9.1. Chains of Domination – My First Impressions

Right, so here we are :)

I’ve completed every yellow thing that crossed my path in Maw/Korthia content, and consider my main totally done with Day 1. Alts are in order, so let’s discuss the first experience.

The Story. Lore is obviously my favorite topic, so let’s start here.

First of all, the Jailer story delivered. The current deal with the Sigils was explained pretty well, the Battle of Ardenweald was amazing, and the entrance of Covenants to Korthia was quite logical, well thought out and justified. The cinematic of Sylvanas and Tyrande was simply amazing top to bottom, in visuals, directing, theme, story, nuances – it’s finally something you can share with your non-WoW friends :) Anduin fit well in the story too.

The Korthia/Maw adventures explain and show how we get rid of the Eye and obtain mount riding, some stuff about the Brokers/Seers, and set the solid lore foundation for Covenant assaults. Helya/Odyn lore was good. In the end we also get a glimpse of Nazthrezim – now women too! – which is a great hook for the future, giving us some food for thought, intriguing and at the same time not leaving us wandering in the shadows.

In short, everything develops in a logical and decent way without plot holes so far. As BfA taught us to fear how Blizzard omits vital plot parts in their pursue of keeping the mystery, I’d say that they coped with delivering the new lore very, very well. Everything just clicks in its place as it should, and in general – the lore works. Well done!

My only beef with the lore today is the local scribes/seers whatever they’re called – well, the Korthia bros of Oribos population. So far they’re lost, clueless, and want you to collect whatever archives are scattered across the ruined Korthia. I was not very impressed with their mission, and frankly they look more like a filler to justify the benthic gear.

The last, but not the least: so far we’ve completed 3 chapters of the new story: Battle for Ardenweald, Settling in Korthia/mounts unlocked, and the removal of Jailer’s Eye. Every week we will have a new adventure, a new story concerning Covenant and major lore troubles, and I can’t wait to see it through.

The Vibe. How does it play so far?

Well, this department is more on the downside. Korthia is not too fun or beautiful of a location, and a small one – but the Maw now comes into focus too, so they both provide some decent ground for running around. Korthia’s ambience is not great, not terrible – it will do. Haven’t figured out yet how to get to the southernmost part of the zone to complete exploration achievement.

The most important thing is of course the removal of Maw impediments – now you can mount, and now you can be there all the time you want without the Eye penalty. This alone makes the Maw a lot more playable, and almost fun? I still need to get used to this, like now I can – and should! – kill the rares for example, without looking at a GTA 5-stars counter. All in all, they both make a solid endgame, new-patch zone to run around and do daily/weekly stuff.

Now that you are leading an assault against Jailer’s forces, with allies and bases – it’s what we got used to, and it plays well. The Maw finally takes its place in the row of normal WoW zones of x.1-x.2 patches, like make a base and hit them in their lair, and it works well because, hey, we’re seasoned with this kind of thing. The area is still a bit depressing, but at the same time we don’t crawl, we walk proud, and we have initiative in our hands. That’s inspiring.

There supposed to be a lot of secrets and exploration in Korthia, but I have not found any emphasis on that thing so far. We shall see.

The Gameplay. Mobs hit pretty hard, but I’m a fucking frost mage, which always has a problem in the first days of patches and expansions. Anyways, I don’t think I died even once, and Korthia/Maw never felt like a Nazjatar case where they simply buried you in the ground in the first days of patch. I have a feeling that other classes would do a lot better in terms of killing mobs faster and with less bother.

The pace of dailies / weeklies / half-weeklies is pretty clear. We get^

  • Daily quests: a number of blue quests in Korthia camp
  • Once in 3 days: there will be a new Covenant assault which requires 4 yellow quests and a scenario,
  • Weekly quests required for Renown: collect the very same 1000 anima and fill the Korthia/Maw bar. By the end of day 1 I filled the bar by 50%, and you can do more. It’s great that killing rares and doing old dailies in the Maw counts in this quest too, so old content is recycled and is also relevant in addition to the new stuff. So if you have 1 day to play in the week, you can brace yourself and do this quest in one sit, it’s your call. Or you could stretch throughout the week, no big deal.

By the way, anima income on the first day was insane. Here goes:

That’s right, 3290 anima on my first sit, and I did only Korthia/Maw duties, nothing else in other zones. I think it’s gonna be counterproductive to skip the Korthia intro questline on alts, because anima rewards for the story are too great to waive them away.

There is a lot of rotating stuff – every Covenant assault has a separate number of quests, which would suffice for at least 3 assaults of this Covenant without repetition, there’s a number of rares, events and what not. Of course everything will be old news in a while, but you’re not supposed to see all the quests and activities in week one, or even month one, and it’s great.

“Benthic” Gear. 9.1. version of catch-up gear are items which are given for completion of quests, and also drop randomly from Korthia mobs in the open world. I got four items so far. The starting ilvl is 200, level 2 is 207, and level 3 is 213 which is LFR item level, I presume. You can upgrade up to level 4 right now – if you only have enough Korthia currency (kinda manapearls), but for levels 5-6 you need to purchase an item with reputation gating. I don’t think there are rings, necks, weapons and stuff, so it’s probably just 6 set pieces, like we had with Covenant armor. So they cannot serve as a total replacement for mythic+/raids/PvP sets even if you could eventually upgrade them to this high level.

I’m starting to get the new mogs too. The “benthic” gear is a Korthia red recolor of Oribos people outfits, as we got through 9.0. questing and crafting:

I also got these spiky shoulders drop in the open world:

The item didn’t have any stats, the description said “cosmetic”, so it’s probably a Mawsworn-themed set. Well, at least the raid set has totally different shoulders, so it may be something unique:

Things I Haven’t Touched Yet

I’e got a yellow quest to find a broker in Torghast. I presume it has to deal with soul ash, sockets and other legendary stuff, so when I realised he’s hidden in a Torghast run, I said no-no, and put it aside.

I haven’t met Tazavesh lead-in quest yet. Probably I need to seek in Oribos, or it simply opens on week 2 along with the raid – that I do not know. Anyways, not my priority, it can be figured out later.

***

So far the patch does not seem bad at all. Even if Korthia is small and not very inspiring by lore and ambience, and the Maw is a well-trodden path, it seems there’s been a lot of work done to fill them with activities, events and many-many long-term and short-term goals.

I didn’t feel any confusion about the layout, the quests, the systems – everything was explained perfectly through quests.

What comforts me most in this patch is the story. It’s nowhere unexpected, linear and logical, but that’s the point! Blizzard had some trouble recently – in Legion and BfA – by playing too hard with secrecy, deus ex, twists and turns, so having a simple, but consistent and crystal clear plot is what we’ve been hungry for a while. I don’t know what the other chapters will be, and how the raid will end, but so far it looks very, very good.

My plan is simple, as always: my main grinds the hell out of daily/weekly tasks until all is said and done, and I weave in alts when she rests. I’m typing this as I have dinner (btw, I’m on vacation, whoo!), and when I finish, it’s second alt to go. Chains – here we come!

2 thoughts on “9.1. Chains of Domination – My First Impressions

  1. The anima rewards are absolutely insane. I’m very happy about this change. I’m wanting to fully upgrade my covenants and acquire all the mogs. So I do hope this keeps up.

    Like

    • Well, it’s not that much if you take out the story one-time rewards, but I think the daily-weekly pace is still gonna be a lot better. I would like to have all anima sets, but farming needs to be sensible. We’ll play and see! There’s at least another 1,5 years for that.

      Liked by 1 person

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