WoW Factor: So Battle for Azeroth is out for pre-order

    
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But a new flavor of goat.

Well, folks, I hope you’ve made your pre-purchases of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth and started playing your allied races. I found out about the opening of pre-purchases when I was busy being out of the house and unable to buy anything, so I admittedly managed to get a bit of schadenfreude out of the fact that everyone else was equally unable to buy the expansion in the interim. When I actually got home I decided to give it a shot mostly for a lark, at which point it went through without a hitch.

The lesson here is that very mild patience is rewarded, and if that patience is a result of not having any alternatives that’s close enough, I guess.

The opening of pre-purchase brings along with it plenty of fun stuff to discuss, ranging from the actual unlock quests and scenarios to how the release date compares with predictions and existing data. So let’s all put down our moose-cows for a little bit to think about thing in a larger context, and then we can collectively get back to tearing up low-level zones with our allied race alts.

The date is early, or it’s not

This really is less an abstract battle with inner demons and more just a battle against whatever.So, it has only been a couple of weeks since I predicted the expansion release date as sometime in October or November based on a whole lot of math. What’s the deal? Was my math wrong? The answer, in short, is no; that’s the nature of statistics and math. It gives you a window of likely results, and it’s up to you to interpret that data and provide meaningful information based upon those results. Getting the interpretation wrong based on available evidence just means there was more evidence you didn’t have at the time.

Looking at the math using September 21st as a launch date, we wind up with just about 11 months from announcement to release, a roughly 25-month lifespan for Legion as an expansion, about 10 months after the last raid was released and 13 months after the last patch. All of these numbers are well within the margin of error for that data, and all things considered it feels more to me like being slightly off by aiming at late September instead of early October.

Of course, we don’t have an exact date just yet, so it might turn out being a little bit faster than all of that. But my suspicion, based on the fact that we’re just now moving into alpha testing, is that this roughly lines up with everything and still feels in the right ballpark. I went with later estimates and wound up betting a bit later, but it still feels like the core was solid.

If we all get wildly surprised and it comes out in July, of course, then that’s a massive departure from the past and should be called as such. We’ll cover that road when we get there; for now, I wouldn’t bet on anything significantly earlier than September 21st. (I imagine it’s more likely to aim for the Tuesday before, but that’s a couple of days in one direction.)

Hope you don’t like collecting

Objectively speaking, looking at the other entries in the game’s cash shop and comparing them to the CE pricing, this isn’t so egregious. After all, $20 for a mount and a pet is pretty standard (and before you argue that it’s two mounts, I would hasten to point out that each one is faction-locked and presumably does not fly), on the cheap side. It does rankle, however, that the majority of the goodies for the order are for games I do not actually play and do not wish to play.

Seriously, the promise of a Hearthstone cardback is a completely value-neutral addition. I don’t play Hearthstone and don’t want to. It’s a bit galling when you get a whole bunch of cross-promotional stuff for games you don’t actually want to play when you’d prefer more of that gets focused in on the game you’re literally buying.

The digital CE and pre-purchasing in general also still locks you out of getting the physical CE, which is just baffling to me. Square-Enix lets me get all of my pre-order bonuses when I order the physical CE instead of the digital one, and it always has. Of course, this is also part of the reason why I’ve basically given up on buying physical editions of Blizzard’s games, so… mission accomplished, I suppose?

Grabbing the races

Lightly.The requirements to unlock the races, obviously, take significantly longer than the actual unlocking process. That’s not to say that they’re by any means tremendously difficult, mind; I returned to the game back in November and had been more or less sitting on the unlock requirements from that point on, but they will take you a little time if you’re starting from zero.

Once you have those accomplished on any character, it’s almost trivially easy to take care of the unlocks. You have a few scenes and bits of dialogue, you have a very basic scenario to clear through, and then you get the mount and the unlock. Thus far the Lightforged scenario was by far the most annoying one of the batch, although there’s the possibility that the Highmountain Tauren have one that’s even more tedious.

Yes, I said “tedious” for a reason there. It’s not difficult, just time-consuming. The characters I’m doing the scenarios with are not obscenely overgeared, but they do have more than passable equipment; then again, if you’ve done the stuff necessary to unlock all of the races, you’ll probably have at least acceptably comparable equipment.

The individual races do have a nice spread of customization options, but they really do just drop you into the mix; if you were hoping for more information about how the Lightforged operate, for example, you’ll be sad to know that you don’t get any of it. This bothers me slightly, as they’re the branch that felt most ill-defined up to this point and the one most in need of some explanation. You don’t get that; you create your character, hop to Stormwind, and then the game assumes you know what you’re doing from that point with a suite of decent gear for your level.

Which you will probably replace immediately with heirlooms, of course, because you had to be level 110 and put in some playtime to even get this far. Still, it’s not the usual guided experience of lower-level questing for World of Warcraft, and I feel like a little more examination might be welcome.

This does, however, nicely solve the issue that people have complained about in the past of having questgivers from new races retroactively filled in. No, there aren’t a bunch of new Lightforged questgivers floating around and offering me quests, because the Lightforged don’t exist in great numbers and they are a new addition to the ranks of the Alliance. I can appreciate the sense of being somewhat… off to one side, like you’re still not really a normal part of the team just yet, even if you’re welcome.

It also served as a good chance to test out all of the experience changes and such. For all that people complained about levels feeling slower now, I honestly didn’t notice a significant slowdown, and a handful of quests brought me up a level with my usual suite of heirlooms. You start out with some particularly good gear to get you moving, so the challenge is light, but it still felt like actual input and action were needed instead of optional.

So, hey, that’s all good. And since we’re going to have a few months until the expansion actually releases, it’s for the best that we’ll have something fun to do during that span.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to eliot@massivelyop.com. Now I just have to figure out how I’m redistributing all of my classes, which is going to take a while since I’ve got a remarkably large group of characters at high levels due to an old project; still, I’ll take almost any excuse not to level up through the Broken Isles yet again right now.

War never changes, but World of Warcraft does, with a decade of history and a huge footprint in the MMORPG industry. Join Eliot Lefebvre each week for a new installment of WoW Factor as he examines the enormous MMO, how it interacts with the larger world of online gaming, and what’s new in the worlds of Azeroth and Draenor.
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Loyheta
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Loyheta

I’m very surprised they didn’t just make allied races require Legion… I mean they are all Legion rep grinds so why in the hell do you need BfA to unlock them? They are screwing over anyone that wants a physical copy.

Allied races as a whole, should be an unlock for the entire game, regardless of what content you have registered. That way they can gate the races behind expansions, want to unlock those Tuskarr? Hope you have your Kalu’ak rep at exalted for WotLK, you want Arakkoa well you better have the rep at exalted in WoD, etc. This doesn’t seem like a difficult way to gate content, in fact, it’d get people back out doing older stuff. Instead of putting this nonsense in BfA

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Utakata

Waiting till Feb 10 weekend to pick up my CE. Meanwhile I have a lot of work to do to get the Alliance side playable species unlocked….as it involves grinding Argro’us till the pigtails drop off, and it’s my least favorite Legion zones….

“They’re not ‘species’ Uta, they are sub-races!”

Oh right, playable breeds then! o.O

deekay_000
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deekay_000

i was saying how i’d not play wow ever again for the umpteenth time just recently but then lian started talking about how preorders are up and who’s all interested in playing and suddenly i was mashing that shop buy button.

i don’t think i’ll play long but i’ll play any game for guildies (almost) including yes, wow.

tho i might be somewhat confused at what’s going on as i redeemed the 110 boost token and doing legion content from the begining i assume but i am kind of getting rekt by these mobs. i had assumed they would start you off with half decent endgame for current content gear going into a new expack?

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Jokerchyld

Remember starting with Legion the world is scaled to you. So all mobs are level 110 as well. YOu will need to improve your ilevel (gear) to do some damage. Once you hit around 900 average ilvel the mobs will be easier but still not a pushover. They have done something similiar (but in a limited fashion) to the low level zones… so now effectively you don’t outlevel quest content and can do the full storylines with full XP. its a nice change.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

played a bit more since that post and found in my inventory an item that boosted ye olde artifact weapon by 5.7 billion so gonna try more after that soon tonight lol

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Jokerchyld

Legion is the most fun I’ve had in WoW. For all of its flaws, its a great expansion. I hope you enjoy it.

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Zora

Scenarios were all over the place…probably handled by different teams judging by theme, structure and duration, although it might just be a side effect of lead devs stepping in to add their “personal touch” and reminding us how a kitchen with too many cooks is what we all crave for.

Not overly impressed with anything I have seen so far, although that view from the Vindicar’s bridge gave me goosebumps.

Mister Romuul, beam us up…

deekay_000
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deekay_000

you triggered my too many cooks response:

John Artemus
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John Artemus

I actually cancelled my account because of the Allied Races requirement. It’s not that it’s overly difficult to get Exalted with the required factions, it’s that we need to do them at all. In the past, new races were included with the price of purchase. They were key selling points for new expansions. But now we have to buy the expansion AND do a rep grind. I noped it out of there so freaking fast. And I’ve been playing the game for 13 years.

I don’t like the new direction the game has taken. EVERYTHING is now gated. Even playable races that should come with the expansion. And the fact that so many gaming blogs and websites like this one (among others) aren’t calling them out for that is real head-scratching.

Next thing you know, you’re going to have to do a rep grind to unlock running. You’ll be stuck walking everywhere until you are Exalted with the Azeroth Fitness Brigade.

