Way of the Totem

My Thoughts and Fears for Warlords

by on May.05, 2014, under General, Opinion

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, and mulling it over since it was announced, and figured I would share my thoughts so far about the next World of Warcraft expansion. Keep in mind that this is not some huge breakdown and review of what we know so far, merely my opinions and thoughts on what is to come.

So, we’re inching closer and closer to Warlords of Draenor being, at the very least, in a beta phase where people will begin to experience the content that is yet to come. We’re at the weird part of the current expansion where people are not logging in to game, and in fact are tending to play other games instead of WOW, while they wait for WoD to become playable.

Since it was announced at last years BlizzCon, I’ve been struggling with excitement and trepidation over what this will actually mean for me in the game. On one hand, I really like the things that are being done with stats, loot, the removal of upgrades and reforging, itemization changes, raiding changes and yes even healer changes. On the other hand, I’m starting to fear we’re going to get another Cataclysm.

If you don’t know, I really did not care for Cataclysm. Not to take away anything from those of you that did, but it just didn’t do anything for me. While the zones were different, and had been changed by the coming of Deathwing, they were fundamentally the same. No amount of changes could wipe away the number of hours that I had spent in those zones in the days of Vanilla WOW. The new zones as well weren’t very catching to me. While I did like questing in Uldum, I really did not care for Vashjir and Twilight Highlands felt like a zone that ended too early and felt too disjointed.  Deepholme was pretty cool, and probably the one I liked the most out of the new zones, but it suffered from blue-grey syndrome, where everything had the same color palette which sort of washed out what could have been an incredibly vibrant zone. Also, as someone who had previously snuck into Hyjal before you were supposed to be able to (yeap, I used to break that shit all the time and hang out with the bones of Archimonde), I wasn’t disappointed with the zone so much as it didn’t really feel like Hyjal to me. I would have loved to have some more nods to the previous incarnation of the zone than what we got. Dungeons were very well done in Cata, I just wish there would have been more of them. Raids left something to be desired. I loved the first set of raids, to a point. I did enjoy heading into Blackwing Descent, and going to a different part of the old Blackwing Lair raid than we got ot see before, I thought that was a nice touch and showed off more of the mountain.  I did not care for Firelands or Dragon Soul though. In a way, Cata was an entire expansion about revisits. Revisits to gear textures, revisits to zones and NPCs, revisits to raids. That really did not speak to me, and in fact, took a lot out of me in that expansion.

When Mists of Pandaria released, I felt rejuvenated in the game. I loved logging in, I loved questing, I loved the dungeons and I loved the raids. I loved exploring the world and seeking treasures. I have four level 90 toons right now, which is the most I’ve had since Wrath where I had 8 max level toons. I enjoy spending time in the game, and this is mostly because it’s an area that was, at the time, completely new. We did not know about the lore, we did not know the zones like the back of our hands, and there was a ton of subtlety to explore and discover. It felt, at least to me, like opening up Vanilla WOW back in the day for the first time. Exciting, and full of promise. Even now, I’m still running around finding new things or things that I previously missed while going through the expansion the first few times. I really enjoyed the most recent expansion.

My fear is that with WoD, mechanics for raids aside, is that it is going to be another complete revisit. Where it’s an expansion built on the success of an old expansion and relies on nostalgia to pull you through. I fear this because while I enjoyed Burning Crusade and had a lot of fun in it, I did not particularly care for Outlands as a whole. I know we’re going back in time or to an alternate time line or whatever, but so far nothing about this expansion has gripped me. Garrosh escapes pandaren captivity with the help of what will probably be the Infinite Dragon Flight, kicks off the expansion with the Dark Portal mishaps, and then what? We go and fight beside old NPCs? We alter history? Dunno. Some of the zones look cool, and it’s nice to see them before they get blown the fuck up, but I am not feeling compelled to play like I was with MoP. I don’t have nearly the same excitement that I did when Mists was first announced, I couldn’t wait to get into the game world, to explore, to learn, to uncover the lore of a land we had not visited yet.

I’ll still play, and I’ll still raid. I have fun with my friends in the game, but I’m hoping that something will happen to instill some form of enthusiasm in me, because right now nothing has really done it so far for me. All I keep hearing is “Like BC, but _____”. I think the mechanics sound interesting, but that doesn’t make me want to spend time in the game world and explore. Garrisons don’t excite me, because it’s like player housing, but really not. It has also changed from you being able to build it anywhere to you being assigned a plot of land. I think I like the idea of Wildstar’s Homesteads much better. Only time will tell, though, on how much time the game makes me want to spend in it.

Again, just my 2 copper on the topic. How about you? Are you excited for WoD? Do you have any concerns for the upcoming expansion?


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4 comments for this entry:
  1. Screwlewse

    Yea, I’m feeling the same. I also have this apprehension about seeing the likes of Durotan as a main NPC of the game and it screwing up my emotional attachments to him from the books. I have certain affinities for characters and some of them, I wish to not see in game. Also Outlands.. frigging Outlands.. I tried so hard to find something to like about it. I mean, Zangamarsh? Tekk Forest? I just never felt all that attached to any of them. I definitely feel attached to certain Wrath zones even tho I never did them when current. Actually, there isnt a zone in Northrend that I DONT like.. they all rocked questing through them.
    Regardless, I’m still going to have faith that they learned from the last two / three xpacs and things will work well.

  2. Crow

    I think that Garrisons are something of a wildcard at this point, since they’ve clearly been iterating on the design since they announced it at BlizzCon. There’s no way to tell how it’s going to turn your crank until it’s playable, sure, but I think it’s potentially the most exciting thing about the expansion aside from the standard questing/raiding paradigm.

    With regards to the feeling of WoD being a rehash of BC in the same way that Cataclysm was a rehash of the classic game… I disagree. The architecture (as in the construction of the zones themselves) in the revamped Cata zones was the same as classic, just burnt in a few places and with some stuff on fire. I think the big difference in WoD is that we’re going to see elements that are inspired by certain things we saw in Outland, but not identical in terms of architecture. I also think the zones will be as vibrant as the zones in Pandaria. What’s more, I get the sense that if you liked how playing in Pandaria felt, a big chunk of that might be because you were grounded while leveling up. Knowing that we’re going to be grounded in Draenor (potentially for the whole expansion) already changes the paradigm from Cataclysm dramatically, because that expansion tried to design with flying mounts in mind and it didn’t end up playing right.

    I don’t think you’re wrong to be concerned, of course. I just think that these concerns are going to be addressed by the expansion.

  3. lodur

    Yeah, I’m going to give it a chance, and I’m hoping I’ll be pleasantly surprised. The only point I would argue is that the flying being a big thing. I mean, I hit max level in Pandaria like 12 hours after release and was already flying around. So, not sure if that’s the disparity between Cata and MoP. It’s entirely possible that it is also just that I had preconceived notions of the New Cata Zones after so long. Only time will tell, hopefully we’ll get into a beta and be able to play around with it some and maybe get a feel for the game and how my affections for it will swell or fall.

  4. Thespius

    I agree with what you assert, Joe. However, I called it quits in WoW a few months ago. For me, I was getting tired of the raiding grind and merely needed a break. Tried dabbling in Wildstar, but I think I’m just MMO’d out for right now. Personally, I’m not a fan of oversimplification. I know that borders on the “catering to casuals” argument, but I don’t like feeling a game being “watered down.” Sometimes the challenge and brain power is good.

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