Geek, gamer, writer, graphic artist. KL Yong's favorite shows and adventures are those that allow him to enjoy the world from his bedroom.
Warlords of Draenor, WoW's Worst Expansion?
Blizzard Entertainment deserves an achievement (gong!) for its Warlords of Draenor expansion. For the first time in seven years, I unsubscribed without completing an expansion. In fact, I only completed half of patch 6.1. I didn't even wait for all levels of the Blackrock Foundry raid to be released.
Oh all right. A year later, I subscribed again. But that's thanks to the Warcraft movie, which made me yearned to see Stormwind and its environs again. As for the completed content for Warlords of Draenor, well, there were improvements, but what I hated were ALL still there. With no surprise, I read subscription for World of Warcraft plummeted, to the extent it might have contributed to Blizzard's decision to stop reporting subscription numbers. Personally, I'm guessing that numbers would continue to drop, even with the next expansion (Legion, due end August 2016). This is especially if Blizzard were to continue designing expansions this way.
Anyhow, here are the five main reasons why Warlords of Draenor didn't work for me. Most of these involve the story line and game progression.
1. No Flying Mounts?!?! I Have To ... Walk?
Blizzard had a pretty reasonable explanation for this. They wanted players to experience Draenor in its full glory. They didn't want players to waste the hard work in crafting this realm, by zipping over everything on their flying mounts.
A reasonable explanation. But why ... no flying all the way? Not even for characters already at maximum level? Allowing only maxed-out characters to use flying mounts had worked perfectly in other expansions. By the time a player hits the level cap, he or she would have "experienced" most of the zones through the quest lines. From that point onward, to have to use only standard flying routes, or GO BY LAND, is just a huge pain in the behind. This is particularly so when one is working on remaining quest lines located in different areas. A lot of time is wasted on transportation.
And yes. I know flying is possible, after Patch 6.2. But it's a meta-achievement? One that takes a lot of time and questing and land journeying to get? By the middle of which, it really doesn't matter anymore. I wasn't even tempted to aim for this achievement after reading about it. It just felt like more sweaty land trudging to me.
2. An Expanded GrindFest
World of Warcraft had always been grindy. It's part of the fun. Part of the obsession. To Blizzard's credit, they implemented many things over the years to lessen the need for grinding. One of which was the Garrison concept in Warlords of Draenor.
It's a great concept. It added a new spectrum of game play. However, it also added a whole new basket of things to grind for, a strange case of you grind less for an item but overall you grind for more items. Instead of slogging for gear, points, and one or two types of reagents, you now have a ton of things to go insane over. Follower levels. Followers gear. All sorts of reagents. Mount training. Resources harassing. Blah, blah, blah. Every game-playing day begins with a slew of work. Harvesting the garden. Mining the tunnels. Collecting and sorting your work orders. Gathering resources for your buildings. Getting more crystals. Dispatching followers. It's just, just ... ...
A lot of work. Menial work. I don't know. Maybe some folks are into such micro-management. But I play games to forget about such daily chores. The thought of having to do all these work everyday, before any real adventuring, it's just very off-putting. Something that completely discourages me from logging on.
3. Rehash of Old Content
In the beginning, there was that thrill of a "multi-verse" in play. The kick too, of seeing alternate versions of famous characters. Sadly, this got old very quickly. Mainly because the alternate versions weren't that different from the ones in the "main" timeline. The whole story line for ended up feeling like a rehash of the original Warcraft story.
To make it worse, there wasn't any twist ending or changes in outcome. The same bad guys ended up defeated the same way. No new big baddie, or big goodie, was introduced too. It fizzled into a very boring, predictable story by the second patch. To put it in another way, there wasn't any story development to look forward to. You could predict the ultimate ending from a realm away.
4. Boring Locations
I enjoyed Mists of Panderia tremendously because there were so many new locations to explore. A Great Wall like structure. Pagodas. Temples. Etc. More or less, I could say the same for Cataclysm. The underwater world. The elemental realms.The Egyptian world of the Tol'vir. Etc.
The lands for Warlords of Draenor were created with newer and stronger technologies. Yet, they bored? Because there was nothing new in concept? All geographical features in this expansion had been used before, and because of that, there wasn't any thrill of exploration. Not even the Draenei cities impressed, because we had seen those architectures before too. All the way back in The Burning Crusade. The suspicion I had, right from the start of this expansion, was that Blizzard ran out of ideas. It was a very depressing suspicion. Eventually depressing enough for me to unsubscribe.
5. Insipid Looking Gear
This might just be me. Or what I had for my class. (I'm a squishy mage) I thought gear design for Warlords of Draenor sucked.
It felt very insipid to me. Very run-of-the-mill adventuring gear, with furs and spikes and all that. I'm not saying that I prefer the flamboyant designs in Vanilla, or the cheesy pseudo Sci-Fi direction in The Burning Crusade. But nothing caught my eye at all. This, compared to the dreamy oriental designs in Mists of Panderia. Or the bold experiments in Cataclysm.
And when gear doesn't attract. I'm not inspired to grind for it. I'm also not inspired to grind for more set pieces, when I put on one piece, and go like, I'm not stepping out of the garrison while wearing THIS!
When that happens often enough, I'm uninspired to continue playing. The end result of which was me leaving the game for over a year. I admit that had it not been for the Warcraft movie , I wouldn't have remotely consider re-subscribing again. Not in the least bit did I miss Draenor.
© 2016 Yong Kuan Leong