Why Is the Retail Dungeon Experience so Terrible?

I think you can tell from the way that I've been talking about retail WoW for the past few years that I'm actually feeling pretty positive about it nowadays. It's not my favourite MMO, but there are enough things for me to like about it.

With that said, I hope it's clear that I'm not blindly hating on retail when I say: For all the things it does well, it amazes me how utterly horrible retail's casual dungeon experience is nowadays. (I'm specifically singling out the easier difficulties here because regardless of what you or I think of Mythic+, I think we can all agree that it operates on a different level from regular dungeons at this point, with very different incentives and goals.)

What do I think makes for a good dungeon experience? Well, presumably not everyone will agree with my definition, but personally I'd break it down into four major points:

  • Exploration: Interesting/unusual environments, mechanics and monsters.
  • Gameplay: Taking on tougher enemies than you would usually be able to in the open world. Getting to play with other people and experiencing synergetic group play that allows you to use abilities and skills you don't necessarily get to use in the same way while soloing.
  • Rewards: Quests that give you some nice one-time rewards. Bosses that drop loot that's better than what you'd get from a solo mission. Increased XP gains from taking on tougher enemies as a group.
  • Socialising: Meeting new people and having a good time hanging out together.

But yes, I know modern WoW players don't like to stand around and admire the scenery, or to chat while using the dungeon finder. So we're just going to ignore the first and last point. I'll be content if I can tick the gameplay and rewards boxes as described. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Well, in modern WoW it apparently is, because your gameplay will be jogging after a tank who just runs like hell while spamming AoE abilities (with you occasionally being able to hit a dps button if you manage to stay in range long enough) and your reward is going to be the dungeon completion XP at the end. You want to do quests? Kill bosses? Puh-lease.

I honestly thought I'd come to accept the ways of retail dungeons by now and that I'd lowered my expectations enough to not be disappointed by every pug, but every time the game lures me into queueing for a random normal or heroic dungeon with some new incentive, I encounter new ways to be let down by the experience.

For example, while levelling some of my low-level alts through different expansions, I'd pick up quests that asked me to do a specific dungeon and then queue for that. My expectation was pretty much nothing but a quick run of the place, but I still managed to be surprised when it turned out to be a quick run of avoiding most of the dungeon. I know people always hated out-of-the-way bonus bosses and all that, but nowadays literally everything possible gets skipped, even bosses that are right on the main road so to speak. I didn't even know that you could totally ignore the second and third bosses in Underrot and Freehold for example. Now I know, and it meant I got minimal loot and experience out of those dungeons.

As for the matter of quests, I have a new favourite story illustrating the utter absurdity that is going on right now. It happened to me during Wrath of the Lich King timewalking the other week. I got into an Utgarde Keep on an alt that had never done it before, so I made sure to pick up all the quests at the entrance and off we went. Knowing well that people were impatient, I mounted up and raced back to the quest NPC the moment Ingvar died, but someone immediately initiated a role check to queue for another dungeon. I didn't respond because I just wanted those thirty seconds to hand in my quests. Next thing I knew, I'd been wordlessly kicked from the party, and the timer to get ported out was apparently shortened to only ten seconds or so, so I was booted back to Valdrakken before I could actually reach the NPC. Yes, I got kicked from the group after the dungeon had been completed, because taking thirty seconds to hand in my quest was considered an unacceptable delay. I then had to manually travel back to Northrend and inside Utgarde Keep to hand in, which probably took longer than the entire dungeon run had taken.

And I'm not attributing that to "people being toxic" or anything like that - okay, I think the kick in that story was kind of mean, but more generally, WoW's design decisions kind of push people into this kind of behaviour. Why would long-time players levelling their 50th alt care about killing bosses for loot drops when they are fully kitted out in heirlooms? Dungeon quests are basically not a thing at max level nowadays (you literally can't get quest credit in M+ dungeons for example), why would anyone think of their group mates having quests to do in a random timewalking dungeon?

More importantly though, I think there are two major problems with WoW's dungeon system while levelling and playing casually, and these are things I've seen occur in other MMOs as well, to similar results:

1. The game allows characters, especially tanks, to become way too powerful relative to the content, to the point where they can easily solo the dungeon with zero regard for the rest of the group. The group gameplay falls apart at this stage because there isn't really any, all you have is the tank dragging a mob train along with them while sprinting to the end, possibly annoyed by the dps and healers slowing them down. You can't have rewarding group gameplay when players are made to feel like they are just a nuisance to each other.

