I think that a theory I have about Battle for Azeroth is going to end up being true.
I’ll expand more fully upon that point in an upcoming post, but here’s the high level – Battle for Azeroth will, ultimately, not be about the conflict between the Horde and Alliance.
I know, I know – that’s why it gets its own post. But first, we’ve got to talk about something that has been gnawing at me for the past 4 days.
War of the Thorns part 1 went live on Tuesday, and it was…okay. Knowing where it leads, the event is ultimately a disappointment on many levels. From a gameplay perspective, the quests are dull and simple. From a storytelling perspective, it just kind of happens – the Alliance gets ready to head to Silithus to fight back the Horde only to find out magically and immediately that the Horde is actually in Ashenvale storming through the Night Elf lands in northern Kalimdor. You fly around, doing really basic quests like killing furbolgs driven to madness, grabbing Azerite, and sending word up to Teldrassil. Horde players get to be the invaders, but ultimately, the quests aren’t much better – the Horde just gets more.
The first chapter of this pre-launch story content ends with an awkward moment and no declaration of completion – I didn’t even know that I had completed the quests available until I read a guide!
So, I know there is another week of events that lead to Teldrassil burning, and even better, there is the Battle for Lordaeron, which I did in late Alpha for BfA and enjoyed.
But this was not great. The worst part is that it wasn’t even awful in a way you can remember – it is just dull and lifeless. Part 1 is a slow start, an event that has so little buildup to what is actually supposed to be happening that it feels empty. There is no cinematic and no real peak of storytelling here – it just stops and you’re left to wait for week 2.
My hope is that it comes out of this lifeless funk, and ideally, it will. But the gameplay side is almost more of a disappointment, because the quests peter out and end with unlocking world quests in Darkshore! All four quests you can do per day, which give some moderately good gear and can be done in roughly 10-15 minutes. This is almost worse, because even the events I struggle to remember had more gameplay – Cataclysm had the rifts that spawned all over and a Horde and Alliance specific component! The only event I can recall with less gameplay was Mists of Pandaria, which was just the Theramore scenario unlocked at level 85 temporarily to do over and over, or Warlords of Draenor, which was just the string of quests. This has a weird overlap similar to those two events, where it is just a string of quests and then some small repeatable element that takes a very small amount of time to complete.
Now, here is the thing – ultimately, pre-patch events don’t have to be much of anything, as long as the expansion that follows them is good. And I’ve played the alpha of BfA and really enjoyed what I saw! So I don’t need the pre-patch event to sell me – it’s just a possible, momentary diversion from leveling alts and solo raid farming.
But to a new player, who might be excited for their first expansion, this is a bit deflating. I know that Battle for Lordaeron is better, and I am excited for that – but this early questing is not great, and it has kind of almost made me tune out of playing (well, that and also being in the dreaded 60-80 bracket on my Lightforged Draenei alt).
For an event that is intended to get people excited about the expansion…I don’t feel that the mark was hit, here.
What do you think?