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Shadowlands

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Firemane
Member
Last seen: 10 hours 35 min ago
Joined: 08/01/2010 - 06:34

Howdy Trivs! How go the wars?

Been a little bit since I've talked to any of you. I no longer have an active subscription to WoW, and in fact don't currently have any Blizzard titles installed on my PC. I recently had to do a clean Windows install and just haven't had any reason to re-install the Launcher or any of the associated games.

That said I'm still peripherally aware of events in the Blizzard universe, akin to the way an ex-smoker notices when someone lights up nearby, so naturally I saw the outputs from Blizzcon. I was excited about the Diablo 4 announcement and by what they were able to show, which was quickly tempered by the fact that it's likely still years away. If something isn't even happening "Blizzard SoonTM," well, we're talking about time on a galactic scale at that point.

Seeing as this is a WoW guild though, and that the launch of Shadowlands is, in fact, "Soon," I wanted to see what people's initial thoughts are about it. Here are my random thoughts, in no particular order:

  1. How did Sylvy become Thanos? I get that Bolvar is no Arthas and has no Frostmourne, but really? Dude is still the Lich King and he couldn't even touch her. At least Saurfang drew blood before he was unceremoniously one-shot. Yeah yeah, pact with Helya, pact with The Jailer, pact with whatever has given her powers heretofore unseen, but that's my point. When it happens off screen and involves entities we've barely even heard of much less seen, I'm left with raised eyebrows at her sudden Mary Sue-ness. Hopefully that will be 'splained in Shadowlands.
  2. Level squish. Inevitable and necessary. Raises some questions re: Pathfinder and legacy content, of course but it had to happen. Good thing overall.
  3. Faction divide still a hard and fast thing. I wasn't necessarily expecting a dissolution of the Horde or Alliance, but some loosening of cross-faction gameplay restrictions would have been welcome (at least for me), and the BFA storyline seemed to be taking us there. The divide seems increasingly arbitrary.
  4. Covenants look interesting. The Shadowlands and their associated lore look interesting.

Anyway, not sure any of this is enough to draw me back in, but like a not-yet-hungry lion paying loose attention to a nearby gazelle from atop his rock I will at least be aware of what movements my potential prey makes. Can't say for sure I will eventually pounce but I certainly welcome thoughts from the rest of the pride.

In the meantime, hello to all!

AdministratorHigh CouncilOfficer
Honesty
High Council
Last seen: 7 hours 11 min ago
Joined: 11/17/2005 - 12:18

Hi Fire!

We have a joke in my tabletop group, that every campaign has to head into Hell/Hades at some point.  WoW is proving that true.  )

Well, you only peripherally caught the whole deal with Sylvanas.  It's much, much worse.  For example, the big deal for the Night Elves in a recent patch was Tyrande performing an ancient ritual to imbue herself with the power of Elune (the warlike dark side of her); after that power boost, she and Malfurion (previously known as the most powerful druid/mortal on Azeroth) were unable to beat Nathanos, Sylvanas' boyfriend and lackey.  She is apparently a favorite of the writers, and a portion of the player base, so she has intensely thick plot armor.  I have a fear that she's going to get the Illidan treatment, we'll finish up Shadowlands by ferrying messages from her to her sisters etc. so that Sylvy gets the last word. (  I was bothered by how trivially (er, easily) Syl beat the army of undead and Bolvar (who I really liked as a character, he should have stayed Jailer of the Damned, it was a great end to his arc)...and really bothered by unmaking the Helm of Domination with her bare hands.  I am unable to explain how she both can make plans 93 moves in advance of anyone else, but can be easily goaded into undoing all her work so easily.

I was disappointed by how recycled everything in Shadowlands is.  They "get" to bring back fan favorite characters, Varian and Arthas and Mankrik's wife.  Rather than develop new ones.  The before-expansion invasion event is a scourge invasion (because the helm of domination is broken), which is the first of them they ever did.  I do not think the Night Elves will ever get reparations/revenge for Teldrassil.

