Monday, October 8, 2018

My Life As A Gamer: Battle For Azeroth - Warfronts Wanting

When I said that the World of Warcraft team consistently nails aesthetics but has lacking gameplay, these two videos showing what's coming in the 8.1 patch demonstrate this with aplomb. These are from the Public Test Realm, put up on WOWHead's YouTube channel, so things are (in theory) subject to change (but in practice it won't until it goes live and users find the bugs) but this looks feature-complete so at most it's tweaking and inserting cinematics.

What is only touched upon briefly, and only on the Horde video, is that all of this is a set up for the new Darkshore Warfront scenario. This requires remaking the overworld version of the zone (which will be phase-locked so characters below 110 won't be affected) into a mirror of what you get in the scenario; this has already been done with the Arathi Highlands. The new version is an end-game content zone, filled with rarespawn NPCs to farm and (hopefully) World Quest targets to kill while you wait for your faction to actually do the scenario.

Yes, Warfronts are a clusterfuck of a new content type. He's hyperbolic about it, but Az of HeelsvsBabyface isn't out of line with his rant about Warfronts.

There's nothing fun here. It's already a Solved Problem, so all you do is follow the known sureshot strategy and speed-run to victory and your welfare epics; you can chain-run scenarios, so you can gear up a character from the 320 item level minimum to 340+ in a few hours while watching Netflix (or whatever). The dumpster fire that is Looking For Raid isn't this easy (or boring). This should have been Player Versus Player, and the replacement for Battlegrounds, but no we get this instead; one look at the map for Arathi (and its clear rooting in Defense of the Ancients, the original MOBA map, down to Creep Waves and the win condition being the destruction of the enemy's core- personified in the enemy commander) makes this crystal clear.

They're a fuckup of a system, and Darkshore won't be any better. It'll just be the same thing with a new skin, and that's what is so disappointing. They could have, and should have, done this as a wholesale replacement for the old-and-busted Battleground system. That they didn't do this displays institutional incompetence far beyond what led to Warlords of Draenor because this was such an obvious course of action to take, and you can count on this bad influence showing up elsewhere.

Like the Island Expedition system.

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