stormheim, not to mention the demon-scorched grounds).
BfA is rich with details, so we keep wondering where’s the limit? Investigating a random house gives you a full impression that people do live there, and how they are doing it.
BfA offered new NPC poses – leaning on a doorpost, walking drunk, standing on guard is what you notice, and it really makes the world a lot more alive.
The whole range of BfA melodies adds up to the zone ambience, and the job here is done greatly. Considering catchy melodies, BfA is well ahead from the previous expansion, and I just like every tune that plays along.
5. Azerite armor and necklace
Well, yes, it’s fine. Now that I get the routines, ways and goals to level it, it’s not that bad. Of course it lacks the convenient interface unlike artifacts, but I think of it the same as mission table improvement: it became easier and not that demanding as our weapons used to be.
With all the randomness of azerite traits, I don’t bother much about them. Earning a trait or an extra artifact necklace level is a pleasant bonus – I definitely don’t feel it like a chore to max it out or carefully pick and desire that one trait. I guess it’s the same approach as with legiondaries – people were hunting for the ‘best in slot’ items, but I never cared and just wore what dropped. What is important, azerite armor is earned fair and square through raids, warfronts, emissaries, and it’s a goal to follow rather than an elusive chance to get one.
6. Faction story/continent division
It’s arguable, but as I’ve said previously, you’ll never experience all the lore by playing only one toon – ever since Vanilla and starting zones. The most punishing in these terms was the all-praised Legion – 11 separate stories, rich and evolving, would be left unknown to your single character. Now you have only two.
And I guess everyone’s missing how logistics were masterfully solved – considering the enemy continent. I feel myself at home both at hostile Zandalar or hostile Kul Tiras – multiple and convenient flight points are making travel through enemy’s lands a breeze. In many cases taking a ship from your harbor to a world quest is WAY faster than your enemy would fly from his capital. So, both continents offer equal opportunities to both factions.
Continents provide a range of small stories, and we get the deepest insight possible to the local societies – societies we were speculating about since Vanilla. It’s not your no-name Highmountains or Nightborne you’ve never heard of before – it’s Kul-fucking-Tiras, heroes dating back to Warcraft II, and Zandalar, the heart and spiritual center of all troll tribes we’ve ever met. What factions could have been more epic? And they really are interesting and very well worked out.
We may not like how the events are unrolling considering faction war, but we can’t deny it’s very logical. When you put a genocidal bitch in charge of one faction, it’s only a matter of time when the bomb will go off. This was clear right after Vol’jin appointed her as a warchief, and this happened in the beginning of Legion. Don’t you worry, it’s not for long, as even the Horde (most of it) is not happy with what’s going on. It is crystal clear without spoilers that the infamous banshee will not survive BfA as a warchief – and it’s damn intriguing how this will happen. Are you not interested?
The faction war itself rolls on very logically. Both factions coped with the multiple internal Kul Tiran/Zandalari troubles – the islands were an utter mess before our arrival. And we’ve not only established bonds, not only that. We guide a very aggressive campaign – there’s more outposts on the face of Kul Tiras and Zandalar than pimples on a teenager’s face. The Alliance has prepared everything for the direct onslaught on the troll capital itself, while the Horde also has an ace in its sleeve.
There are the fattest hints possible considering N’Zoth and Azshara – the only major threat left on the surface of Azeroth. The long anticipated meeting. Of course, we couldn’t have got the raid in 8.0, but presence of the Old Gods is literally overwhelming throughout even the initiate stories.
And while it’s yet unclear how we heal the sword wound, it’s also a plot we never forget about. Druids, shaman and Magni are frantically working on a solution, while we aid our small aid during our adventures. They never let us forget that the situation is dire – even the world quest music plays Azeroth’s sad and ominous theme whenever we’re stepping into the Champions’ task territory.
Long story short, there are four major and rich plotlines, and we cannot say any of them is not paid for enough attention. They may be dark, they may be grim, but they are certainly well done. They keep me motivated, they keep me rolling, and they keep me intrigued – what else could you desire?
8. Pursuing my goals
I’ve written a separate post about how we’re lacking an extra progress system we got used to in previous expansions (artifact weapons, order halls, garrisons, crop farm), but this doesn’t mean we have nothing to do. My goals are now back to the basics: reputations / gear / profession leveling and raiding for transmogs, and I’m having my hands full now.
And I cannot say that anything is holding me back while I’m pursuing these very goals. The gameplay is smooth, fun, relaxing and provides alternate options with the smallest grind amount possible. Even the smallest gaming sessions of 30 minutes long let you make a significant progress towards this or that thing, and that is totally plausible.
There’s more I could possibly remember later, but these are the main reasons why I find the expansion:
- Playtime forgiving
- Overall – Fun
My subscription ends in November, and by all means it will be renewed the minute it goes off. The expansion has its drawbacks – mainly because its new systems are unpolished – but it really is awesome. There is no question if I’m playing it or not – I just do.