There, I’ve finally pinned my elusive concern about the Patch 8.2. – and this is exactly it. Now that you think of it, this is the major problem of the patch.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the War Campaign sequel – the scenario of liberating Baine is gorgeous along with its cinematic.
I have nothing bad to say about Mechagon. It introduced even quirkier but lovable mechagnomes over the “normally” quirky gnomes & goblins. It introduced a huge playground which is fit for exploring and tinkering, swaying with it in your face. It introduced a solid “sidestory” Big Bad, a reason to fight for and an excellent, climactic dungeon to wrap it all up.
In short, it’s a diamond in itself, and it works perfectly as a sidestory.
But Nazjatar… well, it’s simply hollow.
Just think of all the missed opportunities.
1. High Elves and Azshara.
We could have had a full-scale journey into the past of High Elves. What was Azshara back then before Shattering? How did her subjects treat her, and how did she treat her subjects? What was their life like? How arrogant the nobles were in their chase for power? Some hints to the first Legion’s invasion which led to the Shattering?
Nothing. We only get a short trip with Thalyssra or Shandris, see the Warbringers short… and this is it. There are roaming ghosts, and there’s zero hint to anything mentioned above. There are ruins, but they tell no story. None at all.
We could get a full-scale story to learn about naga. Finally we’re at the heart of their empire! How did they transform? Where do the species come from, like brutes and all? Architecture? Society? Exploration of Zanjir/Shirakess clan history?
Nothing. The closest thing there was is only a snapdgaron origin questline – which was actually cool. But bite my shins, this is but a freckle of what could have been there.
3. Allied Unshackled/Ankoan.
Don’t even get me started on that. These two, especially Unshackled, have a story potential that could feed hours and hours of one-time stories.
We learn nothing of their societies, of how they fought and struggled with the naga. How they suffered from them, how their kids were taken by evil octopuses, families shattered and tortured. But they’re nothing more but vendors. They don’t even deliver their perks! You could take a single sea giant and turn it into a funny figure that everyone will remember for a long, long time past the expansion – like Addie in Highmountain’s Nesingwary camp, Meerah in Vol’dun or Lump (was it?), the ogre that hated fighting in Searing Gorge.
4. The major storyline.
We know we must break into the palace, we sought the javelin that did the trick, but frankly it’s a simple Deus Ex. We just took it from a common no-name mob, just like that. There could have been the story that is about collecting Javelin parts, learning their whereabouts (while learning elven past), learning how it was created and how it helped to kill someone important (through a little flashback – nothing serious, think Huln Highmountain).
There could have been Lady Ashvane presenting a serious threat rather than sitting in a cave and leaving at the sight of us. There could have been a winding path to making a truce with the Horde rather than casually bumping into them and saying ‘ok, let’s work together’ – Lorthemar, and Jaina, and Genn, and Thalyssra discussing their concerns in homebase before meeting them.
All possible opportunities were missed out.
There’s a lot to do in this patch – it will actually take months to complete, there’s a lot of gameplay content. But we don’t have the purpose for it.
Now you think of it, it seems that all the writers took vacation when it came to writing Nazjatar. And that strikes the patch straight at its heart. The raid, which should have been the zone culmination, is just another place for mechanics, organized activity and getting transmogs. It doesn’t bear any emotional sense – it simply didn’t have a proper lead-in, or any at all.
Yes, we all know about the first invasion, the Shattering and Azshara stories by heart. But it’s always been a history textbook. Nazjatar could have made it personal. It did not.
What were they thinking?