My problem concerns the current state of Battle for Azeroth. The current game is no longer as fun for me as it once was, when WoW felt much more like a world.
Blizzard, you have my utmost thanks for creating that wonderful world. When I heard you were going to let us, the fans, return to that world in Classic WoW, I felt elated. I was so grateful that I wanted to give the current WoW a chance, the game you put so much work into and insisted that it was the main way to play for so long. Last spring in 2018 I renewed my subscription after being unsubscribed for 8 years.
As I leveled my level 80 undead warlock to max level, all the good times came flooding back. I was so happy to be reunited with my character and continue his journey through your world. In Legion, I particularly liked the emphasis on class identity. The abilities we got from Artifact Weapons felt palpable and influential in the way each class played. As I came into Legion late, I didn’t experience much of its story or content, but what I did play was enjoyable enough.
I was excited about the potential of Battle for Azeroth. I was excited to see the wills of our heroes be tested. I was excited to witness the strain this war would place upon the world. However, this expansion does not feel that way. The pacing of this conflict is dreadfully slow. There is no sense of urgency in this war. I understand that the major story of this expansion is gated behind patches. All the same, the world does not feel as though it is dying, like it claims to be after it was stabbed through the heart by a planet-sized sword. The Horde and Alliance do not feel like they are in genuinely motivated and consequential warfare.
When it comes to the gameplay itself, BFA suffers greatly. I certainly hope Blizzard is aware of this by now, but currently the players do not have that much agency. So much of the game is constrained by true RNG with very little the players can do to influence the game in their favor. There is absolutely no feeling of accomplishment when you reach max level in this expansion, none of the palpable effects we felt in Legion. No new talent since lvl 100, no new ability, just a necklace that we pump azerite into without feeling much more powerful because of it.
For me, the best parts about Battle for Azeroth have been the stunning artwork, the interactions of the main character of this war (happens very little but it’s cool when it does), and the raiding. Raiding feels like one of the last remnants of the original WoW that remains. It feels epic, requiring amazing skill and teamwork to take down some of the biggest baddies the game has to offer.
Nearly every other aspect of the game has been altered from its original form, for the worse. The world feels disconnected and is no longer immersive. There is no sense of continuity when each dungeon and raid have difficulty settings. Racing through a mythic dungeon as fast as possible to “beat the time, or you get no loot!” feels completely antithetical to how a dungeon should be played. There is no sense of continuity when you complete the same world quests over and over. Increasing the level cap and item level of my character feels largely inconsequential, and does not immerse me in the fantasy of my class and character’s growth. Titanforging and warforging and whateverforging any kind of gear does not provide any sense of accomplishment. It just makes me feel like I’m lucky, like I’m gambling. Maybe WoW has always catered somewhat to a sense of gambling, be it collecting fictional loot or whatever, but in BFA it really just feels like the bare bones of a slot machine simulator; perfectly designed to be colorful and flashy and make the player feel happy-go-lucky and addicted. The problem is that there is so little in-game substance to make this justifiable.
For these reasons, I have once again unsubscribed from World of Warcraft. I was disappointed that there was no feedback option that came up to ask me why I unsubscribed. I hope you do receive this feedback and consider these points well, as many other players share the same feelings.
I will happily resubscribe this summer 2019 with the launch of Classic WoW, to dive into that wonderful immersive world once again.
Shaarn the Hallowed, Burning Legion