I was too amused by my hopping to actually contribute to combat.
I was too amused by my hopping to actually contribute to combat.
Warlords of Draenor has been out for a few weeks. I’ve been waiting to make a proper post about it in general until I got some time with it. I think there’s been enough time. This isn’t meant to be comprehensive on every aspect of the expansion, but it does cover my general thoughts.
Questing and Story
Loved it. I know a lot of people were confused by the alternate timeline, but it didn’t seem confusing to me. Then again, I’ve also read WoW books that contained multiple timelines. This isn’t anything new to WoW. The quests feel really immersive and important. Not everything is incredible, but I didn’t feel like the quests were a grind like they were in the past. It seems like Blizzard just keeps getting better and better at this.
The introduction through Tanaan Jungle is exciting and sets the stage for the expansion. Frostfire Ridge was simply amazing; maybe my eyes watered at the end. Maybe. Although to be fair, that tends to happen something seems really awesome to me, so all three zone cinematics did that to me. Looking back on Gorgrond, it doesn’t stand out in my mind, but I enjoyed it while I was questing through it. Talador dragged a little, but it was still fun, and I enjoyed the cinematic a bunch. Yrel makes me want not only to play Alliance but also to play as a dranei specifically. Spires of Arak definitely takes a detour from the Iron Horde story, but I found it extremely fascinating to learn about the gods of the arakkoa. The culmination in Nagrand was terrific. The mood of the last cutscene… wow.
Garrisons were engaging right from the start, but they also took the most researching I think. It was a brand new mechanic with a lot of choices. Luckily wowhead had some great guides. The missions are a fun bit of minigame, but more importantly, the garrison system as a whole makes me feel powerful and important. I still have a couple buildings that aren’t level 3 yet, but they should be done very soon.
Professions and General Ease of Use
Choosing the right profession is less important than it was previously, and I like that. There’s still something to gain by choosing a specific profession, but none feels like a requirement. I’m an enchanter and miner, and I chose the Enchanter’s Study and Engineering Works as my profession buildings. I like being able to dabble in the other professions. Being able to level everything in Draenor seems like a cool change, although I wasn’t behind in professions, so I don’t know how well it worked. I’ve also enjoying fishing with the baits, three different sizes, and garrison daily.
Dungeons and Heroics
Dungeons were fairly interesting, and I haven’t learned to hate any of them yet. Healing them was a little challenging at first but no where near the difficulty of Cataclysm.
Auchindoun – Not particularly memorable, which is a little sad considering it was a cool place in BC.
Bloodmaul Slag Mines – Interesting place. I like the aesthetic.
The Everbloom – I don’t know. Sometimes I found it a tad annoying because it felt like it was spread out, but it’s not bothering me much now. Come to think of it, maybe now that groups always skip trash makes it better!
Skyreach – I’ve probably done this least of all the dungeons. I feel like groups struggle with it more often.
Upper Blackrock Spire – This one was one of the more challenging dungeons at first – especially Zaela. Now that it’s fine, remembering how challenging it was makes me like it more.
Shadowmoon Burial Grounds – This is a gorgeous dungeon, and it makes me want to see the Alliance story in Shadowmoon Valley.
Iron Docks – This dungeon sounded super cool, and I was excited to see it. I like that kind of rough technology in the setting, so I was expecting to find it amazing. It’s a fine dungeon, but it’s disappointing in that you’re not really interacting with the ships much.
Grimrail Depot – This is another one that I thought was going to be amazing because of the technology. And yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The second boss was really difficult for a while, but groups seem to have it now.
I think the most important thing about heroics is that they don’t seem as vital. All of my gear is now the ilvl of heroic dungeons or better, and you don’t need to do a daily heroic for valor when there isn’t valor. They’re not getting over-used, so I haven’t grown to hate them.
I’ve done the first wing of LFR and the first two bosses of normal Highmaul. Somehow they’ve made LFR even easier. I suppose I like that. I know LFR was easy before, but that just made it all the more frustrating when groups couldn’t do it. If you did know what you were doing, it didn’t help others. I’m all for LFR being a cakewalk.
Normal, on the other hand, was surprising. I expected to get through a lot more than two bosses the first week, but maybe my expectations were just off. Thinking back to flex, there’s no way I would get only two bosses done in Siege of Orgrimmar, but we were also coming from the previous raid tier rather than gearing as new max-level characters. I didn’t think normal gear would be important, but it is. I’ll be curious to see how the next tier is done. I’m hoping that if you’re heroic geared, you can just step into Blackrock Foundry heroic without needing normal.
Max-level questing content came as a pleasant surprise. I’m actually enjoying the apexis dailies. In addition, the Garrison Campaign quests are very interesting. Staggering them out weekly is a superb idea too, because it ensures there’s more content spaced longer. I love it. On that subject, garrison invasions are pretty cool too and give additional content!
