BfA: Unveiling The Big Picture

I’ve been observing sadness in blogs I’m reading about Tides of Vengeance. I’m not experiencing the same, and let me explain why.

The core problem about BfA plot so far was that it felt disconnected from everything – and frankly it felt falling apart.

In Legion: we never saw any massive demon armies after our defeat except for a small Azsuna enclave. We went somewhere else to get the pillars, forging a new plan. Any demons we met on the way were some minuscule raiding parties. Players asked why are we fighting some drogbar, vrykul and naga instead of demons?

Likewise in BfA. After the climactic battle for Lordaeron, both factions understood they cannot do anything else in their current disasterous state, and they left to different corners of the world to lick their wounds and win some new allies. Logical as it may be, we were distracted by new zones and their problems, and the narrative just didn’t feel connected.

I think one of the major problems was also dividing the Horde / Alliance leveling experience. The zones in itself are gorgeous, with awesome ambience and stories. But both factions got little to none development at the enemy continent – the best we had acquired were small hiking camps, not any significant outposts. During world quests we were fighting the local wildlife or hostile savages, running Magni’s and Tortollans’ errands. There was nothing too epic in the vein of the main narrative. Even the one and only warfront looked like a battleground, a friendly match rather than war. And that’s what discouraged us.

It is all being fixed in Tides of Vengeance now.

  • Tyrande is undergoing the merciless transformation. This could be compared to Illidan accepting the power of the Skull of Gul’dan which granted him demon powers, or Arthas embracing Frostmourne.
  • Night elves are driving the most brutal assault to claim their home back. It is no longer a freindly match with your momma jokes, it is a battle for mutual eradication, merciless and cruel.
  • The new war campaign is no longer a stealth mission (mostly), but it launches massive armies on the enemy shores. It is not a careful stab in the back and fleeing before the patrols arrive – these are well-prepared military invasions. Incursions count as well.
  • We see many races putting their forces into battle, trying to actively undermine the enemy’s efforts and not in stealth raiding parties, but with direct bombardment of the major cities and heavy machinery.
  • Finally, we see Jaina and Sylvanas in person making their appearance and actively participating in the war effort – putting them in front line is a sign of the coming storm.

I see now how all the events are starting to spiral around the one stem, the one core. Not that we didn’t expect this before, but now, when you see it with your own eyes, do you feel this all connected?

I think of Brennadam: it never had a chance to bloom as a Storm’s Wake capital in our hearts. The most part of it was destroyed by war upon our arrival. Shouldn’t it be better if we grew to like this city first? And deal with its citizens before it was attacked?

BfA just had to introduce Zandalar and Kul Tiras, tell their stories before the actual war was launched on its lands. During the past months we learned the significance of the points we are attacking now, what happened there and what is to be expected from the local communities. These are not no-name places now, but points of interest we care about. This had to be done, the only question is: how much time should we have had for the initiate problem solving and acquaintance?

Should the patch be launched a month sooner? Maybe it would have fixed the attitude, because surely 8.0. felt stale for myself by the end of November.

And yet, the world has got a new breath now. I do feel the work and effort we’ve done in the past months is starting to pay off. We know the core stories and the continents as our own fingers, and it is time to paint them with new colors (mostly bloodred). Both continents and factions now intertwine to form a common narrative – a narrative Bllizzard has always delivered.

Blizzard sees the big picture, and they are damn right that we will appreciate the expansion after we see it too. Maybe too much hope put into island expeditions, but content pace has definitely failed them in this autumn.

But it is already happening. The big picture is unveiling. The reason to be happy about every new bit of content. I am.

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9 thoughts on “BfA: Unveiling The Big Picture

  1. I think I have a disconnect because I haven’t done anything Alliance side. When Legion launched, I boosted an Alliance character to see the entry quests from the other side. What I experienced left me with a distaste for how they portrayed what happened as “It’s the Hordes fault, they ran away and left us to die”. It was difficult for me. BfA I have no desire to see the entry questline because of the experience I had two years ago. I am angry enough in how they are portraying my faction and the action they are writing for Sylvanas. I feel detached from the whole story. To me it feels like, here we go again, we show up to someplace new and make a mess. Leaders attacked and killed, general upheaval of everyday life for another race of people. All to further the name of conflict. Our side or theirs.

