Global Chat: Shadowlands impressions from the community

    
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With one of this year’s biggest releases out this week, we’ve taken to the mean streets of Blogtown to see what MMO gamers are saying about World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. What’s the word out there? Read on to find out!

Kamalia thought that the first day seemed rather quiet: “The Maw is, of course, unsettling and creepy. I also found Oribos to be somewhat unsettling and creepy, though part of that came from the nervous attitudes of the Attendants, all upset by the silence of the Arbiter, the sudden appearance of living mortals in their city, and the influx of Brokers (whom I found to be rather creepy all on their own) coming in and setting up shop like they own the place.”

Belghast said it got better the further he went into it: “Bastion is a bit of a slow burn and by the end of that zone the events are starting to click into place setting up for an amazing romp across the true land of the dead. I can’t say before now I have ever really had a ‘page turner’ moment in World of Warcraft, where I just wanted to keep getting to the next main story quest so I could see exactly what was happening.”

The Ancient Gaming Noob deemed it a “smooth slide” into the expansion: “And now you’re farting around with really some of the most annoyingly chirpy mobs in the game who all sound like they’re in a cult if you start paying close attention to what they’re saying. It is like being in the ’70s.”

Gnomecore focused on the introduction the the pack: “I was carefully reading every quest, new to the area and also making pit stops to think about an enormous amount of lore questions and hints! We’ll need to check how it rolls on alts. I liked how it ended, and Jailer seemed to be quite a brutal and convincing villain.”

Tome of the Ancient noted a scarcity of players: “Where was everybody? I expected lag and horrible competition for kills and nope. In fact I see very few people around. That was handled well except the phasing that was used seems to have made forming groups harder.”

Coffee Cakes and Crits finally got in after some hiccups on launch night: “So far, I am 52 and in Bastion. It’s fun! The opening quests and the campaign have been doable and amusing and tell a fine story. One one quest there was a dude that would literally point the way (over there, my friend). It made me laugh because I’m always lost.”

Kaylriene liked the more cinematic approach: “There are a lot of cutscenes that were hidden on beta. So many cutscenes! The game feels very cinematic for the first time ever, in that you rarely go more than a quest or two without some sort of spoken, voice acted dialogue or a brief interlude. While the core beats from beta remain, there is a lot more meat on the bones, and that is good.”

Telwyn thought things began as good as could be expected: “It was a positive start to the new expansion: very smooth from a server/login perspective for those players I know. We’ve encountered one bug so far as a duo.”

Shadowz is happy, overall: “I will be honest, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this new expansion with all the changes they had implemented, but I am very happy with all the changes they have done. The leveling is so much more fun there, I really enjoyed the story in it.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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johnwillo

I’m about half way through the expansion; level 56. The expansion… bores me, I guess. Not sure how to say it. I guess that it feels so far removed from Azeroth that I really don’t feel connected to what’s happening. I’m on rails being guided to an endgame that doesn’t interest me.

I’ll probably push a couple of alts through, to see what the Thread experience is like, and then go back to Classic.

I’m glad that others are enjoying it, and it has certainly been a VERY smooth experience.

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Vinnie travi

I am really enjoying this expac. I really like the covenant system, I always feel like I am working towards something, not just always trying to get gear. Torghast is fun as well. So far so good.

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Lucky Jinx

After getting past Bastion, the story really took off and I found myself enjoying the on-rails experience that is leveling your first character in Shadowlands. Maldraxxus was generally great, and while I’m just now starting Revendreth, I have to say Ardenweald truly stole the show so far. The ending of that storyline was absolutely epic.

While the on-rails leveling has been annoying at times, I’m glad, on the other hand, that all story campaigns and everything related to them will be unlocked already on your first character. No backtracking to be done later. Knowing that I will get additional freedom with my alts makes it tolerable, and when the story really picks up, I find myself actually having fun.

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Kevin Smith

Overall I am enjoying the xpac so far. The zones are mostly good. I hated going through Bastion though, my least favorite of all of them. I dread going back to that area to do dailies. I love Maldraxxus, with Revendreth coming in second. Ardenweald was OK, but we have been there done that zone numerous times already in other xpacs.

I see the covenants as being a slow grind which is fine as it gives something to do. Some covenants do seem to be geared toward certain playstyles like melee vs ranged though and that sucks. I couldn’t see a ranged character taking necro cause the skills just don’t fit being at range as an example. Maybe the soulbind would make a difference but haven’t looked at them for ranged characters.

I haven’t jumped into pvp yet to see how it feels will be doing that later this week.