I’ll probably talk about PVP more in a different post, but I haven’t enjoyed PVP this much in a long time. I don’t understand every little bit of Ashran, but I have great time in there. The Gladiator’s Sanctum is a superb source of honor, conquest, and PVP gear, and the Nemesis quests that reward you with a title for each race of which you kill 500 is awesome. The Highmaul Coliseum is really awesome too. Now that battlegrounds drop lockboxes, it actually pushes groups to try to do well even when they’re going to lose. Having a set of PVP gear lower than honor gear that can be obtained randomly makes entry even easier. In addition, it’s more fun; who doesn’t like upgrades?
All said, I’m incredibly happy with Warlords of Draenor. It’s my favorite expansion yet.
Patch 6.0.2, The Iron Tide, brought a number of changes and a bit of new content.
Iron Horde Invasion
The Dark Portal turns red, and the Iron Horde begins to attack. The Horde and Alliance settlements in the Blasted Lands fall, and we’re tasked with cleaning up. It was interesting, but it seemed to lack zest. It was just a bit anti-climatic. I never really got the feeling that we were in much danger. The questline did more to introduce mechanic changes than anything else. For example, quest objectives are clearly marked on the map and are outlined differently in the world. This includes locations that are targets for items; instead of going to where you think you need to plant a flag and clicking it, you right-click the outline of a flag. I like it. Still, I would have liked the event to feel more important. I think what I liked most was Thrall’s new model. He’s finally integrating the aspects of being a shaman and a warrior. Awesome.
Updated character models
I didn’t care previously, and I still don’t think this is a big deal. I’m looking at numbers. I’m watching health and mana, looking at buffs and debuffs, and tracking adds. I’m not looking at my cloak. At first, I certainly did. My troll runs stupidly. Honestly it seems normal now though.
Upper Blackrock Spire
It’s much more straight-forward, but it didn’t seem like it was anything special either. I suppose that could make sense because it’s only the first half, but why show us the first half if the first half isn’t awesome?
Flexible raids are great. Losing Renew and Void Shift sucks. Having to choose between Spirit Shell and Power Infusion sucks. Losing Heal wasn’t a big deal.
Now we’re even more OP in earlier content. That’s cool.
Void Storage and Toy Box
Oh, goodness. This was awesome. With a whole new Void Storage tab and the nifty Toy Box, I actually have free bag space again, allowing me to go do past raids for transmog. It’s wonderful. I don’t understand why they didn’t try to patch this in a couple months ago so we could actually do something in WoW. I can’t say enough good about this, although I know I’m going to fill it up soon. Mmmm old tier sets.
What have I done in the patch? I did the questline and UBRS of course. Besides that, I’ve mainly been going after old tier sets. That’s what I was doing months and months ago before I filled up all my bags, so it’s nice to be able to continue it again. I also got my heroic Siege of Orgrimmar heirloom – the staff. Unfortunately, I was hoping for the mace or offhand. The mace is shaped like a Horde symbol, and the offhand is a book with the Horde symbol on the cover. Maybe I’ll get one of them in normal mode!
A few weeks ago, Zaghar, my guildmate, suggested we run Challenge Mode dungeons to get silvers for the mount before the first season of CMs ended with the completion of Mists of Pandaria. I’d been wanting to do CMs mostly for the, well, challenge of it. We’ve been running them when we had the chance. I wish we had started earlier because they’re a lot of fun.
Is that a second Devee in the picture? No, it’s just Mooglegem.
I really enjoy how Challenge Mode dungeons greatly reduce the role of gear and tests group skill. In Warlords of Draenor, I think I’d like to try Challenge Mode dungeons earlier so I could aim for golds. However, I have to be honest that I’m not sure how much time I can truly devote to the game. I doubt I can seriously focus on CMs and raiding.
gem and I both chose Violet Pandaren Phoenixes as our rewards! Of course, soon we’ll have all of them when the patch lands.
It’s been a while since I posted, but what kind of WoW blogger would I be if I didn’t talk about this cinematic? Like most of Blizzard’s lore-rich trailers, this really got me excited. I enjoyed the fact that in both the original timeline and the Warlords of Draenor timeline, Grom gets to kill Mannoroth. I also particularly like Garrosh saving him. And Grom’s last lines? “We will never be slaves. But we will be conquerors.” That’s a terrific line, especially the pause between sentences.
Not all of the dungeons jumped out at me, but two really did – the Iron Docks and Grimrail Depot. I guess I like industrialism, but how could you not like Grimrail Depot? Part of it is actually on a train. Now I realize that when it comes to gameplay, it’ll all likely feel the same. Similarly, the idea of fighting on Deathwing’s back was really cool, but when it comes time to do it, I’m so focused on mechanics and numbers that it feels the same. Still, I really like this.
Image courtesy of the @Warcraft Twitter account.
