Blizzard have made it clear that their intentions moving forward with World of Warcraft are to tie expansions together (Check out mmo-champion’s recap of Gamereactor’s interview with the devs for more). This is why Garrosh lead us to Draenor for the Warlords of Draenor expansion, and why Gul’dan is taking us back to Azeroth, in order to tie in Legion. But is this really working for us? The result of these tie-ins mean that we never actually get to defeat the bad guy. And I, for one, am unsatisfied.
Here’s the thing – we are champions in World of Warcraft. We have been present at some pivotal moments in Azeroth’s history (both good and bad), and it’s these events that make up the expansions for World of Warcraft. Until recently, each expansion served its own purpose – Burning Crusade saw us holding off the Burning Legion and fighting Illidan; Wrath of the Lich King had us fighting off the scourge and watching Arthas descend in to the Lich King; Cataclysm had us cleaning up after Deathwing’s destruction and dealing with the Twilight’s Hammer, then fighting Deathwing himself. Each of these has felt like it’s own piece of story – it’s own chapter.
Then we got to Pandaria. We crashed in to the place and lead to the destruction of some of the most beautiful places on Azeroth. But worse than that – the continued bickering between Alliance and Horde contributed to the Sha’s infestation of Pandaria and lead to the corruption of the Horde’s then leader, Garrosh. Garrosh did some pretty horrible stuff before Pandaria and became worse once there. He made himself a lot of enemies, to the point where even the Horde said enough was enough and participated in the siege of their own capital city. Everyone banded together to fight and eventually capture Garrosh (which is unsatisfying on a whole other level is the topic for my next post!).
But then Garrosh got away and took us to alternative Draenor. And so started Warlords of Draenor. Here we have continued to clean up Garrosh’s mess, now infused with Gul’dan 2.0 naughtiness. With Garrosh out of the way, Gul’dan became the main focus as he causes even more shenanigans. Once again we band together to take him down, and once again the “bad guy” gets away to lead us to yet another expansion.
And this is where my problem is.
The expansions rolling together has made it feel as if the latter expansions haven’t been their own chapters – they have been a prologue to the chapter before, to the point where it is now starting to feel like one long story. The continuity is nice, in that it makes the “story” of WoW make a bit more sense. But from a player perspective, it has a tendency to make it feel like now, 3 years later, we’re still playing out the same story line. We’re in the last patch of this expansion and we’re still battling off Garrosh’s mess with the Iron Horde – now Gul’dan infused – in Tanaan. There’s just something a little bit unsatisfying about that. Same story, different expansion.
Maybe WoD just felt a bit empty because we had so many orcs at the end of Mists of Pandaria in Siege of Orgrimmar, and then again throughout all of WoD. So even though the story has progressed a little, a lot of the characters/enemies feel the same. I’m hoping that Legion will feel like it’s own expansion, the way previous expansions have. At least we know in advance there is a lot of story to cover!
Regular readers will know this, but for new readers, here is my disclaimer: I love World of Warcraft. It is a brilliant game that I spend a lot of time playing. This post is designed to be a “devil’s advocate” post, to get you all thinking and to get some discussion going. So tell me what you think – do rolling expansions contribute to player fatigue? Or do you think the continuity makes the story make a bit more sense?