First impressions

After four days of Warlords of Draenor (it’s been live for five, but only playable for four), my initial impression is that it is really fun but I am not sure how long it will remain so. Right now it’s a shiny new toy, but I can see where the weak seams and thin paint might soon give way. Time will tell if this expansion is the milk model or the wine one that engineers like to cite: wine improves with age, milk not so much.

Once Blizz got its customer overload problems somewhat fixed, I had a great time leveling my main hunter. I was going just for level, not achieves for now, and the process seemed to go very quickly. I didn’t keep exact track, but I think it took me about 30 hours or so. It would have gone faster except for the fact that inevitably every time I got about 3 bars from the next level I would run out of quests because somewhere along the line I skipped one that turned out to be the single link for about 40 follow on quests.

Note to Blizzard: A better quest tracking UI would help here, including the ability to get a popup that says something like “To receive a quest from this NPC you must have completed Umptyfratz Quest from Snagglebutt.” So I spent a LOT of time trying to backtrack and see what I missed.

Once I hit 100, I started to see how best to gear up, and I am only partly along on that at about 600, but expect to figure out the best paths for it in the next couple of days. I did jump into the Proving Grounds and had no problem getting Silver on the first try, so that is done. Blizz indicated awhile back that these PGs are more helpful and instructional than the level 90 ones were, but I didn’t see much of that. For DPS, it’s still a timed race, and the only real skill involved is knowing the difference between aoe and single target and which button is which. There seem to be an annoying number of those shield guys that require you to get behind them to attack. Also, if you do not have an instant and fairly quick-cooldown interrupt you are kind of hosed. On a hunter none of this is a problem. But it might be challenging for certain classes and specs — thinking Boomkin, for example, and to some extent any caster class that has no instants.

I did the first leg of the legendary quest and got my initial ring. It was ridiculously easy and quick, hardest part was the long DPS queue for the instance. I am now starting on the apexis crystal, etc. part.  I don’t feel much of a need to rush, though.

Garrisons. Overall, I like the idea and have so far had fun building mine. One thing, though, is that I am spending quite a bit more time on it than I expected. I kind of believed Blizz in their pre-xpac hype when they said you won’t have to spend as much time on garrisons as you did on Sunsong Ranch, there will be followers to do the work, etc. Baloney. Every day you still need to gather your ore, herbs, maybe fish but I haven’t really started that yet, pick up work orders and put in new ones, and manage your followers and their missions. And my garrison is still only Level 2. I am sure I am doing all this rather inefficiently, but even so I can see I could easily get overwhelmed with 8 Level 3 garrisons once I get my alts leveled.

Still, it’s fun. But back to my original point, which was is this milk or wine. Right now I am coming down on the side of milk. Once leveling and a certain amount of gearing is done, there does not seem to be a lot to keep me engaged in this world. I will likely become a Garrison rat, pretty much hunkering down there on my main and alts, emerging now and then to raid. And at the risk of starting a flame war, I have to say I am already annoyed with the no flying thing. I have had my immersion, thank you very much, it was nice for a while, scenery was beautiful, but now I am just grumpy when I have to use inefficient and convoluted taxi service followed by galloping for what seems a long trip through annoying mobs I have already killed time and time again, all to get to my destination. Maybe if the mobs at least dropped Garrison resources I would not mind so much, but as of now it is just annoying. Not fun. Not immersive. Annoying. And this is after leveling just one character, think how cranky I will be as I level 7 more alts.

One other thing I have found to be annoying, which I never really thought about in all the ramp up to the xpac: THERE ARE TOO DAMNED MANY MATS!! Really Blizz, come on. We do not need dozens of special crystals and species of fish and herbs and fur and pieces of each special crystal type and separate Garrison resources and who knows what else. It’s ridiculous. Blizz must have Microsoft stock because there is no other way to manage all this shit except with a fancy spreadsheet. Sheesh!

OK, rant over. I would be happy to hear your take on the xpac so far.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

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