WildStar Impressions

I’ve spent some time in the Open Beta, after an arduous download/patching process — apparently they were throttling speeds for either new installs or all installs/patches. Ugh. But, that’s behind us! Let’s get started.

First, I love the aesthetic. No complaints there. It’s got the exaggerated/cartoon style of WoW without feeling or looking exactly like WoW. They’re taking the better parts of science-fiction and space-westerns to set the game apart in appearance and tone, and it works. I’m pleased.

Second, I’m of two minds on the combat gameplay. It is far, far more twitchy than anything in WoW right now. You can substitute “interactive” for “twitchy” if you’d like, and you wouldn’t be wrong — you certainly get involved by aiming your abilities (which tend to have conical areas of effect) and dodging enemy attacks (which are telegraphed). Mouse-aiming/turning is a strong requirement here. Double-tap to Dodge is, also. This game is definitely not made for clickers. If you’re quick on the keybinds and movement overall, it has a pretty great feel to it… but if you know anyone who struggles in this department, WildStar is going to leave clickers in the dust. Solo, they will probably be able to get by, but may struggle with the Prime (Elite) mobs. In groups, they will feel overwhelmed — some of the boss encounters I have seen to this point require quick reflexes, sudden movements, precise timing of interrupts/stuns/abilities.

Regarding the “other” gameplay elements — that is, questing, gathering, crafting, Limited Action Set (talents/abilities), AMPs, “Paths” — I feel the game becomes a little scatter-brained by trying to offer too much variety all at once. As a new player, I did not feel gracefully introduced to some of these systems. Introduced, yes — tutorials are offered — but there is a *lot* to understand here, let alone master. Starting out, I’m looking to understand movement, combat, abilities, and questing mechanics… but I am seeing a confluence of options here, option overload even. I’m collecting lore items, interacting with objects for quests, interacting with objects for my Path gatherings or holdout missions, interacting with objects for quests *in some other way* (I actually had to “fast tap” a key to set a piece of artillery to blow), receiving random challenges, picking up “this starts a quest” items, receiving other quests while-in-the-field via the communicator…

Phew. And I haven’t even picked a gathering or crafting profession. I don’t know how to, and haven’t had time! I’m not even level 10!

Perhaps some of this content, these systems, could have been more spoon-fed throughout 1 to 20. Perhaps. Maybe. I’m no game developer, but I have been gaming a looooong while, and I know overload when I see it. Add to this the varying +stats, like strikethrough and assault power and shielding and resistances… yikes. There’s nothing wrong with any of these systems individually, but altogether it feels a little… chaotic. Almost as if some old design decisions have been lingering and never got pruned or tightened-up. I anticipate there being some “paring down” as the game goes on. WoW did this as well, but I think Blizzard took it too far in the other direction and simplified too greatly. My opinion, naturally.

Races, classes… I had a very hard time deciding on these, which is a good thing. The “factions” are both interesting, the races are diverse (love the Granok!), and the classes have great appeal. The Warrior feels a lot like Diablo 3’s Barbarian but, obviously, with the need to dash/dodge left, right, and back to avoid various telegraphs. The Spellslinger is a fun variant on the Mage archetype with a dash of Hunter thrown in. I’m going to try an Engineer for my “pet class” fix, next.

All in all, WildStar smacks of Triple-A effort and presentation. Carbine definitely “has it” and I think this could truly contend with World of Warcraft in the long-term. It’s endgame promises to reward playstyles from casual to hardcore, and from what I’ve seen, it will definitely deliver to the highly-skilled crowd (for PVP and PVE). Casuals… I’m not sure. And really, that’s fine — I’m glad the devs are making strong, confident design decisions out of the gate. I hope they stick with them. WildStar may end up not being for me, or for you, or you, or you over there… but it will definitely appeal to some, and I believe Carbine is on their way to establishing a loyal subscriber base.

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WoD Alpha Patch — Here We Go …

The gates are open!

Warlords of Draenor is going to fundamentally, irrevocably change the World of Warcraft. The changes here are in a word, sweeping. We have major systems being gutted, scrapped, or re-written. We have drastic changes to character and class identities and playstyles. We’re facing changes in loot, leveling and power systems. Individually, none of these changes are anything new — if you’ve been playing WoW for any length of time, you know that expansions always shake something up, somewhere. What’s most surprising here is the number of changes happening at the same time.

