Other titles considered were World of Warcraft: Fantasy and World of Warcraft: Placeholder
A week ago, I described my experience returning to World of Warcraft after a year's absense. It turns out that despite its addictive qualities--which are not positive aspects, I might add--I really am done with the game and it's "go no where but pay us anyways" approach. My post turned acidic, as the negative aspects I had largely ignored while playing the game rushed back to me in hindsight. Like a teenager losing his virginity, my head was in the clouds during the act, but the more I think about it, the more awkward and embarassing it actually was.
So now, less than a year since the release of the utterly vestigial Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard has announced its next attempt to convince people to keep paying for a game just as--if not less--substantial than many Free-to-Play MMO's: World of Warcraft: Legion. What do we have to look forward to?
The New Continent: The Broken Isles: Legion opens up a sixth or seventh "it's always been there, the map was just folded" continent of Azeroth. Because Outland and Northrend haven't been sorely out of date long enough, they don't get facelifts. Instead your "Class Orders" will have specific missions that take them back to these areas in search of Artifiact Weapons. Speaking of which...
Ashbringer, Artifact of Supreme Holy Power has chosen its new champion: Coxnballs45
Artifact Weapons: Always wanted to wield Ashbringer or Doomhammer? Well do it anyways, it'll likely be the only way to effectively Raid in this Expansion. And you can level them up and purchase talents for them. Because micromanaging your gear with seven different Crafting Skills, Ethereal tweaking, and Raid-grinding wasn't tedious enough.
Class Order Halls: Want to run your own guild without the actual responsibilities of running a guild? Tired of the multiplayer aspect of this massively multiplayer online game? Come run a "Class Order" full of NPC's who will ultimately contribute nothing to your experience except the accumulation of more achievements and items.
Demon Hunters blind themselves not in ritual, but by wielding the most impractical weapons ever made.
New Class: Demon Hunter: A class we've barely seen in the series suddenly became relevant. Expect the Demon Hunter's "Class Order Hall" to get the most attention and focus as it is the only one Blizzard really cares to show off right now. Oh, and apparently you can only be a Demon Hunter if you're an Elf. Fuck the other races, no one plays enough Blood Elves.
Along with these "important" features, Legion will up the level cap, introduce *yawn* new dungeons, raids, and the usual two scoops of achievements, items, mounts, pets and toys.
"Not raising an army this time" is considered a selling point.
You know, if World of Warcraft is your thing, I'm glad to see you've found your slice of joy in video games. But to me this just spells a terrible trend in Blizzard, one that has always existed and is becoming clearer to me. When it comes to face value, Blizzard has no equal. Its material--from its gameplay to its story to its look--is easy-to-approach and polished to a shine. But there's nothing under the surface. Blizzard doesn't build houses, it builds show rooms.
I wanted to sit down and list some ideas to fix WoW, but at this point there's really nothing that can be done without pissing off the loyal fans, of whom there remain many (despite WoW's continued decline in player populations).
And you know, maybe nothing should be done.
The fans are happy, for now. Those who aren't fans have moved on. Folk like me, who appreciate what WoW pretends to be about even as we acknowledge it will never get there, are finding the strength to let go. Let Blizzard release Legion and any other expansion they want. Hell, maybe they'll start releasing them annually at the behest of their Activision overlords, and/or to trick existing players into keep playing, lest they fall behind. At this point, World of Warcraft has reached the point of no return. It will only end when the cynical demand for money falls on deaf ears. When we've all stopped caring, Blizzard will announce the servers are closing down. A few of us will say "aw, darn," but none of us will be surprised or devestated.
And that's sad, because part of me still likes the Warcraft setting.
Just not enough to pay money for it.