I start by saying that if you haven’t read “Before the Storm” yet, you need to. It was a fantastic book that really sets up a nice picture for the upcoming expansion.
I was fortunate enough to have participated in the alpha and then was later invited to the beta. I have been streaming my progress on the beta, which you can check out on Twitch: username Leighanneore. I have already leveled a character on both sides of the aisle to get a comparison of the story and try out different characters. Currently on my stream you will see my leveling a Lightforged Paladin, waiting eagerly to try out my boomkin Zandalari that I have been waiting so desperately for.
The first play through happened when the beta first came out. Despite all the bugs, the first zone I completed was Tiragarde Sound. I was disappointed because there seemed to be no story. What happened to Jaina? Do you ever see a resolution to the Ashvane storyline? (In a recent update patch, you did at least a resolution to the Lady Ashvane story.) The leveling was very quick in comparison to other expansions. My biggest problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a good story on the Alliance side. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be any real story on the Alliance side so far. Drustvar has the most interesting quests and storyline as of this point, but that isn’t a knock to this zone. This zone has a really really good storyline to it. The bonus is that the zones on Kul Tiras are stunning.
The Horde side does have a cohesive story that was actually very well done. The zones are complicated and confusing to get around. So much so that you may see me on my stream just flying from one side to the other rather than traveling by mount. Though as soon as I learned the portal, I just did that to get back to the main city area from the docks. Still, flying to the docks is the quickest way to get there. Bwonsamdi is a nice touch to the zone (don’t want to spoil too much about this character), which I think helps to make this story better than the Alliance side.
Each side has their own positives and negatives at this point. Still, overall I have to say that I think this is an unimpressive expansion. Maybe they are saving a lot of the punch for launch, but as it stands right now it is just a little bit more interesting than WoD. I say that because at least I got my Pandas in MoP, but both of those expansions were unimpressive. Battle for Azeroth may not have even been that bad if it weren’t for the fact that Legion was such a good expansion.
Check out my Twitch channel for videos of play throughs. Eventually I’ll update my YouTube page with past videos. Maybe this week.
First thing that should be mentioned is some of the gaming related April Fool’s Day pranks.
- Blizzard released all of their hilarious gags as usual, though I do miss the days when the joke’s were actually believable. That doesn’t take away from the hilarity of how ridiculous they are, like the WoW Dance Battle Arcade system, the new micro-holidays, and the Blizzard Game Room. In fact, check out all of the hilarious Blizzard ones here.
- Want to up your gaming ability? Razer’s prank promised to give gamers the edge that they need to improve their skills thanks to Project Venom. What is Project Venom? Nanobots that you drink. They even offered signups for the beta, which I did because they probably are going to actually release an energy drink and my husband lives off them.
- Final Fantasy XIV Online Go was a prank that seemed to mesh the worlds of Pokemon Go and Final Fantasy in one bizarre mobile game.
These were just some of my favorite ones. I do have to say that I would actually really love the Blizzard Game Room idea.
Overwatch League Stage 3 starts this week, and the Boston Uprising are in the running for the big final playoffs at the end. They just keep getting better and I can’t wait to see what they do in this stage. I also wonder what changes Seoul Dynasty will make to help them overcome whatever slump they seem to be in and see how Spitfire bounces back from the Fusion upset in the Stage 2 playoffs. Stage 3 is going to bring a lot of excitement.
I have been playing in the Battle for Azeroth beta, which has been pretty fun. I like it so far, though my first impressions are they had most of their focus on the alliance side of things. The first zone that I have played in, Stormsong Valley (which didn’t make the stream because I thought that they automatically saved streams on Twitch. They don’t unless you click a button. Rookie mistake that has been fixed.) was very polished looking, the zone didn’t seem as bugged, and I didn’t feel like I was traveling miles for the next quest. The Zandalari Trolls look amazing, though I’m sad the race isn’t playable yet in beta. So far, it is fun and I look forward to seeing more of it. I will be sure to blog more about the beta as well, maybe even dedicating another day of the week to the blog for this purpose.
Lastly, I have started a Twitch stream of me playing the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth beta. You can check me out as I play both the Void Elf priest and a Nightborne mage. Eventually I will also be playing a Zandalari Troll druid, moonkin of course. I try to remember to speak while streaming, but I end up getting in a zone that makes me forget I’m even streaming. I’ll try to be better. I may move onto other games, including when Frostpunk comes out later this month or watching my fails as I play Overwatch (especially in my favorite mystery heroes mode). We’ll see how it goes. But for now, you can see the streams saved on Twitch for your viewing pleasure and I will be sure to save them after I stream there and on my YouTube channel.
The Overwatch League was full of fun this week, with some really shocking moments. My Uprising wasn’t in contention for the Stage 2 playoffs, but they went out strong with an unexpected California sweep, defeating both L.A. teams in their matches this week. In their match against the Gladiators, the Fusion waited in the crowd to see their fate in the playoffs which rested in the hands of the Uprising. If they were to at least win 1 game against the Gladiators, Fusion would get the 3rd spot in the playoffs. Uprising ultimately went 3-2 in the match, which meant Fusion would go up against the Stage 1 champions the London Spitfire.
Without the Uprising in, I defaulted to my second favorite team. I expected them to easily take on Fusion, then go against New York for the championship again. In a 3-2 match, Fusion upset the Spitfire and went against the top team in the league: New York XL. This match also went into the tie breaker map, only Fusion fell to XL and New York took home the Stage 2 championship trophy and money.
The next stage will bring in some interesting changes, especially with the Shanghai Dragons being able to play their new players including the much hyped Zarya player Geguri. They are currently 0-20, so here’s to hoping that they don’t go the whole season without a win. I’m especially excited to see Geguri, not because she’s the first female in the Overwatch League but because her videos of playing Zarya are just insane. I wish I could play tanks as well as she can.
In other gaming news, I have recently received my Alpha invite to the “Battle for Azeroth” World of Warcraft expansion. After much convincing, I’ve decided to not just blog about it but to also stream and post videos of game play. I’ve never streamed before and I’m told I sound like a Smurfette on the headset, but here’s to trying. Look for me on Leighanneore on Twitch and I should be starting sometime this week.
It is very likely that sometime this year, WoW fans will get to achieve their long-awaited dream: going back to the beginning. For a long while, a lot of fans that got into the game later on wanted to have that Vanilla experience that they missed when they were making fun of their friends for playing the game. There was still plenty of content by then for people to enjoy. I enjoyed my time in MC and Naxx, though the AQs were more difficult to get into as everyone had played them out so much by the time I got into the game. I didn’t get to experience the opening of the Gates, an event that I’m told was equal parts frustrating and exciting. (It was certainly more exciting for those who weren’t booted from the servers so that they could experience the moment.)
Nostalgia really is often times more amazing than the experience itself was. People can get clouded by remembering something was greater than it was. How many times did people lag out because of bugs in the game during important fights? Or remember when you finally killed Rag but you were Alliance and all shaman loot dropped? Sure, your guild bank got enchanting materials but you want something for your time. These bugs did give the game character, but it was more frustrating than it was worth sometimes.
The thing is, while the content was amazing and fresh in Vanilla, that wasn’t what I missed most about it. I liked how hard it was. There were only a few add-ons that you needed, but you could’ve gotten by successfully without them. You just managed to do your job. But there was a unique social aspect to it that really drew people in. You needed to be in a guild to see content. You couldn’t just LFR it like you can now. Sure, I like that I no longer have to dedicate so much of my time for raiding. But I miss the friendships that you could make with people across not just the country, but sometimes the globe. One of our tanks was this hilarious guy from Egypt. There was this shadow priest from Australia. You could connect with people while working together to complete these pixelated goals that meant so much to people.
With the newer expansions, the emphasis grew to making the game better for casuals who didn’t have the time to raid but still wanted that experience. But in the process, the game lost something that made it so special to begin with. You really cannot form these kinds of friendships and bonds with people anymore. I still talk to people, albeit sparingly, that I played with nearly a decade ago. (Probably a decade ago now) We mourned when a friend of ours died. We mourned a person that we had never met in person but yet had such a profound impact on (at least in my case) our lives. The Vanilla server could be a good thing if it was able to bring back that same level of comradery that drew so many people into the game to begin with.