Draenor Thus Far and Looking Forward to 6.1

With 6.1 launching next week, I thought I’d reflect on how I’ve perceived Warlords of Draenor to date.  At launch, I was stymied by 6+ hour queues the first few days, which frustrated me, but I understood them.  After the first week, I was well on my way to leveling Sam.  I have enjoyed the 90-100 content three times now, but the first time was by far the best.

The questing does a very good job of conveying the story line, especially if you take the time to read every quest.  The reward for following the major quest lines were some of the best cinematics I’ve ever seen in a game.  I could write an entire post that focuses on specific quests and cinematics, but I’ll save that for another time.

I have really enjoyed Warlords of Draenor and while it certainly is in no way perfect, I view it in a very positive light.  Today, I’d like to take a brief look into my thoughts on Garrisons and Dungeons / Raids, before talking about what I am looking forward to in 6.1.  I’m very excited about a few of the additions coming in the patch, more specifically, what they mean for me personally.

Garrisons

I know that many people have very differing views on Garrisons, but my overall experience has been very positive.  I log in most mornings and take about 15 minutes to send all three Garrison’s worth of followers on their way which gives me a chance to ease into my day before I leave for work.  I take care of any gathering and professions in the afternoon or evening, and then get on to whatever it is I am planning on doing in game at the time.  The amount of time this can take is probably my only gripe about Garrisons, but Blizzard isn’t forcing me to play three characters; that’s a personal choice.

Adding to this time spent in the Garrison is pet battles.  After leveling Sam to 100, a friend started me on pet battles. After grinding a few pets to 25 I completed the quest line to get the Menagerie.  If you can source the correct pets, the Menagerie is a fantastic thing to have (more on this with 6.1 later).  Just by doing the daily on one character with a level 3 Menagerie, you get resources that you can pool into leveling and upgrading the other pets you have.  I have three level 3 Menageries, so I have stockpiled a good deal of pet charms that allow me to quickly get another pet to level 25 at rare quality.  It takes work to get to that point, but it is very useful building to anyone who takes pet battling seriously from a completion and leveling standpoint.

Dungeons and Raids

As far as dungeons are concerned, I found the majority of them to be well designed and of an appropriate challenge level for the groups I would run with.  They were difficult at first, but not impossible.  My only real qualms are that there are only a handful of them, they can get old very quickly and their usefulness after gearing is questionable.  In the amount of time I have to play, I rarely go to dungeons anymore unless I want to get a satchel or I am helping a friend. My only real negative experience in the WoD dungeons is the cramped confines of Grimrail Depot’s train section.  It can cause camera angle and line of sight issues that take away from what is actually a neat, innovative design concept.

I have enjoyed progressing through normal and heroic Highmaul with my guild, Bucklers of Swash, and we’ve been working on Blackrock Foundry as well.  Releasing Highmaul around the holidays did slow our progress for a few weeks, but we quickly caught up.  I think both raids were well designed in how they were laid out, especially the flexible nature of how you can choose to tackle the content.

I really like the design of the boss fights in this expansion.  At appropriate gear levels, they can be challenging and require that you work together as a team.  If I had to pick a favorite from Highmaul, I would probably say Imperator Mar’gock.  No single ability in his fight is overpowered, but dealing with multiple mechanics at the same time was an enjoyable challenge that gave us a sense of accomplishment when we finally downed him.  The jury is still out on a favorite in Foundry, as I have yet to fight a couple of the bosses.  I really do like the idea behind the Oregorger fight, specifically phase 2, though.

Ready for 6.1

I am very excited for the release of 6.1 next week.  There are several things that stick out to me that I think will be positive changes / additions to the game, especially Garrisons.  I am ready to see where the Garrison quest chain goes next and to gain a legendary follower.  I think the addition of a daily visitor to your garrison is an interesting, but I’m not sure how much of an additional time sink it will be.

The Menagerie is getting some love in the patch, which should help get more people using it.  It is tough to get into pet battles and it can seem quite the grind your first pet to 25.  Once you reach that milestone, you need even more pets to get started with the Menagerie and then more still to be successful at the dailies.  If you can get past all of that, Blizzard is giving every character with a level 3 Menagerie a stone that will level any pet to 25 instantly.  Additionally, there is a new set of pets to collect from older raids for an achievement that I am excited to work on.  I will probably start a series on pet battles after the patch hits, with the first post focusing on how to get started if you haven’t already.

Finally, I am most excited about the new Heirloom System.  The thing I miss the most about the last time I was seriously playing the game is playing and leveling with the Mrs.  Her account does not have a ton of Heirloom gear associated with it, and I have a great deal.  This patch makes acquiring Heirloom gear much easier and convenient to find.  We have a pair of Shaman on our old server that will likely never get played again, but will be reborn on our current server and the Heirlooms will certainly make that project easier.

We talked after I started playing again, and decided that when the patch with the Heirloom gear was released, we would find a way to make time to play together.  We have two kids now, and they keep us much busier than we were back when we were playing the last time.  I’m not sure how we’ll make it work, but I know she’s on board and I’m very excited about it.

Well, that’s pretty much it.  I’ve enjoyed the expansion on the whole so far, and it looks like that trend will continue.  I can’t wait to play more with my wife, and acquire / level even more pets.  That just leaves one question:  What are you looking forward to next week?

– Sam

One Response to Draenor Thus Far and Looking Forward to 6.1

  1. Anonymous says:

    Glad to have back, Sam. (:

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