Z and Cinder want to know what I would have done with the next expansion and what I would have announced at Blizzcon for this topic.
Well, in a serendipitous sense of timing, the same day this topic came out on their blog, I actually wrote about my thoughts on Battle for Azeroth’s story and many features here, as well as a top 10 list of races I’d love to join the list of our future allies here. Please, give these a read first, it’ll inform what I’m about to say next a bit.
So if you’ve read those topics, you’ll probably have come to the realization of two things
- I believe the faction conflict has, from a player narrative perspective, long passed the point of usefulness in progressing Azeroth’s story.
- I personally do not believe the whole of this expansion’s story will center around the faction war, but will eventually progress to a story where we realize Old God influence is at hand in fanning the flames of war again
Assuming point 2 is true, I believe we may have an interesting story on our hands, but I think Blizzard is doing us a discredit in not making that obvious. If the reception to this is to be believed, it’s clear there’s a much wider section of the playerbase that agrees with me on my above point 1.
So what I would do is actually have two narratives for a character to choose from in Battle for Azeroth.
- A character succumbs to the whispers of the Old Gods and is wholeheartedly under the belief that the opposed faction must be destroyed
- A character, due to the immense physical and mental (and in some cases magical) fortitude they have amassed in saving the world, is able to resist this manipulation long enough to realize something is happening, even if they don’t understand what right away.
Here’s how I envision this working: we’re told there’s a “War campaign” that is similar to the Order Hall campaigns from Legion that will progress most of the Horde/Alliance conflict story. I would actually have two of these, or probably more accurately, three. Keep the War Campaigns for the Horde and Alliance as they are doubtless going to be for anyone who chooses the first option, but create a third campaign for those who want the second choice.
This campaign should center around Magni Bronzebeard, who definitely realizes something is at play here and organizes the many champions of Azeroth who realize it as well in an effort to find out what is happening, what is behind this, and minimize the damage the factions can do to Azeroth and each other. You can even have some questing overlap in which the heroes have to undertake some missions in the war so as not to blow their cover.
I would actually tie this choice into another feature they announced for the expansion, the ability to swap between PvE and PvP shards of a server within a city. Anyone who chooses a PvP shard progresses their faction’s respective War Campaigns, while anyone who chooses PvE progresses with the Magni campaign. That way a player may fully choose how they want to experience Battle For Azeroth. If they want to embrace the faction conflict, then they have a playstyle experience that matches it. I know there will be some complaints from people who want the faction war but don’t want to engage in PvP, but frankly, you want war, you get the ugly parts that go with it.
I would keep most of the other announced features the same, they have some really good ideas in there. I wouldn’t announce any more Allied Races at Blizzcon, but I would have made it clear that there WILL be expansions to the system during BFA’s time, not just hinted that it could be so
So that’s what would have been revealed at Blizzcon for Battle for Azeroth if I’d had any say in the matter.
OH and regarding the other franchises, we’d have a new expansion for Diablo 3, a new PvE story mode for Overwatch that actually progresses the story, not just addling backstory elements, and Vol’jin added to Heroes of the Storm in addition to the two heroes that were announced.
Hey, you put me in change, I’m going for broke, ya dig?