Tag Archives: WoW Legion

A Barrier to My Eventual Return to Azeroth

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, what I am playing is driven as much by what I am in the mood for as anything.  No amount of “I should be playing…”  will get me to launch a game.

And moods come and go.  Today I am playing a lot of Pokemon.  Next week I might tire of that and move on to something else.

But mood alone can only go so far.  Mood gets me to log in, sets up the scenario.  Then I need a task, a direction, a place to go.  I can be very task oriented, so I need a plan or a goal to work towards.  I was in the mood for EverQuest II back in December, but the plan for progress never solidified and I walked away.

All of which brought my thoughts to World or Warcraft.  I am not playing it currently, but I expect that I will eventually.  Curse has been keeping my addons up to date.  The Legion expansion lost my interest after running through all the zones and finishing up the quest lines.  Beyond that and hitting the level cap I ran out of goals there.

But the 7.2 update introduced both new content and a good goal.

now running in Azeroth

Unlocking flying in the Legion expansion is the sort of task I could see myself coming back to the game to run down.  It requires a lot of work, but the tasks themselves are not insurmountable on their own… they were even reduced in scope… and knocking them out as I went would provide a feeling or progress.  Progress feeds the soul of the MMORPG achiever.

The problem is that Blizzard threw a monkey wrench in the gears for me with the 7.2 patch.

The new feature where mobs scale to your item level seems bizarro world bad.

Yes, I know they cut it back a bit.

And I even understand the problem they are trying to solve, a problem I have bitched about myself, the trivialization of content.

You can see that issue just by starting a new character in WoW and running up to level 30 or so.  If you insist on running all the quests… which is to say, you want to consume the actual content and see the various zone story lines through to their conclusion… you will soon find you have out leveled the quests as they go gray on you while any foes are now so weak in comparison that Blizzard actually made a piece of gear that was effectively the “false swipe” move from Pokemon that would not kill mobs so you wouldn’t sneeze and slay an NPC you needed alive. (I think it was the toy foam sword, though I could be wrong.)

So there is an issue there.  This was addressed to a certain extent in the Legion expansion at launch by making the initial set of zones auto-scale to your level.  After you were done there, everything else would be at level cap.

You still had to keep up with gear progress.  But that wasn’t so bad, and gear progression is one of the things in WoW that makes you feel good, especially in the case of weapons.  Few things make you feel like you’ve grown stronger than being able to smite down a foe more easily than before.

But now when that hot new piece of gear drops and your item level count goes up, your foes get tougher as well.  That effectively kills the good feeling you get with gear progression, at least out in the open world.  If you’re running instance or raids it is a different story.  And, as somebody with a strong achiever streak in them, this rains on my achiever parade.

In an attempt to solve what I will cop to as a legitimate problem it feels like they have just made a new one.  It reminds me of the tale where a guy gets cats to chase away the troublesome mice, then dogs to chase the troublesome cats, and so on until he ends up with elephants and has to get the mice back to rid himself of the pachyderms that are literally knocking his house down; it feels like a solution that just changes the problem rather than solving it.

Of course, I haven’t actually resubscribed and logged back into WoW to give it a try, but the feeling that this may suck makes that less likely to happen.  And all the more so since I haven’t seen much about the topic of late.  Maybe it wasn’t that bad.  Maybe people quit and left over it.

So how bad is it, or is it that bad at all?

Flying Comes to WoW Legion

Today is the day, the day that the Tomb of Sargeras update, Patch 7.2, goes live in World of Warcraft.

Available now!

The update has been a while coming.  Blizzard was talking about it back at BlizzCon in early November.

But the patch delivers quite a bit of content.  The release notes are full of details.  The Broken Shore is now available, there is a new dungeon, pet battle dungeons, new incentives to grind reputation, new class campaigns, and, most of all, flying.

