March 23, 2017

Warlords of Draenor Part 2: Questing, Raids and Changes to Gear

world of warcraft ashenvale

It’s been awhile since our first post about the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Since then news that we had just received days before from BlizzCon has since been expanded upon. In our first installment we talked about the story, characters and setting of the new expansion. Today we will continue on with questing, raids and gear changes.

Questing:

world of warcraft hunter adventurer
© Blizzard Entertainment

The changes coming to questing and the leveling experience are perhaps some of the changes I am most looking forward to. I’m an explorer, an adventurer and a collector. I travel to the far corners of the world in search of nifty things to see, interesting characters to meet, and mounts and pets to collect. My character is a lone hunter and reflects the solo player I am. While I have no qualms leveling or chatting with the few friends I have in game (one of which is my boyfriend and the other my sister…) it’s that whole dealing with strangers thing that I just can’t handle. So I don’t.

To see the questing system revamped in a way that appeals to me got me quite elated. One of the changes I’m most excited about is the idea of a main storyline vs optional side stories. While every zone has always been crafted this way, with Warlords the main quests are indicated on the new UI so you don’t have to waste time on tedious side quests if you don’t want to. The UI will also tell you how many quests in a zone you have completed out of how many. Handy for those of us who are completionists and can’t bear to leave a zone unfinished.

Another change that I am super eager about are the dynamic items and treasure that will populate Draenor, similar to the Timeless Isle. I love exploring the world, and while I tend to do so without motivation (I just want to see everything!), now I’ll actually be rewarded for my habits as well! Yay!

world of warcraft tirisfall glades
©Blizzard Entertainment

If exploring isn’t your thing there are other ways to get nifty items. For instance while leveling you’ll have the chance to get a rare or epic reward from quests. Yes, you heard me right. Rares and epics. From quests! I love the idea that not every quest reward will be the same for every person, and it gives even more incentive to not skip out on quests while leveling.

Most importantly for a player like me was the promise that there will be more max level content than ever before. I felt pretty spoiled with Mists of Pandaria so I am incredibly excited to see what’s in store for non-raiders like me come the next expansion. While I’m sure a considerable portion of it will be the Garrisons (check back next week for our take on them!), they also stated there will be long-term storylines played out once you’re max level, perhaps similar to the Operation Shieldwall and Dominance Offensive dailies in Krasang Wilds. How they’re going to do it I don’t know because they also announced that little if any of the max level content will be dailies.

At BlizzCon that announcement received rousing applause, but for me it doesn’t matter much. I don’t mind dailies. If there were a bit more variation day to day that would make them better, but I’m not one of those people who just wants to punch a wall whenever the word “daily” comes up. Some of my favorite content has been dailies. I loved doing the Molten Front because for once it felt like I was truly a part of something. Each day I would arrive, refreshed, to continue the fight against the elementals. There was fire, explosions, NPCs interacting with one another, and a general feel of urgency. There was just something about holding the hill that really got me excited. Sure, there were some days that I didn’t feel like doing them so I didn’t, but for the most part I really enjoyed the experience. The other set of dailies I loved was Operation Shieldwall. Again, I felt like I was part of something bigger. The cannons and battle going on around me made me feel like my character was important. I wasn’t just fetching butterflies for some dude to make bracelets with, I was defending my people and the Pandaren from the threat of Garrosh Hellscream. I’m just now going through the Argent Tournament and once again I absolutely love it. It’s just fun for me, even though sometimes it does become a bit repetitive.

world of warcraft argent tournament
© Blizzard Entertainment

So while dailies are something I actually enjoy, I am very much interested to see how they will continue main storylines without them. I certainly won’t be sad to see them go if the new system is even more engaging, but if it includes more dungeons and raids…well…I’ll be disappointed.

Raiding:

warlords of draenor world of warcraft blizzard entertainment
©Blizzard Entertainment

For Warlords of Draenor raiding is getting a huge overall. With the success of Flex Raiding in Pandaria, the devs have decided to revamp the entire raid system. LFR will be the same, Flex becomes the new Normal, what now is Normal will be called Heroic (but with the ability to scale as well) and Heroic will be replaced by a difficulty called Mythic. Mythic will be for those who want to be the best and as such will be very tightly tuned. Because of the challenge it is locked at 20 players only. No 10 man, no 25 man–only 20.

This has caused enormous outcry within the community. While I can understand the devs’ reasons for going about this (for one 25 man guilds just aren’t that common anymore), I truly feel for the teams that this is going to affect. I can’t imagine telling 5 people that they can no longer be a part of the team, and as a person who doesn’t like large groups, I would hate to have to find 10 more people to deal with. Part of the reason I don’t raid is because 10 people feels like far too many in the first place. If I was to raid I would want it to be with people I’m close to and enjoy spending time with. Quite frankly I can’t think of many groups of 10 that I would feel that way about. So to increase it to 20? That’s pretty rough.

I have seen so many people threaten to quit over this, and while that is something that happens with every expansion (and patch for that matter), I’m afraid this time it will really happen. For so many people raiding is the only reason they log on at night. To play with the same team of people for years only to find that the game is going to force you to either say goodbye to 5 or find 10 more–that’s pretty unfortunate.

