The Warlords of Draenor alpha is upon us.
Some people are very happy about this, to the point that getting an invite appears to have validated their very existence. WoW Insider is running posts on every tidbit about the expansion they can lay their hands on and compiling it all into a guide page. Blizzard itself is starting to put up official dev posts on WoD topics, like the
multiplication obfuscation simplification of gear stats for the expansion.
And sitting here, possibly as far a six months from the launch of the expansion (assuming it doesn’t slip further out), with no hope of any additional content patches until the big pre-expansion drop hits, it is tough not to starting reading through those sorts of things just to give ourselves something to talk (or write) about.
On the flip side of that, I have noticed that there is something of an inverse relationship between how much I pay attention to news about upcoming content and how much I end up enjoying that content. Cataclysm is the red-headed poster child for this phenomena. There has been no WoW expansion I have paid as much attention to before launch… including playing the beta, along with reading all about it in the short-lived official World of Warcraft Magazine… as I did with Cata. And, oddly enough, Cata is clearly at the bottom of my list when it comes to WoW expansions.
Now, the counter argument to that might well be, “But Cataclysm WAS horrible, whether you focused on it during beta or not.” And certainly there was a lot there to dislike, including some uninspired new zones, the wholesale gutting of some beloved old zones, having flight from day one in all of the new content, and the rush to turn all of the 1-60 instances into 30 minute or less “go go go” runs just to suit Dungeon Finder rather than having a few nice long runs.
But I think the fact that some of the fun or amusing bits of the expansion, like the goblin starting zone, were already old hat by launch probably stole some of the thunder that the expansion could have had. And that fact that we went straight into the revamped, easy easy mode, old-world content with a fresh group of Worgen (my least favorite race in WoW these days) looking to experience something new and only getting watered down visions of how things used to be hurt a lot as well.
I have softened on Cataclysm since our return to WoW. We did this year what we should have done back when the expansion launched, which was pick up our old characters sitting at the top of Wrath of the Lich King and carry on from there. The actual five person content in the high level end of Cata is good, and the 85++ converted raids, Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub, ended up being some of the most fun we have had in a long time as a group.
So I am going to try to follow my general policy of averting my eyes when it comes to Warlords of Draenor. I want to know as little as possible so as to maximize the impact of it when it launches. In the end, being the beta and reading up in advance only seems to rob me of fun without much upside.
Still, WoD seems like it is a long way away. Can I keep myself otherwise occupied with WoW until then?