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Dork Age / World of Warcraft

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Every expansion is this in the eye of some. While the World of Warcraft players can be Unpleasable Fanbase incarnate, sometimes the criticism can be founded, depending on who you ask:

  • A fair few people will say either the first or second expansions were this: The Burning Crusade was generally considered to have great gameplay at the time of release, but a terrible plot and setting that changed a lot of beloved WarCraft III characters, accidentally and shoddily retconned a major enemy race, and had too many elements verging on sci-fi for players to feel it belonged comfortably in Warcraft's fantasy setting, as well as being left in the dust when classic content was redesigned for Cataclysm, leaving TBC as the chronologically-oldest content still in the game. It also contained what is still considered to be the single hardest raid dungeon in the game's history, which influenced a lot of the development team's future philosophies with raid and class design.
    Wrath of the Lich King is the inverse, with players praising its great narrative and characterization, but hating the gameplay changes, feeling as if both dungeon and raid content was dumbed down and made too easy to appeal to a more casual playerbase, and homogenizing classes to the point where they lacked unique identity. It also added the game's first new class, the Death Knight, which saw a ridiculous amount of oversaturation during the expansion's life cycle, alongside a dearth of new PvP content and some really ugly-looking gear.
    • It's also worth mentioning that in Wrath, the "too easy" heroics were because more people got geared or would run with geared players and wind up walking through the dungeon so easily and only having trouble with say, Oculus. From 2008-early 2009, most people weren't complaining about heroics being "too easy" unless they were Naxxramas or Ulduar geared. They weren't as hard as the Cataclysm heroics were at launch, however. The Cataclysm heroics also got easier as people with Tier 12 or 13 gear joined the queues, more people learned how to fight the bosses, and as the bosses got a few nerfs. What happens when people in greens and blues who're at the bare minimum for heroics go into the heroics? That's right... it takes much longer than normal. The only reason it's not "as bad" as it was in late 2010 was because you were much more likely to get someone overgeared in the dungeon who just carried you through.
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  • Cataclysm was met with cries of both story and gameplay rot, with the former two expansions and the vanilla game ironically being looked back upon as Golden Ages. Gameplay-wise, it met a good mix of people feeling the new content was too hard, followed by nerfs that made it too easy. Story-wise the expansion had a largely ineffectual main antagonist following up the very well-loved Arthas, characters such as Thrall and Garrosh playing very important but unpopular roles, and it began the trend of Alliance players feeling as if the writers were biased against them, giving the Horde a lot of Kick the Dog moments and having their own quest lines never result in a fair comeuppance against the Horde.
  • Mists of Pandaria is this to some players who don't approve of the simplified talent system, dislike the inclusion of a pet battling mini game, don't like the idea of a panda race in WoW, and the handling of the faction war. Another controversial idea is having to do daily quests for reputation in order to buy raid-quality gear with Valor Points, and having to get to Revered with the Golden Lotus faction before two of the other factions are unlocked. Proponents say it gets players out of the cities and into the world, while detractors say it's time-consuming (especially for players with multiple characters), boring, and players shouldn't be forced to do it if they want to gear up for raiding.
  • Warlords of Draenor is near-universally agreed to be this, with issues such as extremely questionable writing, Ashran being a poor attempt to sate PvPers due to the lack of new battlegrounds or arenas, Garrisons killing off the social aspect of the game, the ability to ride flying mounts on Draenor not being available until near the end of the expansion, classes having their abilities pruned to the point that most of them lost their identity (again), Raid Finder becoming mind-numbingly straightforward because of most mechanics from Normal and above being disabled, and the dev team foregoing the addition of major content in favor of Twitter integration and selfie contests, which was all the players got for a seven-month period. It doesn't help that over the entire expansion's lifetime, only three raids were released, which is the number the previous expansion started with. The Warlords content cycle would be the last time Blizzard publicly announced subscription numbers for the game after they reached a record low of 5.5 million.
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    • A likely reason for the dearth of content in Warlords is Blizzard re-shuffling their staff after the cancellation of Titan (rumored to have been another MMO) and the development of Overwatch. According to staff members, even the reveal cinematic was done by the skin of their teeth.
  • Legion had been one of the most well-liked expansions since Wrath of the Lich King, but even it has not escaped controversy. In terms of gameplay, the two major points were the Artifact weapons, which had their own Experience Meter and required a lot of grinding to be useful as a result, and the Legendary items, which were changed from requiring long quest chains to obtain to simply being Rare Random Drops. The lore controversies included... the Artifact weapons (most were very important items lore-wise, yet in-game, everyone had them), as well as Illidan's Heel–Face Return, which many lore fans believed was handled poorly.
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  • Tying into the Star Trek Movie Curse mentioned on the main YMMV page, Battle for Azeroth has earned a similar reputation to Warlords. The primary complaints are levied at the continuation of Legion's loathed Artifact Power system in the form of Azerite Power, which like its predecessor makes alts difficult to maintain and earned the expansion the unflattering nickname "Beta for Azerite", the overabundance of other grinds (Azerite Essences, reputations for progression, reputations for allied races, heritage armor sets, corruption resistance), the wasted potential of Warfronts and Island Expeditions (leading to them being abandoned halfway through the expansion when people expressed their dislike for them), high amounts of RNG-centric gameplay, general dissatisfaction with the expansion's overarching plot, and class design that is widely considered to be the worst the game has ever had. That the expansion's release and content cycle coincided with a number of other controversies with Activision Blizzard and the gaming industry at large did not help, either, nor is the expansion climaxing with a patch that fixed virtually none of the expansion's worst problems, is almost entirely grinding and reused assets, and ends with the anti-climactic defeat of another major villain that was previously built up to be a major threat so the focus could go back to advancing Sylvanas' story, the reaction to which was so universally negative that a percentage of the WoW fanbase ended up jumping ship to Final Fantasy XIV.
  • From a story standpoint, WoW has slowly become a Dork Age for the franchise in general. During the era of the RTS games, each game would expand on the world and even though some things were changed, for the most part, fans were fine with the way the story developed. As WoW went on, retcons and continuity errors became much more common as well as more blatant. Many important NPCs became flanderized and new characters who were built up as important were often very controversial. The nature of being an MMORPG strangled the story and prevented a lot of story threads from being resolved properly. Many characters who were portrayed as morally ambiguous (or even benevolent) were turned into raid bosses with little justification (the most overused of which being, "they went insane"). The Alliance and The Horde will always be at each other's throats, no matter how many Conflict Balls have to be passed around for it to happen. The defeat of The Lich King was partially negated by the reveal that without a Lich King, the Scourge would devastate Azeroth, so another character was forced to take up the role, ensuring that the Scourge will likely never be wiped out. Attempts at rescuing characters from the scrappy heap either don't stick or come at the expense of other characters. The developers are forced to try (and often fail) to balance the NPCs from taking part in important events without stealing the glory from the players, and having the NPCs doing absolutely nothing at all. Regardless of the mechanical benefits, each expansion tends to bring on another heap of base-breaking plot developments and characterization.
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