mandag 5. januar 2009

On Wrath of the Liche King: The Verdict.

Right, have spent a fair few hours with WoW's "new" expansion now, so have a fair bit of opinion finally.

First of all, it hasn't really changed. It's still a pretty good foundation of rpg, whereas it mostly follows of course the school of "time spent" over "creativity" or "effort" when building your character. Some new talents, a couple of extra mechanics like knockback, and vehicles is the only change in the actual gaming experience, though of course the focus of it is a lot of new areas, dungeons and raids.

The leveling was the thing I really didn't look forward to. I just wanted to stay maxlevel and do some battlegrounds every now and then like I had when I hadn't taken breaks and the like. Leveling plays just like it has always been, go kill monsters in the wild, get some drops instead of just kills, go deliver letters or boxes or whatever for the most part. The main difference for me at least was the odd quest gem, one in Dragonblight even included an ingame cutscene. Makes me wonder why they didnt just make fewer normal quests (most players would have done hundreds of these already) and focus on such quests instead, to make it truly feel "top of the world". But Blizzard always goes by don't fix what ain't broken, so guess that would be too much of a step forward. Anyway, such quests made the leveling all the more bearable, so big bonus to the game for that.

When it comes to instances, they were all of them to short. No variation at all, just go in, kill some trash, follow the straight way ahead, kill some easy bosses, the end. Three was pretty good for being short though; Old Kingdom, Gundrak and Utgarde Pinnacle were all nice in some way. And the good thing about being short is that one doesn't have to be on for long to do one, or if on long one can do several different ones. So there's some good things about it.. And I hope I never have to do Oculus again, what a waste of bloody time that one is.

The new mechanics.. Well, all the physical movements of the characters provide some interesting tactics and such, that can sometimes be annoying (Death Knight Pingpong for one), but it makes things a little less static at least. The vehicles is.. Well, during xmas I helped put together a lego thingie for 8 year olds for (I dunno if this is even a word, but what the hell) stepnephew, that was way more complex and for that matter better made as a vehicle, it just feels like such a big waste and bore to have to do anything with them. So much potential, and they are devoid of function or actual point of being played? Oh well.

The PvP, which is my main point of interest in the game (nothing is more casualfriendly than that, afterall), is pretty much the same as always. One new bg was added and a pvp zone, and two new arenamaps. Not a whole lot.. The current state of pvp has its custom "something is broken", this time its burst damage. There have been worse broken things (albeit I play one of the culprits now instead of just being the victim, might have something to do with it), and will most likely change into warriors being kings all the time again soon enough. Even though the vehicle mechanics are horrible, the new pvp bits with sieges and the like make for a lot of positive variation, where the enviroment has a bigger role to play than in other battlegrounds. It's a better step for bgs than Eye of the Storm was in Burning Crusade, that's for sure. So really thumbs up from me to blizz for the pvp bit, even though it was just a little extra stuff there.

The extra class and talents.. Well, I can't say I am very fond of the Death Knight. Sometimes up to half of BG participants are DKs, zones are often flooded with them, and they seem pretty broken in some regards. Someone stated that they were a solution from blizz to let all the lazy people automatically level, kinda like the old BM specs for hunters. Perhaps a bit harsh, but I really don't know what the point even was. The original hero class idea with having to do loads of things to unlock it, and perhaps have some change to your original toon could've worked better.. At least if they intended for the class to be so weird as it is now. I will most likely level one at some point, just to prove myself wrong (can't agree with myself in the long run afterall, chief trait that). It seems that in most cases the talents classes got was more interesting than new skills and abilities. Shaman got Hexx from trainer, otherwise it was rather dull, for example. Didn't feel markedly different like tBC was, for example. Professions seems way better handled that last time however, without a doubt. Will be exciting to how they build on the professions further into the game, as that has always been a problem - when does all the craftable thing just turn useless, but they seem to have plans for that too, really.

Perhaps my biggest annoyance with the game at the moment is their take on gear. In a way, it is pretty similiar to what I felt was wrong in tBC at the start too. It's so "unfair" what is available through different means. For example, specs/classes that are relying on being able to take a fair amount of damage (think healers with little escape chances) have no weapon or shield available that is pvp itemized except if you get some sick arena rating. Also it was possible to do pve and collect Emblems from heroics to buy the entire "basic" pvp set when it was released, but actually saving up honor through pvp to buy it wasnt possible except for one piece max. My gripe with cloaks in tBC pvp was heard though it seems, it is spoilt for choice. But adding even one usefull relic for ret palas through pvp, or even emblems, seems futile. Ugh. Might be that it's part of the plan though - to keep certain things out of reach or nonexistant, so they can make players want them badly, and use it as a carrot for later additions to the game.

I haven't actually participated in any raids yet - and I don't really plan to either. So I'll not even start to gripe about how easy or difficult things are, as I would most likely have no idea what I am actually talking about. PuGs clearing all content already is a bit weird, though..

But when it comes to mmorpgs, this game really boils down to.. Nothing in the game really is proper "quality", it's more about fuelling addiction. And boy they do that well. It will most likely be the braindead time for nothing else or not energy for anything else timewaster for a long while. Still, it's a bit like this screenshot; little has changed since release, you spend the time in the same areas, even while it has died somewhat since back then, and people still end up fighting near the bs farm bridge, as if blizzard has planned it along, and just give you new abilities to click while doing it, and yet you still feel like you are winning and continue playing.

Rated: 8/10

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