The first week of pre-patch appeared to be pretty scarce in content – and probably this is good in case you have many alts to prepare for the expansion.
Story (beware the spoilers)
There are two main directions of development: Nathanos and Scourge invasion.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that probably even Sylvanas loyalists were fed up with Nathanos bossing us around throughout BfA, so what’s there to tell about the honorous Horde players and the whole bulk of the Alliance.
Courtesy of a brilliant Jim Pirri’s voice acting which made the character unbearable over the top, this smug asshole was simply bound to get what he deserved, and I killed him with extreme pleasure, never getting old on alts. The cinematic was also great, with Tyrande stomping him into the ground like a slug. Too bad he will return in Shadowlands – most likely as a Sylvanas’ raid boss, that spoils the satisfaction a little bit. Well, at least she got a piece of her revenge, and also showed us the might of a boomkin Starfire spell :)
Weapons are a great drop from him, as it’s a solid ilvl 115, and you can calibrate the reward to an extent of required spec. Dual-wielders can visit him again to get a pair, two-handed classes get what they want immediately. For Frost Death Knights and Windwalker Monks it’s a great chance to swap dual-wielding into two-hands swords and staves – don’t forget to pick another spec to make it a sure thing, like for example picking Brewmaster loot will cover agility for tanks and dps, and the next week could be run for Mistweaver’s intellect staff. Casters suffer as always – good luck on getting those off-hands if a dagger/sword/wand dropped instead of a staff, and there will be issues with shield classes too.
Right, so the other story is the events following the destruction of Lich King’s helmet. Sylvanas abducts leaders of the Alliance/Horde – we’ll deal with that later in the expansion – and scourge runs rampant, immediately aided by Cult of the Damned stepping out of the shadows and the dark powers pouring from Shadowlands breach in Icecrown. There’s not much to be said, so far we’re on the receiving edge of the turmoil, and there are no particularly heroic deeds and epic stuff – just efforts in containment. When we turn the tides and become pro-active in the week 2 and Shadowlands launch, things may change. Technically the lore is not too heavy or important and serves as a bridge to the gameplay.
The intro questline is obligatory for every alt – allowing dailies and rares – but thankfully it’s done in about 20-30 minutes, so it’s not too tasking. By the end of the first hour you’re finished for the day and might choose to proceed with hunting bosses, or call it a day.
Argent Commendations currency income is quite nice. You will get exactly 30 argents for completing your first day chores, including a kill of two rares/bosses. Bringing alts is your bread-and-butter if you’re hunting for transmogs: as you get 2 set pieces per alt’s quick intro run only.
After that it is 6 argents per day for daily quests and 3 argents per boss kill as you give in your scourgestones, so it ramps up pretty quick, and you’re able to gear up pretty fast if you’re investing in boss camping. Cherry-picking the tokens helps a lot, because you might choose what armor slots require improvement.
Too bad that boss drops are scarce: about 1-2 drops per 10 kills by my own and chat experience, so I would not hope for specific gear farming and use them only as a scourgestone primary income. If something else drops – it’s a yay, but other than that don’t bother.
The greatest thing about bosses is their one-minute spawn timer, which allows you to travel throughout the whole zone and manage to tag it. Rustfeather says hello: you don’t have to be there at the spot, you may do other things in the meantime, and Blizzard will conveniently inform you about the spawn in advance both in chat and on the zone map. The irony is: there’s literally nothing to do once you’ve done your mighty two dailies, so anyways people are just moving from one boss spot to another and camp it there like a good old Rustfeather :)
All in all, the whole thing serves as an alt preparation for the expansion: not too grindy, not too tedious, providing a pro-active choice of loot and allowing to complete it at your own pace: if you want it fast, you may sit all day, or you could take your time and still complete your goals way before the expansion launch.
I’m taking alts through the intro one by one, as my primary goal now are transmog sets, and alts are the most efficient way to collect them. Yesterday I’ve collected the full cloth set for both Alliance and Horde:
Mind you, I like this recolor most of all – it’s quite regal, yet at the same time down-to-earth which doesn’t make it a ceremonial armor, but rather a quite practical combat garments for a ranked faction hero. Totally worth it!
Once I collect plate, chainmail and leather armors, it’s gonna be the time for my spreadsheets! :) I don’t think I’ll manage to get 100 ilvl full sets for every alt. I will need to pick the worst slots across the roster, work on them and see where we are by the launch time. No rush, no tongues-out race – just a leisure activity until launch.
So far, the pre-patch serves its purpose as a mild lore bridge and a catch-up mechanic, which I like. I only wish there was an option to do something between bosses – otherwise we’re just camping and camping. As if I did not have enough camping during lull lol :)