The “stat squish” has been long discussed, and now we’re getting it. No more 100,000+ damage numbers. No tanks with three-quarter-million health. Health, healing, and damage numbers are going to harken back to the days of Classic WoW or TBC and I personally think that’s a good thing.

Major systems are being overhauled or cut entirely. Hit and Expertise are gone. Do you remember when Weapon Skill was part of the game, and subsequently cut? The pruning here continues. Attack Power is also changing its contributions, as are Agility and Spell Power (no more +chance to Crit). And let’s not forget Crowd Control, which is being massively tweaked. Many classes are losing entire abilities to make this happen — Hunters, for example, are losing Silencing Shot and Scatter Shot, among others. There are upsides, however — again, using Hunters as an example, their Traps are becoming instant-arm and they can no longer be Disarmed by Rogues. Disarming in general is gone — Warriors and Rogues are losing the ability to bamf your weapons. Crowd Control duration and diminishing returns are all being looked at and changed, too. As are tanking systems, like Vengeance.

Abilities are being pruned. Classes and specializations are having abilities pulled. In some cases, this is to reduce “button bloat.” In others, it is to differentiate specializations more. Ability A may now only be available to Spec Z. Ability B may overwrite Ability C for Spec Y. Racial Abilities are also being revamped. Professional bonuses and perks are shifting toward non-combat benefits.

I can go on and on. And on. The changes here are absolutely massive, and every Alpha player will be effectively testing an entirely new game. The testing phase here, and later in Beta, will be so very, very vital to the future of WoW — I can’t stress enough to the testers coming on board: please play the ever-loving crap out of Warlords of Draenor. It’s inevitable that some systems will go live with bugs or imbalances, but the more thorough your testing is now, the better we’ll be come Beta. And then Release.

I really think this is make-or-break for World of Warcraft. The premium MMO titles keep coming, so there is no end of competition in the marketplace. WoD is facing a challenge in hooking old players and getting them to re-sub, while also attracting (and keeping) new players — if the game doesn’t play like a dream after all these changes go in, the subscription numbers will continue to drop.

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BlizzCon 2013 – How ‘Warlords of Draenor’ Happens

“Wibbly, wobbly, timey-whimey stuff.” Right. Now that that’s out of the way.

I fully support Blizzard’s decision to use an alternate (past) timeline to affect our future. I think that’s a clever way to retread some old content and, as Metzen said, allow newer players to experience some of what Warcraft was like in the Olden Days. However, I want to know HOW it happens, and I want the explanation to be a somewhat plausible one.

What Happens

Garrosh and Kairoz (Kairodormu, from the Timeless Isle) somehow travel back in time to Draenor of the past, evoke a divergence of the timestream, create an alternate reality, and happen to link it back to our current timeline using the Dark Portal as a traversal point. This allows Garrosh, on past-Draenor, to mobilize the old Orcish Clans into a new army and have them attack our present-day Azeroth.

How it Happens

This is what is still ambiguous. Obviously Kairoz has taken Garrosh back through time. The Lore panels stated Kairoz (not naming him explicitly, save for one accidental name-drop), or as they call him “Garrosh’s dragon-friend,” makes this happen.

How? Why? Explain!

The Timeless Isle is already a weak, shoe-horned segue to the next expansion. If they had hinted at the Isle’s existence, and time-travely bits in general, earlier in the expansion, the progression of events would seem more natural… but they didn’t. It became a matter of “5.4 is here, and look, time travel! NPCs! A convenient setup for our next expansion!”

But we have what we have, and cannot alter it. So. Is Kairoz evil? A traitor to the bronze dragonflight? Are they really going with that motive, again?

I want to believe that Kairoz takes Garrosh back in time via the Dark Portal with hopes of showing him his past, the heyday of the Orcs, to possibly redeem him — or, at least, chill him the hell out. Perhaps Kairoz’s intent is merely to observe, but Garrosh takes the opportunity to affect the past to alter the future. Kairoz then, somehow, cannot close the Dark Portal Time Gate Thinger and it becomes a gigantic gaping wound between realities, allowing Garrosh to exploit it and send his Iron Horde through to present-day Azeroth.

