In World of Warcraft’s latest expansion, there is a new currency that players need to collect called Anima. There are many story reasons for why this resource is really scarce and as a result, we have to eke out scraps to try and help our covenants to reinvigorate their planes. At times it feels great. The first time you get the Anima conductor of your region active and feed a stream of Anima back into the world, there is an actual effect on the world around you. It feels like you are doing something, like you are helping or changing the lives (er afterlives) of everyone there.
The first problems come to light when you look at the mission table and the cost of healing your various companions so that they can go out and fight again. Channelling enough Anima to make a notable change in a zone? 25 Anima. Sending troops out on a mission costs 10 to 50ish Anima. Healing those same troops? 800. So one hurt soul/person requires more than several hectares of a plane? Sounds fishy to me.
Sadly, and this might be a problem with scope, is that the healing process has stopped at channelling Anima and a few upgrades around the covenant hub. Now Anima has become a currency for buying mounts or recoloured transmogs of armour and weapons. And the prices make no sense here, but on a much grander scale. Remember when the game tried to convince you that Anima was really scarce and that whole groves of souls were being culled to prevent the entire system from collapsing in Ardenweald? Well, too bad, because as a player you can’t help to keep a few souls nourished. Instead, we hoard the stuff to buy a mount for 5,000 Anima. Yep five THOUSAND. That is enough to channel into the entire Anima network 200 times over. And there is more than one mount, and the pieces of gear are at a similar magnitude.
If the game had at some point explained that some massive forge needed to be powered to make me my shiny transmog armour, or that the anima is taken and used elsewhere, like to improve the life of citizens of the Shadowlands, I would feel better. Hell, if you told me all my anima from buying a mount went to, say, making Stewards little moth kites so that they can feel like they fly while they don’t work on weekends (are there weekends in the Shadowlands?), I would be a bit happier. Or punch us in the gut and tell us that fixing the Shadowlands would require billions of Anima and we have no hope of doing it alone.
The system is also flawed in that there is no easier way to get Anima now than there was in week one. In two expansions we had a multiplier that increased the amounts we got of the currencies we collected to keep our hungry artifact weapons growing in power, and to feed into our Azerite necklace. That multiplier isn’t around anymore, meaning you have to farm Anima for the sake of farming Anima.
Even on a best day, like finishing Castle Nathria and getting two massive quests full of Anima, a world boss kill and a bit more, I only deposited 3,000 and some change Anima on that day. A single mount is 5,000 and each weapon transmog is 3,500. So if I want everything? Guess I will be farming Anima forever, 35 Anima at a time.
Even dungeons and raids don’t offer you anything substantial. Raid boss? 35 Anima. Finished M10 in time? You guessed it, 35 Anima. If that number never goes up (and it hasn’t yet thanks to no catch-up multiplier), it means hundreds of world quests and raid clears to get everything.
The tools exist to make the change to Anima, from a simple multiplier to every Anima droplet we collect through to ways to farm significant amounts of the stuff in high-level content. The amount that world quests and bosses offer could be increased thanks to the major actions players have taken so far to secure the Shadowlands.
Or give us something else to do with Anima. If you told me I could make a permanent change to a zone by contributing Anima to a realm-wide project (think Gates of Ahn’Qiraj) I would much prefer to make things better for the souls that can’t do it for themselves, rather than storing up Anima to buy the purple version of the nice gold and blue armour I already have.
Basically, stop making me feel like the ultra-rich, wasting resources on fancy cars and high fashion while the poor around me starve, please.