So it was just last week when I did a whole column asking whether Blizzard does, in fact, have a plan when it comes to World of Warcraft. Normally, that’s the sort of thing that signals to me it’s time to take a step away and sort of let things percolate for a while, but here we are and we’ve managed to have two things hit in the same week that wind up both pushing in mutually exclusive paths for leveling in WoW. On the left, we’ve got a survey that seems to do everything shy of outright saying that a level squish is incoming. On the right, we’ve got a leveling method people have been using to avoid getting hit by gear scaling being quietly nerfed into oblivion (or at least, that’s the goal; there’s some debate about how successful that’s been). And honestly, these events have been a good impetus to talk about Blizzard’s overall schizophrenic approach to leveling and how players are meant to actually experience this game because … [Read more...] about WoW Factor: Blizzard’s schizophrenic view of levels
Wow factor at events
One of the recurring jokes I use in this column’s comment section is the statement that it’d just be sad to think that fans are thinking more about the future of World of Warcraft than the developers are. It’s a joke only in the broadest sense of the term, not really meant to make you laugh so much as sigh sadly and smirk as you move on with your day. “Ha, good point, there really doesn’t seem to be much of an overarching plan.” Unfortunately, the more you think about the joke, the more depressing it gets. I actually started thinking about the joke, and the upsetting part is that when you seriously start looking at the game over the past six years or so… well, it sounds plausible. See, it’s not that I know the developers don’t have a plan. If I knew that, not only would I probably be guilty of some sort of high-end corporate espionage, but I also wouldn’t be speculating about this. But the key element here isn’t … [Read more...] about WoW Factor: Does World of Warcraft have a plan?
This week, after some 7000 words on this particular topic, I’m starting off by acknowledging what should be a rather obvious fact: My series does not cover all of the issues World of Warcraft is suffering from. In fact, there are some pretty massive problems the game has that this column has, at best, brushed against. And that’s by design. One of the points of this exercise was to outline the reasons why players are upset with Battle for Azeroth in the specific. That is not to say that Legion was without its issues; indeed, its issues kept me off the game for a while during that expansion! But I didn’t want to cover issues that weren’t really distinct to this one expansion, and it’s because the real reason these problems are being commented on now has nothing to do with those problems being new. No, this all comes down to the problem wherein these issues are now notable because you no longer have anything distracting you from the … [Read more...] about WoW Factor: Why people are mad at Battle for Azeroth, part 5: Conclusions and peeling the mask
Let’s be totally clear about something: There is no twist waiting for this World of Warcraft story. It doesn’t exist. There’s no way that this story moves into its next phase and suddenly all of the nonsense that was added here is made all right or acceptable or… well, let’s face it, not atrociously dumb. I’m putting that front and center because if you’re going to talk about World of Warcraft at the moment, you’re going to talk about the latest Warbringers short and the concurrent in-game events, and that means talking about the fact that this is dumb. I’m also trying to leave people who really don’t want to be spoiled for awful storytelling not forced into it, so be fairly warned; things get spoil-y real quick down below. So if you want to read about how catastrophically stupid this is, read on. If you’d rather have any remaining faith in the expansion not being a steaming pile of wombat leavings destroyed by watching … [Read more...] about WoW Factor: There’s no fixing this Battle for Azeroth story
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