It was probably inevitable. I went ahead and pre-ordered the World of Warcraft expansion Battle for Azeroth one day early.
There’s a couple of reasons I caved. First, I was thinking about buying a new game anyway. Even though I said I wasn’t going to buy Diablo III, I started contemplating it. I did in fact load up Path of Exile Sunday night and play a little bit of my old characters (level 13 is my highest level guy there), and it wasn’t as fun as I expected. PoE is a far better-looking game, but it also has more complex mechanics. It swung the pendulum a bit too far in the other direction. It’s actually hard to beat bosses. You have to watch your health bar and drink potions at the right time and dodge stuff and think about what you’re doing. :)
That’s probably a good thing. I’m sure it better prepares the player for the endgame. And it sounds like that’s the kind of complexity that Diablo III will eventually turn into as well. But it wasn’t really clicking with me last night. So I thought maybe dropping $20 to follow along in the mindless fun of Diablo III wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
I also debated picking up some other games, maybe something like a Rimworld, which Jeromai mentioned in the comments last time. I’m still not keen on spending more than $10 for Early Access games though.
The point is that I was mentally primed for spending money on a new game. $50 plus a subscription is more than I planned for, but it’s still pretty easy to rationalize it as a very cheap hobby. I spent close to $50 just to fill up my car with gas not too long ago. Besides I know WoW is a game that I’ll eventually get my money’s worth out of, and not something I’ll abandon after twenty minutes.
The second reason is more obvious: Battle for Azeroth has sucked all the oxygen out of the entire gaming world. Every other tweet in my timeline is someone excitedly counting down the minutes until launch time. Like it or not, no other MMORPG has so much universal appeal. If I was going to buy a game anyway, it might as well be the one that everyone else will be playing and talking about for the next month. It’s hard to resist that magnitude of peer pressure. :)
It’s weird but it seems like every WoW expansion seems to gather more momentum than the last one. It’s impossible to understand how that can happen in a 14-year-old game, when each expansion routinely gets criticized more and more. This one is already getting hammered by critics for the story. (Though I have to admit most of what people are criticizing sounds pretty interesting to me.) But there it is, all over the place, everywhere on Twitter, on all the blogs, on all the news sites: People just can’t wait to play this expansion, good, bad, or indifferent.
Most sites will give you the Battle for Azeroth perspective of the hardcore WoW superfan whose been playing continuously for 14 years, read every book, watched every cinematic in slow-motion, leveled every class with every race, been in the trenches of the forums every day, led at least five hardcore raiding guilds. From me, you’ll get the perspective of an indifferent MMORPG-hopping tourist, someone who hasn’t even logged into Legion since 2016, only has one level 110 character, doesn’t even know who Jaina is and only barely remembers Sylvanas from the Undead starter zone. You can look forward to me grating on your nerves by playing “wrong” the entire time: Not grouping, not in a guild, soloing everything like it’s a single-player game, not consulting wikis or guides, not doing dungeons, not raiding, not talking to anyone, not reading chat, not using the auction house, not using any addons until I feel something’s missing, not caring about making gold to buy subscription tokens or whatever.
The screenshot above is the last time I played WoW, September 12, 2016. Beast Mastery Hunter item level 798 is my highest-level character (that’s the same character I started with in 2006, actually). I’m assuming that’s really powerful and right in line with all the top players. (You don’t have to comment, that’s supposed to be a joke.) That screenshot is exactly where I should be standing when I log in for Battle for Azeroth.
I didn’t even get a subscription yet. I’m going to wait until Tuesday night or maybe even Wednesday. Why get the subscription early in case there are launch issues? Unless I start seeing tweet after tweet Tuesday of people saying, “I’m in and everything is awesome, no problems!” I didn’t have any launch issues in Legion, but I remember tons of launch issues from Draenor.
Oh a third reason I got it is that WoW is one of the MMORPGs I know I can play just with my right hand. It’s also one of the better games out there for scaling quest text fonts up to a size that I can read.