Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Zonal Changes

Over the past couple of weeks I've been levelling a Druid which I've now got into the early 30s, which has been great fun on two counts, firstly I quite like the class (as a caster rather than melee), and I'm getting to see the changes blizzard have made to the world as part of Cata and I have to say I'm impressed.

I started the druid mainly to mess around and relax when I either couldn't find a group for a heroic, and couldn't face a PUG, or when there's footy or similar on TV and I don't feel I can give an instance my full attention. I was as little concerned that I'd start the druid and it'd be left languishing in the 20s because of the amount of time, which I don't have, it takes to level a character. The first thing that hit me was how quick it was; I reckon on about an hour per level from questing, and less if you combine quests with an instance. I like the new balance of the quests, obviously the party oriented ones have been largely removed to aid levelling, there's less of a feel of grinding for quest drops, most mobs I've encountered have a drop rate of no worse than 25% (at a guess) most are closer to 100%.

My one complaint is that the levelling is so fast that it's easy to overtake the quest chains (especially if you drop into the odd instance), making them worthless on the experience front. This means that it's not instantly obvious which zone to head to next; this isn't such a problem to an experienced player who's been there and done it all before, they'll just look on wow wiki or similar, but to someone on their first character this might cause a problem (I have to admit jumping over the wall into the Southern Barrens and getting splattered, lots, by high level mobs on the way to the cross roads).

The changes to the travel system helps things, riders everywhere and mounts far earlier really brings things closer together, though I'd like to see a few more NPC's selling the whole range of food and drink.

I, quite tentatively, placed myself into the dungeon queue and was quite surprised at, firstly, how small the queue was and secondly, how enjoyable the instances are. Again, being critical, I'd like to see them a little harder, like they used to be, but I can see why they're so easy. Perhaps an 'heroic' mode of sorts, to give a better feel for how the instances used to be so that players can experience what instanced should be about before hitting level 80 or so. This would also help new players learn the etiquette for instances, and stop that rogue I've just partied with in scarlet monetary running ahead and pulling mobs, and what's worse, surviving; at least in the bad old days you'd have learnt the basics of how not to be a tit in an instance by the time you'd worked your way through Wailing Caverns a few times.

All in all a good improvement, I particularly like the split of the Barrens into two zones, whilst I haven't got past the Southern Barrens yet, I'm quite looking forward to what the mid to higher level zones have in store. All in all I'd say an A-, not perfect, but pretty damn good.

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