I haven’t played WoW for a while now.  I tapped out of WoW Legion before BlizzCon, having done all the main zone story lines and being otherwise uninterested in the daily rep grind or queuing up for random dungeons.  Flying makes me think about going back, but then I think about all the items on the list to get there and any thoughts of whipping out the credit card to re-subscribe fades.

Still, for those who remain invested, there is a bunch of new content available now.

WoW Legion Gets Its First Content Drop with Patch 7.1

What we will focus on at BlizzCon is how the team is committed to making sure we bring you a steady stream of content going forward, and we can’t wait to share what’s next for Legion.

-J. Allen Brack, WoW Community Manager forum post

We’ll get back the the top part of the post that quote came from on another day.

The promise from Blizzard, explicit, implied, or otherwise, was that the WoW Legion expansion would not leave players hanging for a year without any new content.  You might have thought they would have learned this after Mists of Pandaria, but I guess the subscriber count didn’t drop low enough during that drought, so they let it happen again with Warlords of Draenor.

The problem was compounded by some of the choices made with Warlords of Draenor .  I know, everybody likes to beat up on garrisons, but the subscriber numbers indicate that they were not a big hit.  We’ll never get any sort of “real” player housing in WoW after garrisons.

But that was the last expansion and we are now eight weeks into WoW Legion and the first post-launch content drop, WoW 7.1 – Return to Karazhan. The date has arrived, the patch notes are final, and the content is upon us.

Recycling content is generally good

Recycling content is generally good

The headline item for the release is a five person mythic run set in the Burning Crusade era raid Karazhan.  While being a mythic level dungeon means I probably won’t see it until we get a couple more expansions down the road, I still think this is a good use of their time.

Then there is a new Trial of Valor raid opening up in normal and heroic modes, with mythic and LFR tourist modes opening up some time down the road.  Again, content for a core demographic in WoW.

For the rest of us, there is the continuation of the campaign in Suramar and more world quests.  Eventually I will actually START on Suramar and world quests, but I cannot hold my lagging behind against Blizz.  Both of those do sound like “things to do” for players out in the open world.

So, more content with the first patch out.  But I think Blizz has always managed to do that in the past.  They will manage a 7.1 and a 7.2 based on past experience.  But will we see a 7.3, 7.4, and even a 7.5 patch and beyond with content as the expansions ages?

Meanwhile, the patch notes are full of other little items, including changes to classes, changes to professions, to some of the skills new players get for levels 1-10, to a quick join feature that will let you see what people on your friends list have queued up for and allow you to join up with them in the queue.

My own personal favorite line item from the patch notes is:

  • Nameplate options made less confusing.

I like that because nameplates were the first thing I noticed when I logged in on day one of the expansion.  I generally have them set off as much as possible, but the redid the configuration and, as part of that changed, turned everything on by default.  So I was standing in Stormwind in a sea of green nameplates.  I eventually got it back to my usual minimalist setting, and I suspect that I will have to do that again with this change… but it should be less confusing now, right?

And finally, I guess this is the Chris Metzen emote for the game.  Gone (from Blizzard) but not forgotten:

  • Added new “For the Horde” and “For the Alliance” emotes.

I am a bit surprised this wasn’t a thing much sooner.

My Slackening Pace in the Broken Isles

I made it through the main quest lines of Stormheim over the weekend.  It actually seemed to go by pretty quickly, with a diversion into hell for a bit.

The management explaining how we were not leaving

The management explaining how we were not leaving

Finishing the main quest lines got me the achievement which I assume will count towards unlocking flying in the Broken Isles at some future date.

Another off the list

Another off the list

That wrapped up my initial clockwise run through the initial four zones of WoW Legion.

Starting at 7 and working my way around the clock

Starting at 7 and working my way around the clock

That still leaves me with Suramar and the Broken Shore to tackle… I guess… and whatever else the expansion offers at level 110.  But, while I have been enjoying the quest lines and such, I haven’t been feeling any real drive to finish them up.  I could have finished up Stormheim a couple weeks back had I a mind to do so.  I was finishing up Highmountain about three weeks back.