The bad stuff now. I did get stuck in the infinite loading loop for Torghast the other day. None of Blizzards support stuff was actually working either. Their character stuck was down, their support site wasn’t loading and was looping itself. Not a huge fan of bringing the mobile idea of limited play into the endgame either. I did 5 quest in the maw and that was it. I wasn’t allowed to do anything else in the maw because it meant auto death to continue. You should never limit the amount of play time a person can spend on their main character in your game like that. Artificially making a time gate limiting just killing mobs is a bad idea. There are enough time gates already and adding more an more is just really bad planning on their part.

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Vanquesse V

The road from 50 to 60 was amazing, probably my favorite so far. Picking a covenant was cool, and the intro to endgame felt very good as well. Then you realize just how many time gates there are, and how incredibly strict they are. On top of that it seems close to impossible to acquire gear upgrades without matchmaking. I don’t mind gear progress being a lot slower from open world, but after 3 days of endgame, I’ve seen 2 world quests that had gear upgrades for me.

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Jeremy Barnes

Here’s a timegate! There’s a timegate! Everywhere it’s a timegate!

Their solution to not having ANY ideas except for grind is to limit how much grind you can do at a time which is arguably WORSE because it forces you to login and grind a bit every single day.

This team running things has got to go. They have no ideas in the tank. So presentation of the story is nice and all…they can do that with the unimaginative stuck in 1999 Ion Crew repackaging all of their failed ideas.

Also, what is even the point of having levels anymore? You hit 60, but still have to finish the campaign. The only thing that matters is ilvl

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Mallus

^This, I enjoyed the main story but once it was finished and the daily grind began I felt like I was being blocked or slowed at every turn…

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Bruno Brito

Any decent company would have let go of Ion by now.

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Munchmeat2

Who would take over though? They don’t really have any good designers left.

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Bruno Brito

Which is also a problem they themselves created.

They could implore Ghostcrawler to come back, or they could keep on their plans of terrible choices and pick Colin Johanson.

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Rndomuser

There is an easier way to see the impressions from community:
https://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/world-of-warcraft-shadowlands/user-reviews

The user reviews are better compared to previous expansions but are still mixed.

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Giggilybits

Looks more like Blizzard is getting ripped to shreds. Apparently not much to do after hitting level 60. Might just head over to classic for awhile.

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Lucky Jinx

There’s a lot to be done after leveling. If you choose not to, and rather just complain about it here, then by all means, go enjoy some Classic.

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Vinnie travi

I don’t know who could say there is not much to do after 60. If you play 10 hours a day then you will blow through it fast, there seems to be tons to do. You have dungeons to up your ilvl, Torghast which takes time and is fun, you have to rebuild your covenant which is a slow process. I have been 60 for 3 days and play alot and I have barely scratched the surface. For some people there is never enough content, no company can make those people happy.

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Bruno Brito

For some people there is never enough content

Except MMOs should have teoretically infinite content by having perpetual systems, like Housing.

WoW doesn’t. It’s a problem Blizzard created themselves, because MMOs are originally games that allowed for large slices of play and yet, decent completion of content.

If your multiBILLION dollar MMO is not being able to address systems that keep people playing, then something is wrong with your recipe ( which by the way, is something a lot of people agree with right now. Blizz’s philosophy of borrowed power is nothing short of pathetic ).

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Dobablo

I’ve never understood how housing is considered to be perpetual content. I will set up my house once, and I’m not that interested in how other people have decorated theirs.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

MetaCritic, where one of the highest rated MMORPGs is Warhammer Online? Let’s cop to the idea that there are some issues with that site and its rating system. Just look down the list of people who gave Shadowlands a zero score for dubious or transient gripes.

That said, I am not sold on the Shadowlands plan. It definitely picks up once you hit Maldraxxus, but the quick to level cap pace makes me worry that the next 2 years are going to be nothing but a faction grind unless you raid.

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Rndomuser

MetaCritic, where one of the highest rated MMORPGs is Warhammer Online?

It is not a perfect tool since it can be manipulated by both the game developers and by trolls but I find user reviews as a good indication of overall impression of the game. I do not remember seeing the average user score with which I would disagree, unlike the “critic score” which I automatically dismiss for any game because critics from various publications most of the time have financial incentive to either praise the game (because critics most likely have received early review copy and criticizing the game may make the game publisher to stop providing early review copies to them, and publishing reviews late by buying regular copy of game may not generate as many page clicks) or to give it a low score (sometimes it is more profitable to do so, especially if the game has received high score from most critics but you are a small critic who have not received a review copy and most likely never will and want to publish negative review which people will be compelled to check out of curiosity because it would have significantly different score compared to most reviews).

