More than half a year into Battle for Azeroth, and we must call things for what they are: dead in the water.
Sometimes, no matter how much we adore playing a game, we must be dreadfully honest regarding its faults. And let us be frank: World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth is beginning to feel like a work that is suffering the weight of some incredibly poor design decisions.
To say that there isn’t anything of value being offered by Battle for Azeroth would be grossly untrue and unnecessarily inflammatory.
The expansion certainly has its fair share of worthwhile attractions – but these attractions have been pinned down by the weight of systems that seem to fight every natural player impulse each step of the way.
By now, the travesty that is the Artifact Armor + Necklace system has been well-documented. What was intended to offer a new and ever-changing path of progression throughout the expansion has proven itself to be yet to be another system that relies far too much on RNG within a pool of abilities that utilize procs as their primary additional effect.
No matter which way Blizzard cuts it, the abilities have been – and remain to be – lacklustre in comparison to what came before with the Artifact Weapon system that underpinned the Legion expansion.
A lack of fleshed-out and properly tested systems isn’t the only thing that’s profoundly gimping Blizzard’s ability to retain all of the players that came back to the expansion in droves for its launch.
Billed as a “return to what made Warcraft great in the first place” Battle for Azeroth has failed to advance the plot in any meaningful way since it’s launch.
Despite the patches that have come out since, the game’s narrative remains woefully misguided, filled to the brim with plot holes, character assassinations, and lack of meaningful or impactful events.
Hell, since launch, one could argue that nothing of importance has happened in the world. Rather, everything that has occurred thus far has resulted in the main narrative progressing forth. Looking back at Legion, one can’t help but feel that Blizzard’s narrative staff has been severely shortchanged this time around.
It’s a pathetic comparison when looking back on the milieu of class quests, zone narrative arcs, and bombshell developments and character arcs from the previous expansion.
Let’s not forget, Blizz found a way to bring Illidan back and do him justice. For them to dally this long in BFA without moving this horse forward reeks of outside involvement.
And truthfully, that’s most likely where we’ll have to lay most of the blame. It’s clear as daylight that Blizzard has undergone some massive structural changes internally.
While we likely won’t be privy to the details sans a massive internal leak, we know as much that Activision has been pressuring the studio to cut costs.
And it shows.
The running meme that BFA stands for Beta for Azeroth is more than appropriate at this point. For so much of what was once a world-class MMO to just fall apart in front of the fans of delivery isn’t just inexcusable – it’s downright pathetic.
Blizzard has already begun to try to right the misguided ship – but one can’t help but wonder: will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?