Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bandwagonesque : WoW

It feels slightly strange being a Battle for Azeroth refusenik right now. I never planned to buy WoW's latest expansion but I had been intending to re-subscribe for the pre-launch run-up. I thought I'd play during July and August. It would have given me something else to write about for Blaugust and I thought it might be amusing, be working my way through Legion when everyone else was in BfA.

In the event, the lead-up just didn't seem interesting enough to justify jumping the train. I still hadn't pulled  the trigger, when both GW2 and EQ2 dropped extremely effective spoilers. The Festival of the Four Winds and Return to Guk caught my fancy and I couldn't see any way I'd be able to find enough time to log into World of Warcraft often enough over the summer to justify even the minimal cost of a couple of months' subscription.

It's particularly unsettling, then, that I'm finding some of the reports and screenshots coming out of the new expansion to be more appealing than anything I've seen from WoW for years. The look and theme of the new continent (?) seems to be the closest WoW's come to the kind of classic MMORPG high fantasy on which the game was built since Wrath of the Lich King.

Classic high fantasy is really where my MMO heart lies. I came to EverQuest twenty years ago looking for it and all the MMOs I've most enjoyed in the ensuing years (EQ2, Vanguard, Rubies of Eventide, GW2, City of Steam) have had something of that hinterland. I'm all for bolting on some magitech, science fantasy and steampunk trappings but what I want most are cobbled streets, tiled roofs, wooden ships and scenery that wouldn't be out of place in a touring production of A Winter's Tale.

Call that a city?
 Boralus, the coastal capital of Kul Tiras, looks nigh-on perfect. Unlike Syp I love huge, sprawling cities. I don't mind getting lost in a maze of streets that wind and twist and leave me baffled. I always thought Stormwind was a pretty decent-sized city so to hear Boralus described as "the first WoW city that feels like it's really sprawling" makes me want to go see it for myself.

I'm also a major fan of the autumnal, in games and in real life. I've waxed poetical often enough about the eternal autumn of Ascalon in GW2. When Syp talks of " autumnal feel for Boralus, which plays well with both the sea and mountains around it. Definitely a city for pumpkin spice lattes, yoga pants, and unnecessary scarves" I fond myself thinking "that's my kind of town". Minus the yoga pants, of course.

So, much to my surprise, I find myself almost wishing I was there, experiencing all this first -hand along with every one else, not just reading about it in blog posts. Especially this one. I want Dolly and Dot to be my best friends too.

None of which gives me any more time to play. If I did buy BfA right now I strongly suspect it would suffer the exact same fate as Legion, which has remained unplayed since I got it for my birthday nearly two years ago.

I wonder if I could stow away?

What's more, I have just bought a new MMORPG. Not for actual cash, you understand. I finally decided to use the Steam credit Chestnut sent me for winning the draw at the end of last  year's IntPiPoMo. I bought Bless.

I had it in my wishlist. More accurately, it was my wishlist. (My Steam wishlist is now Unavowed, thanks to Jeromai and xyzzysqrl). Bless dropped to 67% off so I got it. Mostly because of this post from The MMOist. Any MMO that lets you make non-human characters has to be investigated. Plus I'm itching to level a new character in a fresh environment, something I don't seem to have done for months.

Before I can, I have to make space for a 55GB download. That's going to take some re-organization. Maybe even a new HDD.

All things considered it would be a crazy move to buy Battle for Azeroth right now. I think I'm going to put it on my birthday list. Maybe I'll even get around to playing it before the next WoW expansion comes out.


  1. Boralus Harbor is a pretty nifty city, complex and multi-level and interesting without straying into the grotesque the way that EQII's Freeport (for me at least) or WoW's Orgrimmar manage. You will find yourself trying to figure out how to get from one side of a row of buildings to a ramp up to a balcony on the other, but if you like that sort of thing it is good. Easily the best city feel in the game so far.

    1. I have never been able to find my way from one side of Ogrimmar to the other. It also took me almost a year before I could reliably find my way around the original freeport in EQ1. I never really worked out the layout of either Erudin or Paineel and I struggled to get to anywhere specific in Kelethin. Worst of all was the cat city on Luclin. Actually any city on Luclin.

      Come to think of it I have been hopelessly lost in most cities in most MMOs. Freeport in EQ2, though, I can find my way around blindfolded.

      Hmm. I might do a post on cities in MMOs some time...

  2. Valley of Eternal Blossom, Talador and Suramar also have the same autumnal theme. Also Voss from SWTOR if you'll ever want to play that.

    1. Thanks for the tips. I really should get around to SW:tOR someday.


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