Patch 8.1 for WoW dropped on Tuesday. This is the first major patch for the Battle for Azeroth expansion. Let's cut right to the chase. People are generally unhappy with the direction of this expansion.
There are a plethora of reasons, but some of the big ones are:
In my last post I pointed out that "LFG" is still very much a thing in modern MMOS -- even the most "accessible" ones. The interfaces have been updated, but the concept is still 100% there.
Today I want to point out how this idea of solo-friendly gameplay is also largely an illusion. When people look back on MMOs from 1997-2003 they often think of how those games were really not solo friendly at all. Then they look at modern MMOs as a bastion of "play by yourself all you want" which is completely false.
Let's compare the old school games like EQ (circa 1999), SWG, UO, etc., to today's accessible giant.
Today Blizzard announced some big changes to the Azerite armor system. The Azerite system has many flaws, but chief among them is the RNG surrounding obtaining them. There are multiple pieces per slot, and only some of them you want. Obtaining them is an absolute chore right now.
Much of that is going to change.
If there's one thing the entire WoW community can agree on it's that the Azerite Armor system has been a complete and utter failure.
What was supposed to be a system that allowed players to farm the gear they wanted turned into a RNG hell. What was supposed to be a system that made gear more available made gear more inaccessible than ever. What was supposed to be a system that made off-specs more friendly turned into a system that was just as unfriendly to off-specs as anything else, to the point where it's faster to make a new character than to gear up an off-spec.
I remember the days when character stats were simple. You had strength, dex, int, and those usual stats. You might have even had a few percentages represented as ratios based on those major stats. When you found a piece of gear, like a sword or a new pair of boots, it was obviously an upgrade or a better items -- or it wasn't. For quite some time, this transparent and easily observed way of understanding your character's stats hasn't been present in WoW. Things have seriously evolved... or mutated.
To best understand your gear and what's an upgrade, or to even make heads or tails of it at all, you must do what the cool kids call "sim yo self". To simulate yourself you download an addon gives you a bunch of gibberish representing every facet of your character. You then plug that into a website like Raidbots where it parses all of your data and determines, based on various criteria, how your character performs.
I took a little hiatus from responsibilities for the past few days to catch up on some work and other RL things. I’m back in action now, so let’s catch up on a few things!
What is Keen Playing?
I’m playing WoW, obviously. There’s a lot to say here, but I’ll try and condense it down into the highlights.
My Paladin is iLevel 340 something. I had horrible luck on the first world bosses and received no loot. My luck has also been pretty darn bad in Mythic+’s, and I’ve only found a few upgrades. I’m also carrying around a few lower iLevel pieces of gear (like 325) because I haven’t found a better item. Realistically, though, I’m plenty geared for what I want to do right now.
Raiding is going pretty well. Our casual guild fielded quite a few on the first night we raided, and had a little bit of an attendance issue the second night because of multiple RL injuries and issues that came up — I think Football didn’t help either. I got 2 drops so far, and I really like the boss fights. The setting isn’t my thing, but the mechanics are fun.
Yesterday was a really big day for those of us playing World of Warcraft. Battle for Azeroth’s first raid, Mythic+ season, and Warfront all began on the same day. Talk about overload! I feel like they should have staggered these a little more over the weekend. Having a really hectic work week didn’t make for an easy transition for me. I felt rushed to get ready for the raid and to see the content no day 1. Despite being manic, I was able to have a lot of fun.
I thought it would take me forever, but I just put my head down, my nose to the grindstone, and played like I said I would. I did the quests I wanted, skipped the ones I didn’t, and now I have the Dark Iron Dwarves unlocked!
Along with the allied race I’m also given faster mount speed in BFA zones. It’s slight, but every bit helps without flying. With Pathfinder Part 1 done, I’m even more anxious to fly.
Now I’m stuck deciding if I’m going to level my Dark Iron Dwarf Warrior from 20-120, or if I’m going to boost. If I boost, I don’t get the heritage armor. Does that matter enough to me? Does the Heritage Armor look cool enough that I would transmog BFA gear to look like it? Obviously it’s cool enough looking that I’m conflicted… but cool enough to spend 50+ hours? I’m trying to think logically about it. I won’t have fun leveling from 20-110 at all. If I think about 50 hours and what I value my time at, I can tell you the boost is entirely economical.
Couple of weeks into BFA, I’m a bit disappointed by the Island Expeditions. Closer to the expansions launch I wrote a post about how I felt they were a little too like PvP. I think that’s still true for me, but since they nerfed the enemy NPCs I haven’t really been too bothered by them. My real issue with them is that they’re… just really not well designed.
Tonight I was able to finish up the Alliance campaign, and I have to say it was phenomenal. I don't know what you guys over on the Horde are experiencing, but over here the stage is being set for a resurrection of the greatest Warcraft story ever told.
Heads up, there will be spoilers here as I discuss ending of the Alliance campaign so far.