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World of Warcraft: Uncharted Territory - Arlee In Azeroth

Robin Baird Posted:
Columns Arlee In Azeroth 0

As much as I love it when a patch drops with a ton of new things, I always look forward to the point in a World of Warcraft tier where my guild has AOTC and has the raid meta-achievement completed, and it’s just waiting for the next thing. During raid progression, it can often feel like I am running a bit of a treadmill between working on new bosses in the raid and pushing keys to fill out my vault each week.

Reaching the point where it's a question of what we want to be doing rather than what we need to do is always refreshing. Plus, giving everyone a break between the raid tiers allows everyone to start the next tier refreshed.

I know some people don’t look forward to the breaks for various reasons. Specifically, I see a lot of guilds have issues with players not returning after breaks and then have to do a lot of recruiting before they can get back at things. However, one of the many perks of the Dragonflight roadmaps has been we always have a pretty clear idea of what’s coming next and roughly when to expect it. However, this time is a little different.

The next patch we expect isn’t a major update with a new tier raid; it is one of the smaller updates that have helped bridge the time between patches. However, unlike previous updates, this one won’t be on the PTR. Not only does this mean no one external to Blizzard will be able to test the new content before it goes live, but the new content also won’t be datamined before it goes live. Which is something I’ve been hoping would happen for a long time.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the PTR. I used to play every round of it and would try everything out, which was a lot of fun. However, I found that when I did, the new content felt old by the time it went live, and I often had low motivation to do it all again. It sapped the fun out of everything for me. As a result, I started to enjoy my time playing WoW a lot less, and I didn’t get to enjoy discovering things with my friends. So, I stopped playing PTR, which pretty much solved my problem. However, as much as I try to avoid story spoilers from the PTR, they always find their way to me.

For instance, I couldn't avoid everyone talking about the Ysera/Malfurion swap-a-do before that was playable, and from what had been datamined, it sounded awful. Once I could play through it, though, I didn’t have an issue with it. My worst fears about it (that Marithra wouldn’t be the next Dreamer) were unfounded, but it would have been nice to experience all of that story without any foreknowledge of it. I can’t even imagine how it would have come across if I hadn’t known anything about it beforehand.

Having 10.2.6 skip the PTR helps a lot, and everyone gets the joy of discovery together. I’m sure there will be articles and people posting everything as soon as it goes live, and the dataminers will be hard at work too. That bothers me less in this case because avoiding spoilers for a few days is much easier than avoiding them for a month or two. All we know about it is it’s an event inspired by past community musings, and it’ll be coming in March. Given all that, it could be anything. The community has had many interesting theories about everything over the years.

I’m still waiting for Timecap’n Hooktail to show up again. Going off the marker on the roadmap for this patch is a black flag with a skull and crossbones; pirates definitely could be a central theme for the event. There have been a ton of infinite dragons throughout this expansion and a plethora of wild pirate speculations from the community as well. It seems like the perfect time to bring our old friend back again. Of course, the skull and crossbones could have nothing to do with pirates. It could reference that we don’t know, and the new event could be something like a Corgi’s Unleashed event! Probably not, but it has been a while since there have been new corgi things in WoW.

Regardless, I hope this experiment with not putting something on the PTR goes well and gets used more in the future. Especially all of the story bits; if we could have those not accessible early, it would be amazing. Having the story not get ruined with spoilers would be a huge step up for World of Warcraft.


Robin Baird

Robin loves RPGs, MMOs, JRPGs, Action, and Adventure games... also puzzle games... and platformers... and exploration games... there are very few games she isn't interested in. When it comes to MMOs she focuses on WoW and GW2 but will pick-up other games as they catch her fancy. She's a habitual returner to FFXIV because that game is an all-around great MMO.