Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Calm Before the Storm

Well, I delayed as long as possible.  I tried everything I could to put off the inevitable but I leveled my first character to 100 in about a month.  I didn't want to.  I wanted the leveling game to last as long as possible.  I used every trick in the book to try to put it off, but despite my best efforts, the trip to level 100 lasted barely a month.

The second character took about two weeks.

And the immediate question is:  what am I going to do for the next 20 months?



Yes, I know that there is plenty of stuff to do:  dungeons, raiding, garrisons, achievements...  I even have more story quests I can finish and sub-zones I can explore.  There are still parts of the game to explore.

 But there was a brief, shining moment when everything aligned and I had immersive story quest series against mobs that presented a legitimate challenge to my character, that rewarded beneficial loot, all while earning experience that continued to progress my character upward to the next level.  Every piece of the MORPG reward cycle was in place and working together.  This was the experience that drew me to WoW originally.  For me, this was the magic that Warcraft uniquely delivered in the original game.

And that beautiful balance has been broken.  I'm no longer gaining XP, so that reward and feeling of accomplishment has been taken away.  Open world and quest gear rewards are no longer significant upgrades to my dungeon gear, or the gear returning from my garrison.  Mob challenges were always on the easy side, but now they are becoming increasingly trivial.

Of course, the game moves on and there are other things to do.  But I had seriously hoped that this phase of the game would have lasted two or three months, rather than being over in less than one.



Which brings me back to my question:  what are we going to do now?  I fear that I will be slowly overwhelmed with increasingly banal and protracted tasks.  How many apexis shards does Khadgar want?   Now, when I log onto the game, I have garrison housekeeping to complete and then I'm back to queuing for dungeons, running LFR once a week, and grinding apexis crystals.  Isn't this exactly where I was back in September?

So now I'm looking forward to the next patch.  At the very least, it will bring with it more garrison content.  I'm also hopeful that it will bring something that will break me out of the current grind.  This is the moment where I learn if this expansion is truly different from what's happened in the past, something that honestly lives up to the Blizzard promise of a more dynamic endgame.  Again, I have to say that I'm hopeful and optimistic.  The excitement of that first few hours through the portal and in Shadowmoon valley will be the first taste of what is to come.



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