So, we know what the new Expansion is called. We have a Cinematic (just like we got last time) which sets the tone of what is to come. Go and watch it, because undoubtedly it is the best thing the Cinematics people have ever produced.
Except, this isn’t the Warcraft I recognise from Legion. It’s not even the world before that, or before that. Infact, if I’m honest, this is an Azeroth I have totally no knowledge of. This is the Warcraft of RTS titles of old: where the main characters were Orcs and Humans and everybody else was given secondary billing. There are bright spots however: lots of women, but none of them Dwarves, or Gnomes or those lovely cuddly Pandarans which are beginning to look more and more like a mistake. Hey, we’ve moved forward from Draenor, so that’s good, right?
I’ve cried at every single Cinematic this game’s given me since launch. I cried at the bloody Overwatch short that preceded this announcement. This battle leaves me cold, and the factions fighting are not my leaders. These people do not speak for me or to me, and as I’m now being told I have to choose a side to proceed in this timeline, I refuse. I’m not fighting your stupid bloody battles anymore. If this is what passes for epic storytelling, when you pick Dwarven Women or Goblins for comedy effect and not to truly represent the cultural diversity? Nope. This is not my Horde, not my Alliance.
You fail to engage me before we even begin.
The ultimate irony in all this old-school posturing is that, as of right now, the Legion is the biggest threat we’ve ever faced. This entire Expansion announcement has totally trivialised an entire Raid Tier that hasn’t even launched yet. Ion Hazzikostas’ final words on stage, after the systems reveal, was a fairly plaintiff reminder that yeah, you still have to save Azeroth, so keep grinding that AP that will be completely useless come Expansion time. The biggest joke of all, however, is that nobody will want to play this reinvented tosh anyway because once they launch Warcraft Classic, that is all that will ever matter.
Somewhere between Legion and now someone decided to reset EVERYTHING lore related that’s happened in the game since… about Cataclysm. This is all well and good if all you care about is your raid team, but there are other, more insidious erosions apart from the Lore. There will no longer be PvP or PvE servers, with your actions deciding what version of the game gets played. That will, almost immediately negate the need for special Guilds… but its okay, because the Battle.net app will allow you to bypass all that anyway and just live in Communities instead. The game will demand you take a side, yet with the same breath attempt to maintain a notion of diversity and inclusion.
It has clearly worked, judging by the number of people on my feed apparently resubbing to get a piece of this action… yet this time, far more than at any point before that I can remember, people are not happy. I’m watching disbelief and confusion, and downright anger, from people I’d never expect to get angry. There’s a lot to take in, and I don’t believe you’ve been planning this since Legion was launched. Sorry, guys, but that presentation had a lot of very big holes in it. I’m not staying up for the ‘deep dive’ but that new Artefact necklace looks like a theorycrafter’s worst nightmare.
I’m not sure what happens next for me, except the fact I’ll log in tomorrow and carry on levelling my alts. I’ll read everything that appears, take some time and then make a decision based on what I’m given. Nothing here makes me genuinely excited: sure a lot of the changes are things I’ve suggested myself as sensible quality of life upgrades. However, somewhere between the last days of Pandaria and now, this game has stopped providing the level of excitement that is still the case for others.
In the end, I am the problem and not the game.