With “World of Warcraft’s” newest expansion “Warlords of Draenor” having been released for nearly two weeks now, it would seem to be as good a time as any to go over some first impressions. “Blizzard” has had troubles in the past with releases but with the early launch on November 13th came more than a few blunders. Let us delve into the Pros and Cons associated with this latest release.
Aside from the problems experienced on the day of and after the launch of the expansion. There has just been too much taken away by a few key implementations or the removal of one feature or another. For an example of these features, the profession changes. herbalists and miners more specifically, no longer do they benefit entirely from their profession as both herbs and ore are obtainable through plots around the players “Garrison.” Everyone, their “Mother” and their “Mothers Second Cousins Daughters Boyfriends Grandfather” can gather these materials and use them for a number of recipes. Yes, they can only obtain a set amount of ore or herbs yet still it has had a drastic effect on the “Auction House Market”. Where other professions materials are much higher priced, this creates quite a barrier for those who used a profession slot for either of the mentioned professions. Why not nix the “Gathering Profession(s)” on one character and go full on with “Crafting Profession(s)” instead? Of course the global collection of these materials is limited to only either specific “Gathering Profession” but it still creates a divot other professions do not have. True, leather workers, black smithers, alchemists, jewel crafters and so on also get hit a bit with these profession changes. So, why then “Blizzard” was this a change the “Development Team” decided the game needed?
Then there is the aftermath of how and what “Boss” loot, whether through “Dungeon, Quest or Raid,” is dropped. Along with the removal of “Boss” specific equipment. Which in turn gives the player less options of this stat or that stat, in a sense making it easier for more casual players. Ultimately meaning named items for a “Boss” are non-existent as all the “Bosses” within a certain “Item Level” range share similar if not the same loot tables. This means that there is much less equipment to be obtained or choosen from when deciding to gear and upgrade ones equipment. Some of this equipment has been globalized too, sticking “Agility” or “Intellect” on a piece normally intended for a “Caster” or “Melee DPS” specialization. Going through some of the websites online for equipment upgrades toward end game content one finds that there is almost half as less items to be obtained this expansion, which is just blatantly disappointing.
With the issue of loot tables we can lean over to “Heroic Dungeons” and the “Item Level” requirements placed upon them in order to participate in said dungeon(s). In past expansions there wasn’t much of a requirement placed on dungeons, even “Heroic Dungeons.” Mainly a requirement was reserved for “High End Game Content” so that a differential was introduced to make sure under-geared and under-prepared players did not initiate the encounters and experience absolute failure. At the end of questing in “Nagrand” and hitting the “Level Cap” of 100. Players usually fall in the 590 to 610 “Item Level” range, if the player did not take the “Dwarven Bunker” in their “Garrison.” Where if that building were built, a potential of 610 and higher “Item Level” is easily obtained through the improved chance of receiving upgraded “Quest” items. As far as the items themselves it is safe to say the “Development Team” has given the player base a silver edged blade. Since the player must choose one specialization specific statistic over another and hope it plays in the players favor. Is all of this design flaw or intentional deflection to separate the player base? Of course one could simply circumvent the “Item Level Requirement” by completing “Silver Difficulty” in the “Proving Grounds” for their desired “Dungeon Role,” good catch “Blizzard.”
Moving away from all the population explosion, server lockouts, “DDoS” attacks and “flying” debates to avoid the drama included with them. Not all of the expansion was considered negative. In fact there were plenty of things that are working properly and make the players experience more enjoyable.The first of these would have to be the cinematics and cut-scenes involved, remember “Thrall” and “Hellscream” charging one another on a grassy knoll? Yeah, epic cut-scene. The sights, sounds and even “NPC” interactions within the environment also contribute to the effectiveness of the cinematic experience. Of course having great lore does not hurt either. As a friend quite eloquently put it, “Remember when we used to be the guy that had to do all the dirty work and peon jobs for the general or important character in the story? Yeah, now we are that character and it is great!”
The 5 day game-time “Blizzard Entertainment” handed over to the affected players who had subscriptions, of any kind, on November 14th is always a plus as well. The “World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor” expansion certainly had its quirks yet the rather smooth release did impress as the implementation was fluid. They even released it 15 minutes earlier than anticipated. The final statement worth mentioning is the usability and ease of “Chain Questing” within each zone. If your any kind of “Quest” fan then the fact that “Quest” specific “NPCs” that were originally only credited to single players or ones that have damaged them most. No longer is that the case as the majority of these “NPCs” allow credit to all those involved in the virtual slaying.
To wrap this weeks article up readers get a special treat, as an interesting graphic was acquired through an e-mail source. “Imagine if the major characters and personalities of the World of Warcraft universe were placed into a periodic table. What element would the Lich King be? 56.” Presenting the “World of Warcraft Periodic Table.” Very well done – be sure to check it out and thanks Stu for the information and link! Keep up the good work!