Very possible, that. However, I fear that Blizzard will hand-wave and simply say that Kairoz is a traitor or a deranged time-tinkerer or some nonsense, which is an idea a lot of lore-fiends are already tossing around. Ugh.

The concept of this bronze dragon betraying something that has been a part of his core ideals for so long (that is, don’t mess with the timestream!) is more than a bit preposterous, and again goes down the road of “he went crazy!” It would be far more compelling if Kairoz were to do this with the best intentions, and without plans of altering the past… and it is Garrosh who goes all nut-job on us (again) in a maddened bid to remake the world, or all of time, with his design.

Again, that’s my hope. I don’t want Kairoz to become a bad guy, or for Blizzard to say he was bad all along, or he went insane, or any of those overused story tropes they often trot out. They’re likely going that route, given the glimpse at Soridormi’s Murder and the hint that Kairoz was the perpetrator. I’d want something that keeps the villainy more in Garrosh’s corner. At least give Kairoz some amount of cluelessness to explain why he opened up an alternate reality of potential Horde badassery to the worst possible person: a warmongering dictator known as Garrosh. Kairoz had to have had a good intent. Maybe he saw it as more an experiment, and it went haywire? I could get behind that. Otherwise, he would have to have a more insidious intent, and where would they be going with that? The founding of the Infinite Dragonflight? Kairoz does not become Murozond, he can’t become Murozond.

I’m cautiously optimistic about the storytelling happening here, and the characterization, but I know for a fact that Blizzard’s writers can make very high-level story decisions to cater more to gameplay (understandable) than good writing… and I’m hoping they don’t botch it here.

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Hearthstone

I wish I could say “no time for blogging, need more Hearthstone” — alas, I have no beta key, and I must scream.

I am stupidly excited over this game, thanks to the playthroughs I’ve seen on ye olde YouTube. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m no TCG/CCG junkie (I did play a bout of Magic: The Gathering … over a decade ago), but nevertheless this game looks like it could be a heck of a lot of fun, easy to get into, and addicting.

My main barrier for entry on card games has been the social aspect, which has always been daunting to me — I’m not the sort to pack up a case of cards and go jetting about town to challenge total strangers to a duel of the decks. I’d feel far, far too awkward doing anything of the sort, even if it included mingling with some of my fellow “geeks” who I very well could have something in common with. For me, that first step’s a doozy. I might meet a guy or gal who has as much social anxiety as I do, or I might run across someone drunk on their own supposed greatness.

This online CCG, however, is right up my alley. With Hearthstone, there’s just the right level of interaction present — that being, you can greet, thank, and even taunt (good-naturedly) your opponent, but there is no open chat, and no chance to be berated or trolled. Hooray! Games also appear to be quick (from matchmaking to end), and turns are on a strict timer to prevent stalling. Nice.

I’m foaming at the mouth to play this game. The YouTube videos are no longer satisfying me. I need one of those beta keys, fast!

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Bleeding Sun

Or, we could title this entry “Blizzard’s Baby-killing Fiasco.”

If you haven’t read Bleeding Sun, then you should do so. The short story is available on Blizzard’s website. I’ll warn, it isn’t very enjoyable — by the end, you’ll either be sad or frustrated, or both. Like me.

In my opinion, this story is an blunder in terms of character development. It tries hard, and brings out a heavy-handed story-hook… but in the end, the endeavor feels like a cheapening of past events and a very, very convenient means of furthering some half-cocked future story in the franchise. All while killing a Tauren newborn.

Without recapping too much of the narrative, we come into the story with Dezco situated at the Shrine of the Two Moons, shortly after his wife died during childbirth. His sons are by his side. He’s feeling put-upon, wondering when his wife’s vision of peace and happiness will finally come. The Golden Lotus show up and perform a ritual which is meant to select children from the surrounding populace for inclusion in their order — and yet when the gong is rung, no Pandaren children respond to the ritual. Dezco’s two sons, do.

Dezco is then faced with a choice — which son should he hand over to the Lotus, to be schooled in their ways? Should he part with either? He reacts fairly sensibly (sensible, considering he’s just lost his wife and his two sons are his world right now) by determining he’ll choose neither, and will leave the Vale to return home with his boys. In attempting to leave the Vale, however, he is caught in a Mogu attack. One of his sons is pummeled to death (either by a charging Mogu or Dezco’s own fevered attacks, despite how he tried to protect the child), and the other is stabbed with a Mogu blade.

