Legion’s way or the highway

Usually over the weekend I play quite a lot of WoW, and in Legion it has become the most fun time I have in the game, since I feel like I can actually putz around and do what I want — play a couple alts, gather some mats, pick up an achievement or two, run some old instances for that recipe or mount I covet, explore some areas I might have neglected when they were current, etc. However, this past weekend I was unable to play very much because of some family commitments (not the good kind, the entertaining-your-idiot-in-laws kind), and when I was a finally able to log on Sunday evening, of course I had a full array of emissaries to catch up on, and I actually saw someone flying around and realized that omg I had missed out on almost 3 days of Armies of the Legionfall rep and it would still be weeks before I could fly at this rate, not to mention I still had 4 more timewalking dungeons to do if I wanted a shot at the reward. It was not fun “catching up”.

And it dawned on me: Legion is WoW’s most restrictive, grindy, bossy expansion yet. Even WoD was preferable, I am starting to believe.

See, to my way of thinking, when I play this game a couple hours every night, I should not have to wait until a weekend to have actual fun doing it. Sure, I know I could technically drop out, ignoring raids and instances and gear and AP and flying achieves and professions and class halls and champion missions and emissaries and…

Oh wait, that’s pretty much this entire expansion.

There really is no “dropping out” if you want to play the current zones, you MUST grind endlessly. I am not at the point where I want to quit the game, but there is no denying it has become more of an irritation than a source of joy and whimsy. I am at a strange point where I enjoy the game in the abstract, but the daily activities are constant annoyances. In fact, Legion has taken pretty much every bad part of recent expansions and doubled down on them, all while Blizz explains to us how new and innovative it is, how they really learned lessons from player reactions to past expansions.

I am sick of being told when to log on. I am sick of feeling like I will miss the puny few hundred rep needed for flying if I fail to log on and do the BS dailies. I am already sick of trying to track random but extensive invasions, most of which occur in the middle of the freaking night or when normal people are at work or school, all because Blizz could not be troubled to configure them to servers, took the lazy way out technically just so they could brag about adding “content”. Hell, if they were going to be lazy about it, why not just resurrect the invasions from the pre-expansion? Those were fun, quick, and rewarding, and if you missed a couple it was no big deal because there were always some popping up. I guess players liked them too much, can’t have that.

I am sick of the ever-dangled carrot of flying. I am sick of the “just one more thing” never ending string of requirements. I am sick of the stupid little games Blizz plays to make sure you know they strongly disapprove of flying — which they themselves introduced years ago — but if you must have it, then you will sure as hell have to suffer to get it. I am sick of the rep game they are playing with Armies of the Legionfall — awarding minuscule amounts for daily quests; no emissaries to give additional bonus rep; daily quests do not hold over so if you miss a day you are out of lucK. And strangely, there have been no Kirin Tor emissaries — which apparently would award a 750 rep token — since 7.2 went live even though they seemed to have been every other day before 7.2. I am unamused by “secret” achievement and quest requirements that will award more rep (like the running of the maze without being detected).

I am sick of class halls, which are nothing more than garrisons with all the perks removed. I am especially sick of the hunter class hall, to which almost no creative effort was devoted in its development. It is bereft of any imagination. There is still no place to sit in the entire hall, the bartender sells only mana drinks, there is no mailbox, not even any real connection to classic hunter lore. It was clearly designed by someone coming up on a deadline, who did not give a bucket of warm spit about any result save meeting that deadline.

I am sick of being required to run dungeons and raids — including mythics — in order to pursue almost any other game path, for example professions.

I am sick of being told that currency for gear is a bad thing, then being forced to deal with currency for everything else — order hall resources, Legionfall war supplies, Timewarped badges, artifact power, nethershards, seals of Broken Fate…

I am sick of being told how I must play my alts, sick of that depressing sinking feeling of eternal grind I get when I consider leveling up one of them only to realize how complex and dragged out it will be: artifact quest, order hall campaign, all the grinds of the various gated class hall actions, profession requirements of quest lines and rep and dungeons and raids and lucky drops, the eternal disappointment of legendary drops, and of course the addition of one more endless AP grind for the new alt.

I am sick of my spec options being severely limited, sick of Blizz bragging about how they have removed all obstacles from being able to switch to any spec in your class, then placing huge boulders in your path like “good legendaries”, artifacts, AP, different crucial secondary stats and therefore different gear, etc. I am especially sick of Blizz imposing hybrid problems on pure dps classes, but refusing to give them any commensurate perks such as role options.

