World of Warcraft’s newest expansion was released last year in November, and since then I’ve had time to play through Dragonflight’s leveling experience but I haven’t been as excited about the game as I hoped I’d be.
My burn out with WoW started towards the end of Shadowlands – at which point I had raided regularly twice a week for a few years – where the game was beginning to feel more like a job than a video game to me. Since then, I haven’t logged into the game much; most recently, I logged in for the Dragonflight release and to level up to the new max level. I was hoping that I just needed to take a break for a while, and that Dragonflight would intrigue me enough to pull me back in, but I think neither of those things are turning out to be true.
I have played Warcraft since sometime in 2005, nearing eighteen years, and for a lot of that time I had played it pretty much exclusively; I had WoW tunnel vision and hadn’t started to broaden my gaming horizons until relatively recently in comparison. MMOs are a unique genre of gaming in that the world and other players exist and continue on without me being logged in. They are amazing for creating a sense of community, even when I’m playing the game “alone” there’s countless other players playing alongside me. I owe it to WoW that I have met some amazing people, and that I have been able to bond more with real-life friends and family while playing this game. In short, I have spent a lot of time and years playing WoW and as a result the game carries a lot of memories for me.
With all that said, I don’t think I’ll ever truly quit WoW until the servers are taken offline (by which point I hope there is a new Blizzard MMO.) But lately I’ve been playing non-MMO games – games that have endings – and I find that it is a refreshing experience after spending so long essentially working towards the same goal in every WoW expansion: level up, gear up, complete content related to the expansion’s systems/features, and repeat…
To me, the issue with Dragonflight isn’t that it’s those same familiar things again since all expansions have their own variation, it’s that Dragonflight’s spin on it just isn’t exciting enough to me. It seems to me that the Dragons were just shoe-horned into the expansion to give it a draw, while it doesn’t really make much sense why we’re helping the Dragons and how the elements come into play. The questing experience was boring to me and was the first expansion I can remember where I didn’t care about reading quest dialogue. I understand that WoW’s lore needs to evolve and change over time, but everything I’ve seen thus far in Dragonflight seems bland especially after coming from how different and new everything in Shadowlands was. On the one hand, I’m glad for a return to Azeroth since Shadowlands introduced a bunch of new and crazy cosmic concepts that can’t be sustained for every subsequent expansion, but I wish Dragonflight had a bit more to grab onto. In particular, I’m hoping for more Titan lore since the Dragon Aspects were empowered by the Titans to safeguard Azeroth, but so far the story is just conflict between the Dragonflights and the Primordial Dragons who chose the elements over Titanic power.
The good news is that Dragonflight has a couple years to tell its story and I’m hoping there’s a twist, like in Battle for Azeroth with N’Zoth. On the surface, BfA was about faction warring, but it ending up featuring Old Gods and has since become one of my most-enjoyed expansions. For now, I’ve canceled my WoW subscription since I haven’t felt compelled to log in lately, and I may return later in the expansion if the WoW withdrawals start to kick in. Also, since I had a six month subscription, my game time doesn’t officially run out until May, so I still have time between now and then. I will always love WoW, but it may just be that this expansion isn’t as exciting to me as I hoped it would be, however, I’ll still look forward to reading about interesting story developments.