Since everywhere I look, almost everyone has just good things to say about World of Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor, I’ve decided to sort of address the elephant in the room situation, from my point of view at least.
The Warlords of Draenor launch
I’ve been there for pretty much every single launch and let me tell you, in my opinion (and others’ as well), this has been the most grim launch ever. What made it even worse was the fact that I knew it would suck, and I even prepared myself to have no expectations, so I won’t be disappointed, and it actually was so bad that it managed to stomp all over that preparation and exceed every single one of my fears of new expansions launch.
Like seriously, the servers went “live” (lol jk), as in rolling with Warlords of Draenor, and all hell broke loose like never before. I got instantly disconnected and could not log back in the game for about 3 hours while others were already level 92+.
After I managed to get in, the game lagged so badly that I couldn’t even get into the new zones, so I was rubberbanding for about 45 minutes when I got disconnected some more. I logged back in within seconds and guess what, the login queue was over two and a half hours long, given that there should have been some system that takes into account players who just got disconnected and saving them a spot to reconnect within X minutes of the disconnect.
Needless to say, I finally managed to ding level 91 about 5-7 hours later. And yes, I am aware that you were able to transfer your character to a different server, but given the condition the servers were, I really didn’t risk it, because I assumed it would get stuck for days, which did happen to some players.
What I actually absolutely hate about this is that, a huge amount of the players who have caused the lag (which, of course, are not to be blamed alone; it’s Blizzard’s job to make it playable in the first place), are actually the players who ironically don’t even play the game, but they just decide to roll in during expansions launch to “experience the new content and have fun”, so they can quit again 2 days after reaching max level.
I know this sounds a bit extreme, but there should be some priority given to people with active subscriptions for X months in a row before an expansion is launched, as in queue slots wise. But don’t worry, Blizzard managed to “fix” this issue as well, by reducing the slots of maximum allowed players at once per server, making the queues last from 2 hours to 5.
Basically at this point, if you were going to get disconnected or anything, you might as well just go do something else. And yes, I know that “you don’t have to play that very night”, but neither do the hordes of casuals who just come to test it out, no? After all, we, the active players, play every night, they don’t.
Now, so you can see that I’m unbiased in what I’m saying, I will give them props to one thing – quest phasing. This was an awesome idea and probably the only cool thing in the expansion, but it wouldn’t have been Blizzard if they wouldn’t have managed to screw this one up as well.
I don’t know about Horde, but if you played during the release night and you were Alliance, I’m sure you’ll remember the quests Closing the Door and Dark Enemies, or the random “Transfer aborted: instance not found”, am I right? These two alone took more to complete than pretty much leveling from 91 to 93, simply because the questing system was not working. Convenient, isn’t it?
With the amount of BETA invitations given out pre-WoD, where even any deadbeat streamer with 5 viewers and 15 huge PayPal donation buttons (and yes, I’ll be writing a post about that too) would have at least 50 keys to give out, there should have been literally no mistakes, because I’m sure every single bug has been reported at some point during the BETA testing by someone, and then again, they should’ve have leveled to 100 ten times themselves to make sure everything is in place.
While we’re on this subject, remember the issue with Garrisons (which are not mandatory!!! Kappa) not working and having hundreds of players in them? Or that quest to go to the new Shattrath where everyone was stuck because they couldn’t phase in properly?
And I cannot find the link where they (Blizzard) said they did not expect such a huge amount of positive feedback in regards to Warlords of Draenor’s launch. What..? Like really, I know there were people who were lucky enough to sneak their way into the new zones quick, without experiencing issues, people who were just lucky and played normally, people who didn’t play during the release, rats with Stockholm syndrome who worship Blizzard regardless of how badly they’re being treated as paying customers; but still, claiming that is just rude. Oh nevermind, they were getting DDoS attacks.
Ok, now, secondly, let’s get into the aspects of the game that are forever ruined as of 6.0 pre-WoD patch and forth.