But while Mythic raiders are shaking their heads, I think it’s safe to say that most everyone else find the other changes to be for the better. Flex raiding is one of those things that could vastly improve the raiding scene for many people. No longer do raid leaders have to worry about benching their players, and that I think is magnificent!

Gear:

hero draenei warlords of draenor world of warcraft blizzard entertainment
©Blizzard Entertainment

Huuuuge changes are coming to gear in Warlords of Draenor, and while some of it is great, some of it has me a little less than enthusiastic. For starters gear will no longer have a primary stat. There will be no such thing as “strength plate” or “intellect plate”–it’s all just plate. The primary will change based on which spec you are in, while the secondary stats will not change at all. Some of the secondary stats have been removed completely (hit, expertise, dodge and parry) while others will be added (readiness, multistrike, and amplify). A new group of stats known as tertiary stats will also be added.

Non-armor such as cloaks, rings and trinkets, will no longer have primary stats at all, just attack or spell power. However, these items can occasionally have a secondary stat of either Spirit (for healers) or Bonus Armor (for tanks).

Frankly I don’t know what to think about this. I’m not a min/maxer, I don’t care much for how to gear my character, and with raiding not a priority it just isn’t something I pay attention to. In the blue post explaining these changes, Community Manager Crithto said, “One of our other goals is to reduce the amount of work an item takes. Currently, the amount of work (math! MATH!) you have to do in order to even put on a piece of gear takes away from the enjoyment of the actual item dropping. We want you to spend more time killing creatures and getting better gear and less time figuring out how that piece that dropped effects specific stat levels (hit, expertise, haste, etc.), what gems you need cut, and what enchant to put on it. We’re not removing all of those choices, but we’re drastically tuning down the amount of required work. Get your boots, put them on, next boss!”

world of warcraft mists of pandaria gear
So long as I never have to look like this again, I’m good. ©Blizzard Entertainment

But…isn’t that kind of the point of progression? Isn’t that how RPGs work? (For the record, I’m terrible at math in all RPGs and never pay attention to my numbers. This may be responsible for my frequent deaths…) I hear a lot from “veteran” players that the game is getting too easy. Usually I disagree and feel that changes are for the better of the game as a whole. But here I just can’t. This feels wrong to me, like they’re stripping the game of a part of its spirit. Just because I hate math and numbers and stats and figuring how what stat to prioritize over another doesn’t mean everyone does. In fact, that’s a major part of the appeal for some people.

Now sure, most people just go ask Mr Robot and call it good, but I would rather see people doing that than deny others the chance to explore their character more fully. I don’t know, it just feels wrong to me to remove such a key feature.

Some additional changes coming to gear are the removal of reforging (yay!), fewer enchantable items, fewer items with sockets, and an item squish. Once again many of these things have people up in arms, but I’m pretty content with them on some level. Reforging I have hated ever since they implemented it. It just seems…dumb. Isn’t the point of a game like this to wait for an item to drop? What’s the point if you can just reforge your item? Not to mention once you get a new piece of gear that throws off everything else you’re wearing. Now me, I rarely reforge. I always blow all of my gold on pretty dresses, so I don’t have enough left over for something as dull as reforging. But for people who want to be on top it is pretty much required and that feels unnecessary for me.

world of warcraft
©Blizzard Entertainment

As for enchantments and gem sockets…well that brings us back to the concept of making the game too simple. As one might imagine I also very rarely enchant or gem my gear. My gold priorities are simply in other places and if I’m just going to replace the item down the line I see no need to waste my time on gemming and enchanting. Now as you have likely assumed, the people most upset about this are enchanters and jewelcrafters, but the devs have said they plan on coming up with other ways for these professions to make gold (like FUN STUFF MAYBE?? PLEASE?!?!?!?)

As for the item squish–I have never seen people get so bent out of shape over something so small. Well, okay, I have, but that’s not the point. Once again this is one of the things I see cited fairly often for why people are going to leave the game. Seriously? Your character is going to have the same level of power, yet you are going to quit because you can’t stand the thought of your numbers going down at the beginning of the expansion? Talk about some epeen issues…

Yes, it’s going to be weird at first for those who obsess over their numbers (I prefer not knowing honestly; so long as shit dies and I live I’m pretty content with things), but it’s not like your numbers won’t start increasing again. It’s just like when the year changes but you keep dating everything for the previous year. Sure, it takes a little while to adjust to, but after that you don’t even have to think about it.

Frankly I don’t care either way. Numbers don’t affect me in this game so I don’t care if they’re huge or small. Again, so long as things are dying and I’m not I’m good.

This wraps up my thoughts on the questing, raiding and gear changes coming to Warlords of Draenor. While some of it has me over the moon, I’m a little less pleased about other bits. How do these changes make you feel? Of course, all of these are subject to change as they can decide to add or scrap something between now and launch, but here we at least have a glimpse into their current game philosophy.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and we’ll see you back here Monday for a Kickstarter game!

Warlords of Draenor Part 1: Story, Character, and Setting

Warlords of Draenor Part 3: Garrisons

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Raeyn
About Raeyn 91 Articles
Founder of +10 to Fire Resist | Streamer | Happiest when it's storming.⛈ Feel free to email me at Raeyn@plus10tofireresist.com and follow me on Twitter! @JustRaeyn
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