Monday, November 17, 2008

WotLK: My First Impressions

Like everyone else I have been trying to play as much as I can over the past 4 days or so. Graylo is now a couple bars into level 75 and running through mobs like a mack truck. My alts are obviously resting except when I need them to DE something or check the AH. Overall my experience has been good, but I would like to go over some of my first impressions.

My Build:
As you know I listed my planned leveling build in a post a couple of days ago. On Wednesday I raided right up until I went to get my copy and in my excitement to get to Northrend I forgot to respec before I got on the boat. This turned out well because I noticed two things. I wasn't casting Starfire or Insect Swarm much. This makes Improved Insect Swarm pretty much useless. So I put those three points in Dreamstate instead.

The only other change I made while leveling was putting 2 points in Gale Winds. I did so for two reasons. First, I did a couple of instances with guildies and we did a lot of AoEing. Second, after a few bad pools I realized a little extra DPS from AoE would be nice. I'm not AoE grinding anything, but I find that it is helpful in a few specific situations, and Furor isn't much of a loss at this point.

The Look:
I think the Northrend art looks great. I can't be completely sure of my opinion because I recently got a new video card. So I don't know what the improvements have more to do with, my card or the expansion. Anyway, I think the game looks great. The detail in the instances and such is awesome.

Zygor's Leveling Guide:
I know I haven't taken it all the way to 80 yet, but I love what I've seen so far. It provides step by step details on how to get things done and where to go. All the while I've had the TomTom arrow to show me the way. I don't have much to compare it to since I haven't seen the Brian Kopp ingame guide but I don't think it could be much better.

The big difference is that Zygor's guide takes all of the administrative stuff out of the game. I don't have to worry about where to go when. I don't have to tab out to check wowhead or look at a guide and figure out the coordinates. All I have to think about is how to complete the quest.

I realize that some people look at leveling guides as cheating or taking the fun out of the game, so I realize that this product is not for everyone. However, if your interested in a guide and don't mind spending 50 dollars I highly recommend Zygor's guide.

(Just for the record, I am not affiliated with Zygor guide in any way other than user. I have not received any money or freebies from them. This post is purely my experience so far.)

Starfall:
Some of you may have heard the tanking joke "Paladin: When you need to tank absolutely everything in the room." Well, the new joke should be "Starfall: When you need to pull absolutely everything in the room." Don't get me wrong, I like it, but this ability has gotten me into trouble several times. I didn't realize just how big it's radius is, and in a couple of cases it has made a bad situation worse.

To be specific, I've had a couple of situations were I pulled a couple extra mobs and I popped Starfall to help get them down. Next thing I know I have 5 more mobs headed my way. This is a big reason why I put two points in Gale Winds. AoE is just the best way to go when you have 8 mobs beating on you. In most cases I've gotten out of it ok by popping all of my cooldowns, but I suggest that everyone be careful about when you uses Starfall.

Instances:
So far I've run The Nexus, Utgarde Keep, Azjol-Nerub, & Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom. I can't help but compare these four instances to the first 4 instances of BC. I think the WotLK instances are a big improvement over the BC instances so far. While some instances are still the long hallway that plagued BC, there was a lot of variety in the bosses. Virtually ever boss in Ramps, BF, SP, & UB was a tank and spank. Very few of the bosses I fought so far have been tank and spanks. So, I'm happy.

My favorite boss so far has been Herald Volazj in The Old Kingdom. I have a feeling that many will consider him to be the new Blackheart the Inciter from Shadow Labs, but I love having to DPS all of the adds down and then helping out my group members. I thought it was a lot of fun.

Quests:
Most of the quests are the type of quests that we have grown to expect from Blizzard. Kill 20 of this, Collect 10 of that, use this item on those mobs. Nothing really special, but that is to be expected in my opinion.

On the positive side we have gotten all of the new "vehicle" quests (for lack of a better term). For the most part I have enjoyed those quite a bit. Especially the quest where you ride the dragon around Wyrmrest Temple. I can't wait to try the instance where the whole party is on dragons.

On a negative note I do think Blizzard designed some of their quests quite poorly, and I'm not talking about spawn rates.

The first quest I absolutely hated was The Clutches of Evil. I'm sure it doesn't help that I did it at peak play time and I am sure it will get better after the crowds die down but it is an absolute nightmare now. The 15 eggs were easy, but the 15 whelps were like pulling teeth. For those of you that don't know the Proto-Whelps spawn from the fire of the Proto-Drakes that are flying above, and they generally don't spawn until the end of a breath. So you have a ton of people running around following the breaths looking for a spawn. I was in a full group to try and make it easier, but there were a ton of people all trying to get the same spawn. Luckily I am very fast with my moonfire and didn't miss many but it was rough. To make matters worse there was a follow up quest that asked you to kill the Proto-Drakes that caused the whelps to spawn. So there were times when there were no drakes in the air. All around just a poor design.

