Weekly Warcraft Wednesday:  Things to do!

Tuesday, December 2nd marked the first big milestone in the Warlords of Draenor timeline.  It’s the first major content patch since the expansion launched in November.  So what exactly did the patch include?

A Raid!  A Real Raid!

Up to this point Molten Core has been the only real chance to raid, and that’s not really been a “real raid” in the sense that none of the bosses, save for the last one, drop any loot.  It was still fun to run once in LFR, and the sense of nostalgia was cool, but it wasn’t what I think most of us were looking for.  Enter Highmaul.

Highmaul is the first true raid tier Warlords of Draenor.  It features five main bosses and two optional bosses.  The normal and heroic versions of the raid open this week, with the mythic version available next week.  The LFR version will become available in three separate sections, starting with section one next week, followed by section to the week after, and the final section becoming available one week after that.

This, being the first tier of raid content in the new expansion, should provide some interesting feedback from players.  It marks the first time that the new four tiered raid system is being fully implemented.  It also marks the introduction of the personal loot system beyond LFR.  In addition all four raid tiers offer separate lockouts making it possible to complete the entire dungeon four times per week.  As I said, it should be interesting to see how these changes play out in practicality.

Season 16:  Let the games begin!

The other big addition is the beginning of PvP season 16.  This means that we can finally start earning and using those conquest points to buy some nice PvP epic gear.  I noticed a marked improvement in the liveliness of Ashran the day after the patch hit.  I can only assume that other members of the PvP community felt as I did; excited to actually get some cool gear.

As season 16 marks the first season of WoD, it also marks the perfect opportunity for new PvPers to try their hand without feeling completely undergeared.  The beginning of an expansion is always a huge gear reset, so now is the best time to try some PvP without feeling like you have no chance of survival.

Additional updates.

  • The Alliance chopper mount is finally available if you want to drop 100,000 gold on it. Personally I thought the Horde one looked better anyway but if you play Alliance (as I do), that doesn’t help you much.
  • Any existing conquest points you had have been converted to honor points.
  • Ashran’s population has dropped from 150 to 115. You may have noticed the queue.
  • Cross-realm groups can now queue for Ashran together.

A few miscellaneous thoughts.

This is the first time I have ever started an expansion as a healer.  I’ve played a healer before, but never at the very beginning of an expansion.  I’ve always started the expac as a tank or DPS and then moved to the role of healer later out of boredom or necessity.  What I’ve noticed so far is that healing in the beginning of an expac (at least this expac) is hard.  I have an item level of 621 so I’m ready to do heroics but I’ve been sticking with normal to help my wife get her item level up.  Even in normal dungeons the players in my groups are taking some massive damage.  Some of that comes from not knowing a particular dungeons mechanics, and some comes from bad gear.  Either way it’s made for some interesting runs.

Ashran has definitely evened out, at least on my server.  Where the Alliance used to be slaughtering the Horde without breaking a sweat it’s now become a pretty nice tug of war.  Every time a flag is won or lost by a team it feels like a hard fought victory.  I couldn’t be happier about the change, honestly.  While I do miss the chance to bank a bunch of free honor, I’m much more interested in actually having fun in PvP.  There is one problem with Ashran currently, and that is the queue system.  When Ashran is full you’re placed in a queue which (I believe) makes you ineligible to queue for anything else.  Personally I wanted Ashran to be the place I went when I was waiting for a dungeon or battleground queue to pop.  I wanted to walk in, do some PvP, and then leave when my dungeon or bg queue popped.  As it stands now though, I have to queue for Ashran and then once I’m in I have to queue for something else.  Once I’m done with that other thing I have to once again queue for Ashran.  It’s a really annoying system, especially since Ashran is a lot of fun now.  I just want to jump in and go to town.

Next week.

I’ve been doing a lot of garrison management and pet battling lately so next week I’ll be diving into some of that.  I have a lot of thoughts on the state of garrisons specifically so stay tuned!