Daily Archives: August 6, 2015

WoW Legion – Slouching Towards The Broken Isles

Warlords of Draenor wasn’t close enough to The Burning Crusade, the good old days for WoW by many accounts, so this time around Blizzard is just going to go all the way and bring back the Burning Legion and demons and all that.  So say hello to World of Warcraft: Legion.

Single word expansion title? Really stretching so far!

Single word expansion title? Really stretching so far!

Go visit the official site and you’ll know all there is to know I suppose, but my gut was sort of this:

Key bullet points:

  • Ten more levels… because we like that more than five
  • More raids, more dungeons because of course more raids and more dungeons!
  • Demon Hunter, the new OP hero class, because Burning Legion demons.  Elves only though!  Suck it Syp!
  • A new PvP honor and progression system, because some people PvP. Ranks are back.
  • Legendary Weapons from LOTRO, only with a talent tree and some cosmetic effects
  • A free character boost to 100, so you’ll have yet another level cap character sooner
  • Revamped transmog… hopefully less annoying
  • Class Specific Garrisons… I mean Order Halls, complete with fewer followers
  • A new area, The Broken Isles
  • And more… or so they say
Hrmmm... shaped kinda like Outland when you look at it...

Hrmmm… shaped kinda like Outland when you look at it…

Yeah, there are lots of details, and I have clearly injected some sarcasm into that list, but that is the big picture.

I am no doubt influenced by the fact that I am on a down cycle in my relationship with WoW, but I have to say straight up, right now, this feels like more of the same.  Nothing new to see here.  No business model change (so I was totally wrong there), no ideas picked up from SynCaine, just one straight from the generic MMO expansion playbook so far as I can tell.

That will work for some I am sure.  Not hitting home with me though.

But if Blizzard is not really stretching itself on this expansion, maybe we’ll see it in less than a year then?  Maybe that is the plan?  They beefed up the team and subscriptions are back into 2005 levels, so sooner is the real plan here, right?

Either way, my initial feeling isn’t “must pre-order today!”  I will hold onto that $50 for now.  I am feeling more like I could wait until there is a sale on World of Warcraft: Legion at some point after launch.  We’ll see how that progresses I suppose.

Other reactions to the announcement, updated as I find them:

Maybe somebody will spot the silver lining for me.

Meanwhile, at least CCP appears to have given up on EVE Legion, so no conflict there.

Addendum: A follow up interview with more expansion details over at Icy Veins.

Relating to Azeroth

So the big announcement is coming up at GamesCom today.  However, it is at a mildly awkward time for me, so a blog post about it will probably have to wait a day.  But still, I feel a good deal of anticipation as the clock ticks down towards the big reveal.  (And I have to get a post in today for Blaugust.)

Blizzard could, after delivering the bad news on Tuesday, announce fundamental and sweeping changes to the game in an attempt to renew Azeroth and find a new path which will restore it to its former glory.

Or they could just offer up some tweaks and more fucking orcs, as I noted last night.

The Garrison Slide

Once this seemed like a good idea…

But even if they get up on stage and announce they are shutting the whole thing down, I’ll go along pretty much as before.

Yes, if they go insane and pull the plug I will end up writing dozens of nostalgia posts about Azeroth, but I’d do that anyway, right?

Azeroth - The Burning Crusade timeframe

Remember when THIS was Azeroth? Ahhh… sweet memories…

Because while I like World of Warcraft and have spent many hours playing and have defended it against various accusations now and again, it isn’t exactly my first rodeo.

Playing WoW is just a step in a long progression of online games.  Before WoW there was EverQuest II, which I played for a full year before really making the move to Azeroth, a game that I still find some charm in and which offers up an interesting experience when approached correctly.

And before that there was EverQuest, which launched so many people into the idea of online gaming in a shared persistent world.  I was there in March of 1999 staring in awe at what SOE had created. (Or Verant, or 989 Studios, or whatever corporate camouflage Smed had to use to ship the damn thing.)

But part of what made EverQuest special was that it borrowed so heavily for TorilMUD, and its predecessor Sojourn MUD, which I had been playing regularly since 1993.

And there were other online games during the 90s, and before that there were games on serviced like CompuServe, GEnie, and AOL.  My online gaming experience go back to Air Warrior, Stellar Emperor, and Stellar Warrior, which gets us all the way to 1986 and an Apple ][ computer with a 1200bps modem.

As with Izlain, even my relationship with Blizzard long pre-dates World of Warcraft.  We played WarCraft II at the office and I remember my friend Xyd telling me I had to go and pick up this new game called Diablo and, later, defeating the game with him and another friend together online.  And then there was Diablo II and StarCraft, both played to death.

Oh look, a quest!

Oh look, a quest! Wonder if they’ll use that idea again?

And in the time since WoW launched, I have played many other online games, as the pages of this blog attest.  In fact, when I created this blog back in 2006, the idea of dedicating it to a single game, of making it a WoW blog, because WoW was the primary game I was playing at the time, never even occurred to me.

Games come and go.  I have walked away from WoW a few times over the year and no tears were shed.  I was never as invested as Liore, as she details in a recent post of hers.

I tend to just stop playing if I am not having fun.  Sometimes I stop having fun because the game has changed and sometimes I stop having fun because you’ve worn the game out for the time being,   But I won’t play… or pay for… a game where I am not having fun.

In the end, while I have no doubt that World of Warcraft was the right game at the right moment back in 2004 and deserves all the success it has garnered, what makes the game special for me in the end is the people I have played with.  That is the highlight of the game for me.

That is the highlight for me for every online game.  Like the games, love the people.

As Belghast put it in his post today, video games are so much better with people.

Anyway, bring on the big announcement already!