The second quest I hated was A Righteous Sermon. In this quest you have to go down to the dungeon of Wintergarde Keep and here a sermon delivered to an undead. Its not hard, you just have to watch a cut seen. The problem is that the cut seen takes about a minute and you can't group to complete it. As you can imagine in these busy times there were several people that all wanted the quest at once. I would have been fine taking turns to do it, but it was clear that no one else was interested in that, so It took me several attempts to get the quest done. This is probably the worst example of this that I have seen but it is not the only example. Blizzard needs to do a better job of avoiding these type of back ups in the future.

Summary:
As I said before I am happy with the expansion so far. It has been a little annoying waiting on respawns and I think we have all seen our share of asshats but those are to be expected.

I am looking forward to getting to level 77 so I can use my flying mount. I'm tired of having to run up and down all of these cliffs.

I want to say congrats to Erbodi. He is the first member of my guild to hit level 80, and he was the first Dwarf on my server to hit level 80. He said that his chat box was full of whispers after he got the achievement.

7 comments:

Pucc said...

Currently use QuestHelper mod and basically tells you where to go on the map and what to do for questing. I really enjoy it since i dont have to read every quest and it tells you when you have multiple all in the same area. I have also noticed on kill quest it will highlight on your map the various area's mobs are so you dont have to just sit in one area.

As far as leveling goes. Instances are a blast, they are short and fun and not a ton of trash. Quests are boring but some good ones in there also and great story lines also. Much better than TBC and Classic.

Over all i like the xpac so far, spawn rates are not terrible, and enough changes to the old system to make it fun but not like a new game.

On a note about your casting. I know I Starfire like crazy when soloing because I normally 2 shot mobs if i crit at least 1 time. Wrath is easy and was a habit of mine for ever also.

Cdin said...

@Pucc

Two shotting mobs is definately an advantage for Starfire, but I don't think it works well in the current environment. In the 2.5 - 3 seconds it takes to cast SF I find that some one else has tagged it. I tend to use MF to tag a mob and then use Wrath to kill it because of the push back resistance. When things are less crowded I do use SF more.

ddm said...

First off, great blog! I appreciate your distillation of theory-crafting and ideas, tips, in general. Glad to have found it

@cdin, if there's an issue with starting off with MF, it's that the initial damage is so low that others can still swoop in and get credit. Best case, I crit w/ MF and can get SF off a little more quickly, or I stick with Wrath. Worst case... well, I wait for a re-spawn.

And regarding Starfall's range... yeah, it's pretty big. Let me apologize to the Kara PUG I was in last week for getting swarmed with the opera guests. I really don't know how they were aggro'd, honest... =/

Cdin said...

@ddm

Thanks for the complements.

I'm not a 100% sure on how the mechanics work but I am fairly sure that a mob is tagged when it is damaged. I haven't had any problems with mobs being stolen after I got an MF off.

If they are being stolen off of you, my guess is that it is lag or the other player my have beaten you out slightly. I could be wrong though.

Clinton said...

As far as quests go, while I haven't done the Righteous Sermon yet, I have done The Clutches of Evil and I think your hate for it was more a product of doing it at peak time then anything else, though if you happen to run into that proto-drake spawning fire it will hurt, alot. Now granted, I am on a low-pop server (Ursin), but I was able to do it with little to trouble minus the usual deaths from PvP and that fire; so I don't think it's anymore of a burdensome quest then the usually kill x high number of mobs with low spawn rates. However I will say the quest is an absolute nightmare for a warrior, particularly a prot warrior, as attacking the eggs gives them no rage, and thus it takes them an eternity to kill 15 eggs. So all in all I don't think it's absolutely awful, but it can certainly be annoying, and at least it's not bugged like I've Got a Flying Machine! now that quest, was annoying.

Pucc said...

@cdin
Ya when its busy i go with Moonfire first and typically follow up with Starfire. If its not busy i stick with starfire thru out since its more mana efficent.

I didnt bother changing my glyphs from raiding so still using starfire/moonfire currently. And atleast people are spread out more now so not seeing the tagging of mobs like it was 5 days ago.

Always appreciate your views and thoughs on moonkins. Thank you very much for the hard work.

HuntsWithOwls said...

I don't know if this is a fix from when you were doing the quest or if you may have just missed it. But I do believe that The Clutches of Evil has been fixed... Along with a relatively quick spawn rate on the eggs a baby drake pops out with every egg that you destroy. this is great even at peak time because people have been generally curteous about allowing whoever broke the egg to take the drake, plus you still have the extras that are running around from the breath spawns. I guess Blizz saw the problem and addressed it. YAY!

Also @ pucc I have been casting Starfire almost exclusively, because with the Owlkin Frenzy (I believe thats the name) talent I am getting very little to no pushback whenever I'm attacking mobs and the 10% extra damage is nothing to sneeze at either. I came Out of BC doing 2000+ crits in raids fully buffed and I'm now level 73 and I lay down 5300+ on every starfire crit. This along with a trinket that has a Chance to increase my crit chance when i crit (thats a mouthful) have me dealing crazy damage on my boomkin. Honestly I think I have used Starfire more in leveling than I have used Wrath.