When I first came back to World of Warcraft after a long break that spanned multiple expansions, I arrived in Warlords of Draenor about eight months before Legion came out. From what I hear, that’s probably the way to have done it and not suffered the lengthy content drought that Draenor created.
It was also strange to be first getting into an expansion when that expansion was, for all intents and purposes, done. When people had already drained any surprises and new x-pack smell dry and were just biding their time or leveling up alts. I felt chronically far behind (story of my gaming life), but it was also kind of fun and freeing just to experience it for the first time and not feel as pressured to do anything I didn’t want to.
The end of WoW’s expansions are always odd. I think people were ready to be done with Battle for Azeroth a good two patches ago and are going through the motions of leveling up this cloak because it’s more expected than engaging. Attention has turned forward to Shadowlands, and that’s all the WoW community — blogs, YouTubers, etc. — is talking about. It’s like a new baby is on the way and nobody cares about that disappointing toddler that’s lost a lot of its cute factor.
We all know that Blizzard loves its huge expansion reset switches, too, so there’s this evaluation of what actually will matter in the long run and what will be largely irrelevant by the end of this year. For example, I have no interest in getting and leveling this legendary cloak or all these essences because I know how hard that reset switch is hit. Plus, Blizzard seems to have completely botched gear in this expansion, so I have no interest in being a part of that.
Mounts? Pets? Toys? These are things that can be carried forward and are of more interest to pursue. Doubly so for transmog, which helps keep older content far more relevant.
But for now, the waters of excitement are calm and sluggish, and so the tail end of this expansion is up for us to define instead of the studio. It’s crazy, but that’s how World of Warcraft goes.