Tobold's Blog
Friday, November 14, 2008
First day of Wrath

I was having a lot of fun on my first day of Wrath of the Lich King. I went to a shop, bought two copies of WotLK (one for the wife), went home, and installed it without any problem. I got the impression that even if a downloadable version would have been available, the data transfer method of "DVD in car" is probably faster than the download would have been.

Anyway, I entered Northrend with my priest, and immediately looked for a group to Utgarde Keep. By the end of the day I had done 5 dungeon runs: Utgarde Keep twice, and The Nexus once, with my priest. And both dungeons once with my warrior. Lots of fun, interesting boss fights, and generally well made dungeons. Quest rewards included my priest already replaced three epics by blues, and he is still level 70.

XP in dungeons are good, but leveling isn't all that fast. I made half a level on the priest, a bit less on the warrior. What caught me a bit by surprise is that Blizzard completely changed their faction design: Neither dungeon gives any reputation points for any faction. So apparently I don't need to get to honored with some faction before I can do heroics, or run a dungeon just for reputation. I still might make more dungeon runs today, just for the fun, and the experience points.

I did a bit of questing on my priest, and some profession skilling up. Tradeskills in the release version are much harder to level up than in the beta. It used to be that recipes went from one color to another only when your skill reaches a number divisible by 5. Now you can go from orange to green in just 5 skillups.

All in all I'm quite happy with the expansion, even if I'm not sure how long that will last. But there is lots of new content, and only the burned-out see it as "more of the same".
I'm glad you've got positive vibes on Wrath. Go play me up a Blizzard (guffaw) because I still don't have The Burning Crusade. Sigh.
Well, I linked the downloadable ver yesterday in a comment on the other post :P - So maybe it would of been faster if you had already downloaded it :D.

Either way, glad to hear everyone is enjoying whats been offered up in wotlk so far, getting good feelings from everyone I know.
"But there is lots of new content, and only the burned-out see it as "more of the same"."

Perhaps if it wasn't more of the same the burned-out would not think it so.

What matters is what people like, even if it's more of the same. Nothing wrong with that.
I have to admit that my impression about what I heard about WotLK made me think "just more of the same", but I found myself positively surprised. There are some scripted quests (in the start areas at least, I haven't gotten past them yet) which make up for fun breaks in the "grind".

I'm looking forward to hearing more from you about the more scripted quests, your opinions are often food for thought.
After a break of somewhere near 6 months i bought the new xpack. Significantly less excited then before TBC, but maybe thanks to that i'm pleasantly surprised sofar. First i got my mage to the new land and did a few quests. Now as expected these are all of the kind we've seen many times before, but i found the starter zone (howling fjord) to be much much better the HFP in TBC. Better atmosphere, better looking, more coherent and fitting in the Warcraft world. As you already noticed, leveling is slow, it will take a lot of time for me (the extreme casual). More so after i tried the DK. This class really feels powerful, and i like the new mechanics, which havent been analyzed to death yet. I saw a lot of Unholy DKs so i went frost instead (just like my mage). The starter quest series is amazingly well executed, and a lot of fun. Too bad that this is unavoidably followed by 10 levels (to 68) in TBC before stepping into Northrend...
My initial impressions have been very good so far - there seems to be far more atmosphere and sense of drama than in TBC, which was helped by the lead-up events. I feel far more emotional involvement with the plot than before. Let's hope this lasts all the way through.
Oh, and on the subject of leveling. There are already level 80's running around..(regular chars, no DK afaik). Its when i read things like that i think mmos are really not for me anymore (a casual to the extreme).
Same here, however i wasn't suprised, i expected great things from Blizz.

What suprised me really, was how smooth everything went on my server, even there where tons of people ,there was no lag ,no crashes, everything seem to be perfect.

Compared to the European Beta Servers ,were the lag was horrible and often it crashed completely, it was a pleasent surpise.

I expected a bit of a mess the first days, but it was nicely quiet.
ofc its more of the same.....thats why I like it so the saying goes "if it aint broken, dont try to fix it"...and the subscription numbers show that for sure, WoW isnt broken, despite what some people seem to think.

I was very pleasantly suprised that my installation and account upgrade went without a hitch, and at least on my server (Bronzebeard, EU) in Howling Fjord, I had no lag or DCs, a "reasonable" sized queue to get on (about 100, 2 mins for me) and even more suprisingly, only had problems with volume of people in 2 quests...

All in all a great experience, and a MASSIVE improvement on the tbc launch imho
"DVD in car transfer"

To quote someone (I can't remember who):

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a flatbed truck filled with hard drives."
How long were the dungeon runs?
A minor gripe here. It is all very well designing imposing castles and having panoramic journeys when you arrive by ship, but the reality is that people want to go 'as the crow flies', and not have to make diversions.

I took the boat from Menethil with some 20 other people, but by the time we arrived at the pier in Northrend, there were only 3 of us left; everyone else had jumped ship in sight of land, and probably saved themselves 20 seconds of a trip round the fjord.

The same thing used to happen in Feralas - a long trip round an island, and most people either jumping off the boat or swimming straight across.

At Valiance Keep; people were jumping over the wall and swimming, rather than taking the detour across the ship to the stairs on the other side.

