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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth (BFA) is the seventh and fastest selling expansion for World of Warcraft since its launch in 2004. With player sentiment on their side due to the strengths of Legion, its previous expansion, Battle for Azeroth had a lot of hype and sneak previews teased by Blizzard along with the cinematic trailer helped to drive many into playing this current expansion.
Then the veil was ripped away.
In Legion, players became the respective leaders of their class orders and took up legendary artifacts within the Warcraft Lore to take the battle to the biggest and most famous villain in Warcraft, The Burning Legion. Think King Arthur and Excalibur for those unfamiliar with Warcraft.
In BFA, players lost their artifacts and a new system, the Azerite armour was put in place to make up for that lost power. In a controversial decision, tier sets which have been a staple of raiding since the launch of World of Warcraft were also done away with and again, the Azerite system was intended to take its place.
A quick rundown of the Azerite armor system is that you can find three different pieces for your head, shoulder and chest and each piece has its own unique power that you can unlock to empower your character.
While the new questing zones looked and felt great thematically, once you hit the max level, you find out that trying to get the best Azerite pieces was stupidly locked behind multiple layers of RNG.
But seriously the questing zones looked and felt phenomenal with each zone’s theme and story among the best I’ve ever experienced in World of Warcraft. The storyline of Jaina Proudmoore was incredibly moving and although the redemption story theme was cliched, it was still very well done and it is always great to see a character established by the venerable Warcraft RTS series get treated with the respect she deserved.
Meaning you can get shafted each week while other players got stronger due to luck. This hearkens back to the Legion legendary system being rewarded by RNG yet again as opposed to something you worked towards or was a reward for skill.
There is also the issue of Azerite armor just not being as cool as your legendary weapon that you’ve seen wielded or spoken about with reverence for decades by famous heroes and replaced with bland armour pieces that isn’t nearly as cool, powerful or simply as interesting to play with in comparison.
Going back to my Excalibur analogy, it is the equivalent of King Arthur having to sacrifice Excalibur to defeat the most powerful villain then having to resort to using a series of armour pieces made by local drunk blacksmith and enchanted by Merlin’s semi addled apprentice.
There are plans to ease the pain felt by many players and more importantly, these plans help to put in place a ramshackle progression system where you earn currency that will allow you to specifically target each Azerite piece that you want.
Why wasn’t this talked about during testing?
Why did they wait till the game was live and the angry outpour before actually looking for a solution that can only be implemented months later?
It honestly feels like this expansion has exposed Blizzard as being an echo of its former greatness.
For some inexplicable reason, two of the new allied races both factions can recruit are locked a reputation farm from the previous expansion. It is baffling that they would expect you to go back to old content that is two years old rather than the brand new expansion.
You’d expect Blizzard with their reputation for polish and slick design to come up with a slick design to prevent this jarring experience but no. Nothing. You really had to travel back to tired old content for a boring reputation grind just to unlock a new race which you then had to level from 20 – 120.
Again, instead of sleek design and catch up mechanics, you are locked out behind potentially months of grinding and slowly levelling simply to reach the maximum level of the new expansion just to play one of the poster characters.
Balance issues continue to plague the game with some classes and ranged damage dealers being in high demand due to how the first end game raid tier was designed. While there are many promised fixes coming in the next patch, I’d be wary of Blizzard at this point and adopt a wait and see approach.
There is undoubtedly a lot of potential for BFA and there are other issues that I didn’t go over here such as the lacklustre Warfronts and Island Expeditions that seemed cool on paper but turned out to be a dull grind in reality.
For now, do yourself a favour if you are a long time fan waiting to get back into the game and wait for the next patch to drop before making a decision.
But to their credit, Blizzard is appearing to be listening and taking feedback seriously and is working towards making positive changes all towards every aspect of the game so if you are on the fence, keep an eye on the horizon for any news.
It is also worth noting that while WoW may be an old game, the engine, graphics and animations are being updated each year and the game is becoming more demanding and you may want to get a few upgrades if your PC is starting to show its age.
Lindsay Shearer is a Global SEO Expert, Author & Speaker. She travels all over the world coaching brands and businesses on SEO, Online Marketing, Venture Capital & Angel Investing and helping brands grow tremendously. You can check out more about her at https://lindsayshearer.com, and https://marketingfunnelbreakdown.com. Lindsay & Will Robins Co-host a Podcast called Marketing Funnel Breakdown that talks about everything SEO & Online Marketing.