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!
When the servers went down early Tuesday morning, it was effectively the end of Mists of Pandaria. When they come back online, we’ll be starting Warlords of Draenor even if the expansion hasn’t actually released.
I enjoyed this expansion. Unlike some people, I had no problem with the setting. It was beautiful, the story of the sha was original, and I liked both the Alliance and the Horde’s character development. Yeah, it would have been better if we didn’t know Garrosh was going to be the end boss, and the expansion had a couple problems such as too many dailies and the feeling that LFR and flex were both requires for normal mode raiders.
As a healer, I found scenarios boring. However, I discovered Proving Grounds and Challenge Mode dungeons too late in the expansion. Of course I knew they existed, but I wish I cared about them earlier. I didn’t even touch the Brawler’s Guild unfortunately.
I’m obviously excited for Warlords of Draenor, but I’ll admit, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. I keep busy, and as much as I do love raiding, I’m not looking forward to the time sink.
On Sunday, I finished earning silvers in the Challenge Mode dungeons. Monday night I spent my currencies, and then Mooglegem and I said our goodbyes to the Kor’kron. I know they were the bad guys this expansion, but they weren’t always that way. They were once the elite soldiers and guards, and this blog is named after them. I’m kind of sad to see them go entirely.
Here we are with a couple more Kor’kron.
And finally, a ton of Kor’kron! Woo! I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this spot immediately.
Next I decided to visit the Dark Portal while it was still green.
Obviously I was not alone in this endeavor. Lots of other Horde were here along with a few Alliance as well. Why the one or two Alliance members that came decided to try to engage in PVP, I’ll never know.
What’s that? A line of Sea Turtles, jumping into their shells? Count me in! I know it seems silly, but this type of thing is one of the best aspects of MMOs. This isn’t part of the planned content. Visiting the Dark Portal after the patch might be, and coming here to quest is, sure. But everyone coming together to chat, emote, use fun items, and celebrate might be expected but it was not planned content. It was just a bunch of players having fun. I love it.
When the server’s come back online, these same players will be ready to stop the Iron Horde!
The last time I wrote about Voidgazer’s questing, I had just finished Silverpine Forest. That was months ago, and I got a lot further now. Note that I’ll be talking about my opinion of the zones in this post, so there will be spoilers for many Cataclysm low-level zones in Eastern Kingdoms.
In Hillsbrad Foothills, I particularly liked the quest to be a quest giver myself. I sent Dumass napping because he wouldn’t be able to do much else.
I sent the mighty Kingslayer Orkus to Southshore. He’s a great character. It’s too bad I didn’t do this quest at the beginning of Cataclysm instead of the end of Mists of Pandaria.
Lastly, I sent Johnny Awesome, decked out in full heirlooms, to the Sludge Fields. These three characters really to represent three major cliches of character types. There’s the newbie, the high-level character who’s overly proud, and the alt who is really awesome (on his other toon).
We also get to see Drek’Thar. I don’t remember seeing him in declining health in the game, but I might have missed his presence somewhere. I knew he was getting older and his health was slipping from the novels, but it’s always cool to see these things reflected in the game.
I didn’t really feel like the Arathi Highlands were memorable. Similarly, I remember what happens in the Hinterlands but only because it’s annoying. It feels like you’re done with the enemy troll hub like five or six times. “Good job. You really cleared them all out of there! They’re all defeated! …Okay, now go back in there and…” The zone moved at a snail’s pace. Looking back on them now, the problem with these two zones might simply be that they come right after the excellent storytelling of the Forsaken-centered zones.
I happily got back to the great zones when I was sent to Western Plaguelands. Koltira is a fascinating character with his interactions with Thassarian, his Alliance counterpart. Too bad Sylvanas doesn’t seem to like him as much as I do. I look forward to hearing his story unfold more in the future.
In the Eastern Plaguelands, you join a caravan that slowly moves through the zones as you progress in the quests. It’s actually similar to Vashj’ir, only fun. As you progress, more people join the caravan. While none of them made an impression in my mind deep enough to cause me to remember their names or specific details, it was fun to watch their interactions through the zone.
There was a drop in quality when traveling to the Badlands although I still enjoyed it. In this zone, players deal with attempts by the red dragonflight to save the black dragonflight. Deathwing doesn’t seem too happy.
We also get to learn all about the day that Deathwing came and what really happened as a small group of friends tell stories and argues about who got it right. Martek the Exiled told me all about his flying motorcycle and the hot babe who rode with him.
The Searing Gorge wasn’t as compelling as the Forsaken zones, but it had its moments. Lunk, the pacifist ogre, makes for some good comic-relief. It turns out you can be quite effective without killing – if you’re huge.
The zone also contained the fun quests about stealing the pillows from the Dark Iron that I wrote about previously.
By the time I reached the Burning Steppes, I was getting anxious to finish the content. The zone deals with stopping the Blackrock Clan’s impending invasion of Redridge Mountains. I’m glad I did some questing on my Alliance character before reaching this zone because it gave me a bit of understanding of the Alliance’s struggle against the Blackrock orcs. It was nice to see Eitrigg and his son, Ariok, working to stop them.
Screwing with the leaders of the orc clan was fun as well.
The Swamp of Sorrows was a short zone that didn’t seem very eventful. However, this reference to Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple brought a quick smile to my face.
Finally, I reached the Blasted Lands where I spent time completing quests of questionable ethics against the Alliance as well as fighting some demons. With everything concluded nicely, it’s time for Voidgazer to step through the Dark Portal to Outland!