I don’t know about you or about every class’ spec in particular, but most of the ones I’ve played (and I do play and raid on about 4-5 toons) were ruined, and not just simcraft wise, but in regards to their mechanics. Not sure if you’ve ever played balance druid or destruction warlock before 6.0, but let me tell you, those were their days. Boomkin and destro lock were one of the most fun specs to play (in my opinion) in Mists of Pandaria, but they couldn’t leave them alone, they had to ruin it.
Looking at balance druids, they basically destroyed their eclipse mechanic, making it more of a Dance Dance Revolution game, where your eclipse moves by itself and you just spam spells based on where that arrow is going. And yes, I know you can use Celestial Alignment, but still.
They removed Tranquility, hybrid healing with Heart of the Wild, Hibernate, and for what? So “newcomers” can get used to the game faster and be even worse at it than before (aka so pretty much every baboon can reach max level now and pay his subscription further and “have fun”).
They said they made these changes to the eclipse mechanics so the spec can be easier to play now and harder to master; comparing to what.. harder to play and easier to master? That’s the thing, up until MoP, every player would identify himself with a spec and main that mostly, whereas now it’s just any class is the same, 4-5 buttons and basically nothing else to motivate you play it above and beyond, and stand out in your raid, other than DPS on auto-pilot and not stand in stuff and die like a scrub.
I have a ton of stuff to say on the subject, but I won’t bore you with the details, since maybe a lot of you aren’t used to balance druids before or after 6.0. Regarding warlocks, no more passive Kil’jaeden’s Cunning or burning embers from Rain of Fire – ’nuff said.
I don’t really agree with the squish either, since we’re talking about classes, but that’s a pointless discussion anyway.
Apparently too many people complained about not having what to do with loot from bosses, as in they wouldn’t have a shaman in the raid and couldn’t assign that mail piece to anyone else, so Blizzard decided to make loot even more valuable as a result, by having 15 players roll on the same item, since druids (all specs), rogues and monks can now roll on most of the same items.
Of course, they could have just made it so only 2 items drop from a boss and it would have probably been less dramatic. I’m actually surprised they didn’t think of that. The only good side of this is the off-spec gearing, which could have also been made available once an item becomes soulbound, and not before, so items should have been just as before 6.0, but having off-spec stats once you equip it / change spec.
I do, however, like the implementation of the Diablo system of being able to craft things with the materials from your bank and the ability to stack different items up to 200, since I’ve pretty much had my bags full the entire time since Warlords of Draenor launch.
Another huge issue was with the Cataclysm consumables (potions, elixirs, food and flasks) and legendary items (such as Shadowmorune) not scaling properly with the Warlords of Draenor item squish.
Now, I’m really not sure how that is even remotely possible for a game developer not to check beforehand, since it was common sense of pretty much any player who has been around for a while to check and see if they’re better than the WoD ones, and surprise, they were! And for a few weeks even, so it wasn’t even something they bothered to fix, despite them giving unfair advantage to various players and classes.
Not sure if I’m being nostalgic about Mists of Pandaria or not, but I’m pretty sure I miss reforging and enchanting as they used to be. I know it was annoying to do them most of the time, but looking back, there was more to getting loot than it is now. All the research you were doing trying to have yourself hitcapped and get the best stats, comparing to just right clicking the item to equip it now, really seemed a bit more rewarding back then. But I guess it was too much hassle for the “newcomers”, again.
I also don’t agree with the absolutely shocking amount of BoE drop rates in this expansion. Basically, if you’re a rich social who does nothing but camp the auction house all day, you can get almost fully BRF mythic geared within minutes, and you’re pretty much done with the tier, except for tier sets, which surprisingly are still BoP.
Even guilds who require alt raiding make you gear your characters from the AH so you can raid. So you’re basically buying gear to be able to raid and obtain gear? What happened to just raiders getting gear, since they’re working for it. Why should someone who does pet battles or PvP or camps the AH or just buys gold be able to get geared better than someone who puts all the time and effort into it but is unlucky?
Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to get BoE items, even from coins, and sell them or gear your alts, but this is like never before. The concept of being able to buy mythic warforged items from the auction house when you haven’t even seen the boss that drops the item is a massive let-down.