A member of the Golden Lotus ushers him and the still-living child to one of the Vale’s sacred pools, to be healed. His other son is too far gone to be revived — even by a Sunwalker. As with Leza, we’re severely nerfing this guy’s abilities here, but I’ll roll with it for now. Chi-Ji, the Red Crane, appears and heals the dying child.

Now, here’s where they lost me. One, from this point on Dezco does not seem as anguished as he should be, given his one son’s death — and the shade of his wife’s death still lingering over him, to boot. Two, he has a sudden change of heart and feels fine with turning his still-living, revived boy over to the Golden Lotus, knowing he will not be able to fully raise the child as he would like to. And three… holy God, did we just have to kill a Tauren newborn to make his “decision” easier, and position the remaining child as the Golden Lotus’ new Tauren initiate? Really? We tugged on all these heart-strings to accomplish THAT? Would it have really destroyed Creative Development’s grand scheme if they allowed his other son to live and become a Sunwalker?

What feels particularly bad about this is how Dezco is handled in the final pages, and after the story is concluded. In the game, he’s off on the Isle of Thunder handing out quests to control the Saurok. What? We have a father and a husband who has lost his wife and children, and he’s A-OK with dolling out a run-of-the-mill Kill Quest? He’s not even waging holy war against the Mogu — you know, the brutes who had a hand in killing and injuring his boys? And in 5.3, he’s evidently only in the storyline to chill out Taran-Zhu and stop the Shado-Pan from ousting the Horde from the Vale? This is the future for this character, thus far? Come on.

It feels like a cheap plot device, devaluing the story that earlier had made an impact on us players — that being Leza’s death during childbirth and how her two sons survived her. In Bleeding Sun, they become a means to an end… one killed because he is inconvenient to the “you must choose one” storyline involving the Golden Lotus, and the other fulfilling some obscure prophecy. On one hand, the telling of the child’s death is heart-wrenching, but on the other it feels as though it is lacking the full gravity it should possess, being weak, cheap. And mean. It’s a greater crime to later see Dezco bopping along in-game as if none of these events ever happened — will they perhaps acknowledge his grief in 5.4? I have the suspicion they will not.

Killing a father’s child is a major event for a character to undergo. In Bleeding Sun, it seems to be played off far too easily. Losing his surviving son to a secretive order is also taken quite well, and the ease of giving him over in the end seems entirely uncharacteristic for someone in Dezco’s shoes. Hooves. I’m coming out of the story events thus far feeling sad and angry — sad for Dezco, but angry at the storytellers. They went this route, and it was a bold move, but they also seem to have missed how great an impact it would actually have on the Sunwalker. I’ve yet to see a development that shows me they’ve done anything but botched this major event for poor Dezco. I’m hoping that will change, but I’m not holding my breath.

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The Masquerade: Transmogrification Changes

Transmogrification is one of my favorite features in World of Warcraft today, and we’re lucky to have it. This hard-bought capability came after years of player requests for a “wardrobe tab” or similar functionality, yet is not without its detractors — both among our fellow players, and within the WoW developers.

With Patch 5.2 incoming, we are told some of the transmogification restrictions are being relaxed. Namely, weapon types that share animations (2-hand swords, hammers and axes, or staves and polearms) should allow for interchangeable item transmogrification. That means our 2-hand axe from Sha of Fear can be transmogged into a prized 2-hand sword or hammer, for example.

I vote for relaxing these restrictions even further. And here’s why.

Identification by Armor

The days where a player’s level of power is ascertained at a glance are gone. Transmogrification even on a basic level has done away with this — we can easily have a Tier 14 PVE player displaying Tier 1 armor. We wouldn’t know they’re wearing Tier 14 unless we inspect them. At a distance, a Death Knight may be wearing a flavor of a Warrior’s Tier 2 assembled from “look-alike” plate-armor pieces, too.

Furthermore, PVE is not where identification-by-armor is most important. A case could be made that in PVP, it helps to determine player power and race/faction at first blush. However, again, this has been dashed by not only transmogrification… but also the existence of Pandaren in both factions, Horde and Alliance. Also, let’s remember that certain armor types/sets do not grant any remarkably game-altering abilities — it won’t drastically change a PVPers strategy, when he faces a Death Knight with Tier 14 or Tier 15. He’ll be better served by looking for other “tells” to indicate specialization, to know what sort of skillset he will have to counter. And a tooltip or similar UI modification can make faction/class identification easier, if need be.

