Friday, August 1, 2008

A Look at Wrath of the Lich King

Writing this feels a bit like déjà vu for me, as the first article I ever wrote for NotAddicted was when I was in the beta for Burning Crusade. Go read that article if you missed it the first time around.

I'm not kidding. Go read it. It’s the "prequel" to this one.

The advice I gave everyone then is pretty much the exact same advice I’ll give everyone now. Go level an alt if it’s anything you’re interested in doing, and tell your raid group to fuck off and do the same until the expansion drops. Do dailies if they make you happy, but don’t spend gold on anything frivolous. No need to buy jewel crafting recipes anymore, or any of that shit. It’s all officially obsolete.

I myself recently had my main account banned, and lost my 70 prot warrior, 70 combat rogue, and 70 resto druid. At the time it happened I was totally okay with it, because I was getting pretty sick of the end game hassle. I was in a similar state of mind with the level 60 end game right before getting into the Burning Crusade beta, and being in that beta really gave Live WoW a new lease on life, play-wise. The most important thing to have when Wrath of the Lich King officially goes on sale will not be huge stacks of gold, uber enchanted gear, or a winning arena team. It will be the numbers seven and zero on your character sheet. That’s it. If you ever wanted to roll a new class, NOW is the time to get that ball rolling. Wiping on raid bosses or standing around with your thumb in your ass at the AH can wait.

I was given a new account by a friend that has a level 70 warlock, 63 paladin, and two other classes I’ve started again from scratch (36 hunter and another 34 rogue). I really enjoy the rogue play style, and am really interested to see how the new rogue talents work out in the expansion. I obviously am not going to waste time leveling the rogue in the beta, as everything you do in there is ultimately pointless and wiped, but on live, I’m starting again from scratch and running around with Ripperjack on Barthilas when time permits. It’s worth the hassle, and I’m not really losing anything except for the time spent grinding back up to 70, which really isn’t that horrible anyway. The fact that I had BT gear on the previous rogue doesn’t matter, as shit you will get for the most basic of quests will trump epics, easily. Like haste gear? Here ya go, get a wheelbarrow, we got lots.

I mean, obviously, rogues with warglaives won’t be ditching them in favor of the first green they come across, but if you roll up to Wrath wearing scrubby ass gear it really doesn’t matter. The early quests and dungeons aren’t tuned for T6 gear, they’re tuned for people that leveled from 1 to 68 and then came straight to Northrend. Think about it, when you roll a new toon, do you go do MC at 60? No, you go straight to Outlands as soon as you can, and skip the whole side grade crap. The warlock on the account I was given was horrendously botted to 70… it has like zero rep with every faction, and hadn’t even bought skills past level 62 or so. I’m still wearing the level 60 Sapphiron Drape for fuck’s sake. I have a whopping 500 spell damage, and I think some of that is actually from new gear I’ve already gotten. I think one of the most frustrating parts is that I’m sitting on like 178 first aid, and will need to go farm mageweave and crap to get up to where I can start using the new Frostweave Cloth that drops to make uber duber Band-Aids.

Fact is, though, it just doesn’t matter.

I’m able to do what I need to do to get mobs dead, and finish quests, and I’m slowly swapping out the shit gear for quest rewards and green drops. It’s the BC beta all over again, except my warrior back then was pretty well geared (decked to the teeth in MC, with some BWL sprinkled here and there). I seriously didn’t even spend that long in the BC beta, just long enough to realize my time would be better spent leveling a druid and rogue to 60, because those were two other classes I had an interest in playing. It’s cool to play around in Illidan Mode on the warlock (yeah, you can transform into a fucking demon), but seriously, that can pretty much wait.

I realize I’m being kinda overly negative about it. It isn’t a bad thing. The beta looks great. I’ve seen all of three zones so far (Borean Tundra, Howling Fjord, and Zul'Drak), but what is there to say? You either hate WoW’s art direction or love it, and I love it, so I think everything looks great. I think WoW really nailed the graphical style they were aiming for, and they’ve continued to turn out more great zones to look at and run around in. Just staying on the road and running as far as I can on my horse is fun again. I almost don't want to see it all, so it's still fresh for later.

I’m in some huge guild that has way too many people, but the vibe on the beta servers is usually pretty good. People are excited to be playing the next part of WoW, and it comes across in random people you meet and group with. Quests are new and interesting, and you can’t just open Wowhead and look everything up yet. That’s nice. You have to actually soak it up and pay attention, which is sorely lacking on Live. It really makes you wish you didn’t have enough time to soak it all up before a new one is released, but the overall polish they provide makes up for how long it took to finish once you do get to see it. Tigole had an interview recently where he said he doesn’t care really if WoW innovates at every turn, to him it’s more important that the things they do, they do well. You can crap all over that statement if you’re looking for something 'new and different', but polish > gimmicks in my book.

I think my favorite part so far has to be getting one shotted by paladins everywhere I go on the PvP server. They apparently have a ‘bug’ that lets them crit certain spells for like 20-30k or something ridiculous. I think it isn’t a bug, but an inside joke by the dev team. Ret pallies wanted their DPS, so here it is, but too bad it won’t make it to Live. ;)

In the long run, I really just can’t say it enough... get on an alt, or go spend quality time with the dog. When this drops, it’s going to consume you for a good chunk of time, so get the brownie points in with the loved ones now. Any time spent in game should be spent on a toon that isn’t max level. I told you to read it at the beginning of this, but maybe you didn’t listen. Take a look back in time to Oct 19th, 2006, and know that everything I said back then holds true again, and the wheel of time is coming full circle one more time. Won’t be the last. Get ready, the expansion is coming.

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