Blizzcon 2017 was wrapping up when I first starting to type this (it’s now a couple of days later!). Like every other year there were loads of announcements and competitions and game finals and cosplay and so, SO much love shown in the faces in the audience and online. It has been a great year, and I hope everyone has had an amazing time.
I feel, though, that this year’s WoW announcement has had a less than enthusiastic reception. Ok, I won’t sugar-coat it- I have seen down right disgust and hatred towards the Battle for Azeroth announcement. There are a lot of unhappy people out there; people who aren’t happy with the way the new features are coming in, or even what the story is about, with many wondering if they would even play the new expansion.
But I have to ask this:
What else were you expecting?
To me, none of this is a surprise. And I’m not referring to the WoW content, I’m referring to the reaction. Blizzard were in a lose-lose situation this year with the WoW announcement, and for quite a few reasons. For those of you reading this who are feeling disappointed right now, let me tell you this: you were going to be disappointed no matter what Blizzard announced for WoW this weekend. But there is hope!! Here’s why Blizzard wasn’t going to win this Blizzcon…
This announcement proved that Blizzard don’t want to give out spoilers. And why would they? It ruins content that hasn’t even been released yet, which in turn reduces playability and brings that content burnout so much closer. instead of content being out for the planned 3 months, it’s been “out” for 4-6 months because of datamining and spoilers.
Think about it- there is a whole raid that hasn’t even been released yet, and with it, some answers that will point to how we get from fighting together on Argus, to fighting each other on Azeroth. In addition to that, there will need to be some sort of quest line or scenario or event or something during which we will hand over our artifact weapons. AND there will be pre-expansion events as well.
This is an awful lot of content and more importantly, story that hasn’t been told yet. Blizzard were never going to tell you how all that plays out in advance just to announce an expansion. In doing so, they would have tarnished quite a few months’ worth of content in the process.
The “problem” with this is that it meant they were unable to share a lot of details about what’s to come. They couldn’t talk about why the Highmountain Tauren side with the Horde, or why the Alliance will have Void Elves; they can’t talk about why the Horde burn down Teldrassil seemingly out of nowhere, and they can’t talk about what Jaina has been up to and how we get to each of the new zones, because we can’t know yet.
It would have been an incredibly difficult panel for Blizzard to put together, to be honest. I wonder how many times they had to bite their tongues!
How high can the story go?
This was something that I had actually brought up a few months ago when I was a guest on the Rolling Restart podcast with Rho. Where did WoW have to go after Argus? I mean, this is the Burning Legion, Kil’Jaeden, titans for goodness sake!! This is some Act 3 crisis point story going on here. It’s potentially the end of not only Azeroth, but the universe it exists in. Where did they have left to go!? How do you go higher than that?
The answer is either:
a) end the world (and therefore the game)
b) extend the life of the game and bring the story back home
Obviously the answer was always going to be b).
It’s a bit like an action movie- the suspense has been building throughout the whole movie, things just getting worse and worse until you’re at the point that things seem completely helpless. If you’re someone like Joss Whedon or George R. R Martin you end the world. But generally, the “good guys” will fight until they win. This is when the movie ends. The heroes will stand around hugging and laughing and cheering at being so amazing… and then the credits roll. Then a couple of years later the sequel will come out, and its been 2 years since the end of the events and something else bad is happening, and it all starts again. What you don’t see is everything that happens in between. And there’s a darn good reason for that- it’s really anti-climactic. It’s better to pan the camera away than to watch people return to their homes and get back to “normal”.
The same thing is happening here in WoW. We are about to come down from one of the most epic battles we have ever faced. That battle is going to hit peak climax during/shortly after Antorus. And then it’s going to end… but the camera won’t pan away.
All of this means you were always going to feel a little bit disappointed at the announcement. In many ways it feels very anti-climactic. And that’s because it is. But what that doesn’t mean, is that it will be crap.
Where to from here?
This is the beauty of Blizzard- they are good at telling stories, and boy do they have a lot of stories to tell! It’s for this reason that I’m not at all worried about what’s to come for World of Warcraft, and I honestly never will be. They always have a plan of some sort, and will always tell the stories they have to share.
So I urge you- if you’re feeling disappointed about the expansion announcement, the “lack” of story, or you’re feeling angry that the Horde and Alliance are back at each other’s throats, please give it some time. Have a bit of faith in Blizzard that they know what they’re doing, and they want this to be amazing for everyone who plays. I think we’ll be hearing more details about the next expansion sooner than you think.
Personally, I think the next expansion is going to be amazing. I think Blizzard held a lot of content close to their chests so as not to spoil what’s to come for the rest of Legion. Which means there is a lot of amazing stuff still to come, that I’m going to talk about in future posts! I just wanted to get this post out there now in the hopes that it helps people who are feeling disappointed to bring things back into perspective, and hopefully show them that there is bound to be a lot of amazing stuff to come. 🙂