Hey, there’s a new World of Warcraft expansion, right? When did that happen? There’s a bit of snark there, but perhaps less than you might think. The weird thing is that Battle for Azeroth kind of does feel as if it just dropped without warning; it was outside of the usual release schedule for expansions, with a long lead-in, as if the final product just showed up on our collective doorsteps one day. Assuming you were already logged on and had your pre-orders set, you could just jump right in and start the expansion, which hearkened back to the days of midnight releases after a fashion. Needless to say, there’s a lot to talk about with the expansion so far. Now that it’s actually live we can see the mechanics and the story with all the polish that’s intended, with nothing left behind a curtain (other than Warfronts, anyhow). Coming off the well-received Legion, this expansion has some pretty big foot gear to fill, and it’s fair to wonder if any … [Read more...] about First impressions of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, part 1
Warcraft world of azeroth
Just one hour to go before you too can play World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth! Just kidding, the only thing you’re going to be playing tonight is Queue Wars. And it’s almost here! Blizzard’s posted a handy chart for the global simultaneous release so you don’t miss it. Although seasoned MMORPG veterans will probably be playing something else tonight and letting the rush subside, right? Nobody took off work this week believing play will happen, right? Right guys? Guys? While you wait: VG247 has interview today with Blizzard’s Gary Platner and Terran Gregory loaded with fun quotes. Here’s one that’s gripping and somehow chilling at the same time: “Afrasiabi designed this expansion like it would be the last – don’t hold back, go for the mega, seize the day on design. Everyone on this team is absolutely committed to seeing that this thing is as powerful and relevant as long as we can. […] We’ll ride this thing until … [Read more...] about World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth is launching in one hour – are you prepared?
Here’s something a little different: Usually, before I write a World of Warcraft column (or any column), my assumptions and data are pretty firm before I put them down on paper, else I wouldn’t be writing it in the first place. This is one of the reasons that, for example, I spent so much time showing my work when trying to predict the launch date for Battle for Azeroth; that was all about hard numbers, so it was easy to check math and assumptions in an obvious fashion. But in this particular case I’m exploring a concept that I’m still playing with and researching, something that may turn out to be somewhat erroneous. To wit: I suspect World of Warcraft expansions have switched from selling to existing customers and into reclaiming old customers as a primary design focus. It might seem like an odd assertion, but I think it’s an interesting thing to consider and may help shed light on a number of design decisions, several of which I think are … [Read more...] about WoW Factor: World of Warcraft’s market saturation and the pull of vague memories
There’s a lot to be upset about with the World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth prepatch. There’s stuff that just doesn’t feel good any more (and yes, go ahead and make your own jokes there about the implications of that statement, it’s justified). There are bugs and issues that weren’t adequately tested. There’s the fact that this expansion is really doing a grand job of screwing up lots of characterization. But with the pre-expansion event, we can look at a whole list of incredibly dumb things done just in this bit of the story. We only have the first half of the event live right now, of course, and there are lots of dumb choices surrounding this (the fact that the story is in this order, for example), but for today we’re going to be confining this solely to in-universe criticism. And there’s still a column’s worth of intensely dumb decisions being made by someone who is supposed to be a capable military commander, based on all … [Read more...] about WoW Factor: Dissecting the dumb plan in World of Warcraft’s War of Thorns
It took me a long time to identify what felt off about World of Warcraft’s upcoming expansion. Something was definitely bothering me, but the thing was is that we know exactly what an expansion with the bare minimum effort looks like now, and it sure as heck didn’t feel like Battle for Azeroth was Warlords of Draenor But Again. Yet something kept nudging at me, some comparison that was just slightly eluding me as I dutifully tested new quests, now system revisions, and so forth. Then I realized that the whole thing was basically Cataclysm and it clicked. Mind you, I say this not as an indication that the expansion is nearly as bad as Cataclysm was. (There’s still far too much of the actual game to see, for example.) But far from my own optimistic excitement, it feels like the expansion is making a lot of the same missteps as that particular black mark, and it doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. So… this is what we’re focused on now As I’ve … [Read more...] about WoW Factor: World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth feels like Cataclysm all over again