Getting the ball rolling
I missed all the launch day angst this year because I had my own personal launch day angst. My boot drive died, and I was without PC. ((Word to the wise: just don’t buy OCZ SSD drives. This is the third hard failure in as many years. Lonomonkey has already chastised me for this poor purchasing choice on Twitter, so consider your chastisement obligations fullfilled in proxy. I mean it.)) So I set forth to reinstall Windows for the third time in as many months ((Time the first: moved to Win7-64 to play WildStar. Time the second: upgraded motherboard two weeks ago. Time the third. F!CK F!CK F!CK))
I handled this a lot better than some did about the inevitable launch week collywobbles ((SERIOUSLY – were you asleep the last five expansions or something, people? You’re amazing. In some non-complimentary form of the word.)) in that I shrugged my shoulders, and used the down time to catch up on back recordings of @Midnight ((That’s the same guy that did the Blizzcon costume contest, by the way. He’s One Of Us.)).
Last night was Right Out due to OS upgrades, but also the servers still appeared to be having problems. This morning they were free and clear, at least the ones I’m involved with. Kudos to Blizz for repairing the damage resulting from the DDoS attack as quickly as they have. That shizzle ain’t easy, yo, and if you ever start to think it’s easy, come talk to me. I’ll dissuade you of that sad delusion.
As opposed to the abortive effort that was Blizzcon 2013, Blizzcon 2014 was an amazing success. That coupled with the +700K sub numbers indicates that the old warlord is far from dead. I can see Metzen up on stage saying BRANG EET, BASTIGES, and imma for once stand with him on this. Blizz seems to have turned something around, and while it’s only supposition, one can’t help but look at a moderately recent departure for clues on the change in tone.
And this launch was, from my perspective, amazing once I got into the game. Here are my initial impressions.
- NOW’S OUR CHANCE! STORM THE PORTAL! Well, I gotta say beardless!Khadgar was a bit of a disappointment, but after working with him, I totally didn’t care. Whiskers or not ((Whiskers have a strong union, expect class action in the near future.)) he’s a total badass and I am happy to fight at his side. I would have preferred that the premier mage on Azeroth, Jaina Proudmoore, lead this charge, but at least they wrote this guy well.
- For the first time in what seems over a year, I swapped out my Spirit Beast, Cheezburger for my default tanky pet, Bumbles. SRS BSNS, FOSHIZZLE
- I actually got THANKED by a representative of the Shadow Council on behalf of the Shadow Council. Flora might have been cool with that, but I just felt a little skeevy.
- Yrel’s evolution is apparently going to be a lot faster than I expected ((I’ve seen the end-of-Shadowmoon cinematic, so I know where she stands.)). When I first meet her, she “has never killed before.” Amazing for a race that is undergoing systematic extermination. Protip, Yrie – get on that shit as soon as possible to avoid extinction. kay?
- Start of garrison – hello, Baros! That’s an unexpected and familiar face from the past! I love how they’ve managed to merge old-school Azeroth into this expansion.
- Being called “Commander” really makes me feel a sense of obligation … maybe grimmtooth!Actual’s military experience comes into play here, but the feeling that the whole garrison’s population is looking up to you makes it a LOT more personal than I expected.
- And speaking of personal, the barracks appears to be inhabited by slobs, and/or college freshmen ((Same thing)).
All in all, this has been an excellent start to an expansion that I was – at best – dubious about when it was announced. While it’s not as advertised as the brodawg Orc shit, the Draenai lore is really shaping up nicely. The mechanics of things is working out well. The questing process has been, so far, well done, if unchanged from the MoP questing model.
And the player involvement in Things of Import is really well done. I feel like a player in this. I feel like I am being looked up to, a true “commander” of the Alliance force in old!Draenor. The quest and zone designers have done an amazing job of putting this all together, and I am going to be first in line ((Or at least as First as I an manage)) to call them out on (1) a job well done recovering from an unexpected launch event, and (2) a job well done on the design of the expansion.
Ops team, Quest Design team – take a well-deserved break at your earliest convenience. You’ve earned it.