“WoW is Back!”

I chuckled when I saw “WOW IS BACK!” being shouted in all caps in Twitch chat yesterday during Blizzard’s big reveal of the next WoW expansion. WoW never left. Blizzard just used WoD as a stepping stone to make a little cash, keep subs just a little bit longer, and buy themselves time for their next real expansion: Legion.

WoW Legion

While I’m not yet at the point of saying, “screw it, I’m resubbing,” I will admit that I am intrigued by and proud of Blizzard for making a few decisions that actually have me contemplating whether or not I’m on the fence.

Heavy Focus on Class Identity

I’m hugely into the idea that every class should feel unique. Class identity is paramount in all MMOs. Nothing tires me more than seeing every class DPS the same, tank the same, heal the same, etc. Every class should bring something unique to a group. I don’t know if that’s what Blizzard is necessarily doing — and I doubt they’ll implement it to that degree — but I think it’s worth keeping my eye on.

At the same time, I think they’re borderline ruining my suspension of disbelief here. There’s this weird juxtaposition of having all of the Paladins come together… then giving each of them the Ashbringer… and at the same time trying to make it feel like YOU are THE Paladin. EVERYONE is a hero, but yet we’re supposed to think we’re the only one. I think we’re supposed to just gloss over that part.

Artifact Weapon Talent Trees / Specs / Etc.

I like this system of upgrading and working on this big artifact weapon goal. WoW is a themepark, and to me a system where you upgrade your weapon to be what you want it to be meets format nicely. Yes, it’s an additional grind. It’s essentially another leveling or grind masked behind a neat facade, but it’s slightly different at the same time.

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 14236,14234,14233″ link=”lightbox” width=”150″ height=”150″ title=”never”]

The weapons alter how you play to some degree. For example, the Death Knight can get an ability from their artifact to let them resurrect themselves. Other artifact things can change your rotation. That seems fairly impactful.

As you upgrade a weapon it changes to look really cool or to look like your spec. Again, I really like the idea of the weapons becoming a central part of progression.

Champion Companions

WoW is inevitably moving toward a companion system. I think this is sort of the first step.  I’m hoping that the idea of sending champions to an area to help you is more than an “on paper” kind of thing. I’d love to run a dungeon with a companion vs. having it say, “You sent Maive here to help you so you get a +2% damage bonus to demons! Yay!”

With the new class, new area, calling back to WC3, and some of these pretty neat changes I think WoW is definitely a lot more enticing than it was these past few years. Not yet enough to convince me to come back.

What it’ll take to bring me back:

  • Big emphasis on making classes and their builds unique
  • Emphasis on the leveling experience and a plethora of things to do other than raiding
  • Leveling Artifacts and progressing them to their fullest potential must be independent of raids
  • The 100-110 gameplay needs to be about more than racing to the level cap to do something else. I want a reason to go slowly and enjoy the process.E
  • “There’s this weird juxtaposition of having all of the Paladins come together… then giving each of them the Ashbringer… and at the same time trying to make it feel like YOU are THE Paladin. EVERYONE is a hero, but yet we’re supposed to think we’re the only one.”

    Maybe they are adopting this type of storyline because it worked out so well in SWTOR? 😉

  • The disruption of immersion was also heightened by everyone running around the spaceport with the same companion, a decidedly generic atmosphere in direct opposition to the Highlander unique identity storyline.

  • Hi Keen,

    Each SPEC has it’s own artifact. So not all paladins get Ashbringer, just ret paladins. Prot and Holy will have their own relics.

    I’m personally fascinated with the pvp changes myself. Gear is no longer a consideration so I will no longer go into BGs and be dominated by those in arena gear by merit of they enjoy the arena.

    I’m excited by this expansion because they are changing many core mechanics. Draenor looked good and went ‘here is some upgraded graphics and some new things’, but the moment to moment mechanics of play were overall the same.

  • I’m very sceptical: the Class Order Halls jar with me for the same reasons Gankatron said.

    I also do not believe they will deliver the Artifact System shown because creating 36 different 10+ node “Talent” trees will create a new balancing nightmare. Especially if those powers are “very meaningful” like they said.

    What I really wish they had done is kept the Level 100 Cap and made the Artifact THE progression for the expansion.

    Demon Hunter, like all Hero Classes they do, will come out super-OP then get nerfed hard when every single Rogue converts to DH along with a good proportion of other classes – including tanks. Why would you continue being a Rogue when you can be a Rogue with wings, X-ray vision, Demon forms, double jumping AND the ability to tank if you like.

  • I was interested.

    Then they told me I had to use doomhammer as an enhancement weapon. I made sure to ALWAYS use fist weapons since TBC and transmog fist weapons, but apparently artifacts won’t allow that so!

    This one will go down as a “do not buy” for moi.

  • I’ve been playing since midway through Pandaria and still enjoying WoW. I’ve had my ups and downs with it in terms of play time and taken issue with some of the direction in WoD, but never been so down as to consider unsubbing except briefly here and there. It’s a game that I have friends that are interested in playing with me and that fits my current lifestyle since I don’t have much playing time. So, while it is not my ideal concept of an MMORPG, it has the staying power for me that other games have not had.

  • Hey. Even if wow only had 3 million subscribers at $10 per month it’s still $360 million a year. Right? Or am I missing something? They won’t trade that money for selling respec in the store. Like ever.

    Wow will be around and subscription for at least 5 more years.

  • @McJIgg: OH that’s interesting. A completely different weapon per SPEC? That’s A LOT of weapons.

    PvP has never been my scene in WoW. Regardless of how they change progression in PvP, the PvP still feels the same to me. Kill people in a few key presses or not be able to kill them at all. It’s too spammy for me.

  • @Keen: I think it’s something ridiculous like 33 different artifacts, plus customizable druid cat/bear forms. It kind of worries me that it is going to pigeon hole weapon choice. Specifically frost DKs are getting two one handed swords, and with no other weapon drops it means two handed weapons as frost are no longer an option. If shamans are getting the doomhammer, does that mean they no longer dual weild? Will fury warriors no longer get to choose between 2 one handed weapons or 2 two handed weapons? Will my combat rogue no longer be able to use fist weapons?

    Then again, it was stated that the transmog system was also getting a complete revamp, we’ll see if any additional freedom is added there.

  • @McJigg: It’s been stated that the Doomhammer is going to be one-handed, with the off hand being a sort of electrical current/magical version of the same hammer. I imagine Fury Warrior’s will be given a set of two handed weapons to give them more class identity, just the same as Frost DK’s single handed, but that remains to be seen.

    I hope the transmogging becomes more streamlined so a combat rogue could change their artifact weapons into, say, fists, but we’ll see. Then again, ideally (and by looking at the Hunter Survival spec revamp) I’d love to see something more like this: Combat = 1 sword 1 dagger, Subtlety = 2 daggers, Assassination = crossbow. Ranged rogue would make it really difficult for me not to resub. Or goblin monks.