From the Soapbox

Welcome back to the pages of Uthric Unrated!

Looking at my writing activity, I’m shocked at how quickly time has passed between my last post and now. As a brief explanation, my absence has been work-related; my primary employment is in finance which, if you are familiar with how the UK’s fiscal year runs, means late February, the entirety of March and early April are extremely busy times.

After many weeks of long days and arduous toil, I’ve barely had the time to log in to play the game, let alone write anything of substance.

But enough about my work life, now that the crazy times are over for another year, I’m refocusing on the finer things in life and refuelling for more Azeroth adventures. To that end, I’ve put together two posts to re-ignite my creative engines, this being one of them.

As fond as I am of verbose pontificating, I’ve come to realise that where the World of Warcraft is concerned, sometimes a bite-size approach is more suitable. Some subjects warrant a lengthy discussion whereas others can be dealt with in a more streamlined manner.

To that end, this post is the first in a new series I’ve called ‘From the Soapbox’ (if you aren’t familiar with the term, it’s explained here) I’ll be using it as a vehicle to talk about subjects that are too complicated to cover in the space of a tweet, whilst not holding enough weight to justify a few thousand words of written exploration. In most cases anyway. There might be the occasional rant or areas that could be analysed in greater depth, so I apologise from the outset for any peculiar divergences!

Sinister Gladiator’s Maledict

PvP. Is it your thing? Some are obsessed by it, others dabble, some steer clear. Personally, despite the soul-crushing effects of long Conquest grinds, tempestuous teammates and consistent verbal abuse, I love it. Admittedly, those prior descriptors may not be encouraging, but for those of us who are addicted to the thrill battle, the highs, fleeting as they may be, are worth the punishing lows (most of the time anyway)

With the commencement of PvP Season 2 in Battle for Azeroth, the Maledict trinket has been introduced into the game. Upon activation, Maledict fires a shadowy bolt which inflicts a hefty chunk of damage to an opponent and nullifies an amount of subsequent healing received.

Why have I chosen to mention this? Simply because I HATE it. In PvP environments, Gladiator’s Maledict is everywhere. Nearly every enemy has one. All of them colluding to chain-cast it onto my embattled Warrior, further reducing my already-limited defences. I don’t feel the healing absorption crowds out the effect of Mortal Strike (although some Unholy Death Knights may feel a little aggrieved), my biggest gripe is that entire arena strategies seem to revolve around Maledict usage at the moment, creating an increasingly stale and uncreative environment in which to fight.

War Mode

Moving swiftly on from my Maledict-inspired hyperbole, I must mention how much I am loving War Mode at the moment. It’s not without its frustrations of course, but it’s such a glorious rush to dive into an impromptu fight, particularly if you have some stalwart allies by your side.

I’ve been activating War Mode with ever increasing frequency as of late, and something I’ve noticed is ever-shifting dynamic when big battles erupt between players. It’s fascinating to watch one side press their advantage, only for reinforcements to arrive for the other side, who then push back. The back and forth power struggle ends in various ways. Two of note are when one side sometimes becomes disheartened and abandons the fight, another is when combatants consumed by their own bloodlust chase down fleeing enemies, leaving their allies vulnerable to a crushing (and inevitable) counter attack.

War Mode encounters also emphasise the differences in battle psychology amongst players. There are those who like to throw themselves into the fray, trusting their allies to keep them alive as they hack and slash at the opposing faction. Others are more tentative, staying close to the group and only engaging when opportunities present themselves. Whilst some prefer to hang back in relative safety, preying on the weak or sniping enemies from afar.

The entire War Mode experience is equal parts tense, chaotic and exhilarating. I’d highly recommend it!

The Story So Far

I’ve found the Battle for Azeroth story so far to be engrossing. I’m genuinely excited to see where the story goes and what will happen to the expansion’s protagonists. The tale as yet untold is one of the biggest attractions for me, but I do feel that the pacing, at least in terms of quests is not as effective as it could be. As was recently articulated by Panser on Twitter, there is an element of stop-start to the unfurling saga. I freely admit as someone on a time-limited play schedule, this has worked to my advantage in many respects. However, even I have had times in-game where I’ve had nothing to do.

I recognise there are limits to the speed in which quality content can be devised, designed, polished and released, but it would be beneficial to incorporate an element of ‘slow burn’ to some of the storyline in terms of active player content.

 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading this splurge of opinionated brevity!

What are your thoughts? What irritates or elates you in-game at the moment? Let me know in the comments below!

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