I’m sure I speak for most World of Warcraft fans when I say I love the game and I always will, but there’s only so many times you can keep doing the same stuff over and over until it gets a bit tired. Even still like all fans, I found myself coming back and having a good time with Blizzard’s latest expansion, World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. While it’s either still missing some of the its featured content (most which won’t be ready until next month) or has some of it locked behind tedious reputation grinding (I’m looking at you allied races), the core experience is solid enough for a good time to be had by all.
Picking up right after the events from Legion, the Alliance and Horde are back at hating one another again despite just teaming up to save their world. The main thing both factions are fighting over is a new magic ore-like substance called Azerite that can make anyone more powerful than ever. So of course you’ll be using this to power up and customize the new gear you’ll come across for your character(s) once you get the new Heart of Azeroth necklace artifact.
Once you obtain that, you’re off to the new lands to discover and quest in, with the Alliance having Kul Tiras that’s broken into the Tiragarde Sound, Stormsong Valley, and Drustavar areas, and the Horde having Zandalar where you’ll come across areas such as the Garden of the Loa and Nazmir.
If those huge places weren’t enough to keep players busy, Blizzard has added in another feature that sends you off to explore some other places such as Zuldazar and Voldun where more quests and missions reside for you to tackle in the middle of the other adventures. To tackle PVP, you can flag yourself and gain 10% more xp and gold this time around while also having access to five other abilities to aid you while you quest.
Then there’s other cool things you can do such as new dungeons that are pretty awesome to get through and look at. One of my favorites is the Waycrest Manor one that’s like a haunted mansion filled with creepy pictures on the walls, monsters and witches to fight against and more.
One of the coolest new features I found in the game are the Island Expeditions you can go on. Here players to team up in groups of three to explore random islands filled with Azerite while fighting against AI-controlled enemy faction players. This is an excellent mode for those who can’t stand PVP (like myself) but wish to have a PVP-like experience. Me and my friends found it both creepy and cool how Blizzard made the AI PVP enemies jump around and act just like real players.
Things look and sound a bit better in this expansion thanks to updated sounds and graphics, but don’t expect leaps and bounds differences. There’s also some gripes I have that must be addressed, starting with the always annoying and tedious reputation grinding. As with some of the previous expansions, you’ll need to grind reputation with various factions to unlock things such as the new Allied Races.
A lot of people thought these new races would be unlocked upon the release while those who pre-ordered would have to jump through the grinding hoops to get them. But sadly they’re still locked and chances are some people like myself will never be able to unlock them. Even more sad is the fact these races aren’t “new” but instead are re-skinned characters with the same movements and animations as other older races.
Also missing is the new raid and featured Warfronts that promises 20 vs 20 PVP-like action on a battlefield. I understand these features are being held back as to let players level and gear up for them, but it would’ve been nice to have had these available from the jump for players to check out when they’re ready.
While it’s missing some stuff, has an occasional glitch here and there, and has things locked behind loads of tedious grinding, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, especially if you’re playing with friends. Like the other fans, I can’t wait to see what lies ahead with the new raid and Warfront mode, and hopefully there will be even more fun things to tackle until the inevitable next expansion.