Battle for Azeroth 8.3 & Me
I remember the excitement I had as far back as the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, allowing excited players to prepare for their journey into new lands, dungeons, raids and a story that promised to be so much more than another faction war narrative. I had taken great care to optimize my UI, I updated my plugins, researched gold making techniques, I read as much of the lore as I could find (including the Before the Storm novel – Full transparency; I listened to the audiobook) and spent the time to open access to the new allied races (including paying for a race change on my main to be a Lighforged Draenei). This expansion was shaping up to be my favorite, even before it started.
Legion had taken a toll on me and I had taken a break from the game right before the final patch was launched. I hated Argus, no matter how excited the lore community was. I made a lot of gold, got some ahead of the curve achievements but just lost the heart to play. Though I have been playing on and off for years, always getting burnt our mid expansion, BFA grabbed my attention in a way the game had never done before, even before it had launched.
Perhaps my personal motivation and excitement was why I was one of the few advocates of Battle for Azeroth. When the expansion finally went live, with noticeable bugs, I was the one to comment on how well designed the new lands were. When people complained about not being able to make gold in BFA, I earned almost all my game time, store mounts & pets and the beautiful and coveted Longboy mount through time-consuming and meticulous use of the auction house. Many players had issues with the leveling and fragmented story, broken into time-gated and region-specific segments, but I honestly enjoyed the well-designed regions and the overall pace of the gameplay – it was perfect for a serious-casual, like myself, who played whenever they were not working their full-time job. People complained about Azerite gear, and though it took a lot of simulations and math, I was able to optimize my gear and play style to adapt, becoming a heavy-hitting BM Hunter invited to some solid raid teams.
Not everything in the community was looked down upon. The raids were brilliant. Aside from a couple of terrible bosses, the raids were interesting, creative, exciting and challenging. I did not even mind becoming one of the dirty, dirty horde characters to complete the Battle for Delarazor and kill our fearless “leader” Jaina – well, badly wound more than kill I suppose, maybe that’s what made it ok. Unlike many, I did not mind working daily to gather the perfect pieces of socketed benthic gear to maximize my damage in the 8.2 raid. For the first time in my WoW career, I was part of serious raiding teams, achieved the Ahead of the Curve achievements across the board and even made decent progress as a Mythic raider, aspiring to one day be a Cutting Edge player. Another exciting element of the raids was when I watched on with excitement, with hundreds of thousands of others, as Methos and Limit battled it out for world-first LIVE on Twitch for the first time in history.
Through all the good, bad and ugly, I fought on and defended BFA to anyone who would listen. I actively criticized WOW Classic and urged pleasers who left the retail game to come back and forget the monotonous and grindy game that was really just a nostalgic throwback to what they thought was a better time.
Then came patch 8.3. Then came corrupted gear. Then came my total disappointment ion Blizzard’s development of my favorite pastime.
Not too long after the next expansion, Shadowlands, was announced and I immediately bought it with my hard-earned gold, the 8.3 patch released.