Letters from Azeroth #1 – Once more into the Breach

Over my gaming life there are few games that hold my attention as strongly as World of Warcraft. Though it was not my first venture into MMORPGs it has been a bit of a constant companion. As it is with any long term relationship, we have had our ups and downs. There are times I still find myself longing for the harsh days of Vanilla WoW when having a 100% mount was a big deal. As a matter of fact, the most shocking thing to me when logging back into the World after a year’s hiatus was the achievement for the tenth anniversary…. have I really been playing this game for ten years? Wow indeed.


Over the last decade I have seen the game change a great deal, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the not so good *cough* Burning Crusade *cough*. There seems to be a trend every time Blizzard releases a new expansion. First; Greens are the new Purples, Second; everything has changed from the last expansion, and Lastly; PvP has become more important. As these are all aspects I find annoying I have a tendency to avoid them.

Warlords of Draenor however, is something a bit different. While it is not Blizzards first delve into historical revisionism, something that has been going on since to introduction of the Bronze Dragon Flight, it is perhaps its most bold attempt at rewriting the story not only for one game, but for the whole Warcraft Franchise. This habit of pulling stone from the foundation in order to build a higher wall concerns me to say the least. It doesn’t seem like the kind of behavior that can maintain long term.

That not withstanding the allure of playing a game I love a new was simply too much to resist. Nostalgia is a powerful drug indeed. So I once more dove head-long into the world of Orcs and Men.

The very first thing you do in the new expansion is travel through the Dark Portal. You are accompanied by the Heros and Legends of Azeroth. The Legends, such as Khadgar and Thrall, refer to you as commander and you land essential in the middle of a siege. For the next hour or so Players battle through a series of events to a climactic escape.

This was a very interesting mechanism for getting player directly into the game. It forces them to complete a fairly long set of quests, and instills some measure of investment in the games content. I have to give Blizzard credit on this one. They figured out a new way to make me want to do the beginning quests for an area, rather than just hop around. Of course the player has little choice in the matter, but still the quest line is fun and you in one fell swoop pretty much get the entire Iron Horde mad at you, so Kudos! The one thing that is really off putting is how cinematic the chain of quests are. The series reads a lot like the trainer for a block buster movie. It introduces us to all the Warlords of Draenor in less than an hour. That made it feel a little forced. That is not to say it didn’t hold my attention, it did. I was just aware of them trying to hold my attention, which at times made it feel a little taxing.

After a very narrow escape the player finds themselves setting up their own Stronghold, Blizzards attempt at player housing. But that is a tale for a different letter. Right now, as a player, I find myself excited at the notion of being able to find something new, and enjoying once more a game I truly love.

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