    While o suspect you may be right, and that if we give it Time it will all make sense. My fear is that there won’t be anyone left to experience it. I’ve lost a few people that said they felt disconnected from the game, it wasn’t fun, it was requiring too much time to complete things. We lost a full guild from my server because there aren’t enough players for them to field a Mythic team. Our best guild on the server hung up progression at 3/8. While the game design may be fine for the big population servers. It’s killing the little ones. There is just a general malaise about the game. It all feels like design to force us to stay logged in, instead of giving us the desire to get home as fast as we can to get logged in.

    I know I am probably a minority when it comes to feeling like this, but I feel like we’ve been down this road before, and I would rather watch an old movie and wait for things to improve, than to log in and do a few quests to get some AP, or some rep reward.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think also that I’ve reached a point where I’m tired of the us v them distractions taking up story development until we get to a point where we come together to beat the real bad guy. Maybe it’s just that they have fallen back to the red v blue story trope one too many times.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’re spot on anout it now being a brutal not-subtle war and that’s exactly where my disconnect with WoW is. I dont want to be part of a Horde that stood by and watched the tree be attacked and I don’t want to be around to see the Night Elves launch a revenge.
    Starting this game in Cata, most of my game play has been us v an external big bad. This current Horde v Alliance expac has removed all enjoyment I have for the game.
    I haven’t done a single 8.1 patch campagin or quest and at the moment I’m not sure if or when I will.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So… the whole Pandaria being about Horde/Alliance war was ok with you? :)

      The full-scale bases and attacks against each other, Theramore genocide – nothing better than Teldrassil, worse because NONE survived except for Jaina, the unleashing of Sha manifestation of the Old Gods, the destruction of Jade Forest and Valley of Eternal Blossoms, the purge of Dalaran, the fascist regime within the Horde claiming that only orcs are worthy to be in, and civil war which nearly wiped the Horde out of Azeroth surface was BETTER HOW?

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      • It was the first time I had really seen Ally v Horde and to me even though it was civil war it never came across so personally. The game was still new enough for me, having started right before Dragon Soul came out that I wasn’t invested in either side. Either way, personally, this expansion feels worse. I’m sorry my justification of why I don’t like this expac over others might seem weak, however something about this one feels redone and tired.

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  3. “The merciless transformation” — I like that as a description for Illidan, for Arthas, and for Tyrande. There is no going back now, for her, to the woman who wore the same clothes and hairstyle for 10,000 years (seriously, why is it that Tyrande looks the same in Well of Eternity as she looks in the modern world up until her Ascension, whereas Illidan and Malfurion have simpler (and therefore younger) looking designs in Well of Eternity?).
    It’s also, I think, a good description of Jaina in this expansion; though without having played any of the Alliance side yet, I’m just making a guess based on the Warbringers short and the Battle of Lordaeron cinematic.

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    • Jaina is on a quest of finding her true self and fighting her own demons of the past. She came home, was in jail, was thrown into a death realm to fight ghosts of the past and nearly stayed there. She became Lord Admiral, a true Kul Tiran and reunited with her family, the family that hated and despised her ever since Daelin Proudmoore’s demise in Warcraft 3 (Rexxar killed him for the Horde, and Jaina didn’t stop him, because Daelin was a warbringer, and she wanted to live in peace with Thrall’s Horde after Legion invasion). She’s finally at peace with herself – it’s the first time since Theramore. We were on a quest to help her. She’s calm and almost serene now, a true leader of her homeland and ready to protect it at all costs.

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  4. I will say the patch is giving a bit of fresh air to the staleness. But I still sadly feel disconnected for the most part. The only thing I’ve found enticing is doing faction assaults with warmode on. I did enjoy seeing Tyrande act finally too.

    I think my disconnect drives from the story. I am not a fan of the faction conflicts and have never really been.

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