Raiding and its difficulties
Because it was being too much hassle for them to just leave the game as 10 and 25 man, they decided to make it 20 for everyone (also known as “yolo”). So, 10 man guilds who were raiding just for the purpose of being 10 man (real life friends and what not), or veteran 25 man guilds, can get “rekt” and have to mass recruit or downsize. I, for one, really enjoyed raiding 10 man, but that is history now.
Let’s talk about the difficulties. Basically, we’re having 4 types of raids now, which are sort of mandatory to a degree, if you need to play alts for raiding as well:
- Looking for rats is okay, with a few exceptions so far (Kromog, Imperator sometimes);
- Normal, which was Flex, but it didn’t sound good enough to people who couldn’t raid anything else, so they needed a self esteem boost;
- “Heroic”, which was Normal;
- And MYTHIC!!, which doesn’t make any sense as a difficulty name. I wonder what happened with having just one raid difficulty, or one where you could choose to do a hardmode or not (such as Ulduar), or even just normal and heroic?
Getting into the actual raids, Highmaul was decent, sort of an auto-pilot raid where you don’t really care about anything, other than the camera. I’m pretty sure they haven’t once tested any encounter in there to see how messed up the camera is and how even more messed up it can become on various fights (like Tectus); this goes for Blackrock Foundry as well.
To quote Buzzkill on BRF, this raid looks pretty much like Quake, with surroundings made out of 7 shades of the same color and a splash of orange. Again, nothing special, just some sort of wannabe Ulduar which again, failed miserably. It’s basically just a… place with bosses.
While we’re on this subject, I wanted to talk about the way exploits and bugs, as well as “clever” use of game mechanics, are getting out of hand in this tier. Starting from the rumors of Method’s “allegedly” account sharing issue with Blackhand Mythic WF that wasn’t even looked into, to now the possibility of using Heroism/Bloodlust twice in a fight (as in, one from hunter’s pet, one from shaman/mage/drums), to basically complete chaos with bosses not doing mechanics at all for 2 days now in BRF.
If you have a roster of 20 people, you might as well go claim about 7/10 Mythic BRF right away, since bosses aren’t doing their mechanics accordingly or at all, such as Gruul not doing his Slices, Oregorger not depleting energy, Kromog delaying abilities, Thogar not spawning any trains.
I’m not sure what’s going on with that, but it looks like nobody cares anyway, and anyone who claimed the kills during this time will keep their achievements/progress/items, which of course, they deserve since it’s not their fault, because you literally cannot raid properly since the bosses are bugged regardless of what you do.
Professions nowadays don’t really have much to do with what they used to be, as in both leveling them up and the stuff you can do with them.
Their perks were removed, because it didn’t look good when scrubs were applying to a guild and saying their professions were “mining and herbing for gold”. So, they just decided to make it even easier for anyone who doesn’t really care to just be able to perform as good as someone who wanted and was willing to put the time and effort into maximizing his performance in raids. It doesn’t really matter that much anyway, but professions overall don’t really seem fun anymore. Also, I miss prospecting ore.
If you raided a lot in Siege of Orgrimmar (and you probably did, because it lasted for a while, and I really didn’t mind it at all), you were good to go for leveling in WoD without having too much gearing up issues. However, if you had alts that weren’t as geared up, let’s say about 550-560 item level, you’ll probably end up at level 100 being 580 item level.
I really can’t understand why leveling items were so poorly designed, forcing you to run normal dungeons even at level 100 to be able to get into heroic dungeons, to be able to get into LFR, to be able to get into normal, to be able to get into heroic, to be able to get into mythic (see what I did there?).
In order to get into heroic dungeons, you’re required to have at least 610 item level, which was easily avoidable at first by purchasing those epic pvp items for gold from the Ring of Trials in Nagrand, but they hotfixed that pretty quick (because they care!!).
Now, there was another pretty clever way to gear your alts without having to run normal dungeons, which our boy Asmongold is showing us here, that allowed you to run heroic dungeon on a different toon as a tank or healer, farm some satchels and mail them to your alt. But they nerfed that as well, making it Savage Satchel of Cooperation, which is basically pretty much useless and also soulbound.
