However much I would like to pretend that everything on the Broken Isles is perfect right now, I know that some of you believe this is a long way from the truth. Inevitably, as players wake up from their post-expansion honeymoon, this is always the time when the questions begin to be raised, that perhaps the Best Expansion Ever (TM) isn’t quite as great as you might first have decided.
Often that ire is directed in one place: in Pandaria, it all went towards the Golden Lotus daily quests, in Warlords of Draenor, your Garrison was where the problems all started, and this time around, it’s not just one thing, but three, and the consequences of these are affecting disparate groups of people in differing ways. As a result, there may not be one quick fix, and it might just end up proving that Legion really is the best thing Blizzard could have done for the entire franchise.
Let’s start with the one that’s making the most noise on my social media timelines.
I’ve Got the Artifact Power (or not, as the case may be)
You only have one weapon for the entirety of Legion and because of this, how you increase its powers and abilities is quite important. Of course, for those of you rocking two or possibly three specs in a progression guild, that’s a whole new level of pain, because you can’t just buy an item off the AH or get it crafted and hope for the best. To get your weapon to an acceptable level of ability, there needs to be grinding, and a phenomenal amount of it, plus work on collecting Artifact Resources to allow you to increase the rate at which that Artifact Power is applied. The problem here, pure and simple, is that if you miss a day’s worth of World Quests, you’re already behind. You have to grind dungeon after dungeon, just to make sure you’re keeping up with your collection rate.
Blizzard get that this is a problem and are introducing catch up mechanics in the next patch, and I’m told that they work fairly effectively, but that will be scant comfort for the many people I’m seeing complain, or who have been benched from progression raiding due to them simply not doing the legwork. The counter to this is twofold: you don’t have to, and often might not need to in anything except the bleeding edge end of raiding. Except the complaints keep on coming, and players are obviously rather upset. However, the intelligence and foresight of the complaints I’ve seen thus far tell me nobody will be quitting the game over this anytime soon, it remains something people are prepared to do if it grants the edge required to make a difference.
We Don’t Play Anymore (or it’s not you, it’s me)
Once upon a time, I had a family of alts that I was going to level and enjoy the new artifact quest-lines in Legion on, but also all of the different profession adventures, and then I realized that I’d never have enough time to finish everything that was essential to do on my main. I had such lofty plans, but have quietly accepted that if I want to have a clean house, a happy family and be able to find my desk to write, something has to give, and that means that playing 24/7 (as did happen in previous expansions) is no longer either possible or indeed recommended. In fact, if I want to do anything that maintains a normal life, I cannot give Legion the time that other people do. It is simply neither practical or healthy, in my present situation.
However, I know plenty of people who are happily leveling alts, get as much pleasure from the organization required as they do from the journey, and are merrily enjoying their time in Azeroth without so much as a complaint. If it matters enough, people keep telling me, then you take the time to make it happen, and that’s always been the case. Then there’s the friend who reminds me that alts have never been that important to begin with and I should just pick a main and stick with it, because how can I play all those classes properly simultaneously? Although he may have a point, my other characters were my family, and now I feel like that difficult and slightly mad Aunt who forgets all the birthdays and never turns up for Christmas. That’s the bigger problem, of course, it’s my perception of what matters against what Blizzard offer as ‘distraction.’
Content Working Overtime (or it’s there, you can play if you want)
There’s an awful lot to do in Legion, and after so many complaints that people ran out of content in Warlords, they simply provided more than enough. In fact, there’s so much to do, before you even get to ‘hidden’ surprises or optional artifact skins or the stuff that’s not PvE… honestly, it’s everywhere, and pretty much all the time. Everyone will keep telling you it’s okay, you can do it all as you get to it, but when even the official Warcraft Twitter account is asking you when you’ll be going into Karazhan and the attunement’s not even complete on your main, plus you won’t ever get a Mythic+ run because you don’t have time to use a Keystone… no, I’m not playing the victim card, just stop that. You’re not going to be the envy of your friends, and you’ll be lucky if you get flying requirements sorted for 7.2. That’s just that way it is this time around.
Nobody is making you do all this right now, and even if all your friends have a Fathom Dweller mount, that doesn’t mean you need one too. The content excess has been provided to allow those who do nothing but play games to do just that. Those of us with less time may sigh and wistfully remember the days when that was us, when you had nothing to worry about but playing, but the harsh reality of this game is that it has always been like this, all the way since Vanilla. When I was younger, I had different priorities and now, I’d rather write about the disparities that these design choices throw up than spend hours farming for stuff which ultimately has no real value except to me. That’s the biggest thing to take away from all of this, when we come down to the nitty gritty.
All these ‘issues’ are indeed legitimate and acceptable reasons for being upset that Legion is not doing what you want, but in the end, none of them are really the fault of the company who makes the game. Of the three, the AP ‘problem’ is already being solved, and one might argue that this was the design intent all along: if it mattered enough to be first, you could do the work. The same can also be said of the alt problem and the content excess, neither of these are really a legitimate complaint, they’re just people annoyed and upset that they can’t do everything they want. I know this because that would be me, but however much I could try and string an entire article out over how terrible it is, it really isn’t.
Oh, and don’t think I haven’t noticed all those people trying to make a big deal out of how the devs are rethinking a ton of class talents and spells and trying to make it look like they screwed up royally, and all those people who strode off so publicly before Legion launched are somehow vindicated in their condemnation of uncaring and thoughtless development. Seriously, give it a rest, that record’s been overplayed since the start of the Burning Crusade. We get that you think your spec was ruined, and very little is likely to change your condemnation at this stage. The fact remains, this really is the best it has ever been. That’s my utterly subjective, yet very well considered opinion, and here’s why: no-one can agree what the big issue is, because there isn’t one.
Once upon a time, it would be simple to pin blame on a particular issue. Players did, and in Legion, the designers responded. All those criticisms over a lack of content, immersion, and variety have been summarily addressed and dealt with, without any reduction in quality or consistency. Sure, there are still areas that could be improved, and with each patch I confidently predict that’s what will happen. For each random nutter that tries to start a fight on my Twitter feed with ‘X is the worst thing ever, fix it devs’ I can guarantee I’ll find you twice as many people who’ll love the same thing, and that says to me that this still remains the best expansion that Blizzard have ever made for World of Warcraft.
No longer is this about plugging holes in a sinking ship. Every criticism that has been leveled at this group has been addressed and answered. However much I’d like to complain that they’re not listening, I know that’s just not true. Blizzard gave me the best expansion ever and it is not their fault I can’t play it. That’s my problem, pure and simple, and complaining about it won’t change the fact that I don’t have the free time anymore, and often there are better things to do with the hours than end up in Azeroth. There’s nothing wrong with Legion, and that’s probably something a number of you really don’t want to hear, so to apologize, here are some cats having a good time.
I know it’s not what you wanted to see, but hopefully it will help.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Legion, MMORPG, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday