As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I had decided not to take part in the beta, but then I was offered a key, and … well, I took it. I felt like I was opening my presents before Christmas, but I just couldn’t resist when given the opportunity. So, I dove right in. I got everything installed and patched, and immediately rolled my very first Death Knight. I had to do so on the PvP server because neither PvE server was allowing new character creation. (Must have been too crowded, I guess.)
First impressions? It’s pretty cool. I haven’t finished the whole DK starting area, but I like the new types of quests that are being offered, and the whole look and feel of the starting area is wonderfully dark. The lag wasn’t bad, probably because it was the PvP server. I did roll on one of the normal servers later, and the lag made it so frustrating, I didn’t even bother to finish the first quest. I tried one of the PvE servers again more recently and it was fine, but If you find the PvE servers unplayable, do go check out the PvP one. If you’re just doing that starting area, you won’t need to worry about the opposite faction.
I also copied my 70’s over so I could check out Northrend, and I explored there for just 30 minutes or so. I’ve decided I’m not going to do any questing in Northrend because I’ll just have to do it all over again when the game officially releases. Certainly being familiar with the zones could be an advantage when the expansion does come out, but 1) I still have plenty I want to do in the live game now and think my time would be better spent on that, and 2) I will not be rushing through Wrath. I do not need to be the first person in my guild to 80, and will very likely plod along much the way I did from 1-70. Actually, I’m sure I’ll be a little more focused because I will want to be able to run the new content with the guild, but it’s not going to be a mad race for me. There will be plenty of time to pick up inscription and all that business, too. I don’t need to do it the first day.
I think it’s interesting how people are responding to the beta and the expansion in general. Some have expressed some ambivalence toward the coming content, with all its new changes. I understand this. I’m looking forward to the new content, but in a way, I wish the expansion were a bit further off because I feel like I’ve only just arrived at the end game. I finally have a pretty good handle on the classes I’m playing and I’ve begun to gear up my 70’s. The expansion means learning new zones, figuring out how to play the classes with all their new skills and the changes to the old skills, and of course leveling again and regearing. I got a small taste of all this when I first started with the DK. I died and couldn’t figure out how to get from the graveyard back to my corpse. For a moment, I pondered just starting a new DK because after about five minutes of running around, I didn’t seem to be any closer to my body. It was frustrating. I’m sure I’ll get my bearings soon enough, really, but it’s been a while since I’ve had that “where the hell am I?” feeling in the game.
I confess I have some reservations about the achievement system, too. I understand why they’re adding them — it’s adding more quests without really adding more content. I think many folks were good at coming up with their own achievements (grinding rep to get particular mount or recipe, fully exploring every area, etc), and now you will get to check these off a long list. BRK denounced achievements in one of the WI podcasts as busywork, though you could say that of lots of things already in the game. (My guess is that he’s already completed most of the currently available busywork and the issue is that he doesn’t want more.) Honestly, I’m not looking forward to them because I’m going to feel as though I should do them (for the sake of completion! Straight A Student Syndrome!) but I know I won’t have the patience or focus (or time). I noticed in the beta that when you right click on another player’s portrait, in addition to trade and all the usual options, you can compare achievements. Greeeeat. So, some obnoxious kid on the zeppelin can tell me I suck because I haven’t done as many achievements as he has. /ignore. Although, to be fair, lots of folks were concerned about being bombarded by unsolicited “feedback” about their talent builds when those were first made viewable by others, too. Outside of the first week after it was implemented, that has never happened to me. I’m hoping the competitiveness with achievements won’t end up being as annoying as I fear it could be either. (Between you and me, I hope this is as much the case with my guildmates as strangers on zeppelins. 😉 )
Despite all this, I’m really excited about the expansion, particularly since a lot of the folks in the guild seem to be off in the beta now. Raiding guilds are certainly feeling the absence and disinterest of their raiders, but even our medium sized guild seems to have fewer folks around lately. If you schedule something, people will show up, of course, but there are a lot fewer folks hanging around, leveling, or just randomly making themselves available for stuff in the evenings. We rarely have the critical mass to run a regular instance, much less a heroic. Wrath will certainly bring back the old regulars, and probably many folks we haven’t seen in a long time. This is certainly one of the things I’m looking forward to the most.