A friend of mine has been levelling through old content of late, and found himself in Icecrown. Charged with helping this poor soul above, almost dead in the ice, resurrected memories of Northrend along with a lively discussion on the nature of current questing. With the exception of the first time you go from 100 to 110, and the quest chain in Suramar, engaging plot-based content doesn’t really exist any more if you’ve been playing Legion every day. Rest assured, the World of Narratives will undoubtedly return with the pre-Expansion patch, but for now there’s plenty of opportunities to relive old memories with a reminder of what I continue to believe is what this game does best.
However, as my characters get older, history begins to be an issue.
There’s a highly subjective issue for me with all this talk of Allied races and the whole thing that happened after Pandaria: I simply don’t like the retconning of Azeroth. I find it annoying and frustration that what used to be history has been selectively rewritten. I refuse to read the external sources of Warcraft Lore not because I’m an obstreperous bitch, but because it’s genuinely upsetting to see people messing with what used to be a very personal part of my life. Once upon a time I’d get really involved in the history, but not any more. Something vital has been lost between the defeat of the last Sha and here, and it has nothing to do with faction wars or the dilution or otherwise of one or the other’s side of the ‘Warcraft’ story.
This is further tainting what the game used to be about for me, and each time it happens with an Expansion, there’s a part of my brain that simply detaches more from the immersive experience. Of course, this is nothing to do with the Developers at all, who are simply attempting to make a game that more people will play and that can keep everybody who works for it in wages. That makes perfect sense, and the persistent whine of those people who feel these choices are somehow a personal slight really don’t understand the point. What it does, of course, is allow increasing levels of objectivity over what we are being presented with, and how that fits into my current ideas of enjoyment.
Good storytelling, at least in my mind, involves a delicate balance of the brutal and personal. For the last two Expansions, it has either been one or the other, and the consistency of narrative has, on many occasions, very much depended on what class you play. Now that path has been very intentionally shelved, one has to wonder what will be presented in its stead. Right now, expecting faction devotion to drive players to immerse themselves is a big ask. Assuming people will buy into a war driven by grand sacrifices is also… well, it assumes a great deal, especially after so much time and effort was dedicated to peace and prosperity and bringing both factions together in Class Halls.
I’ve avoided about 80% of the content spoilers for everything that is to come, allowing me a pretty objective path through the journey to come. However, if all that happens by the time I hit L120 are the same repetitive Daily Quests and the same format of group activity that’s being seen in Argus (and which I assume forms the basis of the soon to be mandatory Azurite grind) then really, I don’t care. Without a weekly plot, I have no desire to play this game. If the idea is to keep me logging on, then maybe there has to be more than just powering weapons and grinding gear.
Please let this be the Expansion where persistent, growing narrative matters as much as my gear score.