The Queue: It’s Friday somewhere
And, apparently, somehow, it is also Friday right here. Whoa. So let’s break out the beach umbrella and get to enjoying the soon-to-be weekend.
Also, let’s Queue.
Are people going to need twitch reflexes to Dragonride?
Nope! If you can fly in WoW right now without crashing into the ground, you can ride a dragon in Dragonflight. All you have to do is point your dragon in the right direction and occasionally flap its wings. You can get fancy with maneuvering and find good terrain to start your flight from (if you’re heading downwards, even slightly downwards, you can basically glide without using any energy), but it’s not necessary to be an expert dragon rider in order to get around — and even if you’re really working at it, the mechanics aren’t twitchy.
I swear I read somewhere that fated difficulty and its rewards are only for S4 of Shadowlands, then they go away forever, but someone on a discord isn’t sure they ever actually said that.
Does anyone have a link to a Blizzard rep confirming we only have Fated until pre-patch or Dragonflight launch?
There’s been no confirmation of anything with regards to Fated raids ending. They’ll continue to rotate throughout Season 4, and I personally suspect they’ll continue until Season 4 ends and then we’ll all be moving on to Dragonflight. But we don’t know for certain. I think they’re a neat mechanic and I hope they — or something like them — will continue! But for now, there’s no official word.
Q4Any: What still alive big bads do you expect to see return to Warcraft? Do you think we’ll finally have an Azshara expansion?
Who’s to say when even “defeated” bosses are really defeated (or really dead)— we have, for example, already seen Ragnaros twice. Can you actually kill an elemental lord? It’s possible that we’ll never be rid of possible conflicts with the elemental planes… though we seem to be on pretty friendly terms with them, for the most part. We’ve also seen some dragons make unexpected returns. Nefarian seemed pretty dead at the end of Blackwing Lair, and yet there he is again, resurrected and still smug about his chances of defeating us, in Blackwing Descent. Onxyia, another dragon we very definitely killed, is back in Blackwing Descent too.
In short, I don’t really think dead means dead, and anyone could come back under the right circumstance. Will Blizzard do that, though? Who knows. WoW has a tremendous back catalog of characters, but I think it would be more interesting to look to the future and explore new things we haven’t seen than revisit the past.
But that said, Azshara is definitely alive and we’re definitely going to see her again. She isn’t the sort to give up on her goals, though she’s certainly capable of patience, so there’s no telling when she might show up again. She’ll wait until her plans come to fruition, and strike at just the right moment. And, as is so often said, hopefully we’re prepared for it.
But will we have a completely naga-focused expansion to get there? I’m not sure. (And because it would probably involve a lot of swimming, I’m not sure I’d want it.) But it would all come down to what kind of storyline Blizzard had planned. Could there be a full Aszhara expansion? If Blizz wanted it to be, absolutely. All we can do is wait and see.
Q4TQ: What is one change you would like to see as content becomes legacy content? I would LOVE to be able to buy things locked behind currency (I’m looking at you anima mounts and bloody coins!) by gold only. It’d really open things up for collectors so they don’t have to try and create workarounds to farm old currencies.
I would really love if it were easier to do old content more easily. Some of it is, of course, a cakewalk. Some of it is rather less so. Battle for Azeroth, for example, has moved to the legacy loot system so when you go into BFA raids you get more loot drops — but the difficulty is such that you can do very little of it solo, and in my experience even small groups can’t get very far with the mechanics. By Dragonflight we should be able to do this easily, but I wish I could be working on my BFA transmog collection now.
Currencies, as you mentioned, are another huge stumbling block to getting through old content. When I started working on collecting Icecrown Citadel pieces, I realized that you had to get the normal piece, then take that piece plus a drop to upgrade it, then take that piece plus a drop to upgrade it again, each version with its own color scheme. This makes it a very time-consuming process to collect sets now that this is old content — though that’s not a problem fixed as easily as just making the set purchasable with gold.