Much of the story is also only available to the Horde side, or by reading about it on the net.  There are two or three possible ways to explain what Sylvanas has done/how she got her power...none of which my character has any impact on or interaction with.

At least they are talking about returning some of our old abilities.  Making the characters a bit more complex.  So far I've been underwhelmed by the covenant abilities...various forms of being able to run/sneak past things, once every few minutes.  Not game breaking, which I'm sure was their intent.  I don't expect to level a new character, although I like the idea that you'll do it in just one expansion.  If I ever have the desire to do a roly-poly Pandaren DK...

So, yes, I was one of those very disappointed after seeing the cinematic and reading about it.  I'll still buy it, and hope that the fun quotient is still there.

By the way, the 15th anniversary raid event is very easy.  And it results in Deathwing as a mount.  Just sayin.  )

Firemane
Member
Last seen: 10 hours 35 min ago
Joined: 08/01/2010 - 06:34

I was around for Tyrande becoming the Night Warrior, I even played the Darkshore Warfront. And yeah I had the same problem with the end of that plot thread that you do. The point of it was to set up the Warfront but it felt very cheap and pointless in the end. Nathanos should be dead. At least then there'd be something of a reason for Sylvy to be unglued. It's just the same pattern of establishing the Alliance leaders (Tyrande, Jaina, Malfurion, Velen, and even Anduin) as being the most powerful at what they are (which I'm not saying is necessarily a good thing), but then they somehow become completely ineffective when the plot requires them to be. Nathanos is a complete tool that an empowered Tyrande should have easily snapped in two, even with the Horde "hero" at his side.

As far as Shadowlands, I'm not surprised they are "recycling" to an extent. I suspect that's partially due to the writers being about on par with those on the last seasons of Game of Thrones, and also because of the success of Classic, and finally because last year's Blizzcon was pretty much a disaster on the PR front. Shadowlands and D4 both feel like an attempt to reconnect with Blizzard's roots and placate a restless player base. Hearthstone and Overwatch (and probably even Diablo Immortal) are good games with niche followings, but it was PC Diablo and WoW that built Blizzard. Did you notice how many times they used the phrase "player agency" when talking about the future of both games?

I haven't researched the Covenants much, but I did think they looked interesting in a Aldor/Scryer kind of way. Neither of those factions did much in the way of affecting actual gameplay, so I wasn't necessarily expecting the Covenants to either. The abilities seem in line with similar things in the past, like the Garrison abilities for example.

I guess it makes some sense that we'll see dead characters since we are going to the afterlife. I'm okay with it so long as Varian, for example, doesn't become an integral part of the story. An emotional reunion with Anduin for a minute to just say, "hey buddy you're doing a good job Daddy is proud of you," okay I can live with that.

High CouncilOfficer
eloris
Officer Emeritus
Last seen: 1 hour 57 min ago
Joined: 11/09/2005 - 08:33

They would have an easier time bringing back those characters if they didn't kill them off in the first place...

They aren't wrong though, to think that for some people, the plot today just doesn't matter as much as the old plot.  I am sure that happens to everyone at some point.  But I played to kill Arthas, and since then...bleh.  Gameplay fine, scenery great, plot...whatever.  Bringing back Arthas might cause a brief flare of interest.  

I am curious how they're going to neatly tie off the plot from BfA.  Since it seems clear that Titan Azeroth plays no role in the X-pack...does she die?  And this somehow has no ramifications on anything?  Just like the restless Scourge were going to be an even greater threat without the LK?  

I feel like if I ever got a Deathwing mount, he'd BBQ me for the sheer indignity of being grounded, since I will likely never do a pathfinder achievement again.

 

AdministratorHigh CouncilOfficer
Honesty
High Council
Last seen: 7 hours 11 min ago
Joined: 11/17/2005 - 12:18

I think the Covenants are supposed to change gameplay this time around; they seem to be replacing the Legion artifact weapon ability/BfA Essence ability with them.  You choose your Covenant, then within the covenant who you want to bind your soul to (ummm...I like my soul right where it is?), and possibly other things.  I presume coming up with Anima Power for the Covenant will be the main way we improve what we can choose from, utterly unlike Artifact Power or Azerite Power... (/sarcasm)

I understand why they do it--it's very hard to come up with new abilities for each class to make them feel more powerful, without trivializing everything before it, or without being such a niche case that it doesn't matter.  It's easier for them to give an impactful ability, and then take it away each expansion to give a new one next time.  The impact, though, is that it never feels like my character is advancing.