So yeah, unless you have some Archaeology BoA items, or you’re willing to spend gold to gear up your alts or even main, you’re gonna have to spam normal and heroic dungeons for a while. One good thing, however, is the new heirloom system, scaling both their experience given and stats up to level 100, so there’s that.
Because a large amount of people complained they don’t have houses in a video game, they’ve given us an entire kingdom of our own, for every single alt too! But don’t worry, garrisons are not mandatory at all. If you raid only LFR or maybe do just PvP (not sure though), you’re fine.
If you plan on doing stuff beyond that, and raid harder difficulties, guess what, they are silently mandatory. You need to level and gear up your followers to receive that stupid cache every 2 weeks (which sometimes gives you the very same item FOUR different times in a row), and place work orders actively to maximize your income of legendary fragments for your ring, in order to perform better in raids and progress further into encounters.
I probably wouldn’t have minded garrisons as much if they weren’t such huge overkill on the time (especially playing multiple alts) and social aspect of the game. In regards to the social aspect of the game, garrisons destroyed that. And I know you think there is still a “capital” where people go, but that’s just because they haven’t finished their quest to get an auction house in their garrison; just give it time.
I hoped garrison would’ve been something more of a little zone inside a capital (not Ashran or what’s it called, because that is not a capital but more of a zone), where you’d go do your chores, phasing from other players, then could just come out the gates straight back into the capital.
I’ve met quite a few amazing people in MoP because of the capital system, comparing to none so far in WoD, and I really doubt I will. But nope, they made something else. Kinda pointless to even farm Invincible anymore, since you don’t have where to show it off, or fly it… for that matter. Am I right? ;D
One good thing about garrisons, however, is the gold income without too much effort. I actually like that. If you’re willing to put in a couple of hours a week into farming materials for the barn and any other professions, you’re gonna earn decent amounts of gold. I do miss actual farming, though, like the ones from Mists of Pandaria, they were pretty relaxing, but this is okay too I guess. I would also not mind it at all if they’d make the follower items BoA, but I doubt that’s gonna happen anytime soon.
I am going to QQ about this as well, regardless of this shady reverse psychology going on here. Except for people who enjoy role-playing and maybe a couple more others, I really don’t see why would anyone not want flying to exist. I mean, if you really enjoy corpse dragging from mob to mob, getting dazed and dismounted while riding mounts on toons without Stables level 2 (which prevents you from getting dazed), nobody is forcing you to fly. You were just as welcome to ride ground mounts in Mists of Pandaria as well, but did you, really?
I think it’s just a matter of them not being bothered to finish various zones and mountains, than their will for us to explore and enjoy the “new” content. I really hope flying will be enabled in a further patch, but I doubt it.
I’ve given up PvPing, since the arenas in WoD didn’t really interest me at all, but from what I’ve seen in the very little time I’ve spent in them, they’re just as bad, if not worse. Didn’t bother with Ashran either, but from what I’ve read, that is beat as well. And the skirmish arena system would have really been a bit less painful if they made it so I wouldn’t end up alone in the arena in 8 out of 10 games, because the other player didn’t accept the invite or whatever else.
Twitter and selfie pics
In a dragon fighting MMO world, this is so stupid that it actually requires its own topic, but I won’t get into it, just wanted to mention it. It’s really dumb, but I’m not surprised.
All in all, with its ups and downs (way more downs than ups), I’ll still be playing the game, and I won’t quit it just so I can log in during the next launch night and lag the servers, but that’s not because of WoD.
I also raid hardcore, but again, that’s not because of WoD. I really hope the next expansion isn’t that far away, since they said they won’t take 2 years again to make one (WoD was probably done in 3 weeks give or take anyway), and they also kinda said they will be removing garrisons as of next expansion forth, when asked about a mobile version for work orders and missions.
Thank you for taking your time to read my rant on Warlords of Draenor launch and other things that are wrong with the expansion, and if you have anything to add, or even share your story, please feel free to leave a comment, even if it’s just criticism.
I know some people had a really smooth launch and can’t identify themselves with mine, as well as some people actually enjoying the things I dislike, and that is perfectly fine as well. It’s just a matter of taste.