On Saturday night I finally got lucky with the dungeon finder and managed to get into heroic Sethekk Halls on my Alliance druid. The run was a lot more fun than I've had in a five-man for some time, and I was pleased as punch to finally complete Vanquish the Raven God and acquire swift flight form. Despite of the difficulties I had with getting that last step of the quest done now that the level cap is at eighty, it was still very much worth doing and I can heartily recommend putting the effort in yourself if you've got a druid of the right level. It's definitely one of the best pieces of class-related content currently in the game.
The main thing that makes this quest line stand out to me over many others is the fact that it doesn't just take you to places you might not have seen before and present you with class-related lore, but that several of the individual quests are specifically tailored towards using druid class-abilities. To Catch A Sparrowhawk for example requires you to trap, not harm, a shy bird that will fly away from you if you get within its normal aggro range. For several classes that would be pretty much impossible, but a druid can use soothe animal to get close, switch to cat form and prowl, or simply make the bird hibernate.
The three "essence" quests are even better, with each one being designed to be completed in a different form. The first boss has low health but summons a lot of adds quickly, so the sturdy bear form has the best tools to deal with him. The second boss is a squishy caster with a decent amount of health, so trying to claw him to death quickly while in cat form works great. And finally, the third boss is extremely hard to fight in melee but very vulnerable to spells, so even if you're a feral druid your best bet is to stay in caster form, root and moonfire him. Oh, and did I mention that you have to dispel poisons and curses from yourself too? It's not nearly as hard as it used to be, but provided you do those quests at roughly at the right level you'll still have to engage your brain and learn how to play your class. And that's a good thing!
If anything it's a shame that druid players aren't presented with a quest like this much earlier. If people were already confronted with challenges like this at level twenty or thirty, it would really help those that are new to the class to get a better understanding of what the different specialisations are about and which style of play they enjoy the most. Nothing like valuable guidance for those truly new to the game, who might not even know that they are supposed to do research on different talent specs online. Not to mention that it's just plain fun!
Blizzard has said in the past that they don't want to make any more class quests because they don't like spending too much time on content that only a small portion of the player base will ever see. I understand that reasoning but at the same time I think that it's faulty. People used to complain about raiding not being accessible enough, which led Blizzard to change their raiding philosphy in this expansion and make sure that everyone could see everything, which I assume is what is influencing their stance on class quests as well. But nothing is stopping anyone from rolling an alt of another class! Providing some content that is unique to one class doesn't mean locking players out of that content, it means giving them an incentive to roll an alt of that class and see for themselves!
For comparison purposes, I mentioned playing Dragon Age: Origins recently. One of the things that I found most fascinating about the game the longer I played it were the many different choices you get to make on the way. The very basic core of the story about you becoming a hero and fighting the big bad remains the same, but a lot of other things are entirely up to you and how you decide to advance the story, who lives or dies, who becomes friend or foe, who gets to rule the kingdom in the end. However, this also means that you only see a limited portion of the game in a single playthrough - if you choose to kill an important character, you obviously can't see the ending that involves him being alive. Bioware didn't say, "oh well, we need to make a game where everyone can see everything in a single playthrough or else people won't like it" and were still successful. In fact, as soon as I completed the game I started up a new session with the intent of seeing how I could make events play out differently. Variety is the spice of (virtual) life!
I think Blizzard is really missing out on some great opportunities by neglecting class quests these days, both to teach players a little about how to play their class in-game and to give everyone more of an incentive to reroll and try out different classes.
#Blaugust 4: FFXIV August To-Do List
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