Two Months into Nazjatar

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.

What’s Next?

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.

What Now?

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:

List

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:

Soundless

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.

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4 thoughts on “Two Months into Nazjatar

  1. I can’t get motivated to chase achievements any more. For many of them the time sink is just too much. The other day we flew around and knocked out all but the last 6 Selfie camera shots, and then put it back on a shelf. I logged in on Monday to check on the guild and there were two people playing. Over in Classic there were the rest of the guild. And I felt bad for those two people. Back in Classic I was all set to jump off a blimp to get the Going Down achievement and realized, there aren’t any. And I kind of laughed a little. Like a big weight had been taken off my shoulders. I think I can see why it’s pulling people in. There stripped it back to the core game, taken off all the bells and whistles, and it’s more enjoyable.
    I’ve poked my head into Nazjatar a few times, I need to again this week for the world boss, I walked away from the raid with only two bosses killed, the previous tier I have 0 complete. The story is missing something compelling. Maybe it’s just to much filler in between a few spoon fulls of content.
    I was talking with my wife about the trend for some tv shows to give you 6 or 7 episodes, then go on break for a few months. Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead have done that for awhile, jumping back and forth between the series, and it losses a great deal, you just start to get wrapped up in the story and then it’s gone. When it comes back you get a half an episode doing flashbacks to previous, and it really doesn’t work.
    I look back on Wrath, and Cata, MoP, we had Arthas our and about, it was a constantly evolving story, I don’t recall long down times, he was always there. We had Deathwing all over the open world, had lots to do, in Pandaria we had the Sha of pick your vice everywhere everyday. Draenor felt like it was part of one story added to another with another part shifted over to Legion.
    Maybe they just tried to be too innovative and introduced too many story arcs to track, and currently if you aren’t playing both factions like yourself, you only get half the tale. Maybe they should look at what is drawing people to a 15 year old version, and strip it back to the basics of storytelling.

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    • I’ve learned to split the achievements into fun and not fun, and I let the latter go with a light heart now. The good example could be no less than Mechagon and Nazjatar.

      Nazjatar meta consists of lots of exploration, and takes you to the holes where you would never have been otherwise. Interesting conditions to summon some rares, hunting some of them (oh the excitement of frantically logging out with an alt who noticed Soundless to bring main for a kill), solving riddles and puzzles, discovering secret caves. That’s awesome and tickles my explorer’s nature. That’s why I’m doing meta and getting my crab mount: the journey is fun, engaging and easily could be solved.

      Mechagon, on the other hand, at a certain threshold becomes nothing more than a grind. For example, you need to donate 500 or 1000 times to construction projects, and when by the time I complete lore, spider and Exalted I have 70… Well, let’s just say I call it quits.

      Achivements are fun, but it’s vital to choose the ones you like.

      ***

      Classic in the long run is a good thing for franchise, cause a number of tourists will most certainly end up in retail. It also helps to sustain subscription rate (or even boost it), letting Blizzard earn cash and work on further expansions. A genius move! And W3 Reforged will also benefit the franchise – old and new people coming to recall the best RTS experience may also wish to run Azeroth on their own.

      I think when the release dust settles after a month or two, we’ll see most people playing both versions.

      I see quite a lot people running Nazjatar errands this week, and many custom groups in Mechagon in group finder, so it’s still pretty vibrant despite being the first vanilla release days. I’ll see today what LFR queues look like )

      ***
      Yes, I think it’s an excellent point about the story. In classic Russian literature we have a famous fable about Swan, Lobster and Pike which try to drag a cart together. Swan is trying to go in the sky, Lobster drags the cart backwards, and Pike wants to dive into the water. Naturally the cart hardly moves if at all. So is the BfA lore. Like in the fable, we don’t have a goal. Azeroth wound, senseless faction war and Old God theme are all trying to make a point, and yet none of them is convincing enough to move the cart in any direction, while at the same time they all making baby steps on their own.

      If I were to name the cool lore moments of the expansion, I’d say it was a G’huun arc and Jaina’s personal questline – the strings that united continents. When it came to major theme of the expansion… it’s Swan, Pike and Lobster.

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  2. There are some Sylvannas loyalists out there (guys wgo did not help Saurfang, reported Baine etc.), so there should be three versions of Barrens warfront. Alliance has some fortifications in Barrens and can strike Sylvanna in the back from there instead of defending Mulgore.

    Third level of single-target essence unlocks after quest available from Kalecgos at Heart level 60, and it doest involve dragons. And after that, the final quest and fourth level of the essence requires Heart level 70. ;-)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, I am hoping that we sit in this patch for a while. This would give me time to look into achievements and also some time to piddle about in Classic. Are we one year into BfA and we have one more year to go until the next expansion?

    Liked by 1 person

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