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World of Warcraft: Growing Pains Part 2

In my last post, I wrote about my hesitation towards playing the new World of Warcraft (WoW) expansion: Battle for Azeroth (BFA). Afterward, I reasoned that the best way to make a decision might be to jump back in and just play; test the waters and feel out what sort of balance I could achieve with playing and everything else I have going on in my day today. So I installed the game, subscribed and… ended up not playing at all for the rest of the week.

I thought about playing a few times and even went as far as to turn on my PC but instead of logging into Azeroth, I was checking emails, messing with settings on The Codex: Online, browsing Reddit and reading all about the changes coming in the new expansion, including those that are taking place today, Tuesday 7/17/18, in the BFA pre-patch. Despite all of the exciting things coming, I still couldn’t find a reason to play.

Then I happened upon news that a structure called The Mage Tower was being taken out of the game on the pre-patch release and its challenges, along with their rewards, would no longer be accessible. I quickly decided that regardless of whether I was going to play BFA or not, I had to log in to give these challenges one last go.

Mage Tower.jpg

Before I continue, allow me to provide some background: the Mage Tower is an in-game structure that players had to build by collecting resources in one of the new zones in World of Warcraft: Legion (the current expansion). Upon completion of a resource requirement, the tower would stand with doors open for a day or two before the Legion would knock it down, locking players out of its challenges and requiring them to build the tower again. The tower’s challenges provided players with the opportunity to unlock cosmetic skins for their Artifact Weapons, which were legendary weapons from lore that players wielded and upgraded to combat the destructive forces of The Legion.

These challenges were designed to push players to the top of their game by placing them in scenarios requiring the juggling of multiple enemies, maneuvering one-shot mechanics (meaning one hiccup and you’re done), fights that lasted two or three phases and Damage Per Second (DPS) checks. All challenges were repeatable but had to be soloed, required resources to attempt and like I mentioned above, were only available for a day or two before they’d lock out for a period of time.

Early in the expansion, I was able to complete one of the many challenges on my Druid character. A short time later though, I stopped playing all together and missed out on months’ worth of attempts for my other characters. Two weeks ago, and a week before I re-subscribed, the resource requirement on the tower was lifted and its doors were kept open so that players could attempt the challenges with abandon before the pre-patch launched today and took The Mage Tower out altogether.

Druid says hello from the region of High Mountain while wearing his shiny mana scythe.

This past weekend saw me try my hand at several of the challenges and successfully unlock a second Artifact Weapon skin: Helya’s Gaze.

My Orc warrior, Vodkarok, showing off his new weapon skins. For any Brandon Sanderson fans, I call this set of gear my Shard Plate ;).

Despite my success, the skin that I most desired continued to elude me; my frustration was palpable.

After work, Monday evening, with only hours left before server shutdown and the rollout of the expansion pre-patch, I logged into World of Warcraft and began to fail even more spectacularly than I had the night before. Dismayed, distraught, de-motivated and defeated, I was ready to call it quits when something miraculous happened: a friend logged on. Then another. And then two more. In the blink of an eye, a handful of people who I hadn’t spoken to in several months were all on and as it turns out, some were even smashing their own heads against their respective keyboards while trying to complete their mage tower challenges too!

Even after they completed their challenges, a few stayed up to keep me going and by 2:00 am EST this morning I had completed my last two Mage Tower challenges. So much for finding balance before the expansion, huh? As the saying goes: desperate times call for red-bull fueled all-nighters.

My warrior again, sporting his new tanking flail and shield. 
My Orc huntress with her new bow. 

All in all, what was meant to act as a self-analyzing experiment turned out to be a good time knocking out tough challenges with longtime friends. I will give credit where credit is due and say that Blizzard certainly knows how to rope back in its players. Thanks to my mad dash to complete The Mage Tower challenges, as well as the help of some not in any way peer-pressuring friends, I’m comfortable in saying that I’ll continue playing into the expansion.

Will I continue playing once I’ve reached level cap? Can I maintain a good game/life balance? As long as I don’t pull any more all-nighters, I should be alright ;).

Do you have a game that you go back to year after year? What about a game that you and your friends enjoy playing together? Are you planning on playing World of Warcraft: Battle For Azeroth? If so – make sure to add me!

As always, thank you for reading.

(Featured Image Credit) (Image Credit 1)

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July 2018
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