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BFA: Simply too much content. And not in a good way…

September 4, 2018

I unsubbed today. I have doubts if I’ll resub this expansion or not. The reason why? Too much content – basically I’m not having much fun, and I’m constantly far behind the obsessive players. To get the most out of the game it REQUIRES that someone plays 5 to 8 hours per day, every day, no exceptions. I remember Legion suffering with the same issue, that there was simply too much going on for players to “advance” to the next stage in character progression, namely Heroic and Mythic instances, and raids. A lot of content is now gated by some means, generally by gear, but also long (LONG), boring quest lines to unlock certain dungeons or specific reputation grinds to unlock something else that you like (e.g. the new Allied Races).

I have been playing borderline obsessively for the past week or so, to hit 120 on one toon, and barely 117 on another… it was driving me nuts seeing my guildies talk about the mythics and preparing for the upcoming raid, Uldir. I felt compelled to “catch up”. That meant I had to bumrush through the story … which I was hoping to take my time with this expansion. I finally hit 120. Okay. No World Quests. WTF? Okaaaaay, I need to finish a LONG long quest line in an area I’ve never visited, to have the reputation required. Fuck. Okay!? I do that. That took, umm, 3 hours? 5? hours? It took too long is what it took. and….. no WQs. WTFFFFFF!?!?!?! Are you KIDDING? Nah, I’ve got to do the War… thingie. I don’t even know what the fuck that is, other than it’s a thing I haven’t done. I can’t find anything pointing me to where it’s at. I had to look it up on WoWHead to even have the slightest clue of where to MAYBE start looking. Jesus. Fucking Christ. Are you serious?

The biggest issue I’ve got: most of this content was actually pretty boring. Other than the pirate area and some of the spooky Duskwood style stuff on Drustvar, it was all samey quests we’ve been doing since 2005.

I even turned on Warmode (open world PvP flag) for the XP boost. That was nerve wracking most of the time, and not really fun. Most open world PvP was a group of either faction stomping solo players. Yay. Neat. Fuck that. I only had 2 PvP encounters the whole time, really. Once I got ganked by a stealthed level 120, who tried camping me for about 20 minutes after that. Heh. That’s got to be fun for him. Then another “big” skirmish of 5v5ish in a quest area. heh. It was pretty uninteresting. Again, came down to which side had more 120s, versus leveling toons. So, Warmode is shit, IMO. Boring, imbalanced PvP. I don’t even know how that can be fun for anyone, except weird fuckers that like to grief people. People that do enjoy griefing other people REALLY need therapy. Badly.

For the past 3 expansions I’ve followed the same route – take the content at my own pace, which is about 1/3rd what is required to do “current content”, so by the time I get to it everyone else has done it, I have a hard time finding groups since there are apparently not too many other lolligaggers – it’s all ultra hard core players that put in +3 hours a day, every day. So a raid will come out, and I’ll have to wait til it hits LFR for me to play it, and that’s … not very fun. Try as I might to do Mythics, and WQs, the generally accepted gear requirement to participate in the fun fucking part of the game is usually higher than what I can achieve. It’s really common in WoW for groups to require an item level higher than what the content rewards, so that it’s “easy run” – i.e. no challenge for them. They want to cruise through the content… farming it. I understand that, wanting to plow through things they’ve already done, because they have been doing this since it was released. But since it took me 6 months to fucking gear up to even try to do it, I have no idea what I’m doing. I watch the videos on YouTube, read up on the fights, etc, and I actually do well in terms of mechanics, but by the time I even have the slightest idea what’s going on new content is released, and the cycle starts again.

I don’t get any joy out of spending so fucking much time to stay BEHIND on content. And I really don’t like playing content when it’s already well treaded. There’s no excitement, there’s rarely any challenge.

I’m always, always behind the curve when it comes to content, because staying up with content requires a time commitment I’m not willing to do.

One thing I’ve noticed that is a super common theme in WoW is that the players don’t play any other games. At all. It’s the only game that they play. There are crickets in guild chat when I bring up another game that is a recent release. Most of them can talk about classics for hours – but it’s total silence when talking about titles from the last decade. Because WoW requires that level of dedication.

In fact, it forces me to think of why I missed the entire Pandaria expansion… because I’d finally bought a modern console, and some good games for it. I was behind on the modern masterpieces, because I was grinding for some fucking rep in some expansion that I’ll forget in a year or two. heh. For a mount I won’t use, because I only play druid.

This is a messy rant. The take away is that you either play WoW, or you play everything except WoW. There is no overlap between the two. You can’t play WoW casually and admit that you are having much fun. Whenever I’m fucking grinding a rep or repeating the same quests I’ve already done, to gear up to play content that isn’t very fun in the first place, since it’s a “been there, done that” affair for everyone else involved, I can’t stop thinking about playing a different game, or watching TV, or doing anything else except for that. It’s a bad sign, if I’m anxious to play another game than to keep doing wtf ever I’m doing in WoW. WoW’s not a bad game, but, it’s a boring game, and the time requirement to do ANYTHING is absolutely absurd.

