In the same vein as Tobold on this one.
I think there’s a ying/yang effect with WoW expansions. I am under the thought that Vanilla/BC are the baseline, then each expansion past is solid, with the next being ugh. WotLK was good, Cataclysm was meh, Pandaria was good, Warlords was meh, Legion was good, BfA…?
Of important note, the devs have been pretty clear that there are no items left before launch… all that’s left is number tweaking. If a skill is broken, it will be fixed “later”.
Let’s face it, the story in Legion was impressive. The whole ant vs. god trope was in full effect and you took down the largest threat to the universe. BfA is back to the Horde vs. Alliance model. You know, that conflict that Pandaria showed was useless? In both Warlords and Legion the factions worked together against a common foe. I don’t quite get how time passes in WoW, but in the real world we’re around 4 years of being chummy.
It’s hard to argue with the logic in a game with dragons and tentacle demons…I concede that point. That said, the best stories are the ones where character behaviors are consistent across multiple events. It would appear no one learned any lessons.
Legion added a bunch of neat ideas to the game, and most worked out fairly well. Order halls, artifact weapons (the concept, not the grind), leveling, open world questing…even Argus was a neat approach. Most of that is out the window.
Normal with expansions, out with the old, in with the new. But the new has to at least be attractive. Feral, Shadow and Shamans are basically a bit broken from a fun perspective at launch, with numbers being boosted to make them competitive. Which is odd.
Stat squish doesn’t bug me. The GCD changes are a bit odd, which will certainly slow down the game. A lot of those were rolled back, which is good. Curious as to how that plays out.
Raid sets are also gone, replaced with generic role-based armor. Paladins and DKs will look the same.
What’s new aside from levels, zones, and dungeons/raids? Artifacts/legendaries are being replaced by a new neck piece. This works a lot like the Netherlight Crucible, were after certain power levels, you get a passive boost. Lots of PvP options.
There aren’t any new classes or races. Scratch that, there are new skins on existing races. Not to the same scale of Goblins/Worgen, or even close to Pandaria itself.
Perhaps this just means that WoW has hit its apogee. Legion did some amazing things to the overall game. Mythic dungeons were a great way forward. Leveling was much better than in previous expansions. Broken Shore / Argus were great improvements on the Timeless Isle mechanics. The pacing of patches was solid. The storyline made sense.
What Legion made difficult was alts (heck, even alternate specs). Sure, leveling them was easy enough. But tradeskills and power levels were taken behind the barn. Artifact Knowledge / Power, random drop quests for crafting, horrible RNG for legendaries, Titanforging…all of that seems to be changed in a positive way.
Could simply be that this feels less like an expansion of mechanics compared to previous expansions, and more of a large patch instead. There’s a lot of tweaking, but no large sweeping changes, or shiny new carrots to keep people going.