Today is Pre-Patch Day for World of Warcraft. All of the systems, etc. for the next expansion goes live without any of the content; this way all the devs need to do is flip a switch and the new content is live for players to swarm and consume.
And I don't give a shit.
I am not impressed or excited by a god-damned thing coming in Battle For Azeroth. Nothing that's come across during the Alpha or Beta phases has given me reason to think this isn't Warlords of Draenor redux, and I'm not falling for that twice.
Try as they might, the expansion's Horde-v-Alliance theme (which we all know won't survive past the first raid tier, Old Gods being in the wings yet again as the real threat) is tone-deaf and woefully past its sell-by date (which was Vanilla). The faction war hasn't been a real part of the game for years, and every attempt to revive it has been half-assed and insincere; now the players are, by and large, past it- what we see is vestigial trash-talking. The time for an all-out war was 2006, as what to do instead of The Burning Crusade, or immediately after Wrath of the Lich King (when the real substance of the game got consumed) in 2010. Now? Way too late, and yet again half-assed.
The classes are still not balanced. The specializations are still not balanced. They still haven't squared the issue with levels and gearing as dual character progression paths, forcing stat and item level squishes every few years lest they break the game. The game's far too much about the fucking narrative, and all of the challenge is being bled out step by step for a mythical "casual" that isn't there. Meanwhile, the elite cohort that drives the economy and serves as aspiration for the rest are constantly shat upon and kicked in the nuts with demoralizing mechanics changes.
We know that Blizzard has a SJW problem, but this is more than just SJW incompetence. This is institutional stupidity, going back to Vanilla, and it's still there ("You think you do, but you don't."- words that had to be eaten) fucking shit up now. Bit by bit the fun's been bled out.
And the net result? I'm following Saurfang and saying "Fuck this war, I'm out." Call me when you've proven you know what makes a game--especially a RPG--fun, and I'll bother to update my PC (another complaint; the PC specs went up, again, to stupid levels for a genre of game that requires masses of players on toasters to be financially viable) to log in and play.
Games have to be fun to be worthwhile. That means challenging the player to deal with a scenario, a set of constraints, and the dare to solve it given those conditions. It's not about a fucking story; the "LORELOL" people, as revealed behavior shows, are right when it comes to all forms of RPG. The further you get from the wargame roots, the greater the suck becomes- and that's why I hold out hope that Classic will be worthwhile. Otherwise, I'll leave retail behind and go play Vanilla private servers- if I do WOW at all.