TL;DR I don’t like the expansion. I don’t outright hate it, but it’s not a super engaging or high quality experience that I feel really dropped the ball in terms of innovating and going back towards good ideas and actually making me feel super welcome in this game. It’s a really stagnant experience and just feels like Blizzard playing it safe in all the wrong ways. At the end of the day it functions, but that’s all there is to it.
Now, onto the main course as it were. The long version where I’m going to try and collect my thoughts as well as I can to present them. I’m going to break into the positives and negatives of each thing as we go.
Something I can say I feel really improved from the past few expansions. I haven’t felt this good about a set of zones since Cataclysm released. Each zone is unique and there is a lot of variety in terms of quests and things to do. By no means do I feel things are perfect. There are still too many cramped areas, but at least they are a little more spread out now. I think the zone designers want to stuff as much detail into the world as they can but they at least are reeling it back in a little bit.
The cities are a bit of a mess though. Massive cities are cool and all, but if you want me to hang around there it needs to be accessible. Otherwise I’m going to spend time in Orgrimmar/Stormwind where a bank/auction house/easy transport to other zones outside of BFA content exists.
It astounds me they haven’t learned their lesson yet when it comes to designing hub cities. They are really cool for Roleplay though, when you can have it. But outside of RP their functionality leaves much to be desired.
The best zone I feel is Vol’dun. I’m a desert aesthetic kind of guy and it’s just a cool place to be in. Plus, we get the Vulpera as an added bonus.
I generally liked the story and quest experience we had this go around. There was lots of cool little bits of lore or interesting things to do. I never really felt forced into a zone as I genuinely wanted to keep going to see what would happen next. 100% better than Legion of which only had 2 zones I really wanted to be in at all.
There are way too many side quests though. If you want to experience the story you’re going to need to pass some of them up lest you want to finish it out at 120. Kind of crazy how you just get strung along from area to area. Really felt that at times you couldn’t go 50 feet without stumbling into another side quest.
The max level story quests in the other factions zones are alright. Story is a bit of a mess though we ain’t got to where I’m going to go into it fully yet.
World quests are part of questing. I hate world quests. We’ll surely be touching upon the various reasons why throughout my assessment of the expansion, but here we go. I don’t like doing repeatable versions of quests, much less many of them being things I did while leveling. I didn’t enjoy dailies and I don’t enjoy new dailies with a different coat of paint.
I absolutely despise that I am forced into this kind of content to grind for things. Daily content always used to be relatively optional if you weren’t someone trying to push your content to the max. Now it’s mandatory for pretty much every player because everyone wants flying and allied races. It’s malignant, malevolent, downright lazy game design and is a festering growth upon the game.
Allied Races and Pathfinder.
I like the idea of getting new races to play with, of course, but as mentioned above I absolutely hate the delivery system. Blizzard literally just gave us a bunch of reskins or retooled models with none of the interesting things new races used to get.
I think plenty of the Allied races seem cool. Really sucks when everything is behind a grind. Especially because this is a game we pay for. Races and Flying shouldn’t be time-gated. We’re buying the expansion up front and PAYING A SUB FEE. These are the kind of tactics that Free to Play games use and to make matters worse sometimes the grind is easier in those.
Blizzard put less effort into designing these races and then strings them along in front the player who may be interested in playing them. If I could change one thing, it would be this. Just give us the races outright like you used to, we already bought your expansion. And no starting at level 20 which at worst takes someone an hour or two does not make up for the dozen+ hours spent grinding reputation just so I can make my dwarf have a darker skin color or give my draenei some glowing tattoos.
Flying should just be given to you once you hit 120. You can reasonably assume someone did the content and even if they didn’t why would Blizzard care. You are getting their money, it shouldn’t be hard to actually care about your players once in a while and just give them something instead of making everything a drawn out grind. Honestly decisions like these make me feel like Blizzard hates me and other players for existing and playing their game.
Weapon and Armor Design.
It’s okay. Honestly there just isn’t a lot for me to say here. There are few really nicely designed weapons, The new Teebu, that weird beehive weapon, etc. But there is nothing particularly standout that makes me want to wear it. I find myself still transmogging into things from expansions past with very few items grabbing my interest in terms of design. Nothing is outright terrible, it’s just passable.
The Story and the Lore.
There won’t be a lot of kind words in this segment. Some of the new creatures are cool, the witches from Drustvar and all those twisted creations. I like the Vulpera and their story for what it is. I like Jaina and Magni. The rest is just alright or really just drops the ball hard.
There are SO MANY baffling story decisions that were made during this expansion that it kind of feels like they really wanted to force all these dumb things in with zero quality control.
Sylvanas, Thanks I hate it. Jokes aside, what the heck are you doing. Sylvanas doesn’t need to commit genocide. So help me if she gets redeemed I’ll tear my hair out, and I’m already starting to go bald I don’t need to lose more hair. I don’t need her burning down the tree. If your goal was to make me hate the character, congratulations, but somehow I feel like that’s not your full intentions. There are plenty of moments where it feels like I’m supposed to root for this character when nothing she’s ever done makes me feel like that should be the case at this point.
There are lots of inconsistencies within the expansion and unless things have changed 8.1 seems more than happy to continue upon that baffling path of where this faction war is just getting stuffed down the throat of the player base with little care.
The Mag’har and AU Draenor. LOL. What a mess. What a god damn mess. Somehow you took one of better aspects of Warlords of Draenor and turned it into a mess. Just nothing redeemable here.
Same goes for Void Elves. I know that’s ‘LEGION’ kind of, but really I still can’t get over the stupid lore black hole they got spat out from.
Saurfang is boring. He just is. He’s the orc posterchild for 'wrought with demons, strength and honor kind of thing. He’s just there and I don’t really want to see him succeed beyond not wanting a Sylvanas redemption story.
Magni. I will say I’m interested to see where the whole Azeroth is bleeding thing is going with this guy. But man it’s just an unusual turn of events. One of the few characters I don’t dislike their direction though. Maybe it’s innate Dwarven bias from my love of fantasy dwarves, but I like my dwarves and I like what they’re doing with Moira as well, even though she’s still on the side-lines and not a major lore figure yet. Dwarves feel good, and I like the Dark Irons a lot even though I got to grind for them.
Getting to see Jaina go home and reunite with her family was nice. I liked the way the story played out and there are some great moments buried in here.
Everything else is just there. There’s just a lot of weird stuff going on at the moment and I don’t enjoy it. The faction war is forced and there’s nothing super engaging going on story wise or it just makes me hate it.
The Dungeons and Raids.
Well. I don’t hate them. That’s a plus I suppose, but there’s not one dungeon I really am enticed to run. Maybe Freehold, as messy and annoying it is, it’s a really cool place to be but I just like Pirates so.
Weak versions of the Scenario system from Mists of Pandaria. Instead of being neat little lore tid-bits we get to grind resource and kill mobs just like out in the real world, with no direction to be found. Yeah I don’t like this feature, it doesn’t make me want to go experience it and the fact they feel they need to add even more rewards means they know people aren’t doing them because quite frankly they aren’t worth doing.
THESE WERE REALLY COOL, the first few times you do them. But you do them some more and it really wears out its welcome. With no interesting variety or changing it up we’re left with a system that feels gutted and dead. It had interesting ideas and failed to implement them in interesting ways. Kind of sad the two main expansion features are total flops.
Yikes. Some classes like my mage and rogue feel pretty good to play but when I log into my hunter or my priest there’s just no desire to want to play and level those characters at all. It feels stale, we need a good shake up and not a regression where we just take things out and don’t replace them like they did here.
Nothing great design wise can be found this expansion and that’s a real shame.
To end my post on a positive note let me gush about the music for a bit. There are so many fantastic compositions for this expansion and it’s the one singular core aspect of WoW that has never failed to bring me into this world and immerse me in ways that very few games can.
It just always is on point and I love it. Some of my favorites,