I’ve been observing sadness in blogs I’m reading about Tides of Vengeance. I’m not experiencing the same, and let me explain why.
The core problem about BfA plot so far was that it felt disconnected from everything – and frankly it felt falling apart.
In Legion: we never saw any massive demon armies after our defeat except for a small Azsuna enclave. We went somewhere else to get the pillars, forging a new plan. Any demons we met on the way were some minuscule raiding parties. Players asked why are we fighting some drogbar, vrykul and naga instead of demons?
Likewise in BfA. After the climactic battle for Lordaeron, both factions understood they cannot do anything else in their current disasterous state, and they left to different corners of the world to lick their wounds and win some new allies. Logical as it may be, we were distracted by new zones and their problems, and the narrative just didn’t feel connected.
I think one of the major problems was also dividing the Horde / Alliance leveling experience. The zones in itself are gorgeous, with awesome ambience and stories. But both factions got little to none development at the enemy continent – the best we had acquired were small hiking camps, not any significant outposts. During world quests we were fighting the local wildlife or hostile savages, running Magni’s and Tortollans’ errands. There was nothing too epic in the vein of the main narrative. Even the one and only warfront looked like a battleground, a friendly match rather than war. And that’s what discouraged us.
It is all being fixed in Tides of Vengeance now.
- Tyrande is undergoing the merciless transformation. This could be compared to Illidan accepting the power of the Skull of Gul’dan which granted him demon powers, or Arthas embracing Frostmourne.
- Night elves are driving the most brutal assault to claim their home back. It is no longer a freindly match with your momma jokes, it is a battle for mutual eradication, merciless and cruel.
- The new war campaign is no longer a stealth mission (mostly), but it launches massive armies on the enemy shores. It is not a careful stab in the back and fleeing before the patrols arrive – these are well-prepared military invasions. Incursions count as well.
- We see many races putting their forces into battle, trying to actively undermine the enemy’s efforts and not in stealth raiding parties, but with direct bombardment of the major cities and heavy machinery.
- Finally, we see Jaina and Sylvanas in person making their appearance and actively participating in the war effort – putting them in front line is a sign of the coming storm.
I see now how all the events are starting to spiral around the one stem, the one core. Not that we didn’t expect this before, but now, when you see it with your own eyes, do you feel this all connected?
I think of Brennadam: it never had a chance to bloom as a Storm’s Wake capital in our hearts. The most part of it was destroyed by war upon our arrival. Shouldn’t it be better if we grew to like this city first? And deal with its citizens before it was attacked?
BfA just had to introduce Zandalar and Kul Tiras, tell their stories before the actual war was launched on its lands. During the past months we learned the significance of the points we are attacking now, what happened there and what is to be expected from the local communities. These are not no-name places now, but points of interest we care about. This had to be done, the only question is: how much time should we have had for the initiate problem solving and acquaintance?
Should the patch be launched a month sooner? Maybe it would have fixed the attitude, because surely 8.0. felt stale for myself by the end of November.
And yet, the world has got a new breath now. I do feel the work and effort we’ve done in the past months is starting to pay off. We know the core stories and the continents as our own fingers, and it is time to paint them with new colors (mostly bloodred). Both continents and factions now intertwine to form a common narrative – a narrative Bllizzard has always delivered.
Blizzard sees the big picture, and they are damn right that we will appreciate the expansion after we see it too. Maybe too much hope put into island expeditions, but content pace has definitely failed them in this autumn.
But it is already happening. The big picture is unveiling. The reason to be happy about every new bit of content. I am.