The bonuses that are granted by various pieces of PVP armor go directly toward survivability. A smart player will already be betting their opponent is outfitted in a healthy level of +PVP Power gear, and not underestimate them.

Set Us Free

So, there we have it. If “at a glance” identification matters more in PVP, and already that is a depreciated method given the landscape of today’s game… what is holding us back from further relaxing transmogrification restrictions? Why not allow a plate-wearer to transmogrify a few of his pieces into mail, or cloth? Are we afraid classes will begin to lose their identity entirely? Ask yourself: do plate shoulders and mail shoulders vary in their appearance that much? How about from 5 yards away? 10 yards? 20? And if someone worked their butt off to get a Legendary item, why shouldn’t they be able to display it more often?

I suspect we’ll always have one manner of restriction or another on transmogrification, but it’s nice to dream. Personally, I enjoy participating in Looking for Raid and seeing a variety of players from a variety of realms in their transmogged gear — often, you’ll find sets that carefully match, with complimenting pieces and it shows that these players put effort into assembling the “look” they are most pleased with. They look good, and they probably feel good about it, too. I think that makes the whole endeavor worthwhile.

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Pandaria: Better Than You Think

If you’re not playing, it’s better than you think. If you’re in, then you may be a Pandaren proponent already.

I know I wasn’t a fan, not initially. Your standard Kung-Fu Panda comparisons aside, I didn’t have much hope for Blizzard’s latest expansion pack. Cataclysm was a major let-down for me. I believed their development processes manifested there were becoming SOP, and Pandaria, while glitzy, was going to be another half-assed expansion beneath the surface.

I was happy to be proven wrong. Pandaria is a fantastic return-to-form for Blizzard, harkening back to the days of Wrath of the Lich King (it feels like ages ago) in terms of cohesiveness, story-telling, and polish. I’m also pleasantly surprised by the sheer amount of content, much of it end-game, that should keep most players busy for months on end.

However, Pandaria isn’t all wine and roses. Let’s look at some of the good and the bad, yes?

When It’s Good, It’s So Good

Mists of Pandaria comes flying out of the gate with an explosive introductory sequence, dropping you into the Jade Forest amidst an Alliance/Horde attack. Now, my gameplay experience comes from the Horde side, so I can’t speak for our Blue-banner adversaries, but I trust that Blizzard has made their foray into Pandaria just as interesting.

So, yes, you’re hit with a smattering of cinematics, many in-game, and the scene is set. These sequences move quickly enough that you do not feel torn from the action (*cough* Uldum *cough*) and help advance the story. Plus, we’re treated to a wealth of custom voice-overs to make the entire thing feel more… cinematic. Imagine that. This thread continues as you play through the starting area, fighting your way up to the Alliance expedition leader, and uncovering more of Pandaria’s secrets. I won’t spoil too heavily here. All I will say is that hearing NPC dialogue spoken by voice-actors, and having the performances and writing be more than half-way decent, made the game feel like Blizzard is giving a damn. This all helps draw you in. I like that.

The music of Pandaria is a stunning smorgasbord of cues taken from martial-arts epics and adventure serials. Some of these pieces are hauntingly beautiful, some get your blood pumping… all show an attention to detail and a much needed breath of life. Wrath’s music had this impact on me. Cataclysm’s was 99% forgettable. Pandaria is back on the attack.

The quests continue in Cataclysm’s vein, displaying new mechanics or twists on old favorites (vehicles, bombing runs, etc.). I enjoyed seeing how a simple “collect 10 of X” quest could be spruced up, becoming “collect 10 of X after you’ve gone dynamite-fishing” or “find 4 pieces of this broken statue and sketch the original depiction.” Nothing world-shattering, but the presentation is more enjoyable than your straight-up Collection or Fed-Ex quest. The “NPC Possession” quests were also a new spin on storytelling and questing, combined.

The environment itself is astoundingly beautiful, and well put-together. Zone transitions feel somewhat more natural than they have in the past. Pandaria brings back the TBC or Wrath feeling of a “separate continent.” We again see indigenous peoples, sub-cultures like the Hozen, Saurok, and Mogu, and what’s more, they’re actually worked into the lore. In Pandaria, these people and places feel like they have a reason for being there… they’re not simply window-dressing, ala Wrath’s Tuskarr.

