It was only a matter of time.
On Friday the 8th, Blizzard announced that the current PvP Season will end on July 19th, 2016. If you follow my blog, you’ll know I’ve been hawking this date as D-Day for Draenor for some time. I’d like to thank Reddit for the early tip-off, and the understanding that Warlords’ time as the current expansion is at an end. Although it is not guaranteed, I’m quietly confident you’ll see the pre-Expansion patch on the same day. How can I be so sure? Well, it could be a coincidence that Final Fantasy’s Patch 3.35 launches on the 19th, but I cannot possibly comment. Even if we get an extra week? The inevitable is just around the corner. The Legion pre-Expansion patch is coming, and you should be prepared. So, what needs to be done before the 19th?
Win a Moose not Fade Away
First up, there is no immediate panic over losing the reward most people seem most keep to obtain, the Reins of the Grove Warden. A surprising comment by Ion Hazzikostas means that you won’t have to scrabble for a carry straight away, and you have until August 30th to book your transport. There have been various rumours as to the state of Hellfire Citadel post-patch, most notably a potential 30% nerf to the entire Instance to accommodate the inevitable class changes that will come with new and altered abilities. Regardless, the weeks before the 30th August will give you more time to get yourself organised, but ultimately some people have ignored the warnings, It’s always the way.
This is also a very good time to get yourself sorted with a new Guild, should have re-subbed, logged in and discovered your old lot disbanded whilst you were away. There’s been a remarkable number of returning players this last weekend if the sales on my backwater Server are any indicator. In fact this last weekend I’ve made 30,000g selling raw materials and clearing out my Bank. It should be a pretty good time to sell anything as we head towards the Expansion, especially for those people playing catch up on the stuff they’ve missed. Pick your raw materials carefully, and if you have spare Garrison Resources? Choosing the right things to sell, especially to those levelling professions, should continue to make decent returns all the way to late August. This is particularly important because once the pre-Expansion patch hits? No more gold missions from your base in Draenor. Read some Warcraft History lessons before the Expansion here.
Wardrobes, Respecs and Invasions OH MY
Once the Legion pre-Expansion patch drops, I’ll free up half my bank space across a multitude of alts, which is full of Transmog items and stuff that is being made into Toys. I’ve estimated I’ll probably spend the first day sorting that and nothing else, even before I look at all the abilities that have vanished from my bars and how I play my class again. As I have a number of Hunters that get played, I’ll be spending time across all of the three effective ‘new’ specs, learning how to Beast Mastery, Surviv (al) and Marksman (ship) in the time leading up to Legion. This gives me the chance, when I level these alts, to play all three of the Artefact storylines and provide some much-needed variance in my questing/levelling experience.
For the alts who aren’t as well geared as my main? There’ll be Invasions too, and a six-week long storyline that involves the frozen King Magni of Ironforge at its centre. To get an idea of what’s in store, you could do a lot worse than check out this comic that Blizzard have produced as a precursor to the action. After that, it’s back to a scenario that will be familiar to anyone who did Scourge Invasions before TBC launched. Low-level areas will be under attack, you gotta go kill dudes and earn currency to get rewards. As I’m still sad enough to own the currency from the first time this happened? You can bet your Legion Lieutenants I’m gonna be there biffing Fel Dudes like there’s no tomorrow.
Oh and for those of you whose only interest in this entire shooting match is the Demon Hunter you want to level to 100 BEFORE Legion hits? Blizzard has you covered. Early access to them will happen no later than August 17th, so that gives you thirteen days. Most people should be able to at least sleep and shower before the Expansion arrives and still have a L100 Mini-Illidan of your own. For me, however, there’s serious consideration to dropping my wages from writing this and next week’s column on getting a Gnome Hunter maxed to 100 so I can go learn lovely new mechanical pets. Speaking of this, I must go sort my stables out to make sure there’s enough space to stick all these new members of the family into… Check out my article on Warcraft’s Appearances feature here.
Everything Else is just Organisation
Even if it ends up being a week later, planning for the 19th as D-Day regardless makes an awful lot of sense. That way you can get yourself sorted and still have time to breathe. As you read this, you’ll have less than a week to get Challenge Modes finished, trawl Mythics for that L110 Trinket, and gather enough Pet Battle tokens to make sure you can buy everything from the trainer come August 30th. There’s a lot of stuff we can’t be 100% sure of once the patch goes live, but we do know there will be some quite stupidly large nerfs to gold production in your Garrison. If that’s the case, one can assume there’ll be other stuff we don’t know about and Blizzard has kept quiet over so that people couldn’t prep too much and potentially break the game. That means if it matters enough to you and you think that it could get changed? Time to do it now.
There’s also a salutatory reminder that as Draenor becomes Legacy, finishing Achievements there will get harder. There’s also a ton of stuff in your Garrison that may become immensely irritating (or indeed get nerfed/converted into Feats of Strength.) This is the time to remind that once this stuff goes to Legacy a lot of areas that were not Cross Realm Zones may become that way to increase the number of players available, that might actually make certain achievements harder, especially those that involve camping rare spawns. It’s quite hard to think about all of this when you’re returning to the game after an absence, so it might just be wise to focus on a few things you want to do before the whole World of Warcraft changes (again) forever.
And as for Me?
On that front, I have a lot that I want to do and now only a very small window in which to complete it, and so it is time to be brutal. I have a pencil and pad here,plus my Bucket List which I’ll do my best to complete. Some of it, inevitably, will not get finished. Long term grinds such as Nat Pagle’s Lucky Coins I can still fish for all the way until August (and presumably beyond) so this will not be a priority. I’d like to earn a Platinum Invasion Award (possibly several) before the pre-Patch hits, so this week I’ll be looking to prepare myself for those. After that, everyone who can will max their First Aid and Cookery Skills, my Alchemist will make everybody potions to level with, and then I’ll start running the family through the Invasion events to help learn new rotations and pick up better gear.
This is quite a daunting time for some players, especially those returning to the game after an absence. At this point in proceedings, I’d suggest you just turn up and try and enjoy yourselves. It can be quite daunting when everything has changed, but the trick I’ve found after doing this for nearly 12 years is just to take it a step at a time. Get yourself used to your main’s new way of working before anything else gets changed. Rearrange your action bars, clear out your bank. Get new food and flasks, finish all the quests in your quest log. Maybe stack some daily quests for cash to hand in when you restart your character, and use the XP to begin your journey to the Broken Isles. However you prepare, remember this is just pixels.
On that point, I’d like to finish with a request. Give Legion a chance before jumping onto social media and maligning the changes that have been made. An awful lot of effort has been made by Activision Blizzards to produce an Expansion that can be as many things as possible to the widest possible audience. It will be inevitable that some of the stuff misses the target, and it will undoubtedly not take long for people to complain about this, probably on some kind of social media platform. I think perhaps it might be great if, this time around, people played everything a couple of times through before immediately pronouncing judgement on how awful it was. Perhaps, we could actually try and enjoy what we’re given before holes start getting picked and failure pronounced. I think, speaking for myself, it is going to be a while before I’m prepared to give any coherent opinion on how good or otherwise Legion is.
It’ll make writing columns a bit of a stretch for a few months, but that’s a sacrifice I’m prepared to make.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Legion, MMORPG, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday