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WoWJun 21, 2018 1:00 pm CT

Research Options in Battle for Azeroth tread familiar ground


If you remember Order Hall Research in Legion, you won’t be surprised by Research Options in Battle for Azeroth. The folks at Wowhead have mined up the way the new feature works, and to say it’s similar to Order Hall Research would be like saying that identical twins are sort of familiar.

Okay, so maybe it’s not quite a 1 for 1 import of a previous game feature. Close, but not quite. Unlike Order Hall Research, these require a bit more from the player to unlock. They start at a higher level, and some require War Resources — Battle for Azeroth‘s version of Order Hall Resources. Others require War Resources, plus War Champions, or even reputation to be at a certain level with various factions. Basically the Research Options are a way to encourage you to participate in various kinds of content, as well as giving you the exact same kind of thing you just saw for an entire expansion as a form of progression.

What will we be researching?

There are six tiers of progression all around for the Research Options.

Tier One is a choice between Seafarer’s Hearth, which grants you 50% reduction in cooldown on your Hearthstone in Kul Tiras or Zandalar, and Swift Landing, which gives you 20% increased movement speed for five minutes after you use a flight point. I feel like Seafarer’s Hearth is a lot better, but who knows? Either will cost you 15 War Resources and 4 hours to unlock, but you have to wait until level 114.

Tier Two requires you to reach level 118, acquire three War Champions, and spend 100 War Resources. It takes you a day to research. You’ll be choosing between Upgraded Troop Barracks to allow you to house up to 2 more troops in Warfronts, or Troop Portal Network, which will allow you to get those troops recruited instantly. It’s basically a choice between having more, or having them now.

Tier Three costs you 150 War Resources and a day’s research time. You’ll need to be level 120 and have finished at least 10 Island Expeditions. These traits benefit you during said expeditions. Island Plunderer will get you more rewards as it increases your Sea Dubloon currency. Island Archaeologist will buff you during by increasing the effects of Shrines found on the islands.

Tier Four asks for 200 War Resources, a day’s research time, level 120 and 5 War Champions. The options here are World Azerite Detector, which means more Azerite from World Quests, or Local Transportation, which means you can get a free flight back to your faction capital by using it next to a flight master. I think World Azerite Detector just jumps up and down on top of Local Transportation until it is driven into the ground, but everyone is different.

Tier Five also unlocks at level 120, but this one requires three victories at Warfronts against unique enemy commands, 250 War Resources and a day’s research time. What do you get? A choice between Warfront Resources, which will increase your resource gathering speed by 15% while in a Warfront, or Warfront General which will buff your nearby allies by 15%. This one is basically a choice between getting past the resource portions of Warfronts faster, or getting through the fights quicker.

Just like with Order Hall Research, the final tier of Research Options doesn’t provide you with a choice. It’s level 120, requires Exalted with three of the Kul Tiras or Zandalar factions, 500 War Resources and a day’s research time for Alliance or Horde Ambassador, depending on your faction. Either way, they’ll increase your acquisition of War Resources, which will be nice after you’ve spent so many getting to this point I suppose.

Workmanlike but not inspiring

There’s nothing wrong with this system — it worked fine in Legion, if it wasn’t particularly interesting or exciting there. I think that’s my real problem with it. We had cool, unique, interesting stuff in Legion that we’re deliberately leaving behind, but the sort of boring system that did its job well enough but wasn’t particularly fun is what we’re bringing forward? It doesn’t help that many of the choices feel like they’re not really choices at all. 5 minutes of 20% mount speed after you use a flight point vs. half the cooldown time on a hearth? I definitely think that’s an easy choice to make. Again, it’s not a bad system, just not a particularly interesting one.

But I will credit it for integrating Island Expeditions and Warfronts in a way that makes them seem part of the process and giving rewards related to those activities. Maybe if there were more options per tier, or more tiers? I just feel like it needs a bit of spicing up, ultimately.

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