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.