No really, good.
Look, I am loathe to continue playing Battle for Azeroth for much longer, but delaying the expansion a bit more was absolutely the right move. Shadowlands has a lot of good parts I’ve been able to see from beta, but the Covenant systems ran a high risk of tearing the whole thing apart. Covenant abilities remain a huge sticking point, soulbinds and conduits are still systems shrouded in some degree of obscurity. Players have been vocally dissatisfied with the direction these things have moved in on beta, and it has been obvious that Blizzard’s Team 2 has either not been setting themselves up for testing success, which is my bet, or they mistakenly believed they nailed it on covenant design and waited to do a final pass for balance until the feedback buried the team.
Either way, while this is sort of bad news in a way, I am happy for it. I have, so far, actually enjoyed the Shadowlands beta. The zones are great and strike a better balance between exploration on the ground without annoyance – for the most part. Dungeons are fun, although a few timewaster mechanics definitely will rile the Mythic Keystone crowd. The endgame design shows a degree of improvement I personally did not expect – some people are very riled up about the vault, but I am grateful it extends the usefulness of the weekly chest to raiding and PvP and provides players with some of the loot that the reduced droprates of the expansion take away. The story has a lot of interesting directions it can go in, although the most likely is going to be something to do with Arthas in all likelihood, and in fact, I would suspect a sort of Illidan-in-Legion arc for him.
But for now, all we can do is wait to see if the delay is worth it. I think that from a balance and gameplay perspective, it will be – but it does mean that BfA is going to be long-lived, with only vanilla WoW beating it for time spent live. For the game’s legacy, that is…perhaps not great! I will give Blizzard props for the right move here, however. Now we wait and see what that time nets us.
Oh, and also, prepare for prepatch on 10/13/2020.