2.5 Hrs Into Battle for Azeroth – Blaugust 15

745 wc

Finding spoiler-free screenshots typically results in rather bland imagery for blog posts.

The second problem with writing post after post about Battle for Azeroth, besides boring everyone to death, is that nobody is going to read them. Everyone is avoiding spoilers, so nobody is going to click on a post about the expansion two days in. (I wouldn’t, and I’m generally not reading WoW posts right now.)

As of this writing, ManicTime says I’ve played the expansion for a total of 2.42 hours, so you can judge how many story spoilers I could possibly relate from that. Can I say the name of the last quest I completed? Would that be a spoiler? I don’t know. People are really jumpy about it on Twitter. I’m going to say it’s acceptable because I doubt anyone even reads the names of the quests unless they’re stuck and need to Google them. The last quest I finished last night was called Out Like Flynn, so I can only spoil things up to that point.

Here is the exact spot where I logged off last night:

I guess I've just spoiled that there is a realistic skybox and a ferry master in the first zone.

I love the cut scenes. They look so much like Disney animations that it makes me wonder if they’re trying to get Disney interested in buying Activision Blizzard. That headline down the road would not surprise me in the least. (Caveat: I can’t remember the last time I saw a Disney movie, so I have no idea what Disney animation looks like anymore.)

I haven’t hated any part of the story yet, although as per usual with World of Warcraft, I’m missing most of the context, I have a large number of questions, and I don’t know what anything has to do with anything else. (That console where you could “view past events” only left me with about a thousand more questions, because I didn’t recognize any of those past events, and could not see how it was at all related to the current expansion.) (No, I’m not interested in looking it up-if they don’t include the story context in the game, then it clearly doesn’t matter.)

Because of that, the stand-out scenes for me so far have been the character moments with Jaina. Those scenes were entirely self-contained and didn’t require any previous knowledge to become engrossed in them. Most of the story was told through facial expressions. However, I don’t believe for one second, based on my previous experience with WoW, that they will follow up on any of it and deliver a complete Jaina story arc by the time I reach level 120. So I steadfastly remain aloof and uninvested to protect myself from the inevitable disappointment.

I have to add also that this launch is no longer as “perfect” as Legion was, since I’ve observed a few bugs and oddities. Standing at the war council, some characters delivered random dialog lines apparently to nobody, for no reason. There were also some problems finding a boss in the Out Like Flynn quest.

On a more general note, not to sound like an “MMOs are better without other people” broken record, but it’s so irritating and immersion-breaking to see crowds of players surrounding every NPC. The story is clearly directed at you the individual player, yet you’re surrounded by crowds doing the same story all the time. It’s a cognitive dissonance problem. You see one thing (a crowd) but the NPCs see something else (just you). And they don’t try to hide or ignore it, they embrace it, intentionally throwing other people into your single-player scenario (here I am referring specifically to the Out Like Flynn quest, which definitely should have been an individual instance).

No screen clutter there…

I don’t know. It’s just laughable. I need to find that option to turn off friendly player nameplates. An option to dim other players’ character models to the point where you can’t see them would also be nice. Is there an addon for that? :)

Maybe if they made some context-sensitive changes to the NPC dialog it would help: Instead of an NPC saying something like, “You need to go to the Cave of Doom,” if there’s twenty people standing there, change it to something like, “All of you need to go to the Cave of Doom.” It removes the cognitive dissonance, so you can see that everyone is in the same reality.

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