Thursday, November 13, 2014

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor, the newest expansion for World of Warcraft, came out this morning. For every other expansion for the game I've taken time off of work and I've worked to set my sleep schedule such that I would be ready to go right when the servers opened and could play all day long. This time around I did no such thing. I didn't need to take time off work since I'm unemployed and I didn't see any reason to play the second the doors opened. So I didn't set an alarm and I just got up when I woke up normally. In this case it happened that I woke up 2 hours after the expansion went live, which actually turned out to be a pretty good time to play. I missed the big rush of people going right at the start so I didn't have to worry about fighting for quest items and the like, and the servers weren't overwhelmed, but there were still enough people around to make the world feel populated.

I think a big part of why I didn't feel the need to get up right away was the removal of the realm first achievements. I definitely would have felt the need to try to defend my blacksmithing title, and while I am sad they took them out and I couldn't try for it I'm also happy that I didn't need to worry about it and could just relax and do my thing. So I was able to pet battle, and fish, and dig up artifacts instead of being all in on gathering/buying ore.

By later in the day the large number of people trying to play started causing issues. Most realms had to put up a log in queue and world servers were sporadically getting overwhelmed and crashing. But compared to any other game's launch... Smooth as silk.

The game itself is fantastic. They've put in a fair number of cinematics (at least thus far... I've only done one zone!) and the quest chains really flow well. And something as simple as making quest rewards have a chance to upgrade themselves is really interesting. Sure, you probably don't need that green item... But it could be purple! And you won't find out until you do the quest!

Garrisons are everything I'd hoped they'd be, and maybe even more. Getting followers as quest rewards out in the world is really cool. You do some quests for someone, help them out in some way, and they decide you're awesome and head to your town to help you out in return. And those followers follow the same loot upgrade system so random people will end up being purple for me when they're just green for you.

I did some dungeons with random groups of people. Queueing as DPS was a 40 minute way so I went and tanked instead for the instant pop. I haven't tanked in two years, and a lot of the buttons have changed, and my gear is entirely DPS focused. Didn't matter. Maybe it's just really easy. Maybe I'm awesome. Who knows? I had fun and one of the healers complimented me after the run so that was nice.

Anyway, after one day of playing I can heartily endorse picking this expansion up. It's tons of fun. And it would be even more fun with more people playing!

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