Last Thursday Warlords of Draenor, the fifth expansion for World of Warcraft launched. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been heavily invested in the game, but every time a new expansion launches I feel that strange pull to see what’s new. So, with the launch of Warlords of Draenor so too will we be launching a new blog feature. Weekly Warcraft Wednesday (because alliteration). So with that, let’s talk about what the new expansion is all about.
New Feature: QQueues!
For those unfamiliar with WoW nomenclature, QQ means crying (because two capital Qs look like eyes with tears, clever eh?). It appears that a lot of rabid WoW fans were QQ’ing up a storm for the first couple of days after the launch of Warlords. For the first 48 hours after launch, game servers were an unstable mess. My wife and I logged on Thursday night, hoping to dabble with the new content a bit. We were able to play for about thirty minutes before the servers crashed for good. Some say it was dDOS attacks, some say Blizzard simply wasn’t ready for the influx of new and returning players. Regardless of the reason, the outcome was the same. No one seemed to be playing much until about Friday night. Blizzard has had some iffy launches, but if I recall, both the Cataclysm launch and the Mists of Pandaria launch were relatively smooth (at least comparatively so). So this would mark the first time in a while that WoW has experienced such a catastrophic server failure.
Lore…or something like that.
I don’t consider myself to be overly dumb. I saw Inception and Interstellar and Primer and they all made sense to me. I can deal with stories that have a more complicated arc than The Expendables. Something about the story of Warlords of Draenor confuses me terribly though. Maybe it’s the storytelling itself, or maybe I’m missing something, but it’s all so convoluted.
So there were some orcs on this planet called Draenor. They drank some demon blood, got all crazy and evil, built a portal to another world, and ended up invading Azeroth. They subsequently stopped being such jerks built a society and are now kind of cool people. That’s pretty much the main timeline. But now there is some alternate timeline wherein the orcs chose not to drink the demon blood but instead became even bigger jerks? And now these alternate orcs have created a portal that crosses not only space but also time and they’re trying to invade our present day reality? This is by far the craziest junk the Blizzard story team has ever come up with. Sure the orcs were some pretty bad dudes back in the day, so it’s cool to see them in all their evil glory, but wow is this story ridiculous. Then again, I have ten rats to slay so I really could care less.
My new home away from home.
One thing WoW players have been begging for since as far back as I can remember is some form of housing. Players have dreamed of having their own castle that they could that they could decorate and hang out in since pretty much forever. With Warlords Blizzard decided to finally fulfill that request…in a way. In the new expansion every player gets their own “garrison” which acts as a home base of sorts. It’s not quite your own castle, but in some ways it’s cooler than that. It’s essentially your own town. You decide what buildings to build and where, and each building grants you different perks. You can also recruit NPC’s from around the world to come live in your town and do stuff for you. They’ll go on missions, fetch goods, etc… You can’t design the visuals of the buildings, so you can’t have some funky Sims style stuff going on, but it’s still cool. And as a bonus it’s quite useful.
I wasn’t able to spend a ton of time with Warlords this weekend, but I was able to get to my garrison (you get it pretty early on) and in practice it turned out to be pretty sweet. I built some buildings and recruited some NPC’s. The perks from the buildings all seem compelling, and your town isn’t big enough to build every single one, so you have to pick and choose which buildings and perks matter most to you. I wrestle with that feeling simultaneously frustrating and enjoyable. The ‘gotta build ‘em all’ mentality is hard to get away from, but I like the idea that players are forced to choose buildings that make the most sense for them instead of just building everything.
All in all, the expansion itself seems pretty good so far (server issues not withstanding). My goal for next week is to hit the level cap of 100 and give some feedback on what the beginning of Warlords end-game feels like.