Warlords of Draenor could almost be entitled an unexpansion rather than an expansion pack for World of Warcraft. With the game amping up for the release of Patch 6.2, it is easy to focus on all the new features this patch will bring us. However, thinking back over the features that we have lost with the introduction of Warlords we have to wonder if these new additions can make up for what we have lost along the way.
Warlords of Dreanor – The Unexpansion
Expansions are typically all about new features. We get excited to see what new things will enter the game world and how they will affect our game play. Warlords didn't seem to follow this model. Instead of a host of new features to wow us with, this expansion had a hefty list of things that were being removed.
This may be hard to believe after all, in Warlords of Draenor we got new zones, new levels, new raid instances, and more. However, for every feature we earned, three more were removed. To better bring this point home, here is a small list of features that have been removed, scraped, or totally gutted in just this expansion alone:
- Item Upgrades
- Guild Perks
- Valor Points
- Justice Points
- Profession Bonuses
- Repeatable Rare Mobs
- Moveable Garrisons
- Renaming Epic Followers
- Shoulder Enchants
- Bracer Enchants
- Chest Enchants
- Head Enchants
- Leg Enchants
- Glove Enchants
- Server First Achievements
- Meta Gems
- Gutted Professions
- MoP Legendary Quest
- Diablo III Style Transmogrification
- “Pruned” Abilities
- Renaming Epic Followers
If you are like me, seeing these removed features laid out is a real eye opener, like a cold bucket of water to the face. Even more startling is the knowledge that this list is just the tip of the ice berg. Many more features were either totally scrapped or gutted beyond recognition and this expansion is not over yet.
Contraction - Not Expansion
It can be argued that the new features have replaced or overtaken any removed features. Until you take the time to think about what exactly we have gained in Warlords of Dreanor. Twitter access? Selfie cams? Garrisons that remove us from the social aspect of the game? All insignificant frivolities that were packaged with a lot of hype to try to distract us from the fact that real content has been missing in action since the expansion was first released.
It can also be said that some of these features needed to be removed or reworked. While it may be true that some of the features listed were flawed, many were not. Others that remain but were reworked are now shallow husks of what they once were, often rendering them worse off than they originally were. A great example of this is professions which have become totally inconsequential and a mere shell of what they once were. With so much removed and so little gained, one could argue that Warlords of Dreanor is a contraction rather than an expansion.
A Fixer Upper
This is all rather disheartening and doesn't bode well for the game. The Warlords of Dreanor expansion may be a total loss. While there may be life left in the expansion and the developers may be able to design an amazing next patch, the WoD brand has been tarnished beyond repair. There seems to be little faith in the community that this expansion can be salvaged.
However, it is not to late for the bleeding to be stemmed and at least some of the damage to be reversed. In my opinion, Warlords of Draenor needs to be wrapped up, as cleanly and painlessly as possible. With BlizzCon on the horizon it is prime time for a new expansion to be announced. Not any expansion though, an expansion that will enthrall players once again. An expansion that speaks to the games roots while also points to its future.
Inside this expansion Blizzard will need to recapture the magic of the past while offering up new content and features that have the potential for serious longevity. New features will need to be seriously vetted before being released and old features will need to be looked over and repaired, removed, or readded as needed.Even more important, the developers will need to consistently follow through with putting out promised content. Future content patches for the expansion will need to offer up the same level of excellence, keeping players interested and engaged. It is a tall order and it will not be easy. However, if any company can do it, I have faith that Blizzard can.
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