Not Flying Yet

The latest patch for World of Warcraft, which makes it possible to fly in the Battle for Azeroth zones, has been out for a while now, but we’re still earthbound. Not because we don’t want to fly—we love flying both for the convenience of getting around and for the visceral pleasure of getting to see the beautiful artwork of the game world from new angles—but because of what it takes to get it.

The first step toward flying came with the initial release of Battle for Azeroth, with the Pathfinder Part 1 achievement, and involved playing through the expansion’s content, exploring its new zones, and gaining reputation with its various factions. All of this we did quite happily. We enjoyed questing through the new expansion and seeing the sights. Reaching revered level with six factions was a little tedious at times, but watching for world quests made it quite doable.

Once that was done, it was a long wait for the latest patch with Pathfinder Part 2, which requires more of the same: questing, exploration, and gaining rep. This time around, though, we’re not enjoying the process at all.

The difference in our response to part 1 and part 2 largely comes down to the design of the two new zones: Nazjatar and Mechagon. Nazjatar is complex, confusing, and hard to navigate. Significant parts of it are full of tough elites that make riding through looking for quests annoying. The daily quests are often vague and unhelpful about what exactly we are supposed to do, and the mobs drop tons of non-trash loot that clutters up our bags without clearly telling us what it’s actually for and whether we should be keeping it or not. The companion we have to take out adventuring with us in order to get all the quests has the annoying habit of pulling more mobs than we want, getting in the way of the things we’re trying to click on, and standing right on top of our loot when we’re done with a fight. For us, Nazjatar is pure aggravation.

We haven’t looked into Mechagon much yet, but the very little time we have spent there has similarly loaded up our bags with things we don’t know what to do with but don’t dare get rid of in case we need them later. At least it is somewhat less annoying to find our way around there and doesn’t seem to saddle us with an irritating companion. We’re saving Mechagon for after we’re done with Nazjatar in the hopes that it will be something of a relief.

I can certainly see how the things that annoy us about Nazjatar could be great for someone else with a different play style. I’m sure that what for us is confusing and hard to navigate is, for someone else, an exciting new area to explore and learn about. What we see as useless crap filling up our bags is someone else’s intriguing new inventory management challenge. The companion who is always getting in our way must make it possible for other people to tackle content that would otherwise be out of their reach.

Nazjatar is like a lot of things this expansion (island expeditions, warfronts, mythic+ dungeons, war mode): well done for what it is, but not the content we want to play. The good thing about all those other things is that we can completely ignore them and just play the parts of the game that appeal to us. If we want to fly, though, we’re going to have to drag our way through Nazjatar and Mechagon. That’s why we’re not flying yet.

How are your adventures going? Are you soaring over Kul Tiras and Zandalar already? Are Nazjatar and Mechagon exactly what you wanted? Or are you still stuck in the slog with us?

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.