Controversy seems endemic in online RPGs at the moment and now Blizzard are taking their slice with their new pre-order bonus – Allied Races. Most people would be forgiven for thinking that a Pre-order bonus is content unlocked by simply pre-purchasing the offered content. However, pre-purchasing the Battle for Azeroth expansion doesn’t actually directly unlock the Allied Races – advertised as the pre-order bonus. What it actually unlocks is a two week plus reputation grind of repetitive daily quests to unlock each of the new races. This has, understandably, left many players dissatisfied.
There was an outcry on the forums when the pre-order went live with many complaints from new and veteran players alike. Now, let’s be fair. Rep and daily quest grinding has been a major part of end game content in WoW for many expansions, and there are plenty of players who enjoy that grind, who also made their voices heard with their “get gud and quit moaning” philosophy. However, previously, this grind has only gated off the options of better gear and access to certain advanced dungeons and raids, which are generally only of interest those hardcore grind happy type players, anyway. Other players, PvPers and Altoholics, like me, were more than happy to pass up those options and carry on enjoying the game the way they like it.
In my opinion, the outcry is less about the time that Blizzard are demanding players put into the game to unlock the new races, but more to do with the fact that they are dictating the method of play for that time. As a player who has had an active subscription for over ten years, now, what has kept me interested in the game is the expanding styles of play that WoW has supported, over the years. You can solo quest, group quest, grind dungeons, PvP, raid, grind dailies, level alts, fish, level professions, and even pet battle, but this latest content has been locked behind just one, grind dailies. If reputation gain was linked to other activities other than just daily quests – for example, linked to completing battlegrounds, fishing, pet quests, profession quests or if the reputation gain was account wide, ie rep gained by one character was gained across all characters, allowing people to max rep by levelling alts rather than grinding dailies then, perhaps, there would have been less of an outcry.
Another cause of contention is the clear disadvantage Alliance players have been put at, as both their race unlocks are linked to reputations with factions in the latest content patch, Argus. The horde characters are locked behind factions that are in Legion’s main content and therefore can be more easily gained through actual levelling and less endgame grinding. In fact, many Horde players will already have maxed out these reputations and will be happily levelling their new races. This has left many Alliance players bitter.
As if the issues with unlocking the allied races wasn’t enough, the HP of enemies and experience received was also “rebalanced” across the early game as part of the latest patch introducing scaling across the whole game, which has resulted in significantly increasing the time and effort needed to level a character from level 1 -100. Players have been calling the new levelling as boring and unrewarding and have been labelling the rebalance as a cash grab by Blizzard by, making the purchasing of the ridiculously priced level 110 boosts the only levelling solution. Considering that Blizzard have recently been acquired by Activision, who recently sunk the Destiny ship, due to cash grab tactics, this doesn’t seem too far fetched a notion.
It’s now nearly a month since the release of the pre-order and patched content and despite complaints still being posted on the forums, there’s been no official statement from Blizzard as to if or what they will be doing to fix this. All I can say is that I will NOT be grinding dailies to unlock their bonus content. If Blizzard wants my continued custom next expansion then they had better make some changes to their new content, to make it more accessible to their overall player base, and stop trying to force fun on their own terms.