I was even starting to fall off when it game to those last couple of shipyard missions from the Draenor garrison.  I let almost all of last week go by without even logging in to do that or collect hexweave for bags.  Again, I got back to it over the weekend, and even got two of the final three achievements I was shooting for.

Earned me the title "Captain"

Earned me the title “Captain”

Meanwhile, I still have a pile of level 100 characters that haven’t really done much of anything.  Vikund is 110, but there are five more characters sitting around PLUS there is that level 100 boost that I have yet to use.  I have not dove into Legion the way I did into Warlords of Draenor, though the design of Legion seems to be as much to blame as anything when it comes to alts.

That level 100 boost badge just sits there

That level 100 boost badge just sits there

So, I started down the path that I often follow when the main thread of the game isn’t holding me.  I started looking for something from past releases that I missed which I could go back and work on for a bit.  I ran down the now very long list of faction reputations in my character sheet, looking for somebody I could bump up to exalted.

Deep down I found that I still had a number of factions still available for work from the Burning Crusade era.  Honor Hold was deep into revered, so I decided to start with that.  I think I had been working on that previously, then lost interest and went elsewhere.  To get that running meant heading to Outland to run Shattered Halls.  Being just a five person instance, that went pretty quickly.  I did not get a ton of faction from it, but enough that I only need a couple more runs to hit revered.

That having gone quickly, I looked at what else was on the list and came upon the Violet Eye faction, which was barely into friendly territory.  I had to go look that faction up and found that to boost it you had to go run through Karazhan.  Over at WoW Head the comments said that a full run through the old raid instance was worth about 10K faction for a full clear, which sounded good.  It wouldn’t take that many runs to boost up the Violet Eye then.

Of course the trick is that you have to actually find your way through Karazhan to do this.

I never went to Karazhan back in the day, and can only recall going there once… maybe during Cataclysm… and getting pretty thoroughly lost. (We also tried to go visit at one point in the distant past, but found you needed a key back then.)  Or, not lost, because I always ended up back at the front door, but unable to move find my way beyond the first couple of areas.

If you have been there, you know that Karazhan is a large, sprawling raid instance, the sort of “just got carried away” thing that Blizzard just doesn’t do much anymore.

Anyway, with nothing else on my list to do and no ops running in New Eden, I headed to Karazhan to start exploring.

The last time I went there were no in-instance maps, which probably explains my lack of progress.  There are now maps in the instance, and while they don’t exactly hold you by the hand and direct you forward, you at least get a hint as to where connections to other areas might be as well as getting the various bosses marked on the map.

Found Moroes in the Banquet Hall

Found Moroes in the Banquet Hall

And so I have managed to stumble through the place, exploring, killing large groups of mobs for faction, collecting items for transmog (Maybe something from Burning Crusade looks good?), and occasionally getting a surprise drop.

A pet! I didn't even know about that.

A pet! I didn’t even know about that.

So that has given me something to do, though because it is a raid I cannot log in and run through every night.  The lockout timer keeps me away for a few days.  I’ll be finished with Honor Hold rep much more quickly.

However, I did wonder if I was going be able to finish my Violet Eye faction run.  A change is coming next week, one that features Karazhan.

Recycling content is generally good

Recycling content is generally good

In the past changes to old instances, such as Onyxia, have meant that the old versions have gone away.  The patch notes I have seen for the public test realm seem to indicate that this will not be the case with Karazhan, the the update will just add an additional instance that will take place within the old raid zone.  But it isn’t clear to me how that will affect just walking in the front door of the place once 7.1 hits.

Anyway, I will have at least one more chance to run through it this weekend based on my current timer.  And while I wait for the timer to run down, Hallow’s End is upon us again so I can take the daily run at trying to get the mount drop.  Maybe this year I will get lucky!

Legion So Far…

So far I would say that I like the WoW Legion expansion.  The whole thing feels, in many ways, like a reaction to the Warlords of Draenor expansion.

