Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of World of Warcraft, are at a crucial point in whether or not their game will survive. With the overall negative reactions to Battle for Azeroth (BFA), their latest expansion, people are wondering if the next one, Shadowlands, will manage to bring WoW back into the spotlight. As somebody who has played since Cataclysm, it’s been interesting for the early parts and it was mostly a depressing experience to be playing during the end of BFA. A lot of changes made to the game were always questionable at best, downright bad at worst. With Shadowlands being delayed, and the pre-patch event that precedes the expansion also being delayed, I can definitely attest to people being frustrated with Blizzard for BFA as well as a lot of the changes that have been already made in Shadowlands.
Picture of my account; showcasing the sad fact that I have played this game too much
Some of the main problems in BFA were that a lot of the new content that was added was just flat out boring. Island Expeditions were a grindy, weekly mini-game that I never had any interest in doing but had to do because it gave substantial amounts of Azerite Power. This was the BFA-only resource used to upgrade your special necklace that gave you new powers the more levels got pumped into it. The problem was, you’d have to grind a lot to get to the max necklace level for the strongest buffs. Out of three guilds that I played in, only 2 people out an entire crew of over 200 people said they thought Island Expeditions were okay; everybody else unanimously were against the entire system. Warfronts, another new piece of content in BFA was also trashed upon launch, serving no purpose other than being an easy way to get one piece of high-level loot for characters per week. These two were supposed to be the new expansion content, as well as Mythic+ dungeons (a timed version of the hardest dungeons with unique gameplay changes) from the previous expansion. Both were a waste of time, and everybody is happy that we’re moving on from them. The final patch of BFA did have the Visions of N’Zoth content, which was alright. I did a fair chunk of the new content and then I stopped doing it because I realized I wasn’t bothered enough to continue. The only thing I did whenever I played WoW was to do my weekly Mythic+ with guildies, then join in for our raids. I eventually stopped because I just got tired of it, and wanted instead to go play something else, which was Final Fantasy 14 (FFXIV). Yes, I did stop playing an MMORPG to go play another one.
The key problems that were in BFA were apparent, lack of care for the new implemented alternative content, lack of polish on class design and overall bad story writing. Can these be fixed for Shadowlands?
Of course they can. Will they? That’s a rhetorical question that I’m too afraid to answer because that would imply that I have any idea what Blizzard are up to. Shadowlands was delayed due to a lack of polish according to the developers, the end-game zone being extremely barebones and some classes requiring a deeper polish were enough to have the entire expansion delayed. In my opinion, this was the right move from Blizzard. With how much negativity BFA caused, Blizzard has to make sure Shadowlands is good. Otherwise, WoW will take another big hit in terms of players and it won’t look good. WoW is already competing with FFXIV for the MMORPG crown, which FFXIV is slowly winning due to being made by competent developers who understand that you can’t expect your player base to keep playing the game when there’s no content. FFXIV has already proven itself to be an absolute giant in this field. With Shadowbringers being a superb expansion from start to almost finish, Blizzard are in an extremely tight spot with Shadowlands that they can only manage to get out of by making sure Shadowlands is good in all the ways previously mentioned.
I know that I sound extremely cynical in this piece, but please understand that I still love WoW to an extent. There’s no other game like it, and that’s what hurts the most when it comes to seeing some of the things that have happened to it. I love raiding, I love doing Mythic+ dungeons, and I (used to) love the story. But Blizzard have made so many questionable choices in recent times that my love is waning and made me consider raiding in FFXIV instead. I can only hope that Shadowlands is good, because if it isn’t, then Blizzard are going to be having a very rough 2021.
Picture taken in-game by author
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