I am sick of getting higher level gear that is actually a step down for your power, sick of having to run simulations or consult a web site just to figure out if a piece of gear is an upgrade. This is especially galling when we recall Blizz’s lecture to us on the evils of having to do “math” for reforging.

I am sick of empty promises to fix the near-total destruction of hunters as a class in Legion, sick of half-assed tweaks that do nothing to repair the fundamental problems Blizz engineered for the class. And I am sick of class overhauls every expansion, from a team that clearly is incapable of balancing their changes until the end of an expansion, at which time they stupidly decide it is time to repeat the process.

I am heartily, absolutely, positively, without a question, sick of RNG being applied to every aspect of the game. And I am enraged every time Ion Hazzikostas lectures us about how “fun” it is.

Look, here’s my point (at last): Everyone sets their own goals in this game, and pursuit of them is supposed to be fun and ultimately rewarding. Until Legion, players have been largely free to find their own path to those goals. But Legion effectively removed all side roads in favor of one super highway. And if you find an obstacle along that highway, too freaking bad for you, there are no detours. Your only choice is to remove it in the approved manner or stop all forward progress. Blizz has argued that Legion gives players a wide range of options, but that is not true — what it gives players is a wide range of requirements, all of which must be participated in to achieve virtually any game goal. Players are left with the “options” of sticking to the approved path or adjusting their goals downward. 

This is not player choice, this is nanny state game play.

6 thoughts on “Legion’s way or the highway

  1. When I saw I had an additional quest on the island I was excited. Then I found out it was for the Tailoring Legendary pattern. Even more excited. Then I saw the 4 quests. Mythic Arcway, Mythic Court of Stars, and a boss in Nighthold, which I hope I can get in LFR. Then there is the collect 100 off humanoids on the island full of demons????? I killed one creature and happened to glance at the quest tracking and saw an icon, so I clicked the creature again, then the icon, got 8 of the 100. Ok, this isn’t too bad. Killed another of the same type creature, no icon to click. Killed another, same. Reloaded UI, nada. So I abandoned the quest and retook it. Still not there. Finally exasperated I went to the dreaded WoWhead site to look it up. It appears that occasionally something I kill, may be wearing a type of cloth to loot. Up to me to check every time. I would rather have been told, just go kill 100. Or it be automatic. But I am beyond tired of running Mythics for professions that are worse than the gear you get out of LFR.

    1. Yeah, I decided if I get the LW pattern incidentally, fine, and if not also fine. Irritatingly, for LW you must choose whether you want the mail or the leather legendary pattern, you cannot get both with one quest line. Like LW haven’t been rendered useless enough already in Legion ….

  2. I see all the grinds as optional except AP. That is the most frustrating for me by far. I started out as Fire and I’ve been lucky and dropped two of the best DPS legendary items. They don’t even take tier slots.

    I’d love to play Arcane on some fights, but I have only one great dps legendary and an okay utility legendary. However, both use tier slots and (of course) they’re the two strongest tier items I have.

    So when I run a sim I see that my Fire spec does 50% more than my Arcane spec, so there’s no way I can switch for raids etc. It means I can’t justify putting AP into Arcane otherwise I’ll be hurting my Mythic progression on my main spec. Even if I had the time I’m not prepared to grind the AP twice. I feel trapped by the game mechanics, and that’s no fun at all: we should have more choices available to us. How on earth the dual spec dps/healers in my guild manage it I’ll never know. I have huge respect for their industry, but Blizz should never have forced that workload on them in the first place.

    When guildies helpfully tell me that Frost is the strongest spec for NH I just laugh.

    I have severely limited time to play outside of two nights of raiding, so I’m just doing the Emissary and as many BS quests as I can stomach (which isn’t many: they’re dire). Most of my AP and Legionfall rep seems to come from the mission table these days, so I’ll just play that part of the game as casually as possible and put my effort into the raids.

    1. “I feel trapped by the game mechanics” — yes, exactly. I am truly baffled by Blizz’s inability to assess overall game “feel” in the same way their players do. I am sure it does not feel so restrictive when you play on company time on selective servers with other expert players, and when you know all the little workarounds and tricks.

      During the rollout of Legion, Blizz made a huge deal out of assuring us they understood that investment in artifacts meant they could not screw around with big changes to specs, since it would be unfair to players to have them invest in one only to have it drastically change from what they thought they were getting. And then they proceeded to screw with the specs big time. I suspect they did not start out intending to tell a big fat lie, but that is what they have done. It is the direct result of their inept restructuring of the classes and their total incompetence at balancing individual specs as well as the meta-class structure as a whole.

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