Garrisons have been the anathema of World of Warcraft: Legion. While fans are often divided on issues, the failure of the Garrison seems to be one thing players are almost unanimously in agreement on. Fast forward to the announcement of Legion and its Class Hall feature and the terror inspired by Garrisons has struck again. While Class Halls look to be shaping up to be far better than Garrisons, if not handled properly they could end up being nothing more than Garrisons 2.0.
The Pitfalls of Class Halls
With subscription numbers down to an all-time low, a lot is riding on Legion. Considering how much Garrisons have been despised by the community, creating another version of them would be a giant mistake on the part of developers. Garrisons were bad enough that the thought of seeing them recreated in the next expansion totally unchanged can send a shudder through even the most devout fan. The pitfalls of Class Halls are many and one misstep could mean the total failure of this seemingly promising expansion feature.
All By Myself
One of the major problems with Garrisons was its ability to isolate us. Becoming the main city of the Warlords expansion, it had everything; except company. Populated with unfeeling NPCs, your Garrison is basically a ghost town. Sure you can venture out into the world, but your Garrison is where everything is happening; quests, professions, banking, missions, etc. Besides the Auction House, there was little reason for players to leave the place.
Part of the appeal of World of Warcraft is the fact that you are playing with millions of other players. Garrisons essentially and effectively took that aspect of the game away. Class Halls, thus far, seem to be places where entire classes congregate which should successfully take away that feeling of isolation. However, until the expansion is actually released we won’t know how alone in the game Class Halls will make us feel.
Similar to the idea of being all alone in the Garrison, Warlords really promoted a single player experience. You were made the supreme leader of the forces in Draenor, you were made to feel like it was solely due to your efforts that your armies were winning, you were made to feel big, bad, and like the most important person in the universe.
Sounds great, right? It would be in a single-player game. The fact of the matter is, World of Warcraft has never been a single player game. You aren’t the only hero in the universe and you never will be. This experience feels forced and more than a little fake. After all, what realism can there be when there are millions of other “heroes” swarming around you? So far, it seems like Class Halls will be perpetuating this single player experience, making players the ultimate leaders of their class. This seems like a huge mistake, considering the scathing reaction to this type of gameplay in Warlords. As crazy as it might seem, players come into an MMO to interact with other players.
One of the worst parts of the Garrison was its ability to feel like a giant set of chores that you had to do every day. There was no escaping it. The storyline and everything afterwards were firmly entwined with this feature, you couldn’t skip it even if you wanted to. Even at high levels you couldn’t escape. Professions, Missions, and even your very own Mine and Herb Garden were all essentials that players felt obligated to log in and do every day. Often, players would log in and have just enough time to complete their “chores” before they had to log off again.
While Class Halls do seem to have many ways to get players out into the world, it might not be enough. It seems like once again the Class Hall will be the place where you spend the grand majority of your time. Hopefully, the time spent here is fun and the feeling of drudgery gets left in the past.
The Weight of the World
Besides the biggies mentioned above, there are plenty of other stumbling blocks Class Halls will have to make it over in order to be a functioning, enjoyable part of the next expansion. This is a pretty scary thing, considering that they are central to Legion’s gameplay experience. If Class Order Halls fail, the expansion as a whole may fail. We all know that after Warlords, a lot is riding on Legion and failure in this expansion could be catastrophic. All we can do is sit back and hope the developers have learned enough from Warlords to not let the mistakes of Warlords Infiltrate Class Halls in Legion.
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