Some fans disrupted a World of Warcraft Shadowlands question and answer panel at BlizzCon 2019 to voice their support of Hong Kong.
After appearing to have his question answered by the game’s developers, the BlizzCon attendee proceede to say, “Free Hong Kong, the revolution of our times”.
The phrase has been used by Hong Kong protesters and, most notably, by Hearthstone pro Wai Chung ‘blitzchung’ Ng. Blitzchung received international media attention after he was suspended for one year for wearing a gas mask and saying the phrase on-stream.
Immediately after the fan’s remarks at Blizzcon, before the very next person could even ask their question, another young fan, identified as Matan Evenoff, started chanting “Free Hong Kong” and marched towards the camera.
Matan Evenoff notably tricked the NBA into showing his pro-Hong Kong message on camera at basketball game in October.
Blizzard was met with a heavy backlash for deciding to suspend Bliztchung after saying the divisive phrase of “Liberate Hong Kong”. They later ended up reducing the suspension to six months and awarding him his prize money.
Blitzchung wore a gas mask during his post-game interview in support of the Hong Kong protesters.
To begin BlizzCon 2019, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack addressed the scandal and explained that the company “moved too quickly” with their punishments for the player.
Despite Blizzard trying to right the scandal, many, still see Blizzard’s initial reaction as them siding with communist China instead of the people of Hong Kong.
Protesters have also been handing out pro-Hong Kong pamphlets outside of the entrance to BlizzCon detailing information about why the protests are happening and Blizzard’s perceived censorship.
— Lorena :heartpulse::purple_heart::blue_heart: @ Blizzcon (@Lorie_O) November 2, 2019
Deciding not to show the youngster who interrupted the panel is nothing new. In live sports, for instance, the camera will cut away if a fan runs onto the field. This is done to discourage copycats and to avoid giving streakers a platform.
Still, letting the kid have the microphone to voice his support of Hong Kong was an interesting touch. It’s unclear if Blizzard employees were trained to act in this manner in the event of pro-Hong Kong demonstrations at the event.
World of Warcraft has been taking players on amazing adventures to distant lands for 16 years. We’ve taken down Onyxia, accidentally rediscovered Pandaria, defeated the Legion army, and are now peeling back the veil between life and death itself in Shadowlands.
Admittedly there have been some ups and downs with WoW –Warlords of Draenor was panned by fans because it lacked content – but for the most part, these expansions have been consistently good.
However, what is the best WoW expansion, and where does Shadowlands – the latest release – rank?
Here’s our top five.
5. Mists of Pandaria
Halfmoon Hill is where you begin your journey as a budding farmer in Halfmoon Hill.
While not considered the most revolutionary of expansions, Mists of Pandaria still deserves a mention. With an incredible atmosphere and an immersive story, MoP really was something to behold.
The Vale’s daily quests differentiated over time and working towards getting the Cloud Serpent mount through completing Serpent dailies was a rewarding experience.
The Siege of Orgrimmar was too long, though, and that has held it back from being higher up in this ranking. However, the plot itself was incredibly emotive and gripping, with feelings of hatred towards Garrosh brewing as you played through the raid.
Mists of Pandaria also introduced a cool feature that hasn’t been revisited since, which is a shame. The Tillers, ran by Father Yoon in Halfhill, gave players the chance to build their own farm – who didn’t enjoy having a quiet moment at Sunsong Farm?
Growing harvests and reaping the rewards was wonderful, and was the closest thing players have ever had to their own WoW homestead.
Ardenweald is truly a sight to behold in the latest expansion.
Even though it’s early days for Shadowlands, WoW’s latest expansion deserves to be recognized as one of the best. As with Mists of Pandaria, it’s not a revolutionary addition, but it brings players more of what they love.
More importantly, it actively attempts to move on from and rectify many of the long-term issues that Battle for Azeroth had; such as the Heart of Azeroth skill problems, Warfronts, and Island Expeditions. These elements missed the mark, making BfA a grind with little reward for your efforts.
Backpedaling on lots of the features introduced in BfA, or improving upon them, Shadowlands has brought WoW out of its two-year funk. With a focus on player agency, choice, and customization, it’s beginning to feel that we have the freedom to create what we truly want, while covenants and their class-specific skills are a popular addition.
WoW is still a relatively linear experience, so there’s definitely a lot of room to grow, and as time progresses, the expansion can go one of two ways; it will be interesting to see if it moves up or down in our rankings in the coming months and years.
Legion saw players explore ancient, otherworldly shattered isles while they battled Sargeras.
By far one of the better expansions of the past six years, Legion took us to the Maelstrom’s Broken Isles. While the theme of an apocalyptic event looming over Azeroth isn’t something that’s particularly fresh, Legion’s content was handled wonderfully well.
With class-halls, fantastic invasions (large, group-instanced events) that were found all over the open-world, and one of the best storytelling campaigns in modern World of Warcraft, Legion deserves to be high on this list.
The class halls felt unique to every player, and really fit in with that class fantasy: Rogues’ class hall was hidden behind a secret bookcase that descended into the Underbelly of Dalaran with dark, damp sewers that evoked a feeling of Skyrim’s Thieves Guild. You were able to wield Legendary weapons that are featured in Warcraft lore; making you truly feel like a powerful hero set on toppling a world-ending threat.
Storylines involved big characters in the WoW universe, including Sargeras’ Burning Legion which previously featured heavily in The Burning Crusade.
The game’s second Hero class, Demon Hunters, was also introduced along with their own storyline to progress through. A class type we hadn’t seen since WotLK, Demon Hunters provided a fantastic DPS and tank-capable class with enormous survivability – ideal for any returning or new player.
2. Wrath of the Lich King
The Frozen Throne is featured in Lich King and Shadowlands.
WoW’s second expansion is also our second best! In this fantastic follow-on from The Burning Crusade you’re tasked with stopping the titular character wreaking havoc over the world as undead minions advance into the far corners of Azeroth.
Wrath also saw the launch of World of Warcraft’s first ‘Hero Class’, The Death Knight. Starting in Acherus, The Ebon Hold, this unique introductory area is different from any other class experience. Playable as either a tank or DPS, this shieldless, two-handed weapon class has fantastic survivability through auto-healing.
It also holds a special place in fan’s hearts for actively leaning on Warcraft 3’s lore, with Arthas Menethil taking center stage in the plotline as players got the chance to stand up against him. Uldar and Trial of The Crusader are some of the most memorable raids in WoW history, with a general consensus of players fondly remembering these iconic moments.
1. The Burning Crusade
Now the oldest part of the WoW’s game world, Silvermoon still manages to hold its own.
Taking the number one spot is Blizzard’s first expansion, The Burning Crusade. Released in January 2007, World of Warcraft’s original expansion is the best addition yet.
This isn’t just for nostalgic reasons – yes, memories become more rose-tinted over time, but no WoW fan will forget that amazing feeling the first time they walked through that dark portal into the Hellfire Peninsula.
Introducing arguably the most popular race today in WoW, the Sin’dorei Blood Elves became playable in the Horde alliance for the first time. Along with the alien race of the Draenei for the Alliance, The Burning Crusade really expanded the fantasy and customization with these additions – something that’s still growing today.
As well as new races, it introduced the jewel crafting profession and we also finally received the much-needed flying ability. A whole host of extra features that are still around today made their debut, too, including daily quests, arenas, and the ability to reduce the number of players in a raid.
TBC added the freshest content and changes of all of the expansions to date, and it deserves to be remembered as the best WoW expansion yet.