War of the Thorns Part 1 – Darkshore, More Like Dullshore

I think that a theory I have about Battle for Azeroth is going to end up being true.

I’ll expand more fully upon that point in an upcoming post, but here’s the high level – Battle for Azeroth will, ultimately, not be about the conflict between the Horde and Alliance.

What?

I know, I know – that’s why it gets its own post. But first, we’ve got to talk about something that has been gnawing at me for the past 4 days.

War of the Thorns part 1 went live on Tuesday, and it was…okay. Knowing where it leads, the event is ultimately a disappointment on many levels. From a gameplay perspective, the quests are dull and simple. From a storytelling perspective, it just kind of happens – the Alliance gets ready to head to Silithus to fight back the Horde only to find out magically and immediately that the Horde is actually in Ashenvale storming through the Night Elf lands in northern Kalimdor. You fly around, doing really basic quests like killing furbolgs driven to madness, grabbing Azerite, and sending word up to Teldrassil. Horde players get to be the invaders, but ultimately, the quests aren’t much better – the Horde just gets more.

The first chapter of this pre-launch story content ends with an awkward moment and no declaration of completion – I didn’t even know that I had completed the quests available until I read a guide!

So, I know there is another week of events that lead to Teldrassil burning, and even better, there is the Battle for Lordaeron, which I did in late Alpha for BfA and enjoyed.

But this was not great. The worst part is that it wasn’t even awful in a way you can remember – it is just dull and lifeless. Part 1 is a slow start, an event that has so little buildup to what is actually supposed to be happening that it feels empty. There is no cinematic and no real peak of storytelling here – it just stops and you’re left to wait for week 2.

My hope is that it comes out of this lifeless funk, and ideally, it will. But the gameplay side is almost more of a disappointment, because the quests peter out and end with unlocking world quests in Darkshore! All four quests you can do per day, which give some moderately good gear and can be done in roughly 10-15 minutes. This is almost worse, because even the events I struggle to remember had more gameplay – Cataclysm had the rifts that spawned all over and a Horde and Alliance specific component! The only event I can recall with less gameplay was Mists of Pandaria, which was just the Theramore scenario unlocked at level 85 temporarily to do over and over, or Warlords of Draenor, which was just the string of quests. This has a weird overlap similar to those two events, where it is just a string of quests and then some small repeatable element that takes a very small amount of time to complete.

Now, here is the thing – ultimately, pre-patch events don’t have to be much of anything, as long as the expansion that follows them is good. And I’ve played the alpha of BfA and really enjoyed what I saw! So I don’t need the pre-patch event to sell me – it’s just a possible, momentary diversion from leveling alts and solo raid farming.

But to a new player, who might be excited for their first expansion, this is a bit deflating. I know that Battle for Lordaeron is better, and I am excited for that – but this early questing is not great, and it has kind of almost made me tune out of playing (well, that and also being in the dreaded 60-80 bracket on my Lightforged Draenei alt).

For an event that is intended to get people excited about the expansion…I don’t feel that the mark was hit, here.

What do you think?

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15 thoughts on “War of the Thorns Part 1 – Darkshore, More Like Dullshore

  1. I did the whole thing on Tuesday, had no intention of doing the world quests every day, didn’t have anything else to do last night, so my wife and I flew out to do the 4 WQ’s. I had read that there was a change the rewards could be Warforged or Titanforged. 2 of the quest got me a staff. The same staff, level 210. That brought my total for them up to 4, and they got vendored. Why add in a weapon reward coming off an expansion where the focus was a weapon. No clue there. The other two quests were supposed to drop pants and chest. I got the same chest twice. But, got lucky and one was 240 Titanforged. So yay??? I agree, it’s kind of meh. Go here kill the things.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, the weapon rewards are a bit weird – someone in my guild had a titanforge that if I had gotten it, would have replaced my warglaives. It’s good catchup, but it’s a bit weird.

      I didn’t put it in the article, but one positive – it is definitely a showcase for War Mode if you have that turned on!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The weapon rewards serve to make sure that newer players, or those who didnt max out their artifact (high level relics, etc) can start the expac with a good weapon in their gear, instead of being at a disadvantage compared to those who invested a lot of time in their artifact.

      Those of us who play several characters actually appreciate measures like this, as those WQs allow us to gear multiple characters and have them BfA ready.

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      1. I can understand having a weapon as a quest reward for doing the world quests. But I have gotten the same weapon 4 times from 4 world quests. Once from a quest with pants as a reward. The first day the reward was listed on two of the four quests. I hope today opens up more variety.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think the idea is mainly getting weapons as a catch up mechanic, not getting variety. For that we’ll get more WQ and other stuff in the future.

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  2. I think this first week was okay, they had to stop somewhere to split the thing into three. If I were a wee bit more casual, I’d be doing these right before the expansion drop and it would be continuous and probably pretty good.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, it feels like the right place to split looking at what happens next, but I find myself thinking that there could have just been a two week event of Teldrassil/Lordaeron and maybe that would have better suited my tastes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said. What a start. I don’t get it. Would it have been so tough and so time demanding to put in a little tiny quest saying something like “Good job, hero! While we press on, please aid us, and help us defend Darkshore until XX”.

    Like, you know, have it make sense, that nothing will happen for a week. These freaking timegates are getting on my nerves and ruining stuff. I wish Blizzard would stop catering to those that play all damn day! (Woops, the beast is awake, it seems sorry about that)

    The invasions before Legion felt way more engaging I think.

    You mention cinematics. I do think I’ve gotten spoiled by those. They really can build hype and cause goosebumbs, right? It’s just a shame, that we get used to them, you know?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The ending was so jarring that I think it colored most of what I thought – the quests were just basic quests, so it was kind of meh, but without a real ending, it was hard to really feel excited or accomplished. And then there was an error with the addon WorldQuestTracker not letting you see the Darkshore quests, so I thought I missed something!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. On the Horde side, Sylvanas tells us that now we need to wait until Saurfang arrives.

      And I’ve said it before, time gating things is not catering to those who play all day. If one plays all day, one wants the maximum amount of content possible.
      Time gating serves to level the playing field, and making sure everyone has enough time to reach X point of the story 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are right, that was terribly worded of me. What I meant to say was, that the timegating is put in place because a lot of players play far too much and burn through content far too fast; then they end up complaining there is nothing to do XX and XX week – just like the endless AP grind and so on was put in place to give the same kind of players a “goal”. It’s not healthy for a gaming company having to come up with “tools” to “cater” to those. If that makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

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