Sunday, 23 March 2014

Expectations and Warlords of Draenor

Preorders are now available, you can preorder the next expansion for World of Warcraft and enjoy the free boost to level 90 you get with it. With more and more information about the expansion becoming available I noticed my dislike for it. Thus I decided to closely reexamine everything we know about Warlords of Draenor in comparison to the previous expansions.

There are quite some things that bother me with Warlords of Draenor, for now, I will leave the story and the theme of the expansion alone because I believe I cannot just say I do not like the expansion because the story sounds more ludicrous than usually. I do dislike the notion that just because the Old Horde was really cool we need to see it with our own eyes.

Now, what did we come to expect of a World of Warcraft expansion? A few things if you ask me. These were constant that never changed with Cataclysm being the exception that proves the rule. There is a reason Cataclysm is deemed the worst expansion. And most of the people that think so, would probably cite the same reason as me, too little. I will elaborate on this as we go.

A few things we learnt to expect of a World of Warcraft are:
  • Same price as the previous expansion
  • New race(es) and/or class
  • Flying being available when you reach highest level
  • Daily quests
  • New features that improve the old experience of the game

In comparison, let us see what we are getting with Warlords of Draenor:
  • Higher price of the expansion
  • No new race or class
  • No flying at the highest level
  • Further distancing of the content from the daily quests, replacing them with sort of "dynamic events"
  • More stuff in In-game store

To be fair, let us examine what we are then actually getting with Warlords of Draenor:
  • Garrisons
  • New models for original ten races

Now would be time to elaborate. Flying in World of Warcraft is certainly not a necessity. But it is efficient. All the reasons the developers listed against flying are just strawmen arguments. The fact is, most of us like flying because it gets us from A to B without any unnecessary interruptions. No ganks, no mobs attacking, no interruptions in our established route(ine). That is not to say that all of the players love flying. I guess there are some that hate it, and curse its mere existence. They can always use ground mounts. Nobody is stopping them. I just find it ridiculus that the majority should "suffer" because of the will of minority. That is just plain wrong.

Next, no new race or class is a problem. If not anything else, it does actually entice rolling an alt and leveling up, experiencing the story, lore and whatnot of the newly added to the game. It actually helps maintaining relatively healthy base of the lower-level player. Not all the game needs to be happening at the end game.

The argument of no new race or class is often explained with the all the work being put in the new models of the old races. I say that is admirable, but in no way an excuse that makes it right. The fact is, the new models are something that Blizzard is doing for themselves, not for us. We do like it, but they are the addition that will help the game stay current. Or at least as current as possible. Selling us the new models of the old races as something we wanted is a void argument.

We want lots of things. Rare few do we ever get. I want Blizzard to realise after a year and a half they spent saying it, that orcs are not the Horde. But do they? No. They continue to refer to the Horde as something only orcs are part of.

The new models are nothing Blizzard graciously caved in and "made sacrifices" for us, so we could be happy. They did it it for themselves. It just so happens we like it, because we are actually invested in our characters. We want the game to stay current, and we want our characters to look good.

Let us focus on the daily quests for awhile. It is without a doubt we all hated them at the start of this expansion. BUT, we did not hate them for being daily quests. We did not actually hate daily quests. We hated the gating that was implemented in certain reputations via daily quests. We hated that we had to grind the reputation with one faction first, in order to unlock the second faction which we actually needed. That was the problem with daily quests, not the quests themselves.

What is more, daily quests for some of us, if not majority serve as the only if not major part of our income. You might doubt it, but I actually started losing gold once the Timeless Isle came out. It rewarded no gold, only the currency to buy more useless stuff. One thing that remain though, is repair bills. If you raid, go to heroic dungeons or take part in LFR, you will have repair bills, and they are getting only higher and higher with each expansion.

Dynamic events at the current state of things do not work. There is nothing dynamic about them. They are cyclic, and what they invite is a zerg fest, nothing more. There is no immersion, no lore, no story. You just slaughter in order to finish the objective and then roam aimlessly in search of more. You spend time searching for something in order to do something "fun". You might as well go on a quest for holy grail.

So, why the higher price? We are only getting less than were getting until now. There is a new continent, as in every expansion, except Cataclysm, but there we had close to equal amount of the new zones. The additions to In-game store do not in any way make the higher price of the expansion acceptable. They make it even more repulsive. Much of everything else we learn about the expansion is received in negative way. And while we who complain so much might indeed be just a vocal minority, I still do not like what Warlords of Draenor is shaping to be. It looks like Blizzard is trying to squeeze the money from us at every corner.

Is it really so preposterous to expect of a World of Warcraft expansion to have new continent, raids, dungeons and new class or race by default? I thought that was a given. I thought that this was something we all took for granted. And now I see people marking addition of new raids, quests, and whatever else comes to their mind as a new feature. I thought these were non-negotiable. A clear foundations of each expansion.

The only unique feature we are actually getting with Warlords are Garrisons. And in my opinion, they are sorely lacking. I do not want to have orcish buildings if I am not playing orc. I want for each race to have their own buildings. Its own style of architecture. I actually do not mind if that delays the expansion for a couple of more months. The damage is already done, and now they could instead focus on making the most of it, in other ways than monetary.

I let my subscription run out. I saw everything the last patch had to offer and do not see any reason to pay for something that actually has nothing new to offer to me. And with the Warlords coming out somewhere between September and December, some might disagree but I prefer to wait for the next expansion while I play other games.

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