Last week we saw the activation of the 7.0 patch. The patch that paves the way to the launch of Legion. If you haven’t been paying attention, the patch includes the new Appearances interface, changes to all class talents, and the Demon Invasion (to name a few). As of the time of this post, the Demon Invasion hasn’t begun yet. It might be as soon as one week later, or it could still be a few weeks off. When that invasion happens, we will get the Demon Hunter class. Regardless, as the Burning Legion comes we bid adieu to Draenor.
Was Warlords of Draenor a Success?
So was this expansion a success? I doubt it. If you look at the subscription numbers over the past year, they haven’t been good. Blizzard has lost millions of subscriptions. Granted they still have more active subscribers than any other title out there, but they have dropped from 12 million down to about 5.5 million. That has got to make them cringe worse than Shave-and-a-haircut affects Roger Rabbit (I’m dating myself here).
Honestly, I think each expansion, since Wrath of the Lich King, has been weaker than the one before it. I don’t think it helps that this expansion uses time travel, which is always a sensitive concept to tackle. Yes, I thought it was cool to see Khadgar and fight Blackhand and Archimonde but this expansion felt more disjointed than Mists of Pandaria. It’s the curse of poor time travel story telling. It was clearly just an opportunity for the developers to create encounters with historic heroes. There was no attention given to the butterfly principal; our mere existence should have caused rippling consequences throughout the entire timeline. Perhaps Nozdormu swoops in at the end and uses a neuralyzer.
Were There Redeeming Qualities?
I don’t think this expansion was a complete wash. While the story lacked connectivity and relevance, the expansion introduced some new mechanics that I think are fun. Garrisons were the closest thing Blizzard has ever come to player housing. Unfortunately I think that is the closest we are going to get. One of the biggest criticisms about garrisons was that it ostracized players. The entire social component that is the foundation of the game was lost because everyone stayed in their garrison. I love the concept of the garrison; perhaps they just gave us a little too much to do and not enough reason to leave (other than daily quests).
The followers were another fun idea and I’m excited that its something they are going to continue in Legion. Collecting followers, for me, almost became like collecting Pokemon. You especially wanted to collect the familiar names (like Admiral Taylor, Harrison Jones, Millhouse Manastorm and Leeroy Jenkins, to name a few). I would like to know where Budd was this expansion; he would have been a great follower! I also liked that some followers had the Bodyguard trait, which is very useful when you are leveling or doing daily quests and you’re squishy.
One other thing I liked about Warlords of Draenor, albeit minor, was getting to see Draenor before it was torched and became Outlands. It was pretty cool to see Auchindoun in all its glory before it was turned to rubble. Karabor before it becomes Black Temple. Tanaan Jungle before it becomes Hellfire Peninsula. Someday, I would like to see Karazhan before it became dilapidated.
There was also that epic, and overdue, showdown between Garrosh and Thrall.
So we bid you adieu Draenor; I wish we could have prevented that which you will become, but the Burning Legion comes and we must be prepared!