The 10th anniversary event sounds cool too. Tarren Mill vs Southshore is a great PVP throwback, and I’m super interested to see a deathmatch-style battleground. All I really want to do when I PVP is fight, so why has it taken so long to get a deathmatch battleground? Temple of Kotmogu is close. I’ll be curious to see what this is like.
Molten Core is also a pretty iconic raid to reinvigorate also. It’s a 40-man LFR, so everyone at endgame should be able to see it easily. And a Molten Corgi? Adorable.
My only issue is that it’s for max level characters. Warlords of Draenor drops 11/13/14, and the anniversary event starts within a week and a half or so. Does that mean we’ll need to rush to level 100?
@Celestalon Hey celestalon when warlords hit are we going to be in a rush to get to lvl 100 for the anniversary? because it seems like it
— carl christopher hal (@yeulx) August 15, 2014
@yeulx Nope. You will have plenty of time. Stay tuned for more precise dates.
— Celestalon (@Celestalon) August 15, 2014
We’ll have more details on raid release timing, 10th Anniversary event duration, etc., soon. But don’t worry, we don’t want to rush you.
— Watcher (@WatcherDev) August 14, 2014
They claim we won’t. I hope they’re right!
Last week, I finished Duskwood on Sleepypaw. I like dark, creepy aesthetic to the zone, but I really disliked the trees. They looked nice, but I got tired of having my camera go past the trees. Blizzard might not realize it, but I like seeing my character and the enemies around me, not leaves. Why don’t the leaves go transparent if they’re between the camera and the player’s character?
Duskwood was a very Worgen-filled zone, and I enjoyed learning about the various characters – a war hero who comes home to devastation, a brother with a secret, and a who struggles to hold onto his mind.
Friday night was our dungeon night. First we did Uldaman, which went rather smoothly. Next up we did Scholomance. I like that dungeon quite a bit, but I realized that it’s unfortunately Lilian Voss doesn’t mean much to players who haven’t seen the Forsaken starting area. She’s a fantastic character. Finally, we ventured into Dire Maul. We started with the Warpwood Quarter, which went decently even if it’s a bit of a sprawling mess.
We ended the night with the Gordok Commons. This is a wonderful dungeon because it actually gives choices that effect the way the dungeon is completed. In this way, it’s probably the closest bit of WoW to Dungeons & Dragons. We killed Guard Mol’dar without really thinking about it. Whoops. Stomper Kreeg hung out drunk in the corner, and we didn’t bother him. One out of two so far. Guard Fengus got pulled by accident, so we killed him. One out of three. Guard Slip’kik went similarly. One out of four. I’m happy to report that we weren’t too dumb for the Gordok Ogre Suit, so we did manage to get past Captain Kromcrush. Two out of five. We left Cho’Rush the Observer alive while we killed King Gordok. Three out of six. I guess it could have been worse. I’d be interested in trying again with the group next week if we’re still in the same level range.
Sleepypaw, my Tushui pandaren monk, joined my friends’ guild, Olio de Oliva. Friday we ran some dungeons, and I had a lot of fun. This is the same group with whom I sometimes play World of Tanks (and blog about at Polygons and Pixels) and Dungeons & Dragons (and blog about at WebPageless). They’re a much more casual guild than Carpe Flux Capacitor, so it was fun to experience the game a bit differently and more like I did when I first started playing.
On my main, I ran each dungeon in Mists of Pandaria once for the story. At max level, I ran them for gear, and the goal was to get through them as fast as possible. With Olio de Oliva, we were just having fun running dungeons. It was nice to enjoy things at a slower pace. I do hope I wasn’t annoying though. I couldn’t help but chime in with additional information or instruction. Some of the players have been playing for a while, but some were quite new.
We ran Scarlet Halls, Scarlet Monastery, Razorfen Kraul, and Maraudon (my least favorite dungeon – ugh). Because we had more than five people online, we rotated. That was also really nice. Don’t get me wrong – I love raiding – but being bale to take a 20-30 minute break in the middle of group play is pretty nice. As we tried to make the groups work for different player rotations, we realized it’d be easier if I could tank as well. I tanked a little as a blood DK back in Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, but it had definitely been a while. Sleepypaw was 30, so he just gained the ability to dual spec, so I picked up brewmaster. I spent a few minutes reading tooltips and arranging abilities, and then we bounded into a dungeon – Scarlet Monastery. It was confusing, and I was really unsure of myself. I kept asking if I was doing alright, but I seemed to be holding aggro. I had trouble with a couple abilities too. I kept not being at minimum range or not having enough chi. Eventually I think I understood when to use my different abilities.
Doing dungeons with a group of friends made me feel really nostalgic. It was an aspect of the game that I had been missing for a while. It was also pretty exciting tanking. Brewmaster seems like a fun spec. I’m also still enjoying seeing the Alliance side of the game!