Why is there so much forced linearity now?

in legion you could do any of the zones in whatever order you wanted.

in bfa, you could do zuldazar, nazmir, and voldun/drustvar, stormsong valley, tiragarde sound in any order you wanted.

in shadowlands, you’re forced to do bastion → maldraxus → ardenweald → revendreth. none of the story there feels like it leads each zone one after the other. furthermore, in BFA you are forced to do zuldazar → nazmir → voldun/tiragarde sound → stormsong valley → drustvar in order, with the opposite faction foothold quests in between.

why? who asked for this?

Linearity leads to better story telling that was the reason. But well, let’s just say current story doesn’t justify it.


The main reason for the linearity was supposedly to tell a cohesive story in an actual sequence of events.

Unfortunately, Blizzard forgot the actual sequence of events to give the story any decent amount of cohesiveness.

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In Shadow Lands you are only required to use the linear leveling once (for story reasons) and then can level in any order using threads of fate.

I have no clue why they made BFA linear…especially since it didnt start that way.

Forgot to address that, actually…

Did they change BFA? Back in the day, you could do any of the zones in any order you wanted, and some of the incursion foothold quests were interspersed between, but you could pick and choose.

That’d be a shame if it’s just a linear path through that now too.

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Yeah, new players and alts leveling in BFA have to use a linear path. They do it by only giving one quest option and also scaling each zone to a different level range

Horde starts in Zuldazar and Alliance starts in Tirigarde Sound…which really sucks for alliance since that isnt the best story

BC was kind of 1 zone at a time, but it was nice that you werent shoehorned into a storyline and you could clear the specific quest hubs 1 at a time and fully finish the zone before you moved on to the next. Even though it was the same follow up zone as the characters before you could level by dungeons the next time round or skip some outposts and challenge yourself entering the next zone at its base level

Forced storylines are bleh, glad we got threads of fate for SL, but threads mode is kinda boring, or dungeon spam. Not much room for mixing and matching. Theres torg spam i guess, for the worst possible dungeon experience. Hope you like dull colours and the same floors 100 times

Stormsong Valley is a mess of a zone. A short stint in Lovecraftian like lore, then things. Just things.

I could only do the SL story once. I tried on another character some time after release and got only so far and changed it to the fate option. I’m sure there are players who absolutely enjoyed it. I just never did.

I don’t really mind it. I know in Dragonflight the order I believe is going to be Waking Shores, Ohn’ahran Plains, Azure Span, and Thaldrazus. I think choosing which zone you want to start in generally is better though.

The Lovecraftian bit is the only interesting part. The rest is like they took the most generic human questlines they could think of and tossed them in randomly.

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They wanted to tell a more linear story this time. Which is fine. It’s their game, their choice. But it has made shadowlands my least favourite leveling experience since probably vanilla. Not simply for the lack of choice, but because the linear story they wanted to tell just didn’t do much for me.

I assume you mean when leveling through BFA now, 9.0 onwards, right? Yeah I don’t know why they did that. I know that despite the freedom to choose during BFA the zones technically did have a “correct” order to them in the overarching narrative. It was just not a big deal if you didn’t match up to it. I suspect it is to fit with BFA now being the default starting experience for new players. They wanted to keep it on rails and less confusing.

Would be nice if that linearity only applied to new players. Still I find leveling in those zones a million times more compelling that shadowlands leveling though, simply because I think the zones are better and the stories are more enjoyable.

Yah i’m not a fan of the forced linearity either. Also not a fan of having to do scenario’s at the beginning of an expansion, even if after the first time i’m allowed to skip it via a “i’ve heard this tale before”. WoD is the only exception for me with its forced intro because from the time you go through the Dark Portal with Khadgar and everyone else and the time you sail away the whole situation is just tense, especially that last part when Khadgar is all “run! runnnnn!”.

Even though TBC is probably my most favorite expac, i prefer how WOTLK and Cata handled your intro to an expac. You can pick between Borean or Fjord and i liked them both pretty equally. Sometimes i would do one then the other before going to DB. Also liked the way Cata lets you chose between Hyjal and Vashj’ir. Though i prefer Vashj’ir slightly more for faster leveling due to the 450% seahorse mount vs having to stick to the ground in Hyjal.