We got a second comic yesterday as part of the BfA Countdown. No, I’m not even going to bother to link to it. All that gets reproduced here are my tweets after having read it.

The problem here is twofold: Warcraft’s UI makes doing flashbacks in game a technical nightmare. It takes up personpower hours that have to go to keep raiding viable and gear looking fly. You can’t do flashbacks well, would be the argument that would be presented for why these stories don’t get included, but frankly that’s bullshit. If it mattered enough, they’d find a way. That ends up making stories like these nothing more than lip service, included in the hope they’ll impress people enough to get invested in the storyline.

It doesn’t work like that any more. If you want people to be impressed, stick it in the game.

At the same time, this video popped up in my timeline which, quite interestingly, suggests that Legion shot its load all over BfA and now nothing will ever compare with killing Sargeras. This is exemplified by two heroes killing Squirrels in Kul Tiras. The image of Sylvanas and Anduin hitting each other like that will, I suspect, end up being my impression of this entire Beta process, and if it survives past launch then the game devs are in quite a lot of trouble.

However, my bigger concern is the disparity this video displays, almost by accident. Questing has remained the same since Vanilla: sure, it’s been given different names, and the mechanics have advanced… but only to a point. Going backwards in time still requires you to talk to an NPC in places. However much the zonal stuff gets tweaked there’s still limits to the world. It’s all still tethered by roots that are good enough to base an entire second version of the game upon.

Like it or not, we’re all still playing a version of Classic Warcraft, just in high definition.

If you look at Battlefield 5 as an example of a game attempting to evolve to capture its audience, you’ll see a lot of similarities with Warcraft at present: tons of customisation options, different skins for your races, the ability to make characters look more and more diverse… but there has to be a means by which you keep people playing. In the buildup to Legion, we were told how many new daily quests existed and that these would constantly cycle to stay fresh, but the fact remains that after a while, the same old shit gets old. 

The micro festivals pull people in, then they go away. The Faire pulls people in, then they go away. The new tier, or planning for an Expansion… but to keep people, consistently, is now virtually impossible. That’s why Blizzard invented their own games as displacement activity, built their own Launcher and now want to entertain you with esports when you’re not playing. That’s why they sell you plushies and t-shirts. They just want to keep you as a customer.

The gaming they cannot control, when you decide what matters enough to play.

That’s the light bulb moment so many ex-players finally experience too: it doesn’t matter what you say, people will keep playing regardless, because they’re just enjoying the game in their own way. Your brilliant, eloquent rant that makes so much sense to you, the argument that shows up how stupid the game devs are… it’s so subjective as to be pointless. You cannot change history. This MMO is a supertanker that’s only going to stop moving when ActiBlizz themselves choose to scuttle it. Feel free to try and make your mark on the hull, or maybe briefly pretend you’re in charge, but nobody will care.

Even the people who initially created this game have no real say on its future. Everybody’s just along for the ride. Never forget that, and if you are stupid enough to bite the hand that feeds and provides, expect consequences. I could put my tinfoil hat on now but having been mauled once too many times by the players who feel I have no right to disagree with them, my desire to be a sacrifice has finally receded. What I can say, without fear, is this. What I want from this game is the comics’ plots to be included as part of the UI, and that’s clearly not happening.

Stop with the delaying tactics already and get us a pre-Expansion event to play ASAP.

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