People don't like delays, and game designers should take accouont of that (and before you all jump down my throat, I was not one of them, I'm merely pointing it out).
I'm fairly certain that you gain faction points in a Wrath dungeon by virtue of which tabard you're wearing.. If you want Argent Crusade faction, wear their tabard, for example.
I can't find the requisite article, though, sorry Tobold.
Considering the massive success of WoW, I'd consider it a travesty if it weren't mostly more of the same. I agree with the others who state why change it if it's basically not broken?

Hope you all enjoy it! I think I can hear the crickets in all of the other MMO's out there.
The rep gains from dungeons only come at 80 when you champion a faction by wearing the appropriate tabard, from what I can recall.

I always thought that the people who hate on WoW and call it "broken" are simply those that got bored with it, and need to justify that boredom.

WoW's a great game, and one I'll venture back into at some point in the future. But I'm not going to bash it while I'm not playing... I'll just play something else, lol.
I liked the fact that I won't have to grind stupid mats to skill-up my LW (stuck at 363 or something of the sort), and instead will be able to use easy mats from the expansion to skill-up. Thank goodness. I'm sick of grinding.
It's amazing. Anyone who can say that it is just more of the same isn't giving the expansion a fair shot.

Everything from the artwork to the storyline to the integration of 5 man instances with the overal zone story line. Very well done all around.

5 man bosses thus far have been entertaining and seem to FINALLY incorporate raid-like boss abilities (run out of the fire). Heck I even had normal mobs doing AOE spells on me that I had to move out from.

I was dissapointed but somewhat releived that they did not make reputation as important. That really should eliminate much of the grinding.

It was worth the wait and well worth the $40. If you have been waiting to come to WoW you won't be dissapointed with WotLK.
One more thing, they increased the XP gains inside of 5 mans. I was getting 1300xp a kill from equal level elites and bosses were giving around 3000xp.

It was around 200,000 XP for 30 minutes in an instance. Not bad considering.
One more thing, they increased the XP gains inside of 5 mans. I was getting 1300xp a kill from equal level elites and bosses were giving around 3000xp.

It was around 200,000 XP for 30 minutes in an instance. Not bad considering.

I don't know how much they were giving previously, so it is hard for me to compare. Last night when I was out soloing mobs in Borean I was getting 1700+ experience per kill. Quests were giving 20k per time. It is hard for me to discern which is the faster way to go right now.

I was really happy with WotLK as soon as I finished my 2nd run through Utgard keep. Then my group went to the nexus and I was really WoWed. All the bosses in the nexus had an almost mini-raid boss feel. By the time I got to the girl caster boss(can't remember name) I thought I was going to have to go up against a mini keal, and it was a little similar. All in all my group didn't wipe once on any bosses which was nice, but we came real close so it was def a challenge. Our group was really well geared and skilled, so I imagine unskilled, undergeared players wouldn't be able to one shot the nexus at level 70.
In case anyone is wondering, some guy in France got the first level 80 after 24 hours, beating even the TBC launch for 1st to max level.
If you haven't already, take 3 or so hours and make a Death Knight. Don't even need to keep the character around, just do their starter quests. It's all great fun.
I've had a great WotLK experience also. Hit 72 after about 12-14 hours of play -- all questing. Been playing with a RL friend over skype.

I haven't replaced any gear yet, but will soon. I've been using the Pawn addon to a weighted stat value to decide when to replace my epics with blues.
The one thing that struck me about the (horde) starting zones was they felt very claustrophobic to me -- the orc area moreso than the undead.

I think they were very deliberately trying to shepherd players and get them to the breadcrumb quests, as well as make it seem like the areas were well-fortified against the dangers of Northrend. (Perhaps even actually making it more difficult for PVPers to interfere with new players to the zone)

I didn't dig it though.
Northrend, so far, has been much more enjoyable than Outland. The look and feel is wonderful. The questing is smooth and interesting. Not too fast and not too slow. The instances are wonderful. It looks like they are going away from making them hard by simply putting tougher mobs in and making people think a bit more to kill the bosses. This is a great idea. Don't limit who can do it by gear and level so much but rather, lean it a bit more toward still without making it too hard. That is a good balance I think. They took the time to do it right and it shows.

The only thing that concerns me is the apparent lack of high level raid material that is finished. BC shipped with with T4, T5 and half of T6 ready to go. WotLK seems to only have the equivalent of T4, a mammoth starting raid like Kara and then three single boss raids not unlike Mags and Gruul/Mulgar. Ulduar is supposed to be a step harder than Naxx. That would put it at T8 but it is not out. That's it. We are not even close to Ice Crown. That puts Blizz at needing to patch in 3 large raids just to get to where BC started and 3 more to where it finished. They have a lot of work ahead of them and if they release one a quarter it will take almost two years to get there. On the other hand, it may be that they want roll out the new zone over a period of time so that it seems more like the story is continuing to progress and giving people more incentive to stay subscribed. Also, when classic wow was first released the only raid was MC. Here is hoping that they plan to fill out Northrend raiding as much as they did with BC.

And the classic quote was
"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway."
—Tanenbaum, Andrew S. (1996). Computer Networks. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 83.
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