For all the complaints, Blizzard's writers are quite a bit better than the ones for the other MMO's I play.  There's only a couple kinds of quests possible (go somewhere and click on things, go somewhere and kill things), but they still manage to make them into an interesting story to do.  And they can create memorable characters ("T'paartos!"...and I will keep my Tea with Sugar in my bank forever).  The past few expansions, leveling has always been interesting (at least the first time through).  Exploring, finding new stuff and figuring out how it works, all fun stuff; the 272nd run of the turtle emissaries, not so much.

Eloris, I've avoided looking at all the data mined stuff about how 8.3 wraps up.  I'm sure we find out what happens with N'zoth and Azshara, whatever they're doing with Xalatath, and probably also how Tyrande/Genn react to the new peace.  I'd expect whatever they are going to do with the sword to be an end of expansion thing with the Heart, like we did draining our artifact weapons, it would explain how they take away that ability.  Something in game will cause us to see the Sylvanas cutscene that introduces Shadowlands (there will be a different movie at the start of the expansion).  I doubt they'll kill Azeroth, or have her born, although maybe we have to go into Shadowlands to recover her soul before the world dies.

AdministratorHigh CouncilOfficer
Honesty
High Council
Last seen: 7 hours 11 min ago
Joined: 11/17/2005 - 12:18

And I do wonder, apparently the dead from Draenor go there as well.  Will we get to see Gul'dan meet Gul'dan?  )

Firemane
Member
Last seen: 10 hours 35 min ago
Joined: 08/01/2010 - 06:34

I saw the Covenant abilities for Mage today (my comments in bold italics):

Kyrian — Radiant Spark: Conjure a radiant spark that causes 2.28x Arcane damage instantly, and additional X damage over 8 sec. The target takes 25% increased damage from your direct damage spells, stacking each time they are struck. This effect ends after 4 spells. (30 sec cooldown) - My first thought here is, whoa! I'm already picturing this paired with Combustion. If your fourth spell is an instant Pyroblast it'll land for a double damage critical strike. Come get some. I'm sure all of these will get tuned but gut reaction is I don't see any reason to pick any of the others.

Night Fae — Shifting Power: Draw from the ground beneath you for 3 seconds, dealing 5,500 Nature damage to nearby enemies over the duration. Every second spent channeling increases your Haste by 5% for 15 seconds. (45 sec cooldown) - Not sure what "nearby" means but anything that makes me have to stand still in melee range makes me nervous, but this would be good for trash packs. Haste buff is nice.

Necrolord — Contagion Bolt: Deal 5,000 Shadow damage to the target enemy. For the next 8 seconds, your single target spells cast on the affected enemy cause the disease to splash to nearby enemies dealing 3,000 Shadow damage. (1.5 min cooldown) - Clearly a multi-target ability. If Shadowlands raids have a lot of add fights this might be good, but since you can't change Covenants cheaply I'd probably still tend toward Kyrian's single target ability.

Venthyr — Mirrors of Torment: Conjure 3 mirrors that rotate around the targeted enemy for 6 seconds. Whenever they cast an ability or spell they take 7,000 Shadow damage and are rooted for 1.5 seconds (2 min cooldown) - Smells like PvP to me.

 

All that said, the winner for the best description of an ability goes to Kyrian Death Knights:

Shackle the Unworthy: Admonish your target for their past transgressions, reducing the damage they deal to you by 5% and dealing 12,158 Arcane damage over 14 sec. Shackle the Unworthy’s cooldown is reduced by 4 sec when you damage the affected enemy with a Rune spending attack. (1 min cooldown)

I soooo want the combat log to say, "X has been admonished for his/her past transgressions."