This review will be a reflection of my personal opinion on how Battle For Azeroth has shapen up around a month after its release. This is for 8.0.1, but not release, as it will cover the additions of warfronts and how they ended up turning out.
It is also worth mentioning this review is from someone who exclusively plays horde, and as such as no experience of the alliance areas or story overall.
The story starts with tensions rising on both sides thanks to the discovery of Azerite and there no longer seeming to be a “big bad” to stop the factions fighting each other for supremacy, with each site performing power plays during the prelude to the expansion, which then scaled more and more until the expansion was in full swing and the core gameplay was making sure your team had the edge.
The story, from the opening, the questing and the Horde war campaign are all great with a strong feeling of faction progression and, thanks in part to the end game rep grind, an earned achievement for your faction in the story. The story itself is somewhat generic in terms of wow lore, with nothing new added, but its how the old characters are used that alongside the great writing (for mmo standards) makes for a truly great experience lore wise.
That is for the war between the horde and alliance, the main story for the rest of the expansion looks to be going the classic “ancient evil awakens from dark slumber, we must all team together to stop this threat from destroying the world” sort of thing, which is understandable in MMO terms, since players are more powerful every expansion and the end game is large raids, but the writing for it seems to be as generic as the over arching plot for every wow expansion, when boiled down to its fundamentals.
The questing in wow can realistically be split into 2 types of questing, and thats the questing you do while you level, and the end game questing, which will be tackled in separate paragraphs.
For a horde player, the questing is brilliant, each of the zones has a unique feel and is great to play in, with each of the zones laying the lore seeds that sprout later in the expansion for the first raid, meaning you see it all (relatively) fall apart in front of your eyes and that, for all your efforts, you, the mighty hero, couldn’t stop the ancient evil from awakening from its slumber. Quests are standard kill X, collect Y, do random puzzle Z, but in a way that is fun, and with a feeling of progression in each zone that makes getting loremaster for the zones a breeze, with no stupid quests that I hated doing on a second run.
Questing at max level consists of a mixture of the horde war campaign and reputation quests, which overall, are good fun to do, as well as world quests, which are essentially rehashed quests you would have already done, but for a poultry reward and a bit of rep, which is fine at first until you try to go for path finder, and is a easy way to grind and burn out any enjoyment of wow overall. It is padding for the sake of padding over being fun content that keeps you engaged, you do the world quests for the gear and the promise that the experience will be more fun after the need for world quests is gone.
Dungeons in world of warcraft are always the same on a mechanical perspective, kill some mobs, kill a boss who will have some tactics such as getting out of the fire or not standing in a certain place, and this is still very present in BFA.
The design of the dungeons, both from a technical perspective as well as the art direction for every dungeon is unique, with some having great plots and a tone that fits the dungeon. There is no desperate attempt at a serious tone when you are fighting an orc pirate with a giant parrot, but the tone is darker in the more fitting dungeons. The variety is nice and the dungeons are overall fairly fun, there’s none I hate, but none that deserve too much attention for how brilliant they are either.
There is only the one raid out at the time of writing, and that is Uldir, which, from the perspective of a horde player, is great fun in terms of lore, with the bosses being fun due to their lore relevance and there being some fun bosses in the dungeon with relatively unique tactics.
For the alliance side, I imagine it may be slightly less fun due to there being less of a lore reference.
Island Expeditions are a new feature to the expansion, and are great fun the first few times you do them, but after the honeymoon effect wares off you see that they are sort of half baked, like a brilliant piece of content held back by lack of time invested on making it the best possible version of itself it could be.
Warfronts are another new piece of content added in legion, which is essentially a 2 player RTS mess that goes on for too long, gives raid level loot and can literally be AFKed.
This seriously needs a fundamental assessment in terms of progression and Gameplay to be fun.
Still spent a weekend grinding it though, having a fresh 120 ready to do mythic dungeons keystones in a few hours is irresistible.
There are a few small changes in PVP this expansion, War mode is the new PVP mode, acts virtually the same way but with better rewards. There is also a few new arenas and a new battleground out, the arenas are just different scenery to kill the other team in, the battleground is a resource collection mode that is fun enough and fast paced with plenty of opportunities for combat action from start to finish.
Overall, Battle for Azeroth is both a good start to the expansion while also being a bit of a bad one at the same time, with it having great content, just not masses of it outside of the already discussed padding. As with all Wow expansions, content will be added at a later date that will make the expansion offer better value for money.
Would I recommend getting the expansion at this time? Sure, why not…
There is a decent amount of enjoyment to be had, and since everyone else playing wow has it, you kinda have no choice…