Well, this is it. The battle horns have sounded and, starting tonight in North America, Battle for Azeroth will go live. If this is anything like previous expansions and MMO launches that I’ve experienced, I’ll get really excited about it, try to get some time to play, and quickly be trampled by the stampede of players rushing as fast as possible to get to the new level cap and endgame.
I don’t anticipate getting there for a month, especially how chaotic life is getting. And that’s just fine — I want a new leveling experience, I look forward to the journey, and I genuinely enjoy getting set up again with new goals and champion missions and whatnot. I haven’t paid much attention at all to the beta and so I know only the broadest of strokes of the expansion — which means that I’ll probably have more fun in it than your average streamer or dataminer.
Before getting into it tonight, I should probably talk about last week’s Siege of Lordaeron scenario, since that wrapped up the prologue experience. I do miss the world invasions of Legion, I think those were more fun for the community and bonded us, but it definitely was cool to have a weekly episode to anticipate — especially ones with so many story beats and cutscenes.
I played both Alliance and Horde sides for this, and I have to say that the Alliance side made more sense and was more engaging. It was a full-on frontal assault of Lordaeron following the destruction of Teldrassil, and the scenario did a great job conveying the chaos and energy of warfare (although it wasn’t, at any point, actually challenging or dangerous).
So many great moments, too. Jaina’s return is the part everyone’s discussing, of course, but I was really partial to seeing the Forsaken coming out in gas masks to spread the Blight everywhere. Having to retreat by stages against the oncoming green Blight felt genuinely terrifying. And the showdown in the throne room was cool, I guess, but it was more posturing than anything else. Characters in this game like to show up, pose, and make grand pronouncements without actually doing anything.
What made less sense was this lady and her whole strategy. I don’t get what’s going on with Sylvanas, other than just accepting that she’s devolved into Big Bad Guy Mode which means that you kick your minions around, insult your inferiors, and be as homicidal as your schedule allows. She doesn’t show any great insight or plan here, nor does she explain why she went all tree-burny. She’s just angry and evil.
I probably felt the worst for the other Horde leaders, especially Blaine and Saurfang. Nobody stands up to Sylvanas even though they really should, yet they’re miserable because their dream of a noble, honorable Horde is dying all around them.
Then again, if you’re a Forsaken fan or player — which I am — this all is really gratifying to see the Blight in action. The Forsaken really should be their own faction at this point. Maybe that’s something that will happen in this expansion.
Other random thoughts: Anduin looks kind of silly in that lion mask. There, I’ve said it.
Jaina is like a more intense Elsa from Frozen and we all know that’s 100% deliberate on the part of Blizzard.
Lordaeron’s been nuked with Blight, so now we are down two capital cities? Can Forsaken not live among the Blight? I’m not really up to spec with this whole plague. I wouldn’t think the undead could get undeader, but that’s me.
The whole stalemate ending felt shoehorned and cheesy. Something significant needed to happen here, some balance of power should have changed, but nothing did other than Saurfang getting captured.
Biggest disappointment: No cool rewards. COME ON, BLIZZARD. Couldn’t I at least keep this awesome gas mask? I’d wear it all the time, promise!