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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Review In Progress
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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Review In Progress

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Review In Progress

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’ Review In Progress This is a review in progress. It will be updated as we experience the entirety of Battle for Azeroth. Where did Jaina go? Thats my question as I dig into World of Warcrafts new expansion, Battle for Azeroth. As an Alliance player, the expansions first hour treated me to the tragic story of Jaina Proudmoore, one of Warcrafts most well-known characters. Having betrayed her father in the name of peace during the events of Warcraft III, the new expansion sees Jaina head home to KulTiras in a desperate attempt to reunify her people with the Alliance – and face her past. Its the start to what could be an engrossing tale, but one that instead unravels into a mess of tangled threads that reflect the larger issues faced by Battle for Azeroth. The game is, in many ways, better than its ever been, but feels frayed along its seams. PUTTING THE WAR BACK IN WARCRAFT. MORE. AGAIN? Battle for Azeroth supposedly focuses on the fight between the Alliance and the Horde. Blizzard often revisits this core conflict when it needs to inject a shot of tension, but the wars impact on the game is less than the games marketing blitz would have you think.he cinematics frame your visit to KulTiras (or Zandalar, if youre playing Horde) as part of an urgent bid to gain support against the opposing faction. They psych you up in anticipation for whats to come. Yet that expectation will deflate as you realize “whats to come” is yet another incarnation of the usual World of Warcraft leveling experience. Youll only be threatened by the enemy if you turn on “War Mode,” but you probably wont when you realize it puts you in a different phase from everyone who has War Mode off, including your friends. Dont get me wrong. Im not saying Battle for Azeroth shouldve led with player-on-player combat. God, no. But theres no compelling villain who steps in to fill the opposing factions shoes. Each class has two to four sub-classes […] which brings the options to an incredible thirty-six paths. Those that do exist are one-note, predictable, juvenile, and never feel like a serious threat – surprising, given how high the stakes have risen in some of the games recent events. The Burning of Teldrassil, part of the expansions pre-release story, put players on a doomed quest to save civilians from being burned alive. Now, just a few weeks later, players take to the skies on a noble quest to bombard pirates with parrot shit. Step back from the tales told in quests, though, and its impossible to deny the new zones are gorgeous and thematic. The games harshest critics have long derided it as a “theme park” game, but those themes are diverse and brilliantly realized. Drustvars main story, which focuses on suppressing the areas native people and hunting down witches, is so unoriginal it feels like a test trial of Blizzards new narrative-writing bot, but the area is wonderfully spooky and filled with fantastically fearsome wicker constructs. You wouldnt think a 14-year-old game could impress modern eyes, but Blizzards artists have managed it.Though the disappointing story is a drag, that doesnt mean Battle for Azeroth is hopeless. On the contrary, its a blast to play, and its all a matter of class.Class,” of course, is the familiar fantasy game trope surrounding the different abilities of characters, and theres not much unique about Blizzards approach at a glance. While the Demon Hunter, added in the previous Legion expansion, is a bit off the usual path, most classes are exactly what youd expect. Warriors, Mages, and Druids, oh my! Yet theres more to a class than its theme. How it plays is just as important, and thats where youll find Battle for Azeroths success. Over a decade of iteration has helped Blizzard polish each class to a near-perfect sheen. Most have enough abilities to keep you interested, but not so many that you feel overwhelmed, and every character has at least one unique trick. Druids shape-shift. Warriors leap through the air like superheroes. Warlocks summon demons. Your character feels like your character more than ever The game currently has twelve classes, which is a fair number, but that sells its variety short. Each class has two to four sub-classes, and theyre so diverse that theyre basically a separate class. That brings the options to an incredible thirty-six paths. Blizzard uses this broad selection not just to run up the number, but also to make sure you can find a playstyle you love. Specializations vary in complexity, speed, mobility, range, and more. Want to mash buttons? Pick a Fury Warrior. Want a complex ability rotation that requires constant attention on multiple targets and careful timing of key abilities? Go for the Feral Druid. Battle for Azeroth does take a step back from Legion. The new customizable gear, Azerite Armor, offers fewer options than the Artifact Weapons in Legion. Theres also no equivalent of the awesome class order halls, which acted as a unique home base for each class. They still exist, however, if youd like to visit, and I cant say I miss the Artifact Weapon system. It was too complex for its own good. Blizzard also introduced several new races just ahead of Battle for Azeroth, with more to come throughout the expansion. These “Allied Races” are modest tweaks on existing options, but offer more room for self-expression, and come with unique racial abilities (the Nightborne can conjure a tomb to access their mail from any location, for instance). Taken together, the games many specializations and growing list of races offer character variety that World of Warcraft lacked in earlier years. Your character feels like your character more than ever, and that attachment keeps you itching to finish just one more quest before you log off. THIS ISNT THE GAME YOU THINK IT IS That points to the games broader shift towards support for short play sessions, one that Battle for Azeroth continues. Gamers often lament they dont have time for World of Warcraft. Thats no longer a problem. You can work towards a goal even if you have less than half an hour to play. The climatic introduction cinematic and quests lead into a whole lot of cliché and not a lot of action. Allied races are a clever example. You cant play one until you earn exalted reputation with the races in-game faction, which takes a few weeks of casual play. Once unlocked, you can earn a unique and very cool “heritage armor” set – but only if you level up that character to maximum without using a paid level boost. This means that, for the first time ever, theres reason to unlock and level up new characters. If you just want to start alternative characters and never touch a raid or even a Mythic Dungeon, thats cool! The game supports and rewards you all the same. World of Warcraft Or perhaps you do want an end-game challenge, but you dont have a few hours to set aside for a raid. No problem. Mythic+ dungeons, timed challenge runs you must finish in a half hour or less, have returned. Theres also the new Warfronts mode which, in beta, usually took 30 or 40 minutes – but it wont be available until a few weeks into the launch of Battle for Azeroth. Player-versus-player battlegrounds also return and rarely require more than 20 minutes to finish. Raids still exist, of course, and theyre ridiculously hard if you want them to be. Mythic raid bosses wont be slain for the first time until after several weeks, and hundreds of attempts, by the worlds best guilds. That, however, is a fraction of what you can do after you hit Battle for Azeroths level cap. Theres always some way to move forward, no matter how much (or little) time you can commit to the game. WORLD OF WARCRAFT IS GOOD. BATTLE FOR AZEROTH SEEMS … OK Battle for Azeroth is off to a weak start. The new zones are beautiful, to be sure, but the climatic introduction cinematic and quests lead into a whole lot of cliché and not a lot of action. If the War has come back to Warcraft, well …Ive not seen it. Yet theres still hope. The core of World of Warcraft is better than ever before. Anyone who hasnt played the Legion expansion should give the game a try – you dont even have to buy it, as all expansions prior to Battle for Azeroth are now unlocked with a monthly subscription. Besides, the story and leveling experience is just a fraction of what the expansion offers. Warfronts and the new raid arent even available yet. Ive played a couple of the new dungeons – which were excellent, by the way – and havent had chance to try an Island Expedition. A final verdict is still weeks away, giving this expansion plenty of time to redeem itself. I just hope to see more Jaina.


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Added On: August 18, 2018, 9:26 am EDT


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