There is no escaping the inevitable. Already live on US servers, Blizzard’s patch 6.2 will be deployed to the EU today, and that means it is time to finally write about what you as an MMO lover can do with all this new stuff. The latest Patch is a reasonably big deal because its predecessor wasn’t exactly overflowing with new features: many people felt the S.E.L.F.I.E Camera and Twitter integration didn’t actually count as ‘proper’ content to begin with, and they had a point. This time around however is a veritable embarrassment of riches, and I feel I’d be remiss by not doing at least some kind of rudimentary ‘5 Things to Try in Tanaan’ guide type thing. So, without further ado, here’s your lowdown on What to Do in 6.2.
However, before you dive in and resubscribe, or maybe simply update your client after an absence, there’s one very important thing to consider. Some of you won’t like this, but I’m going to suggest it anyway.
1. Get Yourself Organised Beforehand.
Absolutely the first thing that needs your consideration, before you even log into the game is taking some time to remind yourself about what’s changed. The Official Patch Notes are here, and I’d really recommend even the most casual of players taking the time to look at what’s been updated, because not even the best Blog Post in the World (not to toot my own horn) is ever going to totally prepare you for the depth of change that you’ll have to cope with on arrival. In no particular order: you’ll get raiding, new 5 mans in a couple of flavours, special bonus reward weekends, a brand new mini-game plus the inevitable changes to classes and specs that can take even the most seasoned of players some time to acclimatise to. In good news, Patch Notes are now far more organised than they ever used to be, and it is pretty easy to identify areas that you’ll have a particular interest in.
Then I’d suggest checking out which of your Addons have been updated, because with the inevitable fiddling that’s been wrought on the UI, quite a few of those helpful additions to your gameplay won’t be working either. Basically, take an hour before you log on getting your PC/Mac game-fit. I can guarantee you’ve probably got a graphics driver you can update to boot… and then there’s a chance to take in a couple of boss strategy videos or maybe even find the time to check out Blizzard’s own selection of Blogs that preview the Zone, the Raid Instance and the various changes to UI plus Interface improvements. They really have pushed the boat out in recent months in terms of extra information available to players (no pun intended!) You should take the opportunity to spend a bit of time watching and learning, it will be worthwhile in the long term.
2. Go Build some Boats.
The big deal for a lot of people who aren’t doing Progression Raiding in 6.2 is the Shipyard, which is your latest ‘addition’ to the Garrison setup that has come under so much scrutiny this Expansion around. You’ll want this structure as an essential part of your Garrison experience, because this will be where the best items you can wear will eventually be ‘farmed’ once you’ve completed the introductory quest-line. Yes, you’ll be spending some time hanging around Docks, meeting sailors and learning the finer points of ship construction. And to make the entire thing that more authentic you watch your boat being built, so no complaints that you’re not part of the entire shipwright experience. Then you’ll need to find the ways and means to gather Oil to power your vessels, and after that? Expect missions to last a lot longer and there to be a real possibility your battleship could be sunk by the enemy.
In fact, if I didn’t know better with these changes plus some 11th hour surprises by Blizzard, the company might be in the process trying to wean you off the Missions ‘concept’ altogether. After all, you won’t be packing your Garrison off to the next Expansion location, but there’s a very good chance certain elements of the process will remain. I’d suspect that means however your Naval Battles pan out, you’ll see an evolution of that and the Garrisons ‘concept’ popping up again in the future. However, in the short term, the intention is to make this part of game-play less about feeling like you’re on Facebook and more about there being a sense of genuine risk for your rewards. Oh, and in possibly the best feature of the entire Patch, you can name your own vessels. No, I’m not going to give you any ideas, you’ll need your own. I, however, will be naming my first ship the Disco Volante, so 10 points to anyone who gets that reference.
3. Explore Tanaan Jungle.
Once you have your Garrison up and operating again at optimal capacity, its time to go and explore the new Zone that Blizzard are hoping to keep you interested in across the Summer and possibly beyond. It’s a bit like the Timeless Isle found in Mists of Pandaria, right down to the stuff on the ground you can dig up for currency, with a selection of ‘fun and quirky’ items to kill, collect, fail to collect and ultimately get frustrated at because the RNG hates you [*] Most importantly for most crafters this time around, the replacement for Savage Blood, attractively named Felblight, can mostly only be obtained by gathering, skinning or fishing in the Zone. So, whether you want a new set of Toybox additions or to fight Legendary battle pets, you’ll need to be at least in the area to pick up anything of use.
There’s also daily quests to occupy you and for anyone who wants flying the moment Blizzard decide to deploy it? There are three factions you need at Revered here too, so you’ll probably want to work on that as a priority. I warn you, its probably going to be quite busy for the first few weeks… but you’ll not feel alone. In fact, If the corresponding period of Pandaria’s last patch is any indicator of what to expect, you’ll be wanting to camp spawns early and often. Fortunately for us all, there’s not an Achievement this time around for collecting every item dropped or found in the Jungle. Because if there was, I suspect I’d have to go and cry in a corner.
4. Try the New Raid Content
I’ll admit I’ve not been raiding in any competitive form since well… probably Pandaria now, but for many of you the most important part of 6.2 is the introduction of Hellfire Citadel, with 13 bosses for you to go and poke in the by now not totally linear fashion. However, there’s been some key changes to loot this time around which means you’ll want to be entering this experience and trying to make it to the end… because that’s where the highest iLevel loot will be found. Players can earn items ranging in power from item level 675-685 in Raid Finder up to item level 735 in Mythic difficulty, with Archimonde’s rewards being far more attractive rewards than those from the opening bosses. It’ll be six weeks before LFR is available to everyone, of course, but expect the high end Guilds to be doing the business some time before that.
There are already massive spoilers all over social media concerning the final fight in this encounter. If you want to keep yourself away from the drama that’s already erupted as a result? It might be time to put the eye and ear defenders on now. Or you could just dive right in and enjoy this bunch of pixels for what it is, quite possibly the last major set of Raiding Encounters for this Expansion.
5. Leave it all and come back in a Month.
And then, there are those of us who know what happens in the first week of a Patch. Blizzard patently fail to anticipate demand. People complain they can get nothing done. There is frustration, and tears, and an outpouring of anger via social media, which all generates in turn yet more PATCH 6.2 HYPE. Mostly, it’s easier to come back when its quiet, or very early/late in the day. The fact remains however, that this content is supposed to last players for the entire Summer, and yet people want it done the moment it releases.
After several Expansions worth of getting increasingly frustrated, I’ve decided to take it easy this time around. I actually listened to the Panda mantra too and slowed down, and I have my own plan to get alts to L100 so I can farm for Legacy Content mounts at a fairly sedate pace and on my own terms. I’ll get to Tanaan eventually, of that I am absolutely certain, but it doesn’t have to be on Launch Day. In fact, I could easily hold on a week and I won’t lose any advantage, and I suspect be considerably less stressed about the entire experience as a result. As it happens, the Servers were up earlier than anticipated this morning, and I managed to do the entire Shipyard starting experience before I had Breakfast. Sometimes, these things just work out on their own.
In conclusion: whatever you decide to do today? Have fun, enjoy the new stuff for what it is and keep everything crossed that we’ll have an idea of what happens AFTER Tanaan sooner rather than later… ^^
[*] That’s not just me, right?Related: Column, News, Patch 6.2, Preview, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday