The party’s over

At some point in any transition — real or virtual — you stop thinking about the future in the abstract and realize what it will really mean to you personally. Your brain transitions from “some day” to a concrete time estimate like “tomorrow” or “next Thursday”. You finally begin to think of your current situation in terms of history, and the imminent future becomes much more real. That is what I think happened for me with Blizz’s announcement yesterday of the new Legion Alpha Build.

The tipping point was the announcement that, as of this build, all garrison reward missions would award only garrison resources, no more gold. We all knew this was coming, it should not be a shock to anyone. But somehow, the realization that the gold bonanza that has been one of the few highlights of WoD was coming to a screeching halt served to make Legion loom larger in my mind. It is going to happen, not “some day”, but “in 3 or 4 months” (or maybe more likely 6 or 7).

I wish I could say this was a comforting thought.

As I imagine the next few months unfolding, I see a period of real pain, after the pre-expansion event and before Legion goes live. I see that period as one where some of the few really nice things about WoD will disappear and the most gut-wrenching changes of Legion — like huge class changes — will be implemented only partially, not offset by things like your artifact weapon. We will be forced to deal with a Legion class and Legion limitations in a WoD world. Not a pleasant prospect.

Of course, this is the way Blizz always moves to a new expansion, again there is nothing really surprising about it. And in some ways it is a good process, in that you get to become at least passingly familiar with your new class before you are plunged into the new expansion world. I am not sure how else they could effect a reasonable transition, but that does not mean I am looking forward to it. The key will be how long it lasts. A couple of weeks is fine, but anything longer would seem brutal to me.

My worry is that they will feel the need to get something — anything — on the table come early or mid summer, but that the expansion will not go live until near the end of September. And since they failed to plan WoD in any sort of competent manner and consequently have no third patch to keep people occupied, the only possibility for getting something out there is the pre-expansion event. Which would mean a long time spent in limbo — the perks in WoD like the gold deluge will be gone, and the incomplete rework of Legion classes will be reality (incomplete in this case because the class changes depend hugely on augmentation from the artifact weapon).

Unless the pre-event is designed for completion over the course of a month or more, it will be very, very painful to finish it, then wait. And wait. And wait. I have no idea of course what it will involve, but to my way of thinking it should at least get you started on your artifact weapon, and also it should give you a token quest or two to make you think you are already progressing on getting flying in Legion. (Yes, sorry to bring it up, but I guarantee you flying will once again become A Big Emotional Thing in Legion.)

Anyway, if you need to build up your cash reserves, you better get while the getting is good. If you want to take a few nostalgic turns on the class and spec you love best, now is the time to do it. And now is the time to start dumping your WoD mats, all those excess Baleful items you’ve been keeping “just in case”, and even that extra raid gear that has iffy secondary stats but you’ve kept just for the equipment level. Not to mention those extra 43 Left Sharks you’ve accumulated — you may be able to sell a couple in a year or so but you will never sell all of them. It may also be time to gather up some legacy raid gear for when transmog becomes more or less account wide (depending on whether or not your alts can equip it).

The party is over, and whether or not you enjoyed it, it’s time to drink up and move out.