My Chars

Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Impressions from WotLK

Like many other people I've been keeping busy the last few days, getting to know the new continent of Northrend. In a nutshell, the quests are fun and well written, the instances are well designed and leveling is something I've always enjoyed - I love that "level ding" :)

But I should start with how I got to Northrend. On midnight between Wednesday Nov 12th and Thursday Nov 13th, a store about one hours drive away from where I live was holding a WotLK sale/event. I had pre-ordered and went with a couple of friends to pick up our copies. We arrived ~20 minutes early to find the place packed with hundreds of people and at least 2 (!!) camera crews that I could see! It was so strange seeing this massive amount of people and knowing at least a few play on Thunderhorn and who knows maybe I even know the chars of some :)

Because the line was so long and we arrived late, we only got home around 4 a.m. - much later than originally planned. Even so, I still managed to install the game + patches and take the boat to Northrend with Solidfaith before going to sleep. I had originally planned on going to Borean Tundra (from SW) but most of the people online from my guild had gone from Menethil to Howling Fjord, so I did the same.

The next morning (I had the day off from work) I did not start with my priest, instead I started a new character - yes you guessed it, a Death Knight. Welcome Solidstar to the company of solids :)

Solidstar is already level 60 at the time of this writing and to say that playing a DK was a blast would be a massive understatement. Actually I wanted more than one DK but it turns out you can only create a DK on a server where you have a level 55 char and you can only have one DK per server. Anyway the quests from 55 to 58 were simply amazing, the phasing technology and massive battles you undergo really add to the feeling of an epic class. Of course there is the epic gear that you get from those initial quests :)

I have never played a plate wearing class before and I know the gear the DK starts with at 58 is very good but it is still amazing how powerful I am. At 58 I can (and have) killed level 61 elites. Unlike previous characters where I waited till level 60 to enter Outland, I entered Outland at level 58. I really didn't have any problems, any mobs that attacked me died quickly, even 3-4 levels above me. The blood build I chose is proving itself, making sure I can heal myself and thus have zero downtime. As I'm now level 60 I'm planning to skip all of the remaining HFP quests (never did like the zone) and continue leveling in Zangramarsh. It will be interesting to see if I remain as relatively powerful in higher levels when my initial gear becomes outdated and replaced.

In parallel I played with Solidfaith, getting to know the new continent and doing quests and instances. I am currently Holy in order to provide a healer to my guild - this worked out for me in terms of being requested to come to guild runs as I have already done both Utgarde Keep and The Nexus several times, and even Azjol-Nerub once even though I was only level 71 when I did it. In terms of looks I thought The Nexus was simply amazing and I liked it the best, however the other 2 instances were not bad looking either.

In terms of difficulty it feels like Blizzard have toned down instances, both UK and Nexus were really easy runs. Even Azjol-Nerub was not too difficult even though our group was under-level for it.

The negative side of playing a Holy priest is that I level slowly, killing mobs takes a long time and the difference compared to the uber-powerful DK makes this especially noticeable. I may even respec to Shadow if it becomes too much...

Quests are fun to read and do. I've always liked the process of leveling and I find the quest text to be a fun part of that process. It's obvious Blizzard developers gave some thought to the quests, it's not just "go kill 10 {x} since they are bad"... at least not usually :)

So my first impressions from WotLK are very favorable so far. I would have liked if the 5-man instances were both more challenging and gave more XP per complete run but I can understand Blizzard wanting people to experience the massive amount of quests they designed and not just limit themselves to instance runs.

I also wish I had more time to play, but then don't we all :)


Devv said...

If you don't mind, post a link to your Blood build. I started my DK as Frost, but it seems inefficient. I've looked at some level 80 Blood specs, but I'd love to see how you specced out at 60.

SolidState said...

Hi Devv,
Frost seems to me very tanking oriented, which means not very DPS oriented. Either Blood or Unholy should work well for you, depending on your game style.
I posted some thoughts on what build I would take in a previous post, however once I began playing I've deviated slightly from what I wrote - I'm now 51/1/0. I suddenly noticed Toughness in the Frost tree and said to myself "got to have that!" :)

Devv said...

Thanks for the links! I've since moved to a Blood spec similar to the one you're using. It's ridiculous! I haven't died since going Blood and I've played a fair amount of time since then. I've taken on five mobs that were all two levels higher than me and walked away unscathed. To quote your pre-Wrath statement, "This is gonna be fun!"