When It’s Bad, It’s WTH!

Pandaria isn’t all plusses, however.

Not everyone loves the “farming” mini-game that plays heavily into end-game raiding (food buffs) — comparisons to Farmville are legion. Some folks are in love with Pet Battles, but others find the system to be blatant pandering (*snrk*) to a younger crowd of gamers and a sharp diversion from Warcraft’s overall theme of adventure and warfare. Additionally, complaints surround the again-revamped talent system… though much of this is finally quieting down. I also hear rumblings that Heroics are again “too easy” — that is a matter of perspective, and there are “Challenge Modes” available for those who really wish to push the envelope.

There are also many, many factions one can curry favor with — you end up with option anxiety at max-level, wondering where precisely you should start. That’s the downside. The upside of this is that you pretty much can’t go wrong with your choice (all factions provide you some benefit), and you can do an unlimited amount of dailies per day, so you needn’t feel “locked in” to a chosen faction on any given day. Also, sadly, reputation tabards are gone. To raise that faction rep, you have to do dailies. Turn-ins. Errands. There’s no way to easily combine your dungeon-running with faction-grinding.

Related, an initial hiccup was the reputation requirements on gear, purchasable by Justice points sold by certain Faction vendors. We players quickly realized that many of us would have grown out of this gear’s benefits before we could even purchase it, thanks to the stopgap provided by the reputation requirements. Shortly after launch, Blizzard removed these requirements to allow for a more natural progression path from these rep rewards to Heroic gear to Raid Finder. I’m not sure if it is perfect yet — I personally haven’t had any trouble getting into Heroic dungeons with my smattering of quest gear, crafted pieces, and items purchased with Justice points, but an acquaintance of mine is having a harder time bringing up his item level to make Heroics accessible.

Also, they’re loading up our inventory with a variety of “toy” items. These are fun, usable items that may place an object in the environment or allow us to interact with a fellow player in some unusual, possibly hilarious, way — all well and good, until you realize these are eating up inventory slots. That’s if you want to keep them, of course. Being a bit of a collector, I try to hold onto unique items as much as possible, so I’m feeling the pinch when it comes to inventory space. Larger bags are not readily available, either. Tabards also persist as individual inventory items — there’s no back-end system for selecting these, ala our Titles.

One last nibbling complaint of mine is that much of the “copy” — the quest text, the written dialogue — seems to be mired in a First Draft stage. There are elementary spelling and grammatical errors. Capitalization, punctuation… simple mistakes that should have been caught by an editor or proofreader. I’m no English Professor, not by any means, and I’m certain there are a number of errors in this Blog article alone, but I am also not creating a triple-A gaming title. My work is also not being alpha and beta tested for months before release, by thousands upon thousands of people. Blizzard has internal and external testers, reviewers — these minor, but glaring, errors should have been caught and corrected a long time ago.

And, this is one that could be as much a boon as it is a bruise: Patch 5.1 is already on the Patch Test Realm. We’re going to see a new patch with more content in a matter of a few months! Now, granted, we may not see a 5-man dungeon or a raid, but we will see a continuation of the story and more daily quests, possibly scenarios, and other events that will take your time away from whatever else you’re already doing in the game. More “option anxiety” if you will. “Do I continue building my rep with the Golden Lotus or do I start working on these 5.1 dailies?!”

In the end, having a glut of content is not a bad thing. More things for more people. However, if you’re a completionist, you’re going to feel overwhelmed!

In Conclusion

Compared to the many accolades I can heap onto Mists of Pandaria, my gripes are few. The storytelling surrounding the Mogu, Sha, Yuangol, Mantid, and the Horde and Alliance conflict is truly compelling stuff, and I’m thirsty for more.

My concern comes in wondering how they will top this. I thought it would be hard to improve upon Wrath’s Northrend campaign, and sure enough, Cataclysm was a disappointment. Luckily, Blizzard pulled out the hidden content of Pandaria to show they still had the magic… but what’s next? We’re quickly running out of mist-shrouded, unknown lands to explore. Kul Tiras can’t possibly have as much diversity and depth as the fantastic environs of Pandaria, can it? Where else can we go?

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