I’ve tested only the Alliance part yesterday. This is a lull considering story: the Alliance has Stromgarde under its command.
There is a Horde war base, but it is completely ruined, and only ghosts dwell there among buildings. There is also an azerite machine world boss which is sad and driving around its spot, with no obvious goal, waiting to get killed. I got a siege tower toy drop from it :) It comes in Alliance and Horde versions, and you earn both for your toy box at once.
As an Alliance player, you get a small quest to check out where the mine, the lumbermil and the Horde war base are, and then a whole strip of grind kill quests follow. You deal with your common Arathi enemies like witherbark trolls, Boulderfist ogres, various elementals, and undead troops around Go’Shek farm – kill 20 of each kind. This grants war resources (most needed! You can earn a thousand) and some reputation with 7th Legion (not much).
And this is basically it. What makes it worth visiting are RARES. Rumors are they drop toys, mounts, but most importantly, gear.
I was not hunting them specially, I just engaged them during my normal quests. And even so I downed 6 or 7 rares, some of them more than once. Guess what? I got 5 pieces of gear, all of them are 340-350 ilvl!
This is actually huge. This is the item level of the upcoming Uldir LFR! For me personally it’s the greatest relief ever! My Uldir runs now can be limited to seeing the story, earning the achievement for achievement sakes, and collecting this small number of 4 raid sets and weapon tmogs. Otherwise, my alts can gear up in warfronts for the next content parts with little effort. How do you like that?
Gameplay works for me, it’s a perfect sandbox with significant rewards, compared maybe to Timeless Isle. And we haven’t even seen the actual scenario yet – Horde is amassing resources, so they cannot queue, and Alliance is just running around with nothing to attack except local wildlife.
The scenery is very nice. By preview screenshots I’ve expected a whole revamp, the land all covered in forests. While there are more trees definitely, it’s still the same old Arathi, but recolored by modern graphics standards. You’ll see all the familiar spots: elemental circles, Alliance base in the middle of the zone, witherbark village and ogre mounds, Go’Shek farm, vibrant and blooming (with orcs kek). Stromgarde is finally a city, not a ruin. And the Horde base is pressed against Hinterlands mountain chain. Ah yes, you can fly there of course.
This is the sort of end gameplay that I like, unlike expeditions. With much variety, freedom and very rewarding. Good job, Blizzard! now I want to see the other warfronts and the other zones of the Old World reworked.
P.S. This is the first time where I met serious fps issues – maybe due to the amount of enemies and players in one screen. Never had those troubles before, not in Legion raids or during BfA leveling. My laptop is pretty good, but it grows older, and I guess I should think of a newer one already.