Legion is the best Expansion that Activision Blizzard have ever produced.
Let’s get that out of the way before I start this five day long dissection of what needs to change, because however much you might think constructive criticism isn’t necessary when something is perfect… it is. Doing ‘more of the same’ is never going to wash in this Community, not with the way tastes change and attitudes shift, but there are some constants. Raiding content is solid. There’s never nothing to do any more. You have a story-line, even if some of us might hold dispute over its depth and subtlety. So, you’d think I’d be hard pressed to find anything to take issue with, right?
I came up with five things (as it happens Janine) that could be improved upon for the next Expansion, and I’ll be presenting them in order of importance this week. My overriding issue, to begin with, is the claim that was made before Legion was released that it was simply too complicated to play a class well, and as a result lots of spells and abilities were pruned in order to make life easier. This would have been great had all the other areas of game play been addressed in the same manner.
This Expansion is almost impossibly complex to understand and grasp, and 7.3 just made that worse, not better.
There’s always been a constant, complex mathematical element to Azeroth, and levels of detail that range from reasonably graspable to oh no I’m not doing that. Over the years many commentators have argued that reducing ‘button bloat’ would be the way to make things easier but this Expansion proves that this theory is a complete fallacy. The one thing I’ve not had trouble grasping, as it happens, is how to play my characters this time around, and the reason for this is simple: I stopped playing them. The incredibly complicated, linear means by which I was forced to play End game completely destroyed the ‘level where you want, it’s all cool’ thing that happens from 100-110. In fact, once you make it to 110 now, the order in which content is presented isn’t easier or more relaxing, it’s a stress filled, badly documented personal hell, as I have discovered to my cost over the last week or so.
If all you want to do is raid, that might be different, but for me who just wants to do World Quests and explore the static content from 7.1 and 7.2? Seriously, it’s a fucking nightmare.
I want to be able to use my Class Order hall mobile app on every character, so I can still ‘play’ whilst away from a PC. To do this (and to maximise my workload) requires a) my Order Hall campaign to be completed, b) a quest line on the Broken Shore to be completed and now c) one on Argus, which shows up before the one required from 7.2 (because I didn’t finish the original content from launch) and now you see why this is a nightmare. The game assumes you were here since Launch. All content is built that way, including rewards from the Emissarys and when ‘catch-up’ mechanics are introduced, nobody’s willing to go back to change the stuff from launch because it’s no longer relevant. I’m going to say this in big letters now so everybody gets the point:
ALL CONTENT IS CURRENT CONTENT FOR SOMEONE
If you’re coming to this gig late, without third party guide support, you’d be totally, utterly and completely screwed, no two ways about it. This is no longer acceptable.
The ilevel number still isn’t good enough to distinguish what’s the best item, and now you’ve introduced the Netherlight Crucible to make items more ‘random’ it’s just showing up the point that people don’t want and don’t care about variety, if they’re raiding all that matters is BiS. For me, who now will do Raid content only if I’m forced to because of a quest, and NEVER because its fun (because its not), there are too many stages not clearly signposted, not nearly well explained and frankly FAR TOO LINEAR. It is enough to keep giving me a headache. The last time that happened was Pandaria, and that was the beginning of the push to overload content so that no-one ever complained about being bored.
I’d love to be bored now, because that at least gives me space to breathe.
I think the problem was best brought home to me yesterday when I managed to get enough rep for an alt to pick up the Butchers shoulder enchant from Highmountain. I need none of this other stuff unless I’m a crafter, and even then the grind to Exalted on an alt is a fairly thankless task… with a reward that matters not one jot anyway once Launch is over. When the value of your rewards is almost always depreciating, it makes incentivising action quite tough. The fact remains, I’d forgotten these guys have rewards to begin with, because there is really too much to remember anyway. It also seems a bit cynical to up the WQ rewards, but not those you can buy once you’ve done the work.
In fact, that’s the cruellest blow of all on the Broken Isles.
I cannot remember all the stuff I have to do any more. I have to rationalise my actions, force minimalism on the game because it will not do so for me. I have a list, to my right, and whereas before I would have concentrated on a dozen things… now it is only three. Get alts to a set ilevel, finish order hall and Professions, and that’s it. There is no time left to do anything else, and it is not because I now choose only to play a few nights a week. Content has hit saturation point, and explanatory systems are not keeping pace in game. This has become too complicated and for someone who does not play the game properly, in a lot of instances, not worth the sub I’m being asked to pay.
The promise of making this game easier has failed. For some of us, this isn’t just about having less buttons to press.