Shadowlands Will Make or Break World of Warcraft

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After an expansion rife with disappointments, people are careful to place too much hope in the MMO’s latest expansion
Matt Edwards
Matt Edwards
There seems to be a wave-like effect when it comes to recent World of Warcraft (WoW) expansions. Warlords of Draenor is generally considered bad, while Legion was given praise. Battle for Azeroth was largely disliked — so, by this rule, the new expansion Shadowlands should be great…right?
World of Warcraft has always attracted the type of player that will pour scorn on a game that they will still play daily. Even in the glory days of WoW’s initial Classic release, the Blizzard forums were awash with players that demanded everything from nerfs and buffs to new classes and bosses.
Looking through the feedback sections of the forum was like ramming your foot onto a bed of Lego pieces over and over again — you’ll often end up with nothing constructive to show for it except a lot of unnecessary pain. The Roguecraft series showed this pretty succinctly — not only is it a great PvP series, but it also calls out a fair portion of the vocal minority for its ill-thought comments on the state of the game.
Despite this, it’s always been a popular game, and for all of the negativity some of the more vocal players throw about, it has lasted for numerous expansions. It has built new systems, features, and playstyles for its subscribers, innovated with new customization options, and implemented new methods of progression for high-end content. It’s hard to argue that the game is dying when its
In trying to introduce gear that provided the player with perks, it indirectly punished players for gaining better gear because those perks would be locked again upon equipping your new fancy boots. The quality of the content dipped considerably toward the end of the expansion: the culmination of an Old God storyline that spanned multiple expansions fizzled out with a mediocre raid and cinematic. The storyline started with a resource war caused by Sargeras stabbing the world, but this plot was never fully resolved and felt rushed in favor of getting the expansion finished, regardless of its state. There’s still a very awkward sword sticking into the ground…is anyone going to deal with that, at all?
There’s also a generally unfavorable response to Sylvanas’ transformation into a generic Big Evil Bad Guy trope. Her lapdog, Nathanos Blightcaller, is hated even more. I don’t think anyone will mourn his passing when he becomes an optional raid boss when the pre-patch drops. Nathanos is a case study about how edginess and a bad attitude does not always translate into an interesting character.

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