A few weeks back I had a rather large bitch post about what I thought the failings in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade were. I figured it was decent idea to write a companion piece about everything I absolutely adore about WoW and this expansion. And yes, of course, there are going to be a fair number of contradictions with my previous post. That is the fucked up mess that WoW turns people like me into.
1. Quests – The quests the second you get to The Outlands all of a sudden take a huge jump in quality. They are more fun, more varied and there are just more of them. Plus the rewards from the quests are actually good, for the most part, unlike the quests from levels 1-58 that will give you cloth with + strength and other such nonsense. There is a fair bit of repetition in the quests, of course, but overall your time questing will be substantially funner once you hit The Outlands.
2. Loot / Itemization (pre endgame) – I guess this type of itemization actually started in the dungeons and raids at level 60, but it gets continued through TBC at a blistering pace. Levels 1-58 you pretty much only care about (and can get) stuff with Int/Str/Agi and Stam. Once you hit The Outlands you start to have to balance more stats like spell hit, spell crit, spell damage, armor penetration, spell penetration, defense, etc… It makes gearing your character more interesting because you can go all spell damage and live with your fizzled spells, or you can go all haste to get more spells out quickly, but with less damage. It just opens a lot of room to make your toon a bit more individualized.
3. There is so much crap to do! – During levels 58-70 you will never be without a full quest log and at least 2 dungeons you can be doing at the time. Once you hit 70 the number of factions that you can grind solo is amazing… everything from Netherwing to get yourself a Netherdrake, to the Shattered Sun Offensive to get some pretty sweet gear and patterns. I’ve been level 70 for about 3 weeks now on my latest guy and other than runs through Magister’s Terrace I’ve had tons and tons and tons of solo content to work on, none of which I’m finished with yet.
4. Magister’s Terrace – I just brought this up so I figured I would expound on it and give it the props it deserves. MgT is by far the hardest and coolest 5 man instance in the game. It’s so refreshing to be doing a 5 man that takes skill to complete. I guess the dark underbelly of this is that if you PuG it chances are it will be a disaster. Just last night, actually, a friend from my guild and myself joined a PuG and the run took 3 hours and we didn’t even finish. Finally 5 man groups have an idiot check. But, yeah, it sucks when you are playing with those idiots. This isn’t a complaint though, I love that it is difficult.
5. Daily Quests – Probably the biggest change to the game in the expansion, in a time spent standpoint. At level 60 in vanilla WoW you reached a point where there was just nothing to do between raids. With the advent of daily quests (and the rep grinds they bring with them) you always have something to do. And there is enough of them that you can switch which ones you do each day to keep them fresh. This isn’t to say that they aren’t sometimes tedious, because they certainly are, but when it comes to passing time and making money I vastly prefer it to farming fire elementals or whatever other stupid crap I did in vanilla WoW at level 60.
6. Heroics – I had hoped for more out of heroics, I was hoping that they wouldn’t just be the same mobs but more difficult… and for the most part that is all they are. But, they are still pretty damn fun. Like i stated before I enjoy a challenge and some of them present a pretty large challenge. And with badge loot always calling out your name with newer and shinier epics there is always reasons to run them. Whoever at Blizzard came up with the idea to make a Heroic Daily Quest should get a raise. It will bring you to dungeons you would otherwise ignore. Good stuff.
7. Raiding – I complained a lot about the itemization of the endgame in TBC in my first post, and I still stick by that, it doesn’t make sense how you can get better gear to clear stuff that gives you worse gear (aka get badge stuff to finish SSC only to have the SSC drops be downgrades). But, if you take the itemization out of it, the raids themselves are pretty wonderful. Karazhan in particular is probably the most creative raid instance in any MMO ever. Everyone has run it to absolute death at this point in the game’s life cycle… but when you really examine everything in there from the Moroes fight to the Opera to the Curator to the Chess Event to the random chaos of the final battle… it’s just really, really awesome. The 25 mans are of different quality, but none of them are terrible. SSC is probably the worst, but some of the boss battles are great (Vashj particularly, Leo and Lurker are pretty rad also). TK is pretty good, though short… but Kael’Thas may be the coolest fight in the game. I loved Mt Hyjal from start to finish, especially as a warlock (AOEEEEEE!). Black Temple is well designed and creepy with some interesting fights, but I’ve only seen about halfway through it. I’ve yet to step foot into Sunfire but it seems like the difficulty is pretty damn epic.
8. World PvP (lol really?) – Yeah, it still sucks, but it’s better. It was a good first step putting PvP objectives in each zone. It was a better step attaching daily quests to most of them. All of this doesn’t create the epic world PvP that most of us are looking for, but it does create some interesting skirmishes from time to time. Hopefully WoLK will take this concept even further, especially in Lake Wintersgrasp.
9. The world itself – I am the first to admit that I am kinda sick of the sci-fi-ness of The Outlands, and am looking forward to the more typical fantasy setting of WoLK… but, at the same time, after 58 levels in the old world it really is refreshing to go to The Outlands and basically interact with this alien world. It is very pretty, the graphic style is amazing. I’m ready for more castles and mountains with snow and all of that stuff, but TBC is a pretty decent change of pace.
10. The changes – The biggest and smartest change was speeding up leveling from levels 20-60. The recent change of getting mounts at 30 instead of 40 is another great change. I also like that they drop the keying process for raid instances after a suitable amount of time… this makes it much easier to get alts in, or change mains, or apply for raiding guilds a little bit out of your paygrade. People bitch about every little change that Bliz puts in the game, but overall I think most of them have improved the overall experience.