2. The incentives for random dungeon completion are way out of whack compared to anything else. If you're levelling, the XP bonus for doing a random dungeon will be bigger than everything you get for actually doing things inside the dungeon (kills, bosses, quests etc.) put together. At max-level, the problem persists when you have timewalking weeks where you get rewarded with heroic raid-level gear for getting completion credit for five dungeons, never mind what you actually did inside those dungeons. It's all in reaching the end as fast as possible and at all costs, with little to no reward for the actual process (and since the gameplay is shite as per point one, there's no incentive in prolonging the process "for fun" either).

What you're left with is with a dungeon experience that doesn't reward anyone but those who don't actually care about grouping or gameplay and who just enjoy using the XP hose to level their alts. If you mention this anywhere on a forum or social media, people will come back with comments like "but that's just how it is" or "who cares anyway, the real game is M+", discarding the interests of new, returning and more casual players alike.

It just baffles me that as someone who used to adore running dungeons when I first got into WoW, and who still enjoys this sort of group content in Classic and SWTOR, I find modern WoW dungeons pretty unbearable when not running with a group of friends. I'll still get lured in every now and then for the sake of the extremely overpowered rewards Blizzard likes to hand out, but every time I am reminded of just how not fun it is nowadays.

This topic has been sitting in my drafts for a while, but the reason I wanted to actually finish and publish it this week is that the latest patch brought in a feature called follower dungeons, which allows you to run Dragonflight levelling dungeons with a group of NPCs instead of pugs. I haven't tried it yet, but I've seen enough reporting about it to know that it's nothing like running with actual people in the modern game. The NPCs adjust to your pace and the tanking one will even tell you that they're waiting for you to get some mana back if you go OOM. Basically, they're more like dungeons used to be.

I think this is a net positive for the game and will be welcomed by many, but at the same time I can't help but see it as a tacit admission by Blizzard of what an utter mess they've allowed normal and heroic dungeons to become, a system that is actively hostile to anyone not deeply invested in what little benefit it still provides. Giving everyone but the speed-runners a new mode where they can have a chiller experience does help, but it also kind of looks like regular dungeons are basically being abandoned to being nothing but an XP hose for power levellers. I do wonder whether increased segregation of the player base is really the best long-term answer here.


Alts in Season of Discovery

While I'm not keen on seeing SoD's first phase come to an end, at least my priest feels like she's in a decent enough position for the next one. I've only run BFD and taken part in the Battle for Ashenvale a few times, but at least I had a chance to see how both work and also got a few pieces of loot in the process. I've maxed out all her professions bar needing a few more skill points in first aid and fishing, and I've collected eleven out of the twelve priest runes (after consulting guides on how to find the ones I was missing). The only one I don't have is the one that requires you to grind a bunch of stuff for the goblin in Ratchet, which I just couldn't be bothered with, especially since it's not granting a spell that's important to me. Maybe I'll get back to that in a later phase when it'll be easier to do.

My main goal before the arrival of the new phase though is to simply do a few more quests. Since I ran so many dungeons while levelling up, I skipped a whole lot of them on the way, and especially the lower-level ones aren't going to be particularly useful to me once the level cap goes up. It seems like a much better deal to run them for cash rewards right now, in preparation for buying my mount at level 40, plus to cover other expenses. It's never been this easy to make money at level 25 and I want to make the most of that while it lasts.


In the meantime, I've also been working on some alts though, mainly to see what their "deal" is in Season of Discovery. Hunters are supposedly extremely overpowered, and they may well be in raids and PvP, but while out questing I haven't really noticed much of a difference to "normal" vanilla hunter levelling. The most unusual thing to me has been being able to use explosive shot in dungeons to do some AoE damage.

However, mostly I've been questing in the Barrens since she's a skinner/leatherworker, and you can pretty much step out of the Crossroads at any time of day in any direction and find a pile of dead animals to skin. She's currently level 20 after just having finished her business in Wailing Caverns, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to get her to 25 and somewhat "capped out" before the level cap increases, but I'm not necessarily counting on that.

Interestingly, hunters don't seem to have a special mechanic tied to their runes the way some (most?) other classes do; they just kind of find them out in the world from mob drops and by completing little puzzles. I guess that meshes well with the hunter/tracker archetype. I've got to admit that I was pretty chuffed when I figured out how to earn a rune for helping out the snake charmer in Razor Hill all by myself. My current pet is Raluk the white tiger, a SoD-exclusive that I also (partially) managed to find by myself. There does seem to be a pattern though with all the classes I've tried so far, which is to say that you find three to five runes easily and then it just stops because you have to go deep into enemy territory or otherwise do something in a very specific location to get more.