Tell me, that you know of any person that works as much as I do, and is also a father, and still has any hobbies at all other than WoW. WoW is a lifestyle.

Just. Bored. So I unsubbed. I don’t anticipate resubbing until new content comes out that would be worth paying $15

Update: Yeah. I made the right choice. I worried that I was being impulsive, but I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my family, getting stuff done around the house, and playing a reasonable amount of Assassin’s Creed Origins – and actually enjoying myself. Prior to that, during this week, I had been grinding hard to hit 120 on my Alliance main, and that meant really focusing only on WoW and shutting out everything else going on around me. I didn’t miss any critical events or whatever, but I think I could have spent that time better. And like I said earlier, I didn’t enjoy myself very much. I didn’t hate spending my time that way, but I was always pretty bored. I was smashing the same 5 buttons that I’ve been smashing since Wrath or so, fighting the same naga, wolves, quilboar, human rogues, trolls, and “venture co” goons that I’ve been fighting since vanilla. Quite literally, all of the monsters I fought (with a few rare exceptions) were monsters I’ve fought for almost 15 years already, just with altered skins… in some cases. The naga are certainly wearing the exact same texture they’ve had since 2004. It’s just…. boring. I know that some of my guildies were enjoying the holy shit out of the grind, but I think I’m too ADHD to get into it.

I will say that I generally enjoyed playing through most of the Zuldazar / Zandalar campaign, because it had a legit narrative, with quite a few decent subplots. Alliance stories started off good, but just got really gooey and melty… know what I mean? Like, no strength or solidity. The villains were all mustache-twirly types, the heroes were all pretty well forgettable redshirts. With horde you got to closely follow the coup by Zul, Rastakhans’s brief exile (after nearly being killed), and his daughters fight to figure out what’s going on. It was pretty compelling, especially since these were new, “unproven” trolls that were trying to demonstrate their worth to the horde while at the same time sussing out the horde.

I’m rambling. Point is, horde main story was good. Probably one of my favorites in a long time. Alliance main story was very weak.

Back to my MAIN gripe: boredom. To even get to see the good parts of either faction’s campaign I have to fight the same fucking monsters I’ve been fighting for over a decade, over and over, in a combat system that I’m actually pretty tired of. There’s still no collision detection, the animations are still pretty similar to how they were at launch, mob detection radiuses, respawn rates, and so on are the same as they’ve always been – which has become the standard for the genre.

I get tired of walking into an area and seeing an ocean of enemy monsters shuffling around in packs of 2-4, with the occasional “wandering” groups here and there. I mean, if this was any game at all other than this, if I was a reasonable distance away they’d all spot me and swarm me. But nope – just so long as I’m like, 50 feet away the enemy NPCs just really couldn’t give a shit if I’m stomping on their friends. NPCs in those dungeons can often have certain line of sight to see players wipe out dozens of groups (and hundreds of NPC monsters) as they progress through the area. And yet, they still mill around, shuffling, or standing still, like zombies. I don’t exactly expect Ultima VII level depth, where the NPCs go to bed at night or something, like in Assassin’s Creed Origins, Skyrim (hell, even Daggerfall had it!), or Ghost Recon: Wildlands…. All of those games feature line of sight detection and often have much more elaborate enemy AI. I digress. I’m comparing checkers to chess, really, when it comes to AI and NPC behavior.

But I’m absolutely not lying when I say that zombie AI in most games is actually quite a bit better than WoW “AI”.

I guess that’s not what the game is going for tho – it’s going for fairly static encounters that have very specific parameters and phases. I mean, there are tons of addons that literally tell the player how long they have until they need to block or move out of a danger zone. WoW boss fights can be very complicated in terms of remembering which zones to stand in, or not stand in, or which beams you need to soak up as a group, or to avoid, or to run away from, or to stack up on the mob – and so on… but it’s all very routine. Getting good in WoW instances and raids is basically a matter of routine. It’s muscle memory if you’re really good at it. You literally run the exact same instance on 3 different base difficulties (Normal, Heroic, Mythic) before doing the same damn thing on a time limit with difficulty adjustments (Mythic Plus).

I actually do miss the “omfg hard” dungeons of Cataclysm heroics, where every pull required CC and quite a bit of planning, especially dungeons like Grim Batol. I hated that instance with a passion, but I loved the level of play it required from us as a group, and as individuals. That instance in particular is my least favorite of that expansion because it was difficult to a fault – but I’d still prefer it to the speedrun modes of the modern era. I know that there are Timewalking instances (every so often) which are probably closer in spirit to the old Cata heroics – but just like back then, people are so used to being able to steamroll through PUG heroics and mythics that they expect to be able to do the same in Timewalking. They can’t. Tanks chain pull, and get smashed. Idiot DPS target “not the tank’s target” or pull random side packs, and wipe the group. It’s just not very much fun to PUG through, and most guildies are only interested in running them the 5 times they need to for their weekly (or is it monthly!?) quest. That sucks.

