Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Has anyone else felt like Battle for Azeroth is a bit… familiar? Like Legion 2.0?

The situation didn’t really strike me until last night. I do not have a character at max level – I have been just gathering and crafting pretty much nonstop – but I have progressed enough to unlock the Garrison. Or War Table. Or whatever the hell it’s called now. It’s pretty much exactly the same interface as the one in Legion, up to an including the same art assets. The same chance for bonus loot. The same method of collecting resources. World Quests are the same. Emissaries are the same… I think. Rare mobs and treasure chests peppering the map are the same.

On the one hand, this is great. These systems work. Remember Daily Quests? We had those since TBC and everyone was sick of them. World Quests on the other hand, feel materially different despite providing the same function. Artifact Power got a bit goofy near the end of Legion, but overall design structure of having steady progression over the life of an expansion without incentivizing mindless grinding worked (crazy mythic raiders excluded). So we have Azerite replacing AP without even needing to replace the term “AP.” Double efficiency!

On the other hand… I dunno.

There is a lot to be said about the penchant of Blizzard devs to throw out the baby, bathwater, and kitchen sink simultaneously, between releases. How many times have warlocks been overhauled, even mid-expansion? At the same time, I feel like the devs have perhaps hewn a bit too close to what came before with BfA. Where are the “Aha!” moments? Where are the game-changers? Where are the elements that justify an 8.0 instead of a 7.4? Is a bunch of new maps enough?

The launch of BfA was so smooth because there was no demarcation between it and Legion.

I suppose we should be happy, yeah? Less absurd content droughts, more design systems that clearly work instead of wild experiments. Any yet, my brow is furrowed. What is Blizzard doing with all that time they saved? No new talents, no new classes, no new races (Allied Races are reskins, IMO), no new systems. Maybe the island battles with the “advanced AI” will change things? Am I missing something else?

I remember when Farms were introduced in MoP, and it blew my mind. Or the rare elite mobs that dropped cool (and functional!) toys to use. Then Garrisons in WoD. Of course, the Garrison wasn’t necessarily good design insofar as they kept people locked in a personal instance all the time, but from a player perspective they were really compelling (and rewarding). To this day, I still have several characters doing chores around the Garrison, crafting bags and such.

Then there were the Artifacts in Legion. To this day, it blows my mind how much content Blizzard packed in there. Like, do you guys understand how much class-specific content was added in one expansion? There was some recycling when it came to unlocking some of the spec-specific weapons – I groaned every time I got sent back to Karazhan on alts – but everything was basically brand new per class. It’s a real shame alts were actively punished so much during Legion, but I may end up going back at some point to finish the class campaigns just for the lore. My jaw hit the floor when my Death Knight started taking orders from the Lich King, for example.

Now, in Battle for Azeroth we can be excited for… uh… hmm.

I’m not looking to be buried under 2+ full skill bars, or DPS rotations that require an addon to perform. I don’t necessarily even want something that will compel me to spend 10 minutes maintaining it every day, three expansions later. But I do very much enjoy a new puzzle to wrap my mind around and optimize. And I’m not seeing anything remotely like that in Battle for Azeroth thus far. Just a lot of reused, recycled systems with new numbers to the right of the plus sign.

That is what character progression MMOs are about, of course. Usually, there’s more spice though.

Posted on August 20, 2018, in WoW and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Blizzard is known to taking players’ complaints and driving them to another extreme, or fixing the things that are not broken :)

    It seems so far that they did everything right. Keeping the familiar systems with a minor life improvement tweaks here and there, while at the same time focusing on content.


  2. After Legion I wanted only more of the same. Questing in Suramar was outstanding. There are some storylines in BattleForAutoinvite, they are good, I now know Taelia very well. We’ll see what content major patches will bring. And I still read the text of every quest on my first character.

    But I totally didn’t want different class abilities. I feel so weak right now. DPS is often like pulling teeth for me. It was not so bad even after hunters stopped using mana and started using focus.

    Expeditions and Warfronts are supposed to be the new “Wow!” thing I guess. We have yet to see them.

    I like the reworked professions. I have only herbalism and minining maxed out but I don’t expect I will have to go to dungeons for recipes for my crafting professions. And leatherworkers can now make bows!


    • Some of the Rank 3 recipes seem to have reputation requirements on them instead of mythic dungeon runs, which is… kinda better? Maybe not. I do have a sense though that you can almost have a main toon that you focus on reputations and then simply swap their entire professions around on as needed.


  3. For my tastes, all any expansion needs are new maps and new levels. I’d do without any innovations if the trade-off was twice as many maps and twice as many levels. I think it’s because I developed my understanding of what an “expansion” was in the days when it basically meant bolting another full game the same as the one I was already playing onto the top. Or better yet the side. Anything less than that (which is everything in every MMO these days) is a let-down.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. They are finally doing what they were supposed to be doing since TBC: add more content to the same game that the previous players liked. Instead they gave a completely new game and looked puzzled when their old players complained and quit.

    Legion wasn’t a failure. So they stick to it. Good for them. I don’t see any reason why a Legion player shouldn’t play BfA.

    If they would do away the catchup mechanisms, I’d return playing.


  5. Honestly, it feels more like the start of MoP. Not a lot of new systems or mechanics, but some hard grinds up front and lots of lore. I think it bodes well for the game because, except for some obvious issues (long content drought at then end, uninteresting pre-Siege questing content, pvp grind for the best pve item), they really hit their stride there. I’ve been enjoying myself a lot.

    Oh, the art design in Underrot is soooo good.


%d bloggers like this: