Sean Collier, A&E Writer
The planet of Azeroth in World of Warcraft has been through a lot over the years. After dealing with the demons and monsters of past expansions, many were left to wonder about the game’s newest expansion: Battle for Azeroth. The emphasis being war between the world’s two prominent factions, Alliance and Horde. Being a World of Warcraft player for a while now I did not know what to expect for the most part. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised.
Before the release of an expansion, there are updates to the game that contain events that players can only take part in before the release itself. During this, both factions had storylines to go through surrounding the events that led to the Horde’s invasion and burning of Teldrassil, home to the night elf capital city. No matter what faction one chooses to be, a player can feel the destruction and permanence of what happens. For me, I felt such shame taking part in the Horde invasion that caused so much destruction and death. Surely, not all players will feel this way but the game does a good job at representing the feeling itself.
All of that brings me to one of my biggest points, this expansion is flooded with heartfelt quests and storylines. At the start of the expansion, both factions go to a new continent to explore in hopes to gain the upper hand on the opposing faction. The Horde go to Zandalar, and the Alliance to Kul Tiras. Both Continents are equally filled with lovable characters, storylines, and most importantly, dangerous threats to the world as a whole. There are moments in both continents where, after accomplishing so many things, there is still so much at stake. In my opinion, Zandalar alone has one of the most disheartening stories in the entire history of the game. After defeating numerous beasts, cult members and other monstrosities, you can still get a feeling of dread and despair. I personally have always been interested in where the developers will go with the story and lore itself, and to me the theme of this expansion definitely is giving the players the feeling of despair and dread. They have delivered these feelings in the story and quests that I have never previously seen, or felt that strongly about at least.
The atmosphere of the new continents is breathtaking. The visuals and music are beautiful and gives an accurate representation of where you are and what you are up against. WIth the continents being seperated by faction, they are also very different. Both in theming, story, and in the enemies and threats players will encounter. Another one of the most appealing things about the expansion as a whole is how alive the world feels in both continents. There is wildlife everywhere, civilians going about their lives, and so much for the player to take part in. I believe this adds to the effect of making the player feel like something is actually at stake. Showing the lives that will be lost if they do not succeed.
On the more technical side, Battle for Azeroth does not feel like it is a chore to get through and level up. Even with there being trivial quests that use the same pattern, the player can still enjoy it and it doesn’t take too long to make progress. The expansion
did have a rocky start with a handful of its largest servers failing to work, but the developers acted as quickly as possible. I would say my biggest critique on the expansion is the scaling of leveling. For the most part, it is flawless. No matter your level, you won’t have a hard time dealing with enemies and getting loot. However, once you hit the level cap of 120, it almost feels like you are thrown into a more unforgiving world. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just makes questing at max level more difficult and tiring unless you gear up your character.
Overall, I feel like the developers have given us something new in the best way possible with this expansion, and I can not wait to see what is to come with the new content they add in the future. Having more emphasis on the story and interactions makes the gameplay more interesting and gives the game a breath of fresh air for new players and returning players alike.