‘Cause there will be alts, right?
The journey to 120 was both faster and slower than I had imagined. I spent the time to read the majority of the quest text, as I had in Legion, so the act of leveling was pretty similar. I had extra XP from all the herbs I was collecting (more on that later), and there’s what appears to be an insane collection of quests across each map. I’m sure there’s a meme somewhere being built where you see a ! everywhere you look. It was slower in the fact that there are only 3 zones, and within those zones, the themes are quite similar. In Legion, if you didn’t like the look of say, Azshara, you could go somewhere else. If you don’t like Drustvar… tough cookies.
I was about 1/3 complete Tiragarde Sound when I saw that final ding, and then things went a bit off the deep end.
So Much Stuff To Do
- World quests (only if you’re friendly with everyone, which is hard not to be)
- Regular dungeons
- Heroic dungeons
- Mythic dungeons (not +)
- Island Expeditions
- Pathfinder Part 1
- Exploring all 6 zones (yes all 6)
- Completing all the main quests in each of your faction zones
- Raising all factions to Revered
- Getting new gear
Honestly, the direction goes from vertical(get levels) to full horizontal mode in 2 minutes and you’re generally at a loss of what you should be doing vs what you could be doing. As a piece, all these items are a means to an end, and often cross related. Right now, my focus is on clearing out the last zone.
Scaling and Entitlement
The biggest problem with Legion was it was good and people kept playing it til the end. Nice problem to have! The second biggest problem is that it gave out legendaries and epics like candy, and everyone was massively overpowered by the time Argus showed up. 8.0 nerfed everyone (7.2 nerfed leveling), but for a max 110, it was generally manageable.
From 110-115, your legendaries still work, and their effects are very noticeable. You likely have 2 pieces of Azerite gear by 115, though the skills on them are a shadow of artefact/legendary powers. 116 to 119 is hard for some classes, you feel a lot weaker. 120 is a wakeup call since WQ are all balanced for a specific item level – which everyone is missing by 20-30 points.
Players feel entitled to that sense of power because it lasted so long. Getting an alt decked in full epics was a matter of days, not weeks in Legion. We now need to redo that treadmill. I’ve added a few nice pieces but I certainly feel that pain. But then again, if that carrot on the stick wasn’t there, why do content?
That said, I do agree that there’s a fundamental problem with the initial curve. The fact that you can unequip items and get stronger seems to be shoddy design. Any blackbox test would have shown the curve being an issue, so they obviously accepted it as working properly. That someone figured out how to bypass that check…how I love crowdsourcing!
Maybe there’s something broken, but world rares only drop i273 items, which I out level by a wide margin. They don’t seem to scale their drops. WQ drops are in in a similar space where the bottom of that is i280. Bad rolls, and the WQ will not reward you with any upgrades at all.
Dungeons do give i310 items, and generally that’s ok. Except for Azerite gear. My neck is not yet high enough level to open the 2nd ring slot, meaning that functionally the items are worse than what I have equipped since I’m losing a passive bonus. For example, I have one head piece that gives healing when I use a DoT attack, and also heals me every 6 seconds. I’m a tank, that is very useful. I’ve had a half dozen “upgrades” that were 10 levels higher and only 1 skill available, and a skill I don’t want (like randomly AEing targets, or faster movement speed). I collect for the ‘mog, then sell the piece. That is not fun.
Weapon drops are quite rare, yet have a significant impact on player power. I’ve yet to see any in WQ, and dungeon drops aren’t exactly easy to find. At the end of each zone is a close out quest with a weapon though, so I suggest not completing those final quests until 120, and then only once the reward level is closer to 290. Clearly this wasn’t an issue with Legion as weapons always had upgrades through their slot mechanic. It’s a bit jarring here.
Looks like a long trail to get to a higher level, which I don’t mind too much. Would be nice to reach heroic dungeons in a week or so.
I stand by the theory that Legion killed most professions. BfA has made crafters irrelevant for the most part, with the exception of the always fascinating “start of expansion” burst. Scribes are selling decks, crafters are selling armor, potions are all over the place, bags for everyone. There are Bind of Equip items as well, selling for insane amounts of gold. I lucked out and had one drop, it should fetch ~800k on my server.
Recipe increases are no longer fully gated behind dungeon runs. We’re back into the reputation unlocks, and making things.
The good side to this is that for harvesters (herbalist here) it is a stupid time to make money. I sold all the herbs I collected from 110-120 for just over 30k gold. I’ve max ranked all but 1 herbs – the horde-specific herb. Anchor Weed is maxed, and I get 5 herbs+ per node. Each herb sells for ~400g. That’s right – each node is worth 2000g. Compared to a WQ that gives me 70g, or a war table 18 hour mission for 50g. Did I mention that my server’s Auction House is broken? Makes it feel like a raid boss.
- This is a new expansion, with new dungeons and mechanics to learn
- I haven’t tanked to consider mechanics in 2 years
- My skills/talents set have changed, making the group rotation a bit different
- I am underpowered for most content
- DPS still haven’t learned to interrupt
- The default UI does a horrible job of explaining mechanics
- Tanks insta-queue!
This above has made the dungeons I’ve run, well, an experience. I’ll talk about the Temple of Tides specifically. There are 1-2 specific regular mobs that cast an AE heal that maxes everyone, making for indefinite fights. Those need to be interrupted. There’s 1 mob that casts a channeled spell (something like Carving Dagger) that will drain 100% hp from a DPS and cannot be interrupted/stunned. There’s another water elemental that casts chain lightning – again a 100% hp drop that cannot be interrupted/stunned. Finally, the placement of mobs and the abundance of ae/knockback make for some interesting pulls.
To be clear, I think all those mechanics are interesting and force you to pay attention. Start of an expansion is when to do it. But there needs to be some training wheels for the DPS to understand their role on non-boss mechanics. Interrupt a heal is one thing… but a non-interruptable 100% hp drain attack? Now we need line of sight mechanics, or stacking mechanics. Cool. Tell people either during the fight, or have them find a way to figure it out in a fight without dying multiple times.
More to Come
There’s still a lot of content to cover, and I’ll have a few posts to address the big things. So far it’s a lot of fun mechanically. There are plenty of options for content, regardless of what you like to do. Quests are generally well done, though perhaps a few too many kill X / collect Y variants. Only found 2 escort quests (I would have like to let Penny fight her own way out, thank you).
It works, it’s fun, and it’s motivating to come back. So far, a thumb’s up.