While we are still very much in Blaugust prep week, I am going to take the morning off and talk about some non-Blaugust stuff. First off the above embedded video is the YouTube version of this weeks Podcast where we talk at length about our feelings regarding Battle for Azeroth. Of the crew Grace and I are the only two that are really still connected to World of Warcraft in any major way, and the show itself became a bit of an extended version of the feelings we are both having. This weekend I spent a good deal of time prepping characters for the expansion since I had not really done that yet, and can abuse the event that is happening as a way to get some reasonable gear easily.
Unfortunately I made the decision to main Horde this expansion before I experienced the nonsense War of the Thorns quests… but as part of that decision I have been prepping my Warrior, Deathknight, Demon Hunter, Warlock and have been pushing up my Paladin. Now it had been awhile since I had done one of the class order hall missions, and I was immediately struck by now good tone wise it felt to be gathering up the paladins on either side of the fence to work together towards the goal of saving Azeroth. I am not sure how we got to this point where all of the past gains of the Legion expansion are out the window and we are back to a forced Red vs Blue narrative.
One of the things we talk at length about in the podcast is just how bad the Advertising campaign feels. Firstly we are divided as a nation and as a world by so many serious issues right now that it just feels irresponsible to be pushing more of that for the sake of selling your product. Secondly… in our experience World of Warcraft isn’t a dividing line but instead something that brings people together with the stupid artificial boundary between Horde and Alliance just being an inconvenience that maybe keeps you from playing with some of your friends. I tell this tale in the podcast but I figured I would talk a little bit about it in person.
When I went to take my ITIL training and eventually take the test, there was a significant amount of waiting around because of a scheduling mistake. This meant me and the trainer of the class had to sit around and hang out for a bit while waiting on my online time slot. During this we realized that we both had played World of Warcraft and were both raiders back in the day… but on opposite sides of the fence. Instead of it becoming a discussion about Horde vs Alliance… it became a discussion about our shared experiences leading guilds and raids and all of the weird things we had encountered in the process of doing that. We both immediately realized we had more in common in our experiences than different and focused in on those things… rather than some nonsensical artificial rivalry.
So as I find myself prepping for the launch of this expansion I end up thinking about the expansion that could have been. Had we continued the class fantasy and kept moving forward towards a unified Azeroth it could have been so amazing. Legion was probably the strongest World of Warcraft content to date and in part it was so strong… because the Horde and Alliance factored so little into it. There is a sequence in Stormheim that feels awful as you are forced back into the shoes of Red and Blue but everything else feels so good as you are working side by side with the other faction to face bigger evils. That is the World of Warcraft I want, where we take on things bigger than ourselves as we face what will be the obvious resurgence of the Old Gods.
I feel like Battle for Azeroth is the expansion that no one wanted, and I have arrived at this point by listening to my social media feed made up of a bunch of long time WoW players. Sure there are a few people I know who were excited for the War Mode… but only because they rolled on a PVP server to be with friends and don’t want any part of that nonsense and will be turning it off completely. It just seems like a weird gamble to triple down on the faction versus faction thing, when it felt so amazing to get away from it completely. I keep hoping that maybe they will throw us for a loop and that the factional nonsense is short lived, but I somehow doubt that.
I will be there with my hordelings hanging out with that side of my gaming family, but I am not going to be super pumped about it especially with the way that the early questing has gone so far. We are fighting a war “because rocks” and that we don’t want the other side to get any of these macguffins of ultimate power. Here is hoping that things get better from here.