It’s a grim time for WoW bloggers. We are nowhere near even a “dot 5” patch release, there is no longer any anticipation for Classic, BFA remains at best a mediocre expansion, and we are about to enter Blizz’s traditional de facto news blackout prior to Blizzcon. Bloggers have to get pretty creative to come up with engaging topics. Ones I have considered and rejected lately:
- What’s your favorite horse color of all the dozens of Alliance mounts? Isn’t that chestnut one just dreamy?
- What really happened to Mankrik’s wife? I think she got sick of the brute and saw her chance to escape when the attack happened. Let’s dish!
- Let’s speculate on some other great lore — was N’zoth a villain or hero, really? Will the Old Gods return? Will we ever see Odyn and Helya again? Let’s get back to Mankrik’s wife, that hussy! zzzzzzz….. No, I’m awake!
- Anyone think it’s slightly ironic that the most vehemently-purist Classic proponents are the commercial streamers, exploiting it in a way never dreamed of in the original?
- Is the WoW game economy headed for a recession?
- What WoW activity do you like the least? And if you love Archaeology, what’s wrong with you?
- Bets on which Blizz execs depart at the end of BFA?
Well, you get the idea — I got nothin’ but a few disconnected thoughts. Herewith:
Blizzcon. No clue what it will tell us if anything about WoW. Indications/rumors so far point to it being mainly about Blizzard properties other than WoW. Matthew Rossi over at Blizzard Watch had a nicely-reasoned piece yesterday explaining why “the big reveal” about WoW at Blizzcon may turn out to be information on 8.3, and that we will therefore hear nothing about that patch until then.
I don’t know about you, but to me this is pretty depressing. I was hoping we might actually get some hype about the next expansion, but I am beginning to realize the most we are likely to get is some kind of cute little tease from Mr. Game Director Hazzikostas. I think Rossi is right, and they will pump up 8.3 as some kind of Big Thing. Bee mount for Alliance! Not a horsey! Oooooo! And a real rock ‘em sock ‘em final boss in the final raid tier!
Almost certainly Blizz will also take several victory laps over Classic, hyping the success and over-discussing the gated content schedule. They might even drop cute little hints about possible follow-on Classic
zzzzzzz….. No, I’m awake!
Battle for Azeroth. This expansion held so much promise, and it looked spectacular on the planning board, but it has fallen flat. I was mentally done with it months ago. Blizz designed beautiful, innovative zones and very decent raids, but their class design, gear system, and social changes turn those spectacular zones and raids into dull, nasty, unpleasant grinds.
Their obsession with esports has given us raid bosses even at normal and heroic levels with more mechanics in a single fight than existed in entire expansions in Classic.
They have driven us to using Cloud super-servers just to determine if a piece of gear is an upgrade for us — and the kicker is that often even a 30-ilevel “upgrade” is actually not. Feels bad, just bad.
They have destroyed any chance for armor crafters to earn gold.
They have designated winner and loser classes and specs to a degree previously not seen. In the process, they have handicapped small semi-casual guilds who do not have the luxury of selecting “the best” class for a given raid boss, or who do not have enough dedicated tanks and healers to field a regular M+ team.
When pushed by Corporate to cut slots, the first place they did so is in Community outreach, thus putting to rest any notion that they care about player satisfaction.
In a way, BFA is an even worse expansion than WoD was. WoD had one obvious, fixable problem — lack of content. Sure, there were other mistakes, but lack of content drove most of them. (For example, people stayed in garrisons because there was nothing much else to do.) But BFA’s problems are larger and more complex. They are a result of a series of smaller design decisions made apparently in a vacuum, and these stove-piped systems have combined to one grand miserable environment. There seems to have been no top-level design direction, just a series of independent departmental developers doing whatever the hell they thought would be cool. Some of it indeed might be cool, but in combination with other designs it can — and often does — turn out to be horrible.
Classic. I think I am pretty much done with it. I had thought I might actually stick with it long enough to max level a character, but that seems less and less likely now. It is just too much of a dull grind. I am beginning to resent mechanics like 5-minute runs from one point to another, because they are stupid wastes of what to me is pretty precious leisure time. The quality of life inconveniences have begun to overwhelm my enjoyment of the other parts.
Camp has been fun, Mom, but I am ready to come home….
Late summer reading. Today is, of course, September 11, a grim anniversary in the United States. I beg your indulgence for a moment, but one of the greatest, most poignant stories to come out of that terrible day was the story of Rick Rescorla, a decorated Vietnam veteran, a platoon leader in the storied Battle of the Ia Drang, an account of which is detailed in Hal Moore’s book We Were Soldiers Once… And Young.
Rick had long ago left the Army and ended up as the security chief for Morgan Stanley in the Twin Towers. He is personally credited with saving the lives of hundreds on that day, even booming out Cornish songs of valor to calm terrified employees as he moved them down the stairwells. Rick Rescorla, who had survived the horror of the Ia Drang, died saving lives on September 11, 2001. Fate is a funny old thing….
If you have some time on your hands, read Hal Moore’s book. Read about Rick Rescorla. Read about the nobility of the human spirit.