If I were to describe the whole patch in one phrase, it would be: “It didn’t take wing”.
I wouldn’t say that the patch was bad or devoid of its perks and fun. We’ve got a new raid, we’ve got an epic dungeon, we’ve got two zones, azerite necklace system improvement and a number of things to do. Benthic gear is a bliss – taking a fresh 120 toon would make him ready for the raid in 1 (one) day! Both Nazjatar and Mechagon, unlike Broken Shore, are unique and pleasant places to hang out, obscuring even the gorgeous Kul Tiras and Zandalar to an extent.
And yet the patch is very hollow. I wonder how this happens – we surely get a lore advance. But, Blizzard took an approach of delivering essential lore by a teaspoon. Mechagon is great, but it is great for a sidestory which it is.
War campaign was a laugh: it is significant in the outcome, cause the Horde is finally ready to undertake actions against Sylvanas, and the Alliance (even Genn) softened towards the good guys in red tabards. Thrall’s back, there’s a shaky truce, but it was a matter of 20 minutes of gameplay. Surely this is not enough.
Our main focus is Nazjatar, and Blizzard failed both to expand and present cultures of Waveblades/Unshackled, Highborne and Naga on Suramar level, or deliver emotional/dramatic horror of Thunder Isle/Broken Shore which would make the raid matter.
The raid was surprisingly anti-climactic. N’Zoth, albeit free, has left us wondering about the level of danger. The Old Gods have always been most powerful through their followers: corrupted titan watchers, corrupted Earth Warder, corrupted insectoids, members of Twilight Hammer (also corrupted).
There’s no doubt that N’Zoth will head to Azeroth herself to try and accomplish his priority purpose… but he’s just an easy targeted husk now. He will simply have no time to fulfil any plans. Releasing N’Zoth is simply not a motivating cliffhanger. A motivating cliffhanger is N’Zoth putting his tentacles deep into the world soul, and her crying in pain. A motivating cliffhanger is N’Zoth rallying the naga and a’qir in swarms, with Azshara by his side. A motivating cliffhanger is grabbing a significant “good guy” and making him/her turn to the void crusade. That’s how it should have ended.
I’ve written a lot of speculations about 8.3. and 9.0., but I haven’t really thought what will happen in 8.2.5.
Frankly I’m not optimistic about it. Given how scarce the war campaign lore has been so far, we will get a small advance in this direction in the vein of all the expansion. That is, the upcoming events will be huge, but not so much for a gameplay.
Most likely, Sylvanas and her loyalists will make her move against “traitors”. The next chapter will see the dark rangers and their friends storming Mulgore and Thunder Bluff. As in 5.3., both Alliance and Horde will gather resources and repel minor attacks. The highlight of the patch will be a new warfront: Barrens, which was datamined long ago. This time Alliance and Horde fight together and play defence to push Sylvanas back from the gates of Mulgore.
For one-time content, it’s gonna be dethroning of Sylvanas. By a good (not) BfA tradition this will be a short streak of quests for 15 minutes and a cinematic where Sylvanas is banished, and Baine is named the new warchief, signing peace treaty with the Alliance. A small raid like Crucible is possible (Nathanos and Sylvanas as bosses), but I wouldn’t hope for that. Sylvanas will reveal her “plan” everyone was talking about so much, and with a mwahahahaha she will flee.
However hollow the current patch may be, I still have things to do there which will take me through these couple of months. I’ve made a small spreadsheet for alts:
F means Follower – I think I want each toon to get at least a 20 or 30 level one. Horde’s are a must at 20, because they give follower prizes there. Naturally I’m leveling different followers on different toons :)
Lore means Nazjatar lore achievement and quest attunement for the raid.
Azshara means killing Azshara with a quest. I’m saving the third wing runs until attunement.
Wings mean bosses that owe my toons transmogs. The list seems big, but naturally when I get leather shouders I’m crossing out the boss from all leather toons, when I get 1H sword I’m crossing out boss from all plate armored guys and so on. Hopefully it will all drop by the end of September.
Micromantica, as my eternal flagship, works on Nazjatar’s meta-achievement. There’s nothing I could do to speed it up now. I’ve covered another couple of achievements yesterday – collecting manapearls and hunting rares, Soundless being my final prey:
In my quest log on the right you could actually see what is left. I need to finish scrying stones (I have two in my bag – hopefully it will be enough). I need to wait until an easy orange runechest procs. I need 5 more weeks to kill everything in Mardivas lab. And 35 more days to level all followers for a final achievement.
This all is not time consuming at all. My daily round on Micromantica barely takes me 15 minutes – thank god I have alts :)
Oh, and I think I want to grind azerite levels on Micromantica to see all the small grains of lore they have there. So far I’ve seen two of them: Hyjal and Emerald Dream. The next one is rumored to come at necklace level 60. Will the whole story all be about dragons? I’m intrigued.
If it all goes as planned, I’m looking at a huge, month-long lull by the end of September. 8.2.5 is not likely to be released before Blizzcon, so I’ll have a month of a blissed doing nothing :) Maybe I’ll finish dungeon-leveling and deleting Kul Tiran and Zandalari for an achievement. Maybe I’ll play Final Fantasy. Maybe I will do archeology. We shall see.