I recently finished Darksiders 3 — a hack-and-slash dungeon-crawler. The game was pretty solid, but I especially loved its “Blizzard-esque” art style of exaggerated proportions and saturated colours. In fact, I enjoyed the game’s visuals so much that, after finishing it, my eyeballs still craved more.
My cravings led me to World of Warcraft — easily my favourite visual fantasy feast for similar reasons to Darksiders. It also helps that I’d been craving the persistence of an MMO world. So, within days, I had reinstalled the game, reconfigured my addons, and well, here we are.
Shadows of the Past
World of Warcraft (WoW) is about a year removed from its latest expansion release, Shadowlands, which debuted in November 2020. From what I can tell, WoW‘s players didn’t particularly like Shadowlands, and many have since migrated to other games. My experience with the expansion was a bit different: Prior to release, I had excitedly pre-ordered it, cancelled my pre-order, and then ended up playing it anyway several months later.
If that seems like a capricious consumer saga, it’s because it is. At the time, I was emotionally disoriented by a particularly bad depressive bout — one that’s reflected in my Warcraft account history: When I logged in to resubscribe, my login history revealed I had last played Warcraft about a week before I attempted suicide.
But despite buying Shadowlands in March 2021 and nearly entering the Shadowlands myself in real life, I logged in to discover I had hardly progressed in WoW’s version of the afterlife. My Goblin Warlock character still hadn’t completed the expansion’s introductory storylines or joined a “Covenant” — one of the expansion’s four new factions.
Given my limited progress and that I always forget how to play my WoW characters (each player class literally has several dozen abilities), I decided to plow ahead with a new character: A Goblin Shadow Priest. Like Warlocks, WoW’s Shadow Priests are dark magicians whose malignant spells erode and decay enemies over time, which is exactly what I like. So it was a perfect fit.
After finishing up Shadowlands’ introductory quests, I’ve since joined the Maldraxxus Covenant and now find myself beginning the expansion in earnest. So far, I’ve gotten comfy-cozy in The Maw, which is arguably WoW’s version of hell, completed several runs in Torghast, the expansion’s new “endless dungeon” mode, and progressed the Covenant campaign in anticipation of increasingly exciting items and upgrades.
All in all, I’m enjoying my time in Shadowlands. But make no mistake: This is still WoW, and even souls of the afterlife aren’t spared the monotony of the game’s nearly two-decade-old tab-targeting combat system.
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