But the system offers a painful and mindless grind. At worst, it feels like a cheap and artificial wall blocking you from playing your character to its full potential. Levels of your heart come fast at first, but the costs become prohibitive when you get up into level 20 or so. This wouldn’t be an issue if the most powerful Azerite gear didn’t require reaching level 22 to unlock even 75 percent of their full damage, leaving players left out of features from gear they’ve already collected. This means more grinding.
It’s a good thing that the previous expansion, Legion, was the best in the game’s history because Battle for Azeroth is coasting on its success. The major class redesigns that happened then remain in effect (though some are a little worse, and some a little better), and the combination of World Quests and Mythic+ dungeons means there’s always something to do, no matter your skill level or how long you can play.
For collecting artifact power to level up your Heart of Azeroth necklace, island expeditions are unbeatable. There’s a weekly Azerite goal that you need to meet through the expeditions, and when you do, you’ll be awarded 2500 artifact power. There’s a small chance that you’ll get weapons from completing expeditions too, but they’re not a reliable source of gear.
But compare that with BfA's lackluster prepatch. Last week, players' uber-powerful Artifact weapons, which they had spent the entire Legion expansion building up, abruptly burnt out with no in-game explanation, no storyline, no quest, no Dad jokes from Khadgar, just a line of text on the Artifact screen saying they had been sacrificed to help stop the destruction of the world--part of the ending quests for Legion.
Players who were around during Mists of Pandaria might recall a dungeon mode called Scenarios, which involved teams of three players instead of the traditional five. Island Expeditions bring a similar feel, with groups being tasked with plundering treasure off various islands. Your team faces off against other players or AI-controlled characters from the opposing faction and whoever can collect the most treasure, or "Azerite," wins.
Anyway, there are no more shortcuts. There are no more "Tricks". It's just straight questing now since Blizzard nerfed other methods of leveling. You can still do dungeon spam, it just won't be as fast. You can still do BGs, it just won't be as fast. Just about the only alternative way to level that rivals questing is Pet Battles(which makes ZERO sense).
The expansion is set immediately after the events of Legion. Two continents have been added within the Great Sea between the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor: Kul Tiras, one of the major human kingdoms, and Zandalar, the homeland of Azeroth's trolls. While the Alliance and Horde will initially travel to one continent respectively, both continents will be available to both factions at level 120.
Most heirlooms only work in a limited level range in their default form and must be upgraded to work at higher levels. That costs gold, and you’ll need around 30,000 gold to outfit yourself with a fully upgraded set (counting only those that give you bonus experience). You may need to spend some time on a boosted character to acquire the gold you need to outfit another character with heirlooms, but it’s well worth the effort.
Eventually, the Alliance finishes its preparations and launches an attack on the Zadalari capital of Dazar'zalor, their goal being to sever the budding alliance between the Zandalari and the Horde by dismantling the Golden Fleet and capturing King Rastakhan. Despite Anduin and Jaina's desire to capture him alive, Rastakhan is overwhelmed by the power of his pact with the Loa Bwonsamdi, and the Alliance champions are forced to slay him. Enraged by Rastakhan's death, Horde champions launch a vicious counterattack on the withdrawing Alliance forces, which ends with both Jaina and High Tinkerer Mettatorque gravely wounded. As the Alliance leadership debates their next move, Sylvanas, infuriated by the Horde's defeat, resurrects Jaina's long dead brother Derek Proudmoore as a Forsaken, an act that horrifies the surviving Horde leaders, with the intent to use him as a sleeper agent to destroy the Proudmoore family from within.
Players’ relationships with the NPCs around them have been hit-and-miss over the years. One of the original issues with Thrall, the Horde’s original Warchief, is that players began to refer to him as “green Jesus,” because of how infinitely powerful and infallible he was. But he’s been gone since the Warlord of Draenor expansion, and with the death of Varian Wrynn and Vol’Jin at the start of Legion, the old guard hasn’t been there to guide players the same way as it used to be.