For example, there are still missions and followers, but there only a few of each, and they are much more focused on helping you, as opposed to the way things were in Draenor, where garrison missions were a self-perpetuating system.  There you ran missions to gain resources to run more missions, you gathered more followers in order to run more missions so you could gather more followers.  You geared yourself up and fattened your wallet, all while never leaving your garrison.  In WoW Legion you have to actually keep playing in the world to earn resources to have your followers do anything.

Likewise, crafting professions, which were made completely trivial in Draenor are now… well… I am not sure how to characterize them now.  I think, as an engineer, I have made one item so far as part of the quest line for the professions.  I’ve completed a number of mining related upgrade quests.  And I finally got the sixth cooking recipe that finished up the initial quest there.

Maybe that is the theme of WoW Legion; Quest all the Things!  Though I may not be far enough in to make that determination yet, the trend seems to be holding.  And questing works for me.

I have been… slow… in getting into the Broken Isles.  After mucking about a bit, trying to decide which character to get into the expansion first, I settled on my Paladin and started working through the zones in a clockwise fashion.

Starting at 7 and working my way around the clock

Starting at 7 and working my way around the clock

So far I have worked my way through Azsuna and Val’Sharah, getting both the exploration and questing achievements for both, and am almost done with the quest line in Highmountain. (Though I have a ways to go on the exploration achievement.)

Almost a month into the expansion, that isn’t very far… though by going more slowly I may have arrived at level 100 at about the same time I might have had I been playing more diligently thanks to always having blue bar exp as I went.   That was how that was supposed to work right, back in the day?  A way to keep slackers like me from falling too far behind or some such.

Anyway, yesterday I finally made it to level 110 with Vikund, my first character at the new level cap.

Somewhere in Highmountain

Somewhere in Highmountain

I still have all of Stormheim ahead with him, and then Suramar and Broken Shore and world quests and the artifact weapon to manage and all of that.  Lots to do.  I can see why people are saying that this is, perhaps, not an alt-happy expansion so far.  Of course, wait until flying gets unlocked and all your follow-on characters can just zip through the air.  That tune might change then.

Of course, this being Blizzard, there have been the usual staples of every expansion.  I have slaughter the local fauna with the Nesingwary.  I have helped out D.E.T.H.A. yet again.

Playing with murlocs

Playing with murlocs

The artifact weapon thing has been fine so far.  At least that is one equipment slot I don’t have to worry about updating, even if every ret pally in the order hall has an Ashbringer of one color or another.  I was a little crestfallen when the experience required to upgrade it went from a steadily increasing tempo… 750, 800, 1000… to a 6.8x jump.

Last level: 1,000 Next level: 6,840

Last level: 1,000 Next level: 6,840

That pretty much killed off any forward progress there.  It takes a lot of ~150 upgrade hits… never mind the low impact of all those 10-25 boosts you find in the field… to get anywhere.  I am hoping that I am just lagging behind somewhere and that better bumps will be available at some point.

But overall I am happy enough, if not overly enthusiastic.  Lots left to do, and with the usual two year expansion cycle unlikely to change, it is probably good to be a month in and still have a lot of content ahead.

Of course, I could probably do with a bit less of being pestered by Khadgar.  If his servant or his upgraded servant chasing me all over wasn’t enough, Now I have his disembodied head following me around trying to get me to take a quest when I am just back in town to clear out bags and take care of a few things.

Not creepy at all

Not creepy at all

Yeah, I know, take the damn quest and he’ll go away… only then I’ll forget about it in my quest log.  I’ve been trained by various games to take quests only when I am ready to do them, lest I kick off some event for which I do not have time.

At least I am not poor.  The plan to replace the garrison mission income in Draenor seems to be to make gray trash loot worth a lot more.  My auto-sell addon rings up hundreds of gold every time I stop at a vendor after question for a while.

So that is where I stand in the Broken Isles so far.  No exactly unbridled enthusiasm, but happy enough with things overall.