As for Warhammer Online – it was flawed game in some ways but it did PvP in a pretty fun way, which I personally enjoyed much more than PvP systems in WoW. And for most people PvP is the most fun aspect of MMORPG or any multiplayer game, as confirmed by statistics such as Steam charts or the fact that most populated WoW Classic servers are the ones with forced PvP. I can see why so many people would rate this game so high.

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Munchmeat2

A lot of those positive reviews are copy pasta. I always suspected these big publishers paid people to write good reviews. No way SL gets that many 10s on metacritic, seems fishy.

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SmiteDoctor

Odd seems like theres more of a vocal minority of dissenters over here than the other blog sites.

I actually haven’t made it past the first zone yet, my job made that a problem, how ever theres a more positive reason and that’s my wife started playing WoW again so I’m stuck in BFA for now which is fine since playing it with some one that hasn’t makes it feel fresher. I’ll probably make some head way on Sunday and Monday night when I have the house to my self, probably not much though since the lore is interesting enough to keep me reading the quests (especially what the writers cribbed from actual cultures depictions of religion and the after life, for example if you pay attention to the actual description of what happens in heaven to a soul where you strip away your past life that’s Bastion, then the whole concept of stripping away the ego and attachments for a higher purpose and enlightenment is kind of Buddhist, but its presented in a cult like way that feels like the love bombing beginning of your journey into Scientology). Theres a lot of great lore discussion on the WoW Story Forum, oddly it’s pretty civil.

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Bruno Brito

Odd seems like theres more of a vocal minority of dissenters over here than the other blog sites.

I don’t think people with bigger gripes have blogs about the game. I know i don’t.

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Danny Smith

I ended up getting a copy off a friend who had the ole “got a new laptop, guess i’ll see how it runs wow… guess i’ll lure in some friends” deal and its so far a resounding ‘meh’ but not that negative of one. Its just a super mediocre story and predictable experiences but if i had one single standout its that the game really doesn’t feel finished in terms of zones and quests. Theres whole areas of ardenweald with nothing in them. Nomobs, no npcs, no quests. Nothing. Same for Bastion. Maybe its locked behind covenant content but that means at least some of the player base will never see it and just means the 50-60 experiences is a lot of “get x animacorns” “now kill x Gorm” “no get y animacrons” “now kill x big type Gorm” and i mean a *lot*.

It picks up by Revendreth which seems to visually and designwise have the most interesting ideas but its also the most super cliche part of the story so its swings and roundabouts. It just feels like the world needed another 2 months in the oven to cook.

Also bastion being about a philosophical suicide cult where you must look, think, sound and act the same as “the good guys” and the people that just want to remember who they are are things you kill to fill a percentage bar -and this is meant to be the afterlife for heros, people most known for conformity and a fear of standing out and being shaped by their past, sorry death knights and demon hunters- and boy does that feel like a real “are we the baddies?” moment.

-oh and interesting to see so many boss mechanics from ffxiv which makes fights more engaging but i imagine all the movement is going to get real annoying to a lot of wows audience real fast.

Fisty
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Fisty

I agree w the cutscenes. Its a great way to keep me engrossed, but I wonder if that keeps going or was just early game.

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Sarah Cushaway

Nah, the real community has very very mixed reactions with Systemlands ;)

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Rndomuser

That is actually true. Not all of “community” is concentrated on blog sites or even the WoW subreddit and I’ve seen plenty of people who like it as well as dislike it on various sites and on Discord servers not related to WoW subreddit.

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Sarah Cushaway

And yet skippy, those people are still a part of the community :) You can cry about that if you want, makes no difference.

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Bruno Brito

They are, but you also can’t deny that there are people who like WoW as it is.

I’m not one of them, but i also can’t just erase the enjoyment other people get out of the game.

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Vinnie travi

I do hear people complain about too many systems to deal with but to me that just gives you more content. If you take away the systems and just have gear to improve, tons people would already be done and just waiting for the raids to come out. The systems always give you something to work for…

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Sarah Cushaway

The systems are a lazy method meant to hide a poor game design. Take those away and WoW is more bare bones than most P2W asian MMOs

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Bruno Brito

I do hear people complain about too many systems to deal with but to me that just gives you more content.

If your game can’t stand on it’s own without borrowed power systems, it’s not a good game.

If you take away the systems and just have gear to improve, tons people would already be done and just waiting for the raids to come out.

Uh…yes? What do you think WoW has been ever since WoD? It has been a raid-log game, and that’s where most of their resources go. Even your class is designed in how they would perform on raids.

The systems always give you something to work for…

That sounds like Stockhold Syndrome.