Or, it would be if I intended to play him more. For now, his story is finished.
Warlords of Draenor sounds very cool and seems to be bringing a lot of great things. I don’t intend for this post to rehash all the news released at BlizzCon, but I still want to talk about my reaction.
I love the direction of the story; Garrosh escapes and, with the help of the Timewalker Kairoz, travels back in time to Draenor. He stops the orcs from becoming corrupted by the Burning Legion and forms the Iron Horde. He then builds his own Dark Portal connecting that Draenor to our Azeroth. I know that anything relating to time travel can be confusing to people, but I kind of like that Blizzard basically told us not to worry about it and that there wouldn’t be any time paradoxes or consequences. I like it. It’s just an excuse for us to visit Draenor and interact with all the old orcs. Of course, this gives us a lot of potential. Seeing ruthless, old-fashioned orcs should be fun, and of course, experiencing Draenor will be great.
It could also be a vehicle for some interesting character development. What if Garrosh finds his father’s not what he expected? What if Grom thinks Garrosh is a failure? It’ll be fascinating. I also think Blizzard has a chance to do something great with Thrall. Thrall never had the chance to know his parents. We know Durotan is going to side with our Horde, but what if he’s different than Thrall imagined? Even if he’s a good guy, what if he’s still ruthless? What if he thinks the Horde is too soft? In addition, some characters could stick around after the end of the expansion. For example, Durotan could come through the Dark Portal to live on Azeroth.
I’m also fascinated by the idea of circumstance shaping a person, and I hope Warlords of Draenor examines this. I’d like to see some characters act very differently than they did in the original timeline due to the changed events in their lives.
Stats and itemization
Hit was always a boring stat to me. There was no strategy or choice. You just had to get hit-capped. I’m glad to see it and its fellow not-fun stats removed. Movement speed could be a fun stat on gear as well. Plus, being able to move quickly and get back to DPSing or healing means a DPS/HPS boost.
Having gear change to match the wearer’s current spec is very interesting. It means you can use more gear but that there’s more competition. Ultimately, I think it’ll make the game much more offspec-friendly.
Reforging seemed more needless than useful. On the other hand, it is nice to be able to change from a haste build to a crit build without changing gear. I almost feel like it would work better like changing specs. When you’re out of combat, you can could change builds. Oh well. We’ll have to see what it’s like for gems and enchants to be less common as well.
Garrisons are effectively the Sunsong Ranch farm crossed with the companion mission system of TOR (or other games) with a dash of Warcraft RTS. Sounds intriguing. I liked the farm even though it felt like a grind at times, so I’m optimistic about this. Honestly, it’s more of an evolution of the idea of keeps and followers from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It could be pretty fun.
Updated character models
Honestly, I don’t really care about this. I don’t understand it. My character is a pretty portion of my screen. When I play D&D, my representation is, at most, a small metal figure that isn’t even using an accurate weapon half the time. However, a lot of people do care, so I’m glad Blizzard’s doing it.
Boost to 90
I completely understand how some people are bothered by this, but I’m not at all. I’ve never had two characters at the level cap. With the character boost, I’m more likely to get a second to level 100. It’d be nice to check out some other styles of play, because I’ve only ever had my priest at endgame. In addition, being able to boost to 90 combined with updated character models mean that people who haven’t played WoW before can immediately begin playing what is effectively a new, modern game. That’s great.
Collections and quest items
These might be my favorite changes. Currently, mounts and pets are in collections rather than items. In Warlords of Draenor, toys, heirlooms, and possibly tabards will be in collections as well. That’s so much bag space I’ll be regaining. In addition, quest items won’t take up bag space. Finally. I’m pretty excited. The only downside is that I lost all those toys I earned previously. Maybe Blizzard could check that I did those quests and award me the toys. Please, Blizzard?
LFR is still LFR. Flex will be called Normal. Normal will be called Heroic. Heroic will be called Mythic. LFR, Normal, and Heroic will all be flexible (1o to 25 people) and cross-realm. Mythic will not be cross-realm and will be 20 people. As a normal-mode raider currently (so a heroic-mode raider next expansion) in a guild that struggles with attendance, this is great news. We recruit so we have 15-20 people, and then we take everyone every week. Awesome! I do feel bad for current 10-man heroic guilds, but it won’t be my problem at least.
Dailies and dynamic events
Dailies will not be widely used. Great. Dynamic events like those from the Timeless Isle will exist in the world. Also great if not overdone. In addition, they talked about wanting to combine the ideas behind the Isle of Thunder and the Timeless Isle. I think Blizzard is on to something, and I like to see them iterating on the way content is delivered. A combination of these two is exactly what I want.
The map will tell you where the next story quest is, and it also indicates how many story chapters you’ve completed. This is awesome news. In Mists of Pandaria, I finished all the zones before I started raiding, and I only did a dungeon once I got to it in the story. It made for a nice, cohesive experience, but it also meant I took longer to get raid-ready. In Warlords of Draenor, I’ll skip all the non-story quests and come back to them. This should speed up the process significantly.
PVP interface updates
I don’t know how anyone could have a problem with being able to see capping progress on the map and on the flags themselves. This is a welcome change.
Warlords of Draenor
I’m pretty excited about all the aspects of the expansion. I’ll admit, things could go wrong. The quests could be boring, or the new content delivery mechanisms could be boring. I won’t know until I see the content. But I’m feeling hyped to experience it. Of course, I’d like to defeat Garrosh in normal-mode first!