I might not be particularly positive about the future of WoW, but I was looking forward to today's patch. While I've barely seen half of it so far (I haven't even looked at the new Darkmoon Faire), I don't feel disappointed so far.
The first thing I did after the game had patched itself up was log onto my main and start putting stuff into void storage. You can tell for how long some of my gear had been rotting away in the bank untouched because I had to repair most of it before being able to store it away... all because of a change to armour durability that happened what feels like aeons ago. I nearly filled up my new storage space completely, but it was nice to finally have some bank space again, even if the transfer cost me a lot of gold. I seems that they really wanted to make this another gold sink and as far as I'm concerned they succeeded at that. Too bad I didn't end up freeing up any more space in my bags, but that's really my own fault for carrying so much junk around. But hey, you never know when you'll need that MiniZep Controller or a Brazier of Dancing Flames!
Next I got started on transmogrifying. My priest's set was all prepared and easily done. My druid slipped into full tier four for feral spec and I spontaneously bought her the old merciless gear for resto, because I remember wearing that when I really got into PvP healing with her back in Burning Crusade. My death knight was also easy because I simply mogged her blue starter set on top of her current gear. However, after I was done with those three I was left staring at the rest of my characters a bit blankly. I already started collecting a few pieces for my shaman, but for most of the others I'm simply stumped for ideas right now. That's okay though, not everyone's gear has to be modified this way - if I'm happy enough with their current outfit, that's fine too. I also enjoyed wandering around Orgrimmar and actually taking a closer look at the people around me again and inspecting their cosmetic sets. It sure made the population look more diverse.
In the evening I put together a guild group for the new heroics. They were advertised as similar to the ICC heroics and from a technical point of view they followed the same pattern of being a sequence of stories that require unlocking the first time. Like the ICC heroics, I also found them pretty enjoyable, at least this first time around. I think it was a good move by Blizzard to give us something to do in the Caverns of Time again, because that setting allows for the telling of some great stories, plus they can let you get up to all kinds of silly hijinks because it's time travel and time travel be crazy, right?
We did the first one, End Time, twice because we had to swap group members out after the first run and their replacements needed "attuning" as well. This wasn't a bad thing though, as I got to see all the bosses that way - I hadn't been aware that you could get two out of four different ones each run. A few people died on Tyrande and we wiped once on Sylvanas because we didn't know what to do with the ghouls, but other than that it was pretty smooth sailing. Jaina's Echo struck me as kind of tragic because she was still nice even in a dystopian version of the future in which she had already died! Oh, and the rewind mechanic on Murozond was incredibly fun. Overall I felt that this was a great instance.
Up next: The Well of Eternity. Wait, what? I'm a night elf? Bwah! For extra hilarity I also underwent a sex change during the second half of the dungeon, though I suspect that that was unintended. It was an instance full of laughs either way, as there's something comically endearing about Illidan and his grumpy no-nonsense attitude. (My favourite bit was him playing "traffic warden" to allow the group to get past the legion of demons.) At the end he also provided us with some fun as we had a quest to hand in to him but he kept running away, which caused our entire party to chase him around in circles for several minutes in a Benny Hill-esque fashion.
My only slight concern was that it felt like there was almost a bit too much going on in terms of lore and NPC action. I'm perfectly happy to play second fiddle to important lore characters in an instance like this, but I felt like I could barely keep up with what was going on towards the end; demons attacking left and right; Tyrande needs help, where's Malfurion, Illidan is yelling something... and all that while we're actually trying to complete a boss fight. Maybe it becomes a bit clearer on repeat playthroughs - or more annoying.
Finally, the Hour of Twilight felt like the weakest of the three dungeons. You're supposed to escort Thrall to Wyrmrest Temple, but especially during the first and last third of the instance he kind of acts like the classic escort NPC, always moving a bit more slowly than you'd like and forcing you to run back to fight some "ambushers" whom you wouldn't have to deal with in the first place if he'd just hurried up already.
The voice acting on the first boss is also quite over the top and I mentally nicknamed him Asthmarion for the way he sounds as if he's about to breathe his last breath with every sentence. His insistence on referring to Thrall as "the shaman" was also a bit amusing because didn't they consider that there might be player shamans in the group as well? As ours put it, "I'm going to go where I damn well please... he is talking about me, right?
The fights were all pretty tank and spank, and the big "reveal" at the end wasn't that exciting as not even Thrall sounded surprised by the guy's sudden and inevitable betrayal. Still, it was a fun little romp that left me curious about how the story continues in the Dragon Soul raid. I'm not sure when/if I'm going to see that though, as my initial curiosity about the raid finder has been replaced by pure dread and I simply don't want to deal with it right now. Which is funny, considering that all the reports that I've heard so far actually make it sound a lot better than anyone expected. A guildie from our rated battlegrounds used it to go on his first raid ever today and told me afterwards that they cleared it. One has to wonder just how much the devs lowered the difficulty in there, considering that our raid group killed the first boss on normal mode on their first attempt as well. Oh well, not something I can really comment on anymore.
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