My undead mage is my tailor/enchanter - for whatever that's worth with her being only level 12 and still in Tirisfal Glades. So far the mage runes haven't particularly impressed me, and like with the hunter I'm largely playing as I would in a normal vanilla environment.

Mages have an interesting mechanic in the form of those garbled scrolls you may have come across in the world and which require a special new reagent to decipher. I felt a bit cheated though when one gave me a new rune, but the next one just gave me one of those low-level stat scrolls which was worth less than the cost of the reagent I'd spent on it. Not sure that's very fun.


Finally, I have an orc shaman who's level 10. Their special class mechanic is that they loot green totems that you have to equip in the relic slot and for which you then have to perform a special task to learn a rune from them, such as taking nature damage ten times. This took me a little while to understand, as I initially didn't realise that I had to equip the thing to make it start counting.

Like with hunter and mage, I haven't been too impressed with the starter runes I've discovered. The first one you get, which buffs your lightning bolt, is certainly useful, but levelling as elemental was always my least favourite way to play shaman, and the buffed lightning bolt makes it feel like I need to prioritise using it even when I don't like it that much. Hopefully I'll eventually find a rune or two that fit my play style more. I really feel like I lucked out with the priest and having loved all the early runes I got.


SoD Phase 2 To Launch February 8

I already mentioned this in my last post, but I did want to go into a bit more detail about it. In the "This Week in WoW" news post from last Monday, Blizzard announced the date on which Season of Discovery is meant to progress into its second phase as a bullet point - pretty low-key if you ask me.

The three important things to know about the next phase are:

  • The new level cap will be 40.
  • The new dungeon-turned-raid will be Gnomeregan.
  • The new PvP event will take place in Stranglethorn.

The last point isn't officially mentioned in the text, however the article's header art features a human in front of a red-tinted Stranglethorn backdrop, and the same image was also used in the Twitter announcement. Aggrend also replied to a curious poster who asked whether this was going to be similar to the Ashenvale event by saying that it was going to be "completely different".

A guildie linked a YouTube video that was talking about this announcement and which had a dedicated segment about how seemingly everyone thinks that this makes phase one way too long, and I'm glad that the most upvoted reply in its comment section basically disagreed with that sentiment, because my own feeling upon hearing about the upcoming release was: what, already?

I'm not blaming Blizzard; I'm sure straddling the line between keeping the no-lifers happy while also making the casuals feel included is not easy. In a way it's funny to me that I'm effectively a casual in this context, considering that I'm heavily invested in MMOs as a hobby in general. It's just that by playing more than one, and by not making Season of Discovery in specific my priority, I'm casual within that ecosystem. Many of my guildies are up to rotating four or five different characters through BFD every week, while I still only have my priest at the level cap.

And that's why I'm a bit disappointed to hear about phase two already. I've created some alts of my own to check out how other classes play with the SoD changes, but I'm not sure I'll get another one into the raid before the new phase releases. I've enjoyed having everyone be confined to the low levels together, and this is basically a stark reminder that we're getting back to the usual FOMO soon: the next phase is coming - quickly, enjoy the content before it's abandoned!

I mean, BFD drops some great loot, so maybe people will still run it occasionally while levelling up, but it won't be the same. I'm also not sure I have it in me to get super excited about the next phase right now to be honest. I love BFD and was excited to see that turned into a raid, but I'm not nearly as hyped about Gnomer, plus 25-40 is an infamously tedious levelling stretch. Considering how much slower I was to level even my one character to 25 compared to my guildies, every time the level cap goes up, it will get even harder to keep up. It's kind of a reminder that while I've been charmed by Season of Discovery's novelty, this kind of thing doesn't really mesh too well with the way I play WoW nowadays, and there was a reason I returned to era in the first place.


So, How's the BFD Raid in Season of Discovery?

Blackfathom Deeps is one of my favourite vanilla dungeons, and one in which I've had many interesting and hilarious adventures. You can read about at least some of them in old posts on here if you check the Blackfathom Deeps tag.

Naturally, I was both excited and curious to see what Blizzard would do to it in the process of turning it into a raid for Season of Discovery. And I can say right away that I think they did a good job. Obviously they re-tuned things and added a whole bunch of new boss mechanics, but the general look and feel of the place was largely left intact. They just moved some named mobs around to improve the pacing.

