WoW: watching from the wings

So I’ve been watching my partner play Warlords of Draenor next to me over the last week and so far I’ve not seen anything that would encourage me to return to the game. It looks very polished as you would expect from Blizzard and there’s plenty of questing to be done as you level characters from 90 to 100.  I have a few thoughts but naturally they should be taken for what they are, vicarious observations, and not my own play experience.

In terms of new features the garrison system is seems pretty dominant, it guides you through the quest zones and requires maintenance at least once a day to update queues of gathering quests from the various buildings that you have chosen. That combined with the follower system, the NPCs that you can send on missions every few hours, makes me think they’ve taken inspiration from other similar features like SWTOR’s crafting or the STO duty officer system.

Ready to work!

Ready to work!

The zones are reminiscent of later additions to the Pandaria expansion, there are  elite mobs to hunt out in the wild for instance.

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The storyline seems standard Blizzard fare, it looks well told with some impressive cut-scenes, but it does add up to Orcs, Orcs and more Orcs. My concerns that this expansion’s story would be too narrowly focused seem justified. Yes one of my favourite races, the Draenei, finally get some lime-light for a change but honestly the whole Iron Horde as the enemy doesn’t excite me at all. My partner’s character is now 95 and in Talador to give an indication of how much I’ve seen so far. I think the plot suffers from “too many villains” syndrome, like the devs thought “why have one big-bad orc villain when we can have seven!”…

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I’m feeling very different about this expansion to Pandaria. I’d already lost a lot of my passion for the game at that point but came back late in the expansion to play a character through the storyline and try some flex-mode raiding. Give me a non-derivative expansion with new lore and a new continent or two and I’d be more interested perhaps, but as it stands I really have no intention of coming back this time.

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2 Responses to WoW: watching from the wings

  1. Meznir says:

    I’m finding the storytelling and characterisations of this xpac are probably the strongest yet. After the great Voice-Over and animation of TSW and SW:TOR (and just VO in Neverwinter and TESO) it feels odd going back to non-animated & textboxes – but they do seem to have put a tonne more VO in this time round with most quest givers saying the odd thing and more use of cutscenes, machinima and scenarios to tell the story and immerse you more (though not to the extent of the aforementioned games). I recently did The Battle of Shattrath and really cared about the characters and found the story and cutscenes pretty epic. I have also just started the Spires of Arok and the first two Arakoa (and Percy, one’s bird companion) have brilliant characterisation, I’m laughing my socks off.

    I’m really addicted to Followers. It’s the first time I’ve wanted to log in to do things in wow so much in a long time. It is edging towards “needy MMO” though so I’m not sure how long my love will last. I really wish they had done a web gateway for sending followers on missions, or added it to the armory app; and why you can’t send them on missions through the UI whilst questing but have to return to an outpost / garrison is a silly restriction. I’m levelling pretty slowly as I always want to be near one of those when followers finish their missions. If it was through the UI, I could be out questing.

    For me the jury is still out on the xpac. It seems nicely designed, but slightly lacking. To keep me subbed long term, the end game will have to be sufficient material – I’m not holding my breath for Blizzard to add regular new content.

  2. I don’t have a lot to add, but I find it amusing I stumble across this post mere moments after making a post on my blog on exactly the same topic: watching WoD from afar.

    I’ve been a Blizzard fanboy for too long to convince myself I’ll be able to resist the siren call of new WoW content forever, but thus far, I find myself with no regrets about cancelling my sub just before the launch of WoD. I have yet to hear anything that makes me want to jump in and start playing, or disproves any of the concerns that made me skip out on playing the expansion at launch.

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