The almost two-year duration of Shadowlands was difficult for the online role-playing game World of Warcraft and for the developer studio Blizzard Entertainment for several reasons. The expansion was released in November 2020, a year in which the global corona pandemic presented many companies and large corporations with unforeseen challenges. Suddenly those responsible had to ensure that jobs in which it was possible could be worked online. The possibility of working from home was a foreign concept for many companies or an exotic concept that was only used in exceptional cases.
But then everyone should please stay at home and ensure that the pandemic becomes an endemic as quickly as possible. Today, the coronavirus pandemic is still not defeated, even if many people wish it was. After all, one of the positive side effects was that infrastructures were set up in such a way that many more people can now work remotely. That it’s beginning too Blizzard’s remote plans initially tweaked and tugged, we know that, and the developers still managed to launch Shadowlands. Now tweaks and tugs again, by the way, but that’s another topic.
A patch cycle can only be recognized with benevolence
What then happened after the release in November 2020 was more of a negative example of the content maintenance of a large and renowned online role-playing game. Patches came way too late and didn’t bring much interesting content for all types of players…or just dropped out altogether. Of course, we have to keep in mind that the WoW player base is large and diverse. Making all members of the community equally happy with new content is difficult. But you also have to keep in mind: Many of these WoW fans pay continuously for their subscription, and then they also expect performance, logically, and more than just a server that is available almost around the clock.
In addition, WoW’s storytelling was heavily criticized because the Shadowlands antagonists probably slept in “Villain 101” lessons or skipped the lessons at Bad Guy High School completely. The Jailer was too pale for many players, besides just showing up with no clear clues as to who or what was at the controls of the Azerothian cataclysms. And then Zovaal said goodbye with a little Redemption Arc; he only had the best in mind, because there are many, many more evil things in the universe!!!1
Then, after a rather rocky path through the first Shadowlands year, came July 2021 the California DFEH (Department of Fair Employment and Housing) lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, which denounced misogyny, hostility towards minorities, harassment (both physical and verbal), rape and more. And not only with the Activision group, which players perceive as “evil”, but also with the “good” Blizzard Entertainment. Names like Afrasiabi, McCree, Kosack, Stockton, Street, Barriga, LeCraft, Cosby Suite do the rounds. Some Blizzard employees who have been publicly and privately blamed have left the company; Alex Afrasiabi in particular will be remembered by most.
Numerous allegations and lawsuits have been filed against Activision Blizzard by individuals, but also by US investigative authorities. WoW fans also think of the desexualization patch 9.1.5 for WoW, which wanted to reject offensive and sexual references from Azeroth, but perhaps went a bit too far in some places. It was about damage control, at Blizzard itself and even in the studio’s games. On the one hand, probably to save what can be saved, on the other hand, to somehow get the situation under control. Especially in August to November 2021 there must have been absolute chaos at Blizzard. J. Allen Brack resigned from his post, and was replaced by dual leadership Ybarra and Oneal…then abruptly becoming a single leadership again in November when Jen Oneal surprisingly left Blizzard and didn’t think too highly of it like she did had been treated.
Shadowlands is written off, full focus on Dragonflight
In the minds of the fans, WoW: Shadowlands will somehow always be linked to a lack of content, a weak story, a corona pandemic and also allegations of abuse. At that time I asked you, in the wake of all the scandals, whether you would keep your WoW subscription, or whether after all the scandals, disappointments and excitement (such as the Blitzchung misery, the announcement of Diablo Immortal, the unkept promises of Warcraft 3 Reforged) are fed up with Blizzard.
In the meantime, the scandals are less dominating the headlines, although the lawsuits are still in the air and the employees also never tire of organizing themselves in unions – something that is regularly torpedoed by the decision-makers at ABK. Instead, there’s a lot more coverage of the upcoming one Acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, which is certainly to be regarded as positive, but of course caused a fuss among the competition. 2023 should be the year in which the deal lands in a dry cloth.
At the same time, Dragonflight receives a lot of positive feedback from the community. A sign that the Blizzard developers really want to roll up their sleeves again is the roadmap for live WoW published for 2023 – a first in 18 years of World of Warcraft (buy now )! Okay, yes, it also says that Dragonflight is one of the buggiest expansions because the release is still late Fiscal year 2022 had to be pressed by Activision Blizzard. The bride doesn’t really have to be prettied up anymore, Microsoft is already on the mat. It was probably more about year-end bonuses and payments to investors.
And? Do you have a WoW subscription again?
Currently there is a “great offer ™” for WoW: Dragonflight – so called by Blizzard ^^). For the base edition of Dragonflight you currently only have to pay just under 40 euros. I myself haven’t had my WoW subscription since November 2021, and yes, before that it ran continuously for 16 years. But after the content slump and all the news from Blizzard, I didn’t feel like paying for a subscription, which I use for a maximum of two months a year anyway, and throwing money at a developer who, in my opinion, focuses on things like community Schei … well, you know what I want to say. I think what bothered me the most was that the company values set by Blizzard aren’t worth much anymore. Unfortunately, I have to admit, that’s how it is in capitalism – values are betrayed for profit and the dream of infinite growth. Check out the Extra 3 wax tower clip on and you know what I mean.
However, I consider: Should I reactivate my Dragonflight account? There seems to be a lot in the expansion that I’d enjoy, like the glory factions, exploration and discovery, and dragon riding. I’m undecided, really. That’s why I would like to listen to our community: Did you cancel your subscription and have you given the WoW adventure another chance, completely detached from the things that are going on at Activision Blizzard? Please feel free to use the comments!