Baron Aquanis for example has become the first boss of the raid for everyone instead of being an underwater summon for Horde only and located later in the instance. In fact, his fight takes place in the room with the stone platforms you have to jump across and you need to jump back and forth on them during the boss fight. It honestly blew my mind the first time I saw that.

I don't think Blizzard made any changes to those platforms either; players are just so much better at the game nowadays that you can expect them to just make that jump easily. However, I still remember wasting so much time in that room back in the day, just trying to get everyone across and people falling into the water over and over again.

Anyway, the second boss is a gigantic Ghamoo-ra, which immediately made me wonder what he'd eaten to get so big now. It was only later that I realised that he does indeed appear to have eaten one of the other dungeon bosses, Old Serra'kis, who does not feature in the raid except as a half-eaten carcass on Ghamoo-ra's little island. Turtle boy also drops variants of Serra'kis old loot table, so yeah... I thought that was a funny little detail.

Lady Sarevess is still fairly unremarkable, while Gelihast puts a new spin on the problem of "too many murlocs", with several phases of indestructible "shadow murlocs" ambling across the room that you need to dodge or take damage from.

Lorgus Jett gets to enjoy being upgraded from a quest mob for Horde only to a proper boss (and also appears to be a human shaman?!), while Twilight Lord Kelris has become known as the pug killer. My guild struggled with him too, though I didn't get to see any of that for myself since they had him on farm by the time I hit level 25 on my priest.

On my first run I asked for explanations and was told that as a healer I basically just had to stack up for most of the fight and drink a Free Action Potion when he enraged (I had been prepared for this). As such, my first time went super smooth, though on a subsequent visit I messed up by drinking a mana potion and putting my FAP on cooldown, causing me to die near the end, but the rest of the group still came through somehow. I wonder if I should look up what's actually supposed to happen in that phase...

Finally, Aku'mai has had some pizazz added to his poison attacks, but feels almost easy after Kelris.

He also drops an item that you can hand in for a piece of gear in Thunder Bluff and that also triggers a new world buff unique to Season of Discovery, called Boon of Blackfathom (I think for Alliance the hand-in is in Darnassus). This was pretty cleverly done, as it gives people a reason to hang out in what's usually the faction's least favourite capital in Classic (though I've always loved both Thunder Bluff and Darnassus personally).

Because there are so many people running the raid, said world buff is also popping almost non-stop, and it's not a bad idea for a levelling character to hang out in town for a bit just to get buffed up for your next session of questing, not least because the boon increases your run speed by 20%.

It's honestly comical just how many times you'll hear Bashana Runetotem do the yell starting with "Denizens of Kalimdor" during a short session of running errands in town. I always imagine this message being delivered in the same style as Rhonin's "Citizens of Dalaran!" from Wrath - which makes me glad that there isn't an actual sound cue for it, as otherwise the city would be awash with it non-stop.

Even without the buff, the spoils from BFD are pretty amazing in general, at least for casters. I don't know if it feels quite as good for melee, since they already had some pretty sweet loot available at various points in the levelling journey in Vanilla. However, for casters their best stat (+spell damage/healing) was practically non-existent outside of endgame, so my level 25 priest having about +50 to damage and healing after two trips to the raid feels absolutely insane.

So do I like the BFD raid? Hell yeah. I hope I'll get to run it a few more times before phase two drops, which we now know to be in less than a month. The only thing that kind of gave me pause about it is the difficulty. It's not hard exactly, but... compared to actual vanilla raids, it's closer to Naxx than to any of the others in terms of mechanics, which is weird. Obviously a ten-person group is much easier to organise than a forty-man, and there doesn't seem to be a hard gear barrier to cross, but in terms of how much is going on, this is no Molten Core.

I guess that's a good thing, since the modern Classic player base expects more from raids nowadays, but it also makes me a little worried about what the raids in the next phases will be like. I mean, those shadow murlocs on Gelihast were borderline stressing me out already... I feel so old.


The Battle for Ashenvale (as Horde on PvE)

I've had a few weeks to casually check out the current endgame in Season of Discovery at this point. One of the major endgame activities is the Battle for Ashenvale PvP event. I'm not a fan of PvP in Classic in general, but I figured this was going to be more like Alterac Valley, something with a heavy PvE focus, so I thought I'd check it out.