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Zora

The requirements are most likely temporary, during the Q&A Hazzikostas suggested how they are bound to change “going forward” and I don’t think it can get any more clear than that without incurring in the wrath of the marketing team. You don’t gate one of the selling points of the products for long, they can only afford to do that at the start because they know their (dwindling) core customers will just roll with it.

Yes, the reward for paying in advance for a product you won’t see until fall is to grind things you might have decided you didn’t care about if you want to be able to roll an alt so you have something to do until the new expansion.

Cue back at Ion stating losing subs was part of the eternal cycle of nature, I suppose?

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Of course they have to be philosophical about the Eternal Cycle since they can’t control it and it would make them crazy if they tried to. You can’t program for every player’s peevishness or flighty interest. Nonetheless, actively annoying people is an entirely different thing. That starts the Eternal Cycle of Active Disinterest, which often leads to the Eternal Cycle of Hostility, Bad-Mouthing and Discouraging Others.

Snark aside, thanks for the heads up on the changing requirements. It tempers my personal Eternal Cycle.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

This seems to be Blizzard’s super-keen idea of content. Grind, grind, grind in the most boring and time-consuming way in order to get stuff that ought to part of the base game. Note that the mounts don’t fly, so you can only imagine what the requirements for flying in the expansion are going to be, if there is any.

I really didn’t have high hopes for this expansion, seeing the direction Legion went with it’s two mini expansions, Broken Shore and Argus, both of which were simply rep grinds with a smattering of story to hang all that “content” on.

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Armsbend

I thought the CE was wack as well. I like the aztec lizard armor a lot but for a 20? Nah.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

i got the DDE for the stuff in other blizz games. not even sure what all is in there. but in wow itself i’ve got a winston pet that does cute things fromit i guess >>

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Armsbend

It’s the same stuff they always put in. Sprays and a costume for OW. A mount and banner for HotS. Dumb avatars for Starcraft. Nothing for Diablo because Diablo.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

yeah i was kind of buzzed and didn’t understand why it popped up another $25 thing after putting in. there was also something about a discount in between somewhere.

i’m not too fussed either way. if i reallyu wanted to save money i’d have waited until legion was free too so…

Blinkenn
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Blinkenn

Are the alliance races just new races or do they update your Main toon with some bonuses? I’m not really an Alt-army type of player and could really care less about a new race, unless it’s going to affect my Main.

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Devin B

They are just new races, nothing that is going to affect your main toon.

notimpotent
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notimpotent

There’s really nothing new with the Allied races except playing a differently skinned toon? No special abilities or classes or anything other than a graphics change??

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Zora

Nope, allied races got some innate racials but none are a gamechanger…understandably enough.

Just a reskin, or access to a variant of a race only available to the opposite faction until now in the case of the two extra pointy eared races.

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Sally Bowls

New racial cosmetic armor set and racials like:

Light’s Judgement – Call down a strike of Holy energy dealing Holy damage to enemies within 5 yards after 3 sec. 40 yd range, 2.5 min cooldown.
Forge of Light – Summon a forge of light, enabling Blacksmithing. Blacksmithing skill increased by 10.
Demonbane – Experience gains from killing demons increased by 20%.
Holy Resistance – Reduce Holy damage taken by 1%.
Light’s Reckoning – When you die the Light avenges you, dealing Holy damage to enemies within 8 yards and healing allies.

or

Rugged Tenacity – Reduces damage taken by 1.8% of stamina.
Pride of Ironhorn – Mining skill increased by 15 and allows you to mine faster.
Mountaineer – Increases your Versatility by 1%.
Bull Rush – Charges forward for 1 sec, knocking enemies down for 1.5 sec. 2 minute cooldown.
Waste Not, Want Not – You have a chance to loot additional meat and fish.

notimpotent
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notimpotent

Thanks for the additional info. But that seems pretty lackluster. Hard to believe they are basing an entire expansion off just that…

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Jokerchyld

The “entire” expansion is not based off of the sub races. Its just one of the many features that will be available, of which are ready to start using today granted you pre-purchase the next expansion.

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Sally Bowls

1) They tend to do a class every other expansion. but as new classes make balancing increasingly harder, even that has to slow down at some point.

2) new race/class are never a huge part of any expansion

3) the big news is the tech. They have already announced six races, only four of which are playable pre-order. But they now have the design where they can add additional ones over time and players are expecting that.

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Cosmic Cleric

2) new race/class are never a huge part of any expansion

Gotta respectfully disagree with you on this one, especially when it comes to a new class.
IMHO they tend to be the primary part of a new expansion.

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Cosmic Cleric

They are just new races

They are reskins of existing races, really.

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Sally Bowls

The big benefit is the four new slots for free. I read that best practice is you can semi passively generate 5k/toon/day so 4 slots for 250 days is five million gold which your main can use.