Last week the pre-patch event for Shadowlands began. As we embark on our journey into the afterlife, let’s reflect on Blizzards 7th expansion. Battle for Azeroth had a tough act to follow. Legion, in my opinion, is the second best expansion since Wrath of the Lich King. Unfortunately BfA didn’t quite live up to the same level as Legion and Wrath. Personally, I would rank this expansion around the middle of the pack. Now that the Battle for Azeroth is over, what ruminations do I have from the past 2 years?
Honestly, the first half of the expansion was pretty good. I enjoyed meeting Jaina’s family and restoring her people’s faith in her and meeting Taelia Fordragon and learning her story. I hope Blizzard will pursue a possible love interest between her and Anduin. It has been a long time since there has been a Queen in Stormwind. The real story is told by the raids and I’m pretty split on that.
The Old Gods and Queen Azshara
The Old Gods are back … again. These guys are like a drunk uncle you hope never comes to your Christmas parties and shows up hammered. The raids consist of baddies wielding the powers bestowed upon them by N’Zoth, experiments gone horribly wrong or petty feuds. Our raid team did an amazing job this expansion, achieving AOTC on all the raid tiers. Let’s break down each of these raids.
We start in Uldir where the Titans foolishly toyed with the void energy of the Old Gods. Of course that never goes well. Uldir wasn’t bad and the story is mildly interesting. There are 8 encounters here, G’huun is the final boss; he/it is the result of ghastly experimentation and the cause for sealing Uldir shut. The encounters were fairly interesting; MOTHER was probably my favorite as the most unique encounter in the dungeon.
Battle of Dazar’alor
If you play Horde then you already know that Dazar’alor is the Horde HQ in this expansion. The story here is the Alliance wants to sever the collaboration between the Zandalar and the Horde. So the Alliance invades Dazar’alor. This whole raid gets credit for one of the most unique dungeons. There are 9 encounters, but you will only do 6 of them as your default faction. You will do the other 3 encounters as the opposite faction. It is really well done and fun (you just need to be deloused after playing Horde).
Crucible of Storms
This is my least favorite raid of this expansion. It’s only purpose is to fill the void between patches, similar to the Trial of Valor raid in Legion. However, I actually didn’t mind the Trial of Valor raid. It’s only redeeming quality is that it advances the Xal’atath story (one of my favorite Legion artifact weapons).
The Eternal Palace
This is the raid I was looking forward to the most. We finally face off with Queen Azshara. The event that unlocks Nazjatar is pretty cool. I spent quite a bit more time in Nazjatar than Mechagon, the other new zone added with the Eternal Palace patch. In fact, aside from the Eternal Palace raid, this is when this expansion started to fall apart. The raid is great and fighting Queen Azshara is fun but Mechagon is dull. I have barely been back since reaching exalted with that faction.
Ny’alotha, The Waking City
I really thought Queen Azshara would have been the final boss of the expansion. You can image my confusion when she wasn’t. After defeating her you unleash N’Zoth upon the world. Ny’alotha is a decent final raid. The artwork is amazing, as usual for Blizzards art department. The encounters were fairly interesting and mostly challenging. It just seems a little disappointing that an Old God is, yet again, the final boss of an expansion.
Some Final Thoughts
The corruption effect from corrupted gear is really cool, and probably my favorite part of the invasions. The invasions became too repetitive and, eventually, I just stopped doing them. The same goes for the Horrific Visions. The concept is neat and the execution was OK but, eventually, I just lost interest. In fact, once we killed N’Zoth on heroic, I stopped doing them all together.
Perhaps, to put this in it’s proper perspective, for the first time in 15 years I let my account lapse for 3 months (should have been 4 considering all the delays). I can honestly say that I had never gotten so bored with WoW, in 15 years, to actually let my account expire. I always have a end-of-the-expansion checklist of things to do; usually farming mounts. However, it didn’t make economical sense to continue paying $15 a month to repeatedly complete old content for a 1% chance of ROI.
Although, the dull and extended conclusion of the Battle for Azeroth has made me more excited for Shadowlands. I’m looking forward to something new. New content, new story, and some new game mechanics (like Torghast).
If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!