 

WoW Legion Sales Numbers Stacked Up Against Past Launches

Today, Blizzard announced that players have forged a truly formidable defensive front—as of the expansion’s first full day of launch on August 30, more than 3.3 million copies of Legion had sold through, matching the all-time record achieved by previous expansions and making it one of the fastest-selling PC games ever. In addition, World of Warcraft’s launch-week player concurrency climbed to its highest point since the 2010 launch of the Cataclysm expansion…

Blizzard press release, September 8, 2016

WoW Legion launched, which almost requires that there be some celebratory press release in which Blizzard referred to itself in the third person.

WoW Legion coming to a server near you

WoW Legion has been up for a week now

My guess is that they had that press release ready to go for a bit now, as they didn’t even bother to fill in the date before they posted it.  I imagine they will fix that before the day is out, so here it is a screen shot for the record.

Roman numerals maybe?

Roman numerals maybe?

So we got some numbers.  Blizzard kept to its promise not to mention subscription numbers ever again, so they had to make due with vague claims about concurrency. (No numbers = vague in my book)

The number we did get was 3.3 million copies sold in the first 24 hours. (Yes, they said “more than 3.3 million” in the press release, but if it had been 3.4 million they would have run with that number, so it is likely 3.3 million and change.)  As usual, with any number standing alone, I start looking for context.  Fortunately, the internet provides context if you look for it.  The first day sales track record looks like this:

  • WoW Legion – 3.3 million
  • Warlords of Draenor – 3.3 million
  • Mists of Pandaria – 2.7 million (first week)
  • Cataclysm – 3.3 million
  • Wrath of the Lich King – 2.8 million
  • Burning Crusade – 2.4 million
  • World of Warcraft – 240,000

So, for first day sales, WoW Legion ranks with… I don’t want to say “the best,” since its peers at that level are not my favorite expansions… past top sellers.

Warlords of Draenor did just as well according to the Blizzard press release from its launch, which included a mention of exceeding 10 million subscribers, a mark that would soon drop precipitously.

Mists of Pandaria, which in hindsight was a pretty good expansion, maybe my second favorite, and which held on to the player base admirably compare to WoD, had to go a full week to get to 2.7 million sales, which put it below every expansion save Burning Crusade.  The pleading for a new expansion towards the end of Mists of Pandaria now seem almost quaint given the mass exodus from the game that came with WoD.

Then there was Cataclysm, which I am going to say was probably the first point when digital sales made up a significant portion of the first day sales, setting a record as yet unbeaten, with 3.3 million sales.  There were some good things in that expansion, but the destruction of the old world still stings.

Then Wrath of the Lich King and Burning Crusade check in at 2.8 and 2.4 million units sold on the first day.  That was back when Fry’s was open at midnight to sell you a copy and they had pallets of boxes out on the sales floor.  That was the era of growth, which Cataclysm put paid to.

And finally, just for completeness, there was World of Warcraft back in 2004, which sold 240,000 copies on the first day, which was a record at the time.  No digital sales in that number I bet!

So that is how the list stacks up.  WoW Legion sold well enough, though judging from what I have seen… or not seen… on store shelves, it was almost all digital. (I was at Best Buy on Monday and they had a single standard edition, wrapped up protectively in an anti-theft device and sitting alone at the bottom of a shelf.  No display.  No signs.  No big deal.  How times have changed.) That likely means WoW Legion sold directly into the currently subscribed base in the US/EU.

It would be interesting to know what the subscriber base jumped up to with the launch.  I suspect that if it had passed 10 million, Blizz might have mentioned it.  But maybe not, and we’ll likely never see a number to prove it either way.

I will have to hang on to the two WoW Legion boxes we got at our house.

Retail Boxes! Old School!

Retail Boxes! Old School!

Given the state of the retail channel for the expansion, those might be collectible in a few years.  I mean, a DVD for WoW Legion?  I am not sure why they even bother.  The patcher had everything in place already.  All I needed was the code off the label and I was upgraded and playing.  Modern times.