But the plethora of currencies is an ongoing problem. Imagine if three expansions from now you wanted to pick up the appearance of the gear you currently buy for Sandworm Relics. That’s going to be a grind. Or if you want to pick up any of the pets or mounts. These things become more time-consuming and difficult when everyone stops running the content and all there is to do is grind, grind, grind.
In some cases, though, Blizzard has done a good job at removing barriers. There are no reputation requirements to go through Suramar in Legion, so you can dive right in to that particularly juicy storyline without finishing everything else first. (Which makes it a lot easier to unlock Nightborne, too.) And if you want the appearance of old PVP transmog sets, you can buy it for modern PVP currency — you still have to PVP, but you don’t have to go back and run specific things for it anymore.
So I’d say let’s see more of the same. Keep making old content easily accessible, and once it’s out of date let us run wild and get to work adding whatever we want to our collections!
Q4tQ/BWP: Now that we’ve cycled through all of the fated raids, what do you think of Season 4? Personally, I’m very underwhelmed. The new mechanics aren’t unique enough (as a DPS it just feels like, I’m cleaving onto another target a couple of times a fight), and the rewards don’t feel like they’re really worth it, especially with the systems in place that make it hard to do this content on an alt. And as for the mythic+ train, so many of the fights seem woefully under/overtuned to the point where I’m actively not doing content on certain weeks (Lower Karazhan was nigh impossible this week last week). Frankly, I would have prefered no fancy new season and instead keeping the 3 week XP boost we had until DF.
I would agree that the Season 4 mechanics are maybe less interesting (and less challenging) than they might be. Fated raids often seem like pushovers… except when the affix is particularly poorly matched to the boss, like in Sepulcher where last week’s affix changed the timers for the Jailer’s abilities, making the fight more complicated and less predictable — but not really in a fun way. The extra mechanics were so quick to learn, and didn’t seem to provide enough complexity to be a huge challenge in most cases. But even so, I think it’s worthwhile — it’s given us fresh reasons to revisit these raids, and even if a lot of bosses are pushovers, there are some you have to put extra thought into.
Mythic+, which I don’t run very much, seems to be a different problem, where balance is quite uneven between the different dungeons. Blizzard seems to be addressing this by swinging a heavy nerf hammer at Karazhan, and while it would have certainly been nice if they’d found the happy medium on difficulty before launching, I think we’ll get there. And after an entire expansion of the same dungeons, it really is kind of nice to shake things up and have something new to do… even if that something new to do is something old to do.
And as to rewards… well, I was heroic raid geared before Season 4, and I’ve jumped a dozen ilevels since. Just this week I equipped a 40 ilevel upgrade to my neck, jumping from a Sepulcher LFR drop to a Sepulcher Heroic Fated (291) drop. The reward level for the time commitment seems frankly outrageous. I’m in a fairly casual raiding guild who runs heroics, and every week we’ve burned through normal and a couple of heroic bosses (to unlock a heroic level boss slot in the vault). I’m getting more upgrades more frequently than I have ever gotten in this game, because upgrades are everywhere. And while my main might be going from heroics to normal Fated raids and getting big upgrades, my alts can hit Fated LFR and get big upgrades, going from whatever I threw together soloing to, essentially, heroic level gear without a lot of fuss. I think normal Fated is a cakewalk for an appropriately-geared group, and LFR even more so. It feels like upgrades are everywhere I turn right now. Perhaps if I were better geared it wouldn’t feel worthwhile, but as it is… it’s raining loot, baby.
Mostly, I think the Season 4 experiment has worked as a way to offer something interesting to occupy us. It may not be very interesting, but it gives us something a little different to piddle with while we wait for the next big thing — and loot drops like candy, which always gives you a nice little burst of serotonin every time.
Is it perfect? Nah. But it’s decent, and that’s pretty good for an end of expansion distraction.
And that is all for this Friday, friends. So why don’t we all call it a day and spend the next few hours tapping on our keyboards pretending to work while we’re really just killing time until we can go vegetate in front of the TV? (What? Just me?)
Take care of yourself and I’ll see you next week.
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