I kinda had a feeling after seeing the BlizzCon mounts that this expansion would go back to the faction war. My initial impressions of Battle for Azeroth are basically, “cool!” I’m not going out of my mind over this. It looks like more WoW. More WoW is good. Thus far nothing has stood out to me as an expansion defining feature on the same level as Legion’s artifacts and the class orders. I’m not sure if the island scenarios and warfronts are the same sort of thing. The Heart of Azeroth is basically a variant of the Netherlight Crucible except on armor pieces instead of relics. Cool, but not mind-blowing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the faction war. What I’ve seen so far has gotten me pretty pumped up to fight for my faction. Burning down Teldrassil? As a long time Alliance player, that genuinely pisses me off and I’ll gladly slay Horde by the thousands for that. I liked how the cinematic gave cool moments for both factions, but Sylvanas screaming “for the horde” is the only part that gave me goosebumps (even though I don’t really play Horde).
But if the entire expansion is just faction war without a big ultimate threat affecting everyone, I get the feeling that Battle for Azeroth is going to be somewhat of a filler expansion. I don’t mean filler in a bad way. I mean it in a “OK, let’s fight each other for a while until the next big threat appears since we have nothing else to do” type of way. The next Scourge, the next Legion, something else on that level that requires our immediate attention. Maybe detour is a better word than filler.
However, we have no idea what will transpire in future patches for BfA, or how far they’re going to take the idea of Azeroth herself being injured and bleeding out this Azerite everywhere. Maybe something or someone will take advantage of the situation while we’re all busy fighting each other? The expansion does need a final boss after all. I have a feeling that final boss will be more of an introduction to the next expansion, sort of like Archimonde in WoD.
We’re obviously missing a lot of info, but those are my first impressions on the overall premise. I’m already feeling the faction pride, but I was still expecting a new big enemy on the same level as the Scourge/Legion. Maybe the whole point is that we’re the enemy? If that’s the case, there better be some big twists in the content patches.
The allied races feature does sound cool. I’m going to have to think about switching Bendak to a Dark Iron dwarf. I guess it’ll partially depend on the racials and how the final characters end up looking.
I think a lot of Alliance players will be happy to see the Void Elves since they can use the blood elf model. As for Horde, you know Highmountain tauren are badass, but Zandalari trolls might be my favorite from Horde though.
I hope a future orc sub-race also gives the option to not be permanently hunchbacked (for male characters). Update: You’ll be able to make any orc stand up straight if you want!
Hunter changes so far
Remember it’s still very early and we don’t have all the info yet, but this is what we’ve learned from people who’ve played the demos on the floor.
- Aspect of the Pack is back. It is now a passive raid buff that seems to be active all the time (and with no daze effect). It increases the movement speed of everyone in your raid by 15%. People have to be within 40 yards of the Hunter to have this speed increase. Other classes get stat buffs and other buffs back. No word yet if our pets will get stat buffs back again. I kind of hope they do, since we still have so many families with no special abilities.
- Tranquilizing Shot is back. Like before it dispels 1 magic effect and removes 1 enrage effect. It’s good to see them bring back some of the stuff that should have never been removed in the first place. This is nice utility, for both PvE and PvP.
- Dire Frenzy is now baseline. Dire Beast is now a level 15 talent.
- Cobra Shot now reduces the cooldown of Kill Command by 1 sec. This is baseline apparently.
- Stomp is moved to talent row 6 (competes with Stampede and Barrage) and now works with both Dire Beast and Dire Frenzy. When using Dire Frenzy, your main pet stomps instead.
- New Level 60 Talent: Thrill of the Hunt – Gain 3% crit on Dire Frenzy for 8 sec, stacking up to 3 times.
- New Level 60 Talent: Venomous Bite – Cobra Shot reduces the cooldown of Bestial Wrath by 1 second.
- A Murder of Crows moved to level 100 tier. Competes with Killer Cobra and Aspect of the Beast.
- Binding Shot is now an AoE root instead of an AoE stun. RIP.
- Check out preliminary talent calc on Wowhead.
- No word yet on any MM or SV changes. SV is still melee.
The general message I’ve seen in dev interviews so far is not to expect any big revamps for any specs, just tweaks.
WoW Classic announced
This was a huge surprise to me. I didn’t expect Blizzard to devote the resources to pulling this off, but they are. They are assembling an entire team just to deal with classic WoW. So the current WoW team is not affected by this, they can still focus fully on the real WoW.
There’s no details yet. This is simply an announcement that they’re working on it. They have an internal build running and it works, but there’s still a lot to do before it’s ready. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a year or more away from release.
The one thing they did say is they aim to make it like the true vanilla experience. That means no conveniences added from future expansions. For those who never played before Wrath, I don’t think they have any idea how inconvenient classic WoW was. The game wasn’t hard (in hind sight), it was just time consuming. My first character took like 25 days /played to level from 1-60. Why so long? Because I wasn’t rushed. Back then it wasn’t a race to max level. I spent a lot of time just having fun in world PVP and running all the dungeons. You weren’t irrelevant if you were level 46 because there were so many others at that same level with you. Also, a really good level 46 player could actually kill a less skilled level 60 player in 1v1 PvP.
Making gold required a LOT of farming. Getting your first mount at level 40 was expensive, and don’t even get me started about an epic mount at level 60. There are no mount or pet collections. No achievements. No transmog. No queuing for dungeons. No group finder. Most raids require 39 other people and dozens of hours of farming for consumables and special resist gear. My point is, I don’t think this is going to be for everyone. In Legion, you could probably level a character from scratch to 110 and get them to 930 equipped about as fast as just leveling to 60 in classic. Not everyone is going to see that as a good or fun use of their time, but I expect classic WoW to have a small but rabid community.
Then there will be people like me who play it on the side for fun with no intention of doing the end-game seriously. It’ll be cool to see the pre-Cataclysm Azeroth again. I look forward to enjoying some world PVP — even at a lower level — with all the fun little tools that Hunters had back then. It’ll be the perfect thing to play at the end of a patch when you’re kinda bored, or during the downtime between expansions.
Also, Eyes of the Beast will be there. 😎