I also quite wanted the wolf mount that you can earn access to. It's 10% slower than a normal mount, only works in Ashenvale and offers no dismount protection whatsoever (so it disappears instantly the moment you take damage from any source), but it looks cool and Ashenvale is big. As a priest with no class abilities to boost my travelling speed, having a way to speed up my journeys from one end of the zone to the other was definitely attractive.

The general gist of the PvP event is easy enough to figure out, though I did check out the Wowhead guide after my first time to get clarification on a few points. Basically, there's a percentage counter for both factions at the top of the screen that goes up as people kill mobs and other players. Once it hits 100% for both factions, the battle starts and some special mobs spawn. Each faction gets three lieutenants across the map as well as a general. The latter is immune to damage until the former have been killed, similar to the way the turrets/bunkers add protection for the generals in AV, except there is no way to bypass them. Each of these opponents has raid boss levels of health and takes a while to die even with a full raid of forty players.

Because the objectives are spread out across the map and movement is slow (even with the mounts), realistically people have to split into multiple raids to get everything down in a timely manner and as an individual player, you won't get to see/tag each objective personally, though there are apparently people who try to do just that to maximise their rep gains.

Unfortunately, faction imbalance is a major problem on the PvE server, as Alliance traditionally outnumbers Horde 2:1, and... well, you can tell. On the PvP servers, Blizzard decided to enforce a degree of faction balancing in SoD by temporarily limiting character creation if one faction got too far ahead, but PvE has no such restrictions in place. Which is generally fair, but not so much in an open world PvP event like this.

Maybe the devs were hoping that it would sort itself out, since participation in anything PvP is obviously fully voluntary on a PvE server, and Horde has traditionally been more eager to jump into this kind of content than Alliance, however my personal experience at least hasn't really borne this out, as I've lost every single battle except for one. What usually happens is pretty much what you'd expect: Horde only gets one or two lieutenants down in the time the Alliance kills all three, so they get to the general first and win.

The one time I was in a raid that did achieve victory, it was pretty clear why: Most raids are formed at Splintertree Post, which puts them in relative vicinity of two of the three enemy lieutenants as well as the general. However, that leaves the third lieutenant on the other side of the map, beyond the Alliance town of Astranaar, which is a logistical problem.

In the one battle I won, someone formed a strong second raid at Zoram Strand, which took down the lieutenant there and then pivoted to defend the nearby Horde lieutenant. We arrived just in time to prevent him from being killed and absolutely decimated the Alliance raid. This cost them enough time that the people at Splintertree could finish the job there before the Alliance could catch up again, even with their superior numbers. I guess the problem is that this winning strategy requires people to forfeit some personal rewards in favour of the greater good, since the people at Zoram will get less reputation than the ones at Splintertree that get all the other kills, and that's simply not popular.

Even so, I'll admit it's an interesting little twist on open world PvP. We'll see what Blizzard come up with for the second phase.


Thoughts on the Level Squish and Chromie Time, Three Years Later

I wasn't planning for this to be my first topic on the blog in the new year, but Wilhelm made an interesting post two days ago that I wanted to bounce off of. It's called "The Shadowlands era Level Squish was a Bad Idea" and well... it's right there in the title what it's about. There are a couple of misconceptions in there, seemingly caused by Wilhelm not having played retail in a while himself, but his general point, that he thinks the level squish ultimately wasn't all that, is completely fair. I already responded in a comment, but I wanted to spin my thoughts into a full post here as well.

Do I think that the Shadowlands level squish and the introduction of Chromie time were a success? Well, they made me log back into retail for the first time in many years back in 2020, and I've clearly had some fun with it since then. Mission success on that front! But of course, it's not that simple.

From my point of view there were two main reasons for the level squish and the introduction of parallel levelling paths by Blizzard:

  1. The ever-increasing level cap was getting too daunting for new and returning players and they wanted to lower that number. Slashing the overall XP required to earn those levels only does so much after a while.
  2. Narratively, the levelling experience was increasingly becoming a mess. With all those expansions stacked on top of each other, combined with the constantly decreasing XP requirements to out-level each expansion, players were getting whiplash from how quickly they were supposed to change tracks from one level to the next, and without ever getting a resolution to anything. The hope was that by just allowing people to level in a single expansion, that expansion would be able to present at least a somewhat coherent story.

I think as far as point one goes, it was definitely a success in the short term at least - though with each new expansion once again adding another ten levels on top, one has to wonder whether the devs have any kind of long-term plan to avoid running into the exact same issue again in another few years.

