After being treated to a new, great-looking intro, Blizzard hypes up even more what is already one of the most anticipated releases of the year, coupling it with the new pre-patch updating our current game to get us used to how Warlords of Draenor will work. And, of course, there are a couple of other things that introduce us to the new world we are getting ourselves into. For weeks, the pre-patch has been the only thing anyone’s ever talked about, fan and developer alike, so let’s see if any of the more major elements in this update is worth any of the hubbub, so I’m sure the lot us who can’t play WoW on the weekends or outright due to whatever reason can find out about how this all goes. This article will focus more on the noticeable changes, updates, and brand new things rather than simply reiterating what had already been said a billion times in the past weeks.
Finally! After Ten Years, The Stick Up My Butt Has Gone! – Human Male
On the character screen, you’ll instantly be greeted by the new textures and animations for our beloved characters. Sure, we’ve seen them all before in screenshots, images, and some even through the beta tests, but seeing them now, as the final product in your own hands and screen, feels quite different. Logging in further, you’ll instantly fall in love with your character all over again. Imagine, my human doesn’t look like he needs to take a shit when he runs! My orc actually looks like a badass and not some expendable grunt! And my dwarf, well, he became Thorin Oakenshield. Whether you planned him or her to be cool or pretty, Blizzard certainly delivered what they set out to do. While they might not seem to be completely at par with graphics of newer generation MMOs, they certainly look great and can easily contend well with the rest. Now, I can’t wait to see how girly Blood Elves have become. You heard me: All Blood Elves are girls.
The Iron Invasion
Next up, we got the pre-expansion event itself. With a sudden quest pop once your character pops in, you are led to the Blasted Lands to fend off the invasion of the Iron Horde through a new opening of the Dark Portal. One thing leads to another and you find yourself already done and over with the event. Simply put, it was quite boring, aside from the few little bits of in-game cinematics that showcased the awesomely new character retextures and animations. However, those cutscenes aren’t enough to redeem what should have been as hype as was expected of it. You do get a nifty title and a limited time offer on a cutie-pie Iron Star pet if you finish the event before WoD hits, but not much else.
It’s frustrating to think that despite the excitement on the log in screen, one of the primary highlights of this update just falls so short. No, I wasn’t expecting anything award-winning from it, but just something that’s a little bit more worthy of the hype it held. Maybe a longer questline with better writing, and it might help to have a teensy bit more than killing shit. It’s a buzzkill, really.
Upper Black Rock Spire
Now, when I thought, “Hey! New dungeon! Surely it’s going to be great! Eh. While the updated dungeon looks at par with the character remodelling, the main attraction of it, the fighting, can become quite a snoozefest. Mechanics, depending on your group’s gear, can be unwittingly ignored, with each fight becoming nothing but tank and spanks with a few flashy effects and fancy character models. And even if your group had the gear level that the dungeon is intended for, the mechanics still aren’t all that great, as they range from simple tank and spanks, and avoid-shit-on-the-grounds.
Perhaps the only redeeming qualities of the preview dungeon, other than tidbits of lore, are the easy 550 ilvl blues that could help the still gearing player to get more from Siege of Orgrimmar, as well as those same pieces of gear retaining the old Upper Black Rock Spire armor models, thus eliminating the need for anyone rushing to get some transmogs before they could possibly disappear, unlike what happened in Scholomance for Mists of Pandaria. But more experienced and veteran players wouldn’t be interested to try out this dungeon a second time, unless there was something they wanted, as it offers nothing much else aside from being a demo of Draenor.
Premade Groups and the Current State of Addons
On the topic of dungeoneering and raiding, 6.0.2 has also integrated a new LFG tool to aid players in making and searching for groups, making certain mods like oQueue, those that focus on matchmaking, basically obsolete for the time being. It’s a great new game function that is sure to be welcomed by every player as it relieves us of the hassles of how grouping used to be conducted., either via mods like the one mentioned above, by simply screaming LFG/M in Orgrimmar or Stormwind, or queuing up on Flexible Raids list and hoping that a normal or Heroic group would read our little note and invite us to their raid.
However, I do feel that this is also a blow to the battle.net friends system, as many players have depended on the status updates of their friends for grouping in general. With the LFG tool in place, this system might also become obsolete, as well as the need to actually make friends to raid with in the future. Advances in a player’s quality of life can and will affect the social aspect of the game, but of course, not completely. But I do see this doing some relative harm down the road through Draenor and beyond.
If there’s one other thing that Blizzard was hard at work at, it was balancing classes. Surely, the public yearning for eliminating the “World of Warrior” had fallen on the willing ears of the developers, and I’m sure they tried, to the best of their abilities and better judgment, along with the input from their players, to make a fair playing field for the diverse classes available in WoW. Getting into every specifics of the classes would ultimately be an exercise in futility, as not all are treated and played the same way, and I certainly am not a master of every class, however, my immediate impressions for them are quite glaring, especially in terms of being a part-time healer. Some of the changes really simplified too much of how each class is played, making some feel so dumbed down that the fun factor has been greatly reduced. But with leveling past 90 still an impossibility at the moment, it might be a little bit too premature for anyone to start presuming the cons of the final product. Still, at the moment, healing has become a major spamfest, as well as some dps and tanking classes like Paladins. I mean, Paladins were already so simple and they just had to dumb it down even more. Like what, you ask? The removal of inquisition as an actively maintained buff alone is a good example of that. Come on; it wasn’t that hard to keep track of that. I certainly did not think that that specific change would actually make it through. But, again, we still have to reserve judgment for when we truly get to 100.
6.0.2 was supposed to be that one pre-expansion update that would get us even more stoked for Draenor, but with how things turned out, it seems like that it did little but deliver an empty vessel of the hype. Overall, it’s not that bad, but it certainly is not that good either and it could have done better, in my opinion. Because of this, I’m sure many who have had the luxury to try the new updated WoW upon it’s realease have felt that way. It surely isn’t a good precursor to one of the most hyped expansions in WoW’s history. Now I’m sorely afraid that WoD itself might let me down lke this update, but I can only hope for the best.Related: Column, Patch, Update, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday