Just when people were beginning to recite elaborate obituaries for the gargantuan Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game World of Warcraft, along came its latest expansion, ‘Warlords of Draenor.’ Subscription numbers jumped from 6.4 million to over 10 million, a dramatic increase not seen since the Burning Crusade.
It seems that, after an Asia-centric expansion featuring pandas, Blizzard had found its groove again, and Warlords of Draenor breathed a new lease on the decade-old game…
…or did it?
Half a year after the expansion’s release, and players of the game, including Az from the Heelsvsbabyface Youtube channel, are reacting to the expansion with disappointment. Patch 6.1 came out with minimal content, featuring Twitter connectivity and the ability to take selfies as its main features.
There were no new battlegrounds, no new instances, no major revamp of any feature of the game. While it could be argued that the Blackrock Foundry was the new content, it was released before 6.1 and therefore stole much of the patch’s wind. For all intents and purposes, the first major update felt more like 6.0.3b rather than 6.1 to many gamers.
What made the patch update even worse was the fact that it would not be until almost half a year later until the next one. This writer’s guild mates found themselves burnt out after experiencing much of the content within the first month of its release, spending much of their time sitting in their garrisons twiddling their thumbs.
Again, World of Warcraft found itself having to deal with a mass exodus of subscribers, seeing their numbers fall to 7.1 million for 2015’s first fiscal quarter.
What Blizzard needed was a showstopper. A patch bountiful in content with something for everyone, one that would wash away the awful taste of 6.1.
Enter 6.2. The patch features a new tier raid, along with the continuation of several main storyline quests, including the legendary ring questline. The Tanaan Jungle zone, once completely closed off, has finally opened with new reputation factions and rewards, along with new rare mobs and the return of the world boss Kazzak.
Players who are not into grouping up with more than five people could try their hand at Mythic Dungeons, designed to provide a meaningful challenge that would reward raid-worthy loot. Last, but not least, players could relive old dungeons through Timewalking, a feature that scales max-level players down to the level of the dungeon.
So the question is, did the 6.2 patch address the shortfalls of its predecessor? Well, yes and no.
From what this player has experienced of the Hellfire Citadel raid, the instance is, without a doubt, the star of the patch. The encounters are unique and exciting, and boast creative mechanics, one particular fight involving players getting regularly eaten by the boss only to fight their way out of his stomach. The art style of the raid, along with a buff to the personal loot system, a system whereby the player receives loot individually as opposed to a Master Looter passing the loot out to the highest bidder, has certainly made Hellfire Citadel a high point of the patch.
Unfortunately, there is not much for the players who are not into raiding. Sure, Tanaan Jungle is beautiful and is enough to get most people out of their garrisons and pounding the pavement, but there is a lack of a story questline that was present in other zones.
Instead, the player is sent on repeatable daily quests to bonus objective zones to grind out Apexis Crystals and reputations for the new factions, Hand of the Prophet, Order of the Awakened, and the Saberstalkers. While the first two factions make plenty of sense story-wise, the last one feels like a bit of a shoe-in. Why should the player be compelled to kill animals and saberon for a bunch of crazy, native-gone hunters?
Whatever the case, the dailies in Tanaan are simply a repeat of the Apexis Crystal quests from the garrison, and therefore, rehashed old content. The same could be said of the Mythic and Timewalking dungeons, basically recycling old content, but buffing up the damage of and statistics of the bosses. If the player is not enjoying the all-new raid, they will have to stick with old, reruns of past content.
Last, but certainly not least, is the expansion of the garrison to include a shipyard. While this player found the feature exciting at first, the shipyard soon started to feel nothing more than a second mission table. Other than the fact that the player can customize the ships with different parts, there is no difference between the missions for his ships, and the missions for his followers.
There is also the issue of time, with players wondering how long it will be until the next patch, or even the next expansion will come out. Will the patch last as long as 6.1? Or will it be followed up with a quick update? If the patch is meant to last six months, one raid will definitely be not enough to keep players interested.
Overall, the 6.2 patch is much better than 6.1, but that is not saying much. The new zones are beautiful and the new raid is definitely exciting, but outside of that, there is not really much to be done, unless monotonous dailies and redoing old dungeons is the player’s idea of fun.
But hey, at least, in an upcoming update, players will be finally be able to fly in Draenor…