WoW Update

I’m about 5 days in of the sub having lapsed. I’m sitting on a half dozen tokens, and last count had over 1.5m in gold on hand, so that’s really not a barrier to play. No, my challenge in WoW is that I’ve done all I need to do for now. This isn’t a slight towards Blizzard, there’s certainly more here than in BfA, and much less frustration. It’s just that the stuff to do is mind boggling boring.

Torghast

I’ve done enough to get a legendary and never want to step back in here. I’ve written a bit on this topic, and it’s an impressive take on rogue-likes, but with all the fun of a root canal. The corridor runs are for a special kind of player that wants to invest an hour+ and lose to bad rolls.

I will say it’s a weird shift from the island expeditions of BfA. I thought that system was great at the end, what with so many cosmetics available for short bursts of play. The state at launch was garbage, and the LFG portion made it much worse.

Add gear drops, gems, materials, cosmetics, ANYTHING to make it worth more than soul ash.

The worst part about Torghast, without question, is that you need to grind the Maw in order to get improvements.

The Maw

Timeless Isle, Throne of Thunder, Tanaris, Broken Shore, Argus, Mechagon, Nazjatar. All of these were solid takes on the concept of organic play. They all brought something different to the game (unlocking flight for one), and had multiple levels of rewards throughout.

The Maw does none of this. You go in, look for the blue !, do those, try not to get killed (while gearing) and then leave. The scaling doesn’t really work past a certain point, the group phasing makes it very hard to complete anything formally, and you’re ultra dependent on other players being around because the mob density is crazy.

The rewards here are only related to Torghast, so you only really need to do this with one character. That’s good, because it’s so painful.

I’d double the time on the eye of the jailer for starters, so that people can spend more time in here per day, and reduce the time to grind. I’d add a pile of stuff to Venari as a vendor, in particular themed armor cosmetics, or some sort of pet. Heck, even if it gave a temporary buff to anima gain, that would be HUGE!

Anima Gains

Anaemic. Getting 1000 a week and total costs being in the 300,000 area is just dumb. Not being able to use those cosmetics (or pets) if you swap covenants is even dumber. Which is really quite sad, because the actual content behind the anima covenants is fairly good. Kyrian in particular is impressive.

Covenants

From start to end, I think the covenants work really well. The storylines are solid, their integration to levelling is well done, the characters are interesting, the art styles are appropriate, the inherent rewards are comparable. There’s always going to be the square peg / round hole Blizzard level writing, but on the whole, it’s really well done.

Dungeons & M+

They feel better than BfA, but less so than the launch Legion dungeons. It’s still a shame that there’s so little reason to run dungeons for their immediate rewards – what with super low RNG.

M+ is evolving into an interesting beast. I did a couple, didn’t really like the artificial pressure, and I’ve watched from the sidelines since. In the current state, it’s suffering from the same issues Wildstar had at launch – it brings out the absolute worst in people. Valor points are a decent addition (funny that the community has been right about this for 10+ years).

The Grand Vault… that’s a weird meta incentive tool. I like the concept, but hmm. Bad luck protection is always a tough balance.

Raids

There’s one. I’ve done it on LFR. It’s interesting. I won’t comment on it further, as others have done a much better job than I could. My days of raiding are long behind me now.

Professions

I really thought BfA killed them, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Used only for crafting the base part of legendaries, and pretty much a money sink. They are practically pointless now… easier to just buy stuff from a vendor for a fixed price and use token drops for rare enchants. This would get rid of most of the bots.

I am disappointed that there is zero on archaeology, though not surprised. Fishing won’t ever match the Legion fun!

Zone Design

Ignoring flight points, I do think the zone design is rather impressive, again more in line with Legion’s approach than BfA. Most of the zones have a purpose rather than just being there. They have their identity and deliver.

Flight points though… holy moley. Just travel in general is extremely painful. The hub/spoke model is archaic, the flight points are either super far apart or within spitting distance, which makes little sense. There really should be a portal on a LONG cooldown to get back to your covenant.

Balance

No real secret, 9.0 launched early. Could have used another 2 months in the oven to get some balance items through. I get the pandemic time tax, I do. I live with it, but I’ve pushed back on dates to make sure the stuff I’m delivering works. Similar to Cyberpunk and Anthem, I do put the blame squarely on Blizzard management – and most of it on Brack himself. That’s what he gets paid to do after all. 9.05 is what should have been there at release.

9.1 is unlikely to come around until August, maybe September. For sanity’s sake, I do hope that’s the case and that the devs get the time to release something that works.

Overall

It’s hard to provide judgment on any MMO expansion versus another. Each is a creation of their time period, and really only relevant to the one that preceded it. I am nowhere near the same player I was when I played Vanilla, nor should the game be.

In that context, SL is a notable improvement on BfA at launch in nearly every aspect. I’d love to say that was a compliment, but it would have been amazing to see Blizz strike lower. I will say that the covenants are as close as we’re going to get to Legion class halls as possible, and those are really the shining part here. The borrowed power mechanic is reasonably well executed, and the lack of multiple layers of RNG is welcome in that all progress is forward.

I can only imagine what this would have looked like without a pandemic around our necks. Both in more time for the devs to work on it, and less time for players to act like locusts.

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