So, yesterday was my first ever beta evening. I haven’t participated in beta yet, so everything was quite new to me. And here’s what I saw.
As you know, I don’t use a single addon, and I’m playing with basic UI. Blizzard has implemented some grand changes to our panels, which I consider a huge improvement.
Bags and auxiliary system buttons (like character, specs, lfg etc.) went from the central panel to the right bottom corner ghetto. While they are surely not that convenient to press nowadays, I can live with that. And at the same time they gave space to major action buttons.
Now we have what I believe four action panels in the center and one extra auxiliary side panel. This is really huge – now all my action buttons are clustered in one place in a convenient way, and operating them would be awesome. Side panel will sill be saved for professions and mounts.
Starting Scenario – Battle for Lordaeron
The scenario is really fierce, and you could find yourself dying quite often. The AoE and mobs’ attacks are massive sometimes, and it takes you a deal of experience to avoid. No trouble for alts though.
Almost every cutscene is not voiced or not even present. I think it’s very good because we will see this upon expansion release. From what I get, it will be one of the most epic experiences so far. Even the castrated version is quite nice.
A+ for bringing Gnomes into the fray and making their contribution not only big, but also vital for success.
The story is almost the same for Alliance and Horde, but shows it from different angle. You don’t miss much if you play one side only, all the cutscenes are the same. It just gives you more insights about faction camps.
Strange enough, I were more comfortable playing Horde side – somehow it felt exactly like the cinematic sequel, with troll shaman doing their job and a better look at the battlefield. We shall see upon release.
Landing in Allied Continent and Initiate Questing
I’ve completed Kul Tiras entrance scenario. It is very unsettling to enter your new faction capital which is initially hostile to you :)
After a brief set of quests you are introduced to Boralus haven – people show you where the bank, the tavern and flightmasters are. Then you start communicating with more or less friendly Kul Tiran faction, Magni pops up to give you your artifact necklace, and you’re sent to quest in a zone of choice.
The most awesome thing is that Kul Tiras has a system of ferries! A couple of natives will row the boat around the coast – which works exactly like flightmasters. It adds so much ambience to the area. I wonder if Zandalar has the same stuff.
The first place I went to was of course Drustvar, and it exceeded my expectations beyond imagined. I think we never saw a proper victorian/witch horror in WoW (save the starting worgen questline). It was so creepy and so awesome that I immediately dropped the questline after a couple of quests. I really need to see it all ready on live servers!
Probably no questing for me for that reason. We have this: a witch horror, a corrupt/fascist society, and an old gods cthulhu thing in Kul Tiras, while Zandalar offers some indiana jones jungle, a tatooine desert and a blood god cult. I already love all of them.
There’s nothing to say about zones – since WoD, they’re an eye candy with lots of detail.
Didn’t get much from it – the interface has a placeholder. But once I put it on, my chest piece was lighted, and I got an option to assign an upgrade of choice to it. I think it’ll be pretty easy to work out – like with talents.
Character Power and Abilities
I’ve tried three classes: a Warrior in Arms/Protection, a Shaman in Enhancement / Elemental, and a Mage in Fire.
Whilst I had no artifact weapon, I didn’t feel underpowered. The abilities pace and damage with basic gear is quite decent, and remember you will have your awesome Antorus gear to start with. It was a bit harder in the scenario, but absolutely no worries in questing. I killed a random elite mob quite easily solo.
Talents seem sensible yet, and I liked the choice they provide. All in all, the combat doesn’t differ much from Legion, but it may be a bit more tuned. I felt that I liked the minor changes, making specs easier to play, yet having much depth and tuning options in them.
Finally, it’s the new Allied Races that I want to talk about. Beta allows to try Mag’har Orcs and Dark Iron Dwarfs, so I tried a Fire Mage orc and shaman/warrior of Dark Irons.
The character creation options are awesome, I found lots of likeable options for both races. With Mag’har skin tones you could easily create the one from every clan, from dark grey skinned Blackrocks (think Draenor’s Blackhand) to rich brown colors of Warsongs.
Dark Irons are simply badass. It’s the only Alliance race that allows totally bald girls, and this is awesome. Facial tattoos are very cool as well, and all their hair is a bit singed at the ends, creating a unique look.
Warrior thing doesn’t feel flashy and mighty enough with a dwarf girl… so I may stick to a Shaman. As Enhancement is surely all about lightnings and thus a Wildhammer thing, it didn’t feel fit with my Dark Iron. So I think Schlitzchen the Goblin will go Enhancement like she started, and my Dark Iron will be an Elemental Shaman.
In beta, I’m planning to see a Horde Zandalar introduction questline, and I guess this is gonna be it. I’ll learn class changes when they are final, and I don’t want to spoil the questlines. Besides, there are no maps present yet, and maps are vital for me when exploring the new lands and cities.
Maybe I could try some island expedition, some dungeon, and some warfront.