The second point is... iffier. As it turns out, they lowered XP requirements so much, that you'll still hit the end of Chromie time before completing even the one expansion of your choice, but at least you have more options in terms of where and how you want to spend your time there. Also, even if the tuning had worked out in such a way that you actually completed all of your chosen expansion's zones before being shunted into the newest content, you still wouldn't really know the resolution to the story as that's usually contained in a raid.

Oh, and it turns out that WoW's expansions really weren't designed to be parallel levelling paths in terms of narrative. Anything from WoD onward (if not earlier) tends to start with a bombastic intro featuring NPCs you're supposed to know and that hail you as a hero of many campaigns, which doesn't really make any sense if you're only just fresh off Exile's Reach. I wouldn't say it's any worse than the old mess, but I'm not sure it's really any better either.

Also, one of the most baffling things about Chromie time to me, at the beginning, was the way it just ejected you the minute you hit the required level for the next expansion, with no consideration for what you might have been doing at the time (I talked a bit about that experience in this post). I don't know how the devs ever thought that was a good way of handling things and I think they got a lot of complaints about it, so the experience has been somewhat smoothed out since then.

When I last encountered this situation myself, I actually got a quest from Chromie asking me to come back to the normal timeline a level before it would've kicked me out, to encourage you to voluntarily exit Chromie time beforehand. The husband has levelled an alt even more recently, and according to him you don't get kicked out at all anymore now, things just suddenly stop giving XP the moment you ding - which remains a little weird to me but still seems like an improvement.

Still, I wish they would just open the whole thing up even more. Specifically, I'd like Chromie time to be open to all levels, including max-level, and it should just be one unified layer where everything scales to your level, instead of having separate ones for each expansion. Fun fact: if you queue for a random dungeon in Chromie time and don't get a group within five minutes, you'll get a pop-up saying "This search is taking a while. Expand your search to dungeons from other expansions?", to which the answer is pretty much always yes. Why not allow people to queue up and play that way to begin with?

You could argue that this won't help with new players' narrative confusion, but the way I see it, it could hardly make things any worse right now. At least they could continue to explore along whichever path interests them without arbitrarily being shunted off elsewhere at certain levels. (Plus, players being confused/overwhelmed by everything the game throws at them isn't limited to new players and old content anyway. I think it says a lot that this meme was the most popular post in the wow subreddit last year according to the community's 2023 recap).

In general, I think the devs still need to work on granting their players more freedom and being less prescriptive. Obviously it's a game designer's job to impose rules, but they should aim to achieve this by organically leading the player down a path that is fun, not by boxing them in and threatening to smack their fingers every time they dare to stick their nose over the railing. I get that this must be challenging with the WoW community in particular, considering how min-max-focused it can be, meaning players will absolutely do stupid and un-fun things if they turn out to be unexpectedly efficient. But sometimes... people really just want to do something a bit different from the current prescribed path, and why not let them? If someone wanted to level to 70 purely by playing Legion content for example, instead of going through the Dragon Isles for the tenth time in a row, who would be harmed by letting them do that?

I suspect that internally there is a lot of baggage associated with WoW's old content. The devs currently do try to keep it functional at a minimum level but since it's considered deprecated and not really relevant, only the most egregious issues with it get addressed and even that without any kind of rush. I remember when the husband and I played through Legion for the first time, he got stuck on his class order hall campaign since it required him to get an item that had just been removed in a recent patch, but the quest hadn't been updated to take this into account yet. I think it took several months until he was able to continue that particular quest line. There are countless minor oddities like that which just get ignored.

If they started more openly supporting the "legacy" content as something for people to still do at max level, it would probably take away time and resources from actually working on new and fun things (not just for us, but also for them!) and likely open up ten new cans of worms in terms of balance. If everything scaled to max level in terms of gameplay and basic rewards (I'm talking gold rewards and greens, you can keep the best stuff for the current expansion), you might suddenly be dealing with issues like demon hunters being OP in Wintergrasp, Mists of Pandaria dailies being too rewarding compared to the ones in the latest expansion, or WoD's garrisons unbalancing the economy (again). And who wants to deal with any of that?

Still, I'll keep dreaming. The WoW team has shown a lot of growth in Dragonflight, including a willingness to step away from old paradigms. And I honestly think that the world in WoW is still great. There are so many fun things to do that new players will never even know about. I'm not expecting the game to completely change its stripes and suddenly care more about levelling than about endgame... but there are a lot of improvements that could be made even so.