How could Battle for Azeroth have been released differently?
There’s been a lot of column ink spilled here — in forums and on other sites — about the issues we’ve encountered in Battle for Azeroth. It feels, to me, as if there have been more developer Q&As than at the same time in the last two expansions and the community still has issues. To name a few…
- What’s up with the lack of daggers?
- Shadow Priests and Shaman are broken.
- Protection Warriors and Feral Druids feel like tanking passed them by.
- Island Expeditions don’t feel like a necessary thing. (I have yet to get a drop from them.)
- And, let’s not forget Azerite armor which a small handful of people like but the rest of us would rather the concept was dropped as it feels unfinished.
I think that’s the key right there. Parts of this expansion feel unfinished. I have enjoyed, very much, the sweeping vistas and the look of the zones. The overarching story has been compelling, so much so, we discuss it for weeks. Side stories are exceptionally well-done. But the accompanying systems feel incomplete. I get that hotfixes for a game this expansive need to be accepted as an almost daily occurrence since there are so many things which could go wrong.
I got to wondering if, perhaps, the ambitious nature of this expansion was part of the reason so many things just don’t work as intended. There were 6 zones to create, with their own quest lines and mobs. There were dungeons in 4 “flavors,” if you will, to design. There were new factions to write stories for and a raid to have ready 1 month after the expansion launched. Layer on top of that a new armor system and a stat squish. Could it all have been too much? Would the expansion have been helped with gradual roll out of content, particularly with, say, the Azerite Armor system?
I think I would have shipped the expansion with all the zones with all the quests, all the dungeons, and all the rep ready to go. The first month would have been devoted solely to class/spec tuning. Everything else rolls out gradually beginning one month after launch. That delay would have given developers a chance to fix things because this system still feels broken and not complete. You could have stockpiled Azerite knowing this armor was coming. With the very first patch and a new raid, add in Azerite Armor. I feel our Shadow Priests and Shaman wouldn’t feel like 4th class citizens if so much energy wasn’t devoted to an armor system which hasn’t worked as intended since the beginning.
Ponder this over your morning beverage. If you could have done the roll-out of Battle for Azeroth, given everything we have currently (systems, quests, encounters, etc), would you have kept things the same or would you have rolled things out differently?
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