SoD Phase 2: First Impressions & Ennui

Season of Discovery's phase two launched Thursday late in the evening in my time zone. I had a quick look at the time to see whether there was enough hype to create login queues again... there was not, though it was insanely busy in Thunder Bluff when I logged in. I needn't have worried about people immediately losing interest in the BFD raid once it was no longer at the level cap, as the "Denizens of Kalimdor!" yells were going out non-stop. They had always been frequent but now they were even more so as people were running it for XP.

I didn't really try to play properly until the next morning myself. I figured maybe I could avoid the worst of the crowds if I focused on my professions before trying to level, so I went out to buy the expert cooking, first aid and fishing books. However, I then realised that the primary professions still required level 26 to progress beyond 150 skill, even in phase two, so I decided that levelling up at least once should be my main goal for the time being.

I took my priest to Stonetalon since I had a few quests from there in my log and it's usually a comparatively quiet place - but it wasn't that day. Or rather, it might have been if things were even busier in other zones, but my point is that things were pretty crazy in Stonetalon as well, with everyone fighting to tag mobs as they spawned. I even saw people looking for group for "The Den" - a group quest which I think I've never completed at level because it's part of a chain that takes you all the way to Ashenvale and nobody wants to go back to Stonetalon to find a group to finish it, but on that day, people were doing even that.

While things were pretty brutal on Stonetalon Peak, the Charred Vale was the most striking to me, because I always remember my more experienced friend warning me about the place back when I first started playing WoW - that it was densely populated with mobs and could be quite dangerous. That Friday morning, it was barren, and harpies were dying pretty much as soon as they dared to make an appearance. Still, I successfully made it to level 26 and returned to town to work on my professions a bit.

I came on again later in the early evening, and actually found two guildies online who invited me to do some dungeons with them. We did SFK twice, followed by a partial run of Razorfen Kraul, in which I at least got my Blueleaf Tubers and the goblin escort done. Apparently the place was a popular destination to level as I saw people advertise for "RFK boar farm runs", which sounded very South Park-esque. Apparently dungeon farming to level is "the meta" even in Season of Discovery, simply because the open world is too full to quest efficiently. There's something kind of sad about that.

However, already the next day, the biggest wave of power-levellers seemed to have washed over me. I took my hunter (who hit 25 literally the night before phase two released and never did get to go to BFD) on a similar quest circuit around Stonetalon and it was much, much quieter... but in an oddly annoying way because without the hyperspawns triggered by the massive crowds I actually had to run bigger circles around the area to find more of the only slowly respawning quest mobs, while my priest had just had new ones pop up in front of her over and over.

I just needed a little more XP to get her to 26 so I thought I'd do the breadcrumb delivery quest to Thousand Needles. At the Great Lift, a human paladin aggroed my quest NPC while running to the lift, just before I could talk to him , so I did a /shoo emote on her, meaning to indicate that she should just get on the lift so he would run back to his spot and reset. She then decided to turn back and kill both Horde NPCs before I could talk to them, which meant I spent the next ten minutes waiting for them to respawn. In that moment I was kind of glad there's no cross-faction communication in Classic as I definitely would have called her names.

Meanwhile, my priest was close to 27 after the dungeons from the day before, so I thought I'd pop over to Ashenvale to ding her as well. I was successful, but Ashenvale was another sad sight as I saw the PvP event come on and nobody took part on either faction. I wonder whether anyone will come back to farm more Warsong Gulch rep once the current levelling frenzy is over.

I haven't checked out the new PvP action in Stranglethorn yet but I'm also kind of scared to. When I was doing the dungeons with guildies, one of them accidentally took the wrong zeppelin and landed in Grom'gol while the Blood Moon event was on. Turns out it's so free-for-all that even the guards hate you, meaning he instantly got ganked by them and was unable to revive and get back onto the zepp. He actually had to switch to a different character entirely to be able to go to the dungeon with us as the one stuck in STV was effectively unusable for the time being.

Reddit is afire talking about the new event, though I'm not sure I entirely understand what's been happening - something about people getting insane rewards for spam-killing the same characters over and over again at the graveyard since the event was lacking anything to discourage that? I don't know, it doesn't currently sound very fun either way.

I was wondering whether the release of phase 2 would bring more of my era guildies back to SoD to check out the new stuff, but after three days, only half a dozen people or so have even logged in. The ones who are still active are talking about moving to a new guild in SoD and I can't blame them. I need to think about what I want out of Season of Discovery myself. Right now I'm just getting major deja vu, finding myself feeling lonely on a crowded mega-server like I did a couple of months after Classic's launch, though back then I was still carried along for a few more months by the sheer excitement I felt about Vanilla making an official comeback. While SoD does have some interesting new mechanics, it's not enough to make the experience completely different from what I've been doing for the last five years (gosh, has it really been that long - it has), and being on my own all the time just feels unsatisfying.

I'm even wondering whether I should go and re-roll Alliance on the RP-PvE server - it's only medium pop so that should alleviate some of my stress caused by the crowds, and relocating to Hydraxian Waterlords is what ended up turning Classic around for me back in 2020. Who says that couldn't happen again? However, even if it could, would I even want to go in that deep again? (I went pretty hard for a while once I started raiding in Classic.) I just don't know. I keep looking at SoD and thinking that everything looks so fun on paper, but I just end up feeling slightly jealous of all the people who are so obviously enjoying themselves because something about it just isn't working for me right now.


  1. I would suggest poking your nose into the RP-PVE server, just to check it out. Even RP servers aren't immune to the min-maxing that goes on in Classic, and with SoD being on the test servers prior to Phase 2's rollout, that meant the meta crowd had already figured everything out before the Phase officially started.

    (I get Blizz's reasons why, but it was certainly nice to have that crowd having to fumble around just like the rest of us when SoD began.)

    I'm also not so sure that everybody is truly having fun versus feeling an obscene amount of FOMO. In it's own way, I think it's silly, since this is gonna be a classic case of "hurry up and wait", and that's gonna drive the meta and FOMO crowds absolutely bonkers, complaining about how Phase 2 is taking so loooonnnng.....

  2. My group ended up doing dungeon spam until we were around level 30 because our quest progression was all over the place. It was easier to do that and then start in a new quest hub than try to sync up everyone on various chains.

    I haven't tried the new PvP event, but one of our group did and got enough currency before they nerfed it to be able to buy a weapon once they hit 40. It's going to be a bit rougher for those of use that lagged behind. Oops.

    When I read about the flight masters becoming hostile I had to laugh as I knew a lot of people were going to get a major surprise. It's best to keep your hearthstone off cooldown when adventuring in STV now. :)

  3. My best friends play SOD phase 2 at the moment and they don't understand why i've decided to pass.

    I played phase 1 extensively, haven't missed a single BFD raid, got exalted to Wsg etc...
    I just feel like the game is 90% original classic with a few retail additions here and there. Grinds are completely bland and boring, pvp or pve wise, class balance is kinda meh (but classic has never been about perfect class balance anyway). Raiding is easy and limited,

    The game is not bad but not good enough for me to play. I really loved hc more, it really added a new flavour to the game imo. That's probably a biased opinion but something feels kinda off with SoD.

    I expected something... Well, different.

    Even some big streamers that i follow on twitch, who truely love the original version of the game, felt rather disappointed