Two more gripes before I bail on this diatribe. Druids. What the actual fuck Blizzard? Bears: fine, I guess, but still boring as hell. I actually have a guildie that retired their 120 druid because they only do bear (for reasons I’ll get to) and bear is too boring to tank with at end game.

Resto. One of my friends in the game runs mythics all the time – her and her best friend started to refuse resto druids into the group. They didn’t really know why, but they’d wipe way more frequently with a resto druid than any other healer. I think the reason why is the removal of Healing Touch. Apparently there are a LOT of other players that feel the same way.  That’s sad. Really fucking sad. Resto druid was, other than feral, my favorite spec of the game.

Balance. Well. This was fun to level with, but at level cap and basic gear my feral DPS is actually about 30% higher. I know that my gear isn’t optimized, but rolling through the IDEAL rotation I still hit like a wet noodle, and that’s how it feels. I feel like I’m barely touching mobs. I do as much damage with bear as I do with balance, but half the survivability and none of the mobility of feral. While leveling though, with how things scale, this was a fun class. I could pull about 4 mobs, sometimes more (way more), and AOE nuke them down. It was awesome. But at level cap with fresh gear … I get very nervous if I pull 3 mobs. In fact I know I’ll blow all my CDs and still may need to run away.

Feral. Lol. It’s so bad that they had to address a specific patch just to make it not suck as bad. But, actually, they made it worse. They didn’t improve the DPS (which was the primary complaint), they just threw in a good number of nerfs and will now require players to hit buttons more frequently, to feel like they’re doing more shit. heh. According to reports coming in (people getting kicked from PUGs for specing feral!? raiders in Uldir saying they are making it HARDER for other players!? WTFH!?!!?) – the class is in the worst state I remember it being in since vanilla. Leveling with feral in BFA I felt very fragile. The class never felt like a glass canon until now. In previous expansions leveling a feral was fairly rewarding. It couldn’t facetank elites or whatever, but you didn’t necessarily need to run if you got 2 adds. Now, you absolutely must run away, or use CC (which is very limited, based on talents), or pop bear mode (ONLY if you are spec’d for that). At which point, why not just fucking use bear? GOTO 10. At level cap though it’s at its worst. I’ve died more at 120 as feral than I have in the past 3…  maybe 6 years? I know I never died this much in Legion or in WoD. In fact in WoD the spec felt a bit OP. After hitting level cap I was tearing through mobs with relative easy.

While I don’t necessarily need “Wrath baby” easy mode when I hit 120, I shouldn’t get depressed when the scaling is so bad that when I’m in the same area as a 112 DPS class they do almost double the relative damage as me. They have no problems at all. This leads me to my last issue. Gearing, scaling, and time investment.

When you hit level 120, your item level is going to be about 275 or so. Heroic dungeons unlock at 305, by which time (I’ve heard) are a fucking cake walk, just due to being overgeared for the content. So, the “normal” instances are actually HARDER than the heroics, as you have a mishmash of players with different gear levels and probably even  quite a few bolstered 110s to 119s. In my experience with WoD and Legion: normal dungeons were always much more difficult than Heroic due to this issue. It’s the same thing in BFA. So…. I need to apply my face to the wall for a while until I can hit ilvl 305. Erm. Okay. That’s honestly quite a bit of time, in most cases. Or, I can do WQs, which take a retarded amount of time to unlock. Period. It’s just asinine what is needed for those. Then…. before I can consider raiding, I need to gear up to 350, which absolutely requires mythic dungeons. So – all content is gated behind a gear check. Which is only obtainable through countless mindless runs through the same dungeons over and over. I guess that’s not really new per se, but it felt like I could get into content quicker with WoD and Legion than I can in BFA. So the time commitment to get into “fun content” is huge. Be it through WQs (and unlocking those fuckers), or flailing through three difficulties of dungeons. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel as much that I’m “entitled” to raid, but what I’m saying is all that shit is boring as all hell. WQs are boring. Instances get boring after a fairly short while. And grinding them to get into raids? ugh. Yeah. I’m at the burnout mark, for sure. I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I don’t think there’s really an end point to this rant. So, I should cut it short just to save my time. I will say this much: my time spent NOT playing WoW today was a much needed breather. It actually makes me wonder what I’ve missed while spending hours and hours doing WQs and heroics and shit for almost no reason in Legion and WoD, when in reality I was HOPING to get into the next tier of content – but by the time I did, it was old and no one wanted to run it, or they were doing speed runs… so it just wasn’t fun, either way.

To keep up with current content it requires a level of commitment and time investment that just seems silly to me. None of the raiders I play with do anything except play WoW. I can’t actually talk to them about anything that isn’t WoW related, except their past. They have interesting stories about life BEFORE WoW, but generally have nothing to say about life or the world since getting into WoW raiding. I don’t want to be that.

 

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