Friday, November 21, 2008

Level 74 Wrath Update

Well, it's been a week since Wrath, and Mania beat me to the one-week retrospective punch, but I figured I might as well comment anyway.

I'm currently around 80% through level 74, honored with the Kirin Tor and Wyrmrest, revered with the Kalu'ak, and I have enough coins to be done with Grizzly Hills world PVP the next time I find the Alliance in control of the vendor. I will have basically cleaned out the Dragonblight by the time I hit 75, along with maybe 2/3-3/4 of Howling Fjord and a third or so of Borean Tundra. This is actually fewer quests than I might have anticipated to have done, but I've been able to adventure without running out of rested state, and I'm doing a fair number of daily quests. Ah well, these will be around when I hit 80, so I might as well get started on rep now.

Gear upgrades


I entered Wrath in approximately Karazhan quality gear, including the Shadoweave set and a fair chunk of Arena S1 (honor) / Honor S3 items that are Kara-quality for DPS and spend added points on Stamina and resilience. Overall, I didn't see many upgrades in the Fjord or the early parts of the Dragonblight, but it looks like 73-74 is about the magic number for replacing my old gear.

I ran Azjol Nerub, a 72-74 instance, with a group from my guild last night, and walked away with four and a half upgrades: Two quest rewards and two pieces of boss loot that the other caster didn't need. By the time I was done with these, I had broken my Shadoweave set bonus and fallen below the spell hit cap for my level, so suddenly a green 73ish quest reward with some hit rating that I had been carrying around was a clear upgrade over my shadoweave robe. Of the 16 slots where your gear stats matter, I'm now wearing Wrath items in 10.

Is the expansion too short?
Tobold calls Wrath the easy expansion, after the world's most hardcore raiders beat all the raid content in the game in under 72 hours. Scott Jennings sees this as an issue of Blizzard putting their dev time where the money is. That said, I'm wondering if the problem isn't so much the dificulty of the content as the quantity - or lack thereof.

Before Wrath even launched, Larisa painted a colorful analogy comparing us hardcore players to a spoiled dog, devouring choice beef too quickly and then wondering why he's out of food. This point can certainly be argued. That said, the question is a little bit different in the context of a development cycle that produces one expansion and four patches in two years. How quickly is too quickly to be moving through the content?

The top guild on my server has snagged at least two of the three server firsts for 25-man raids as of last night (I don't think they got Malygos yet) - these guys are a lot more dedicated than me, but not anywhere near the world elites. Note that I'm absolutely behind having a reasonable entry-level to raiding. The reason why this is a problem is because there is no second level ready now, and it won't be ready until the next content patch (which, I would guess, we won't see for a few months, since they're spending a lot of time talking about the general bugfix/balance patch that's going to come in between now and then). Are these guys too hardcore? Sure, for the sake of argument.

Or take myself. I've probably clocked more time than most residents of Azeroth, and I did have the unfair advantage of having done all the content before in beta, allowing me to really maximize the time that I do have. I'd estimate that I'm about a third of the way through the solo portions of Wrath a week in - nearing halfway to the new level cap, and probably leaving another third or so of the content to mop up for cash and rep when I get there. Am I too hardcore? Okay, let's say that I am too.

My guild has a big spread of levels. Some are 77+, some have split their time between multiple alts and/or a Death Knight, and many are in their low 70's, but almost everyone has hit level 71 on one of their characters. Are ALL of them too hardcore? If so, who ISN'T too hardcore?

Last of the Lich King?
Wrath is in some ways better than I expected it would be, but, one week in, it's looking like longevity may become a serious issue. I'm not sure what the correct level of hardcore is to make the content last from now until whenever expansion number 3 happens, but I'm guessing that - at least for people who do not choose to raid - almost everyone is going to wind up being "too hardcore".

Then again, as Rohan points out, the forum trolls may have the answer to the dedication debate. :)

4 comments:

DeeKow said...

Honestly, the only game I've ever felt was "finished" at launch was Everquest. Even though it had far more open area than most and sometimes miles between places you wanted to be, I never got the feeling that something more should have been there.

LotRO on the other hand let me down the most since it had that great start and then left you standing around with your hands in your pockets waiting for the game to catch up...

Keen said...

Interesting and important bit of info here. I'm currently investigating whether or not I want to get WotLK and the longevity of the content is important to me.

Do you think that Wintergrasp will extend the life of the content because it's dynamic and driven by the players?

Green Armadillo said...

Hey Keen! My quick answer is, unfortunately, probably not. World PVP doesn't really seem to take in WoW, especially on PVE servers, and the added incentives to Wintergrasp are all carrots, rather than the (currently hypothetical) stick of losing your capitol city in Warhammer. I've been meaning to write on this topic anyway, so my longer analysis is here.

Devin said...

I've really enjoyed LK so far; I think it has a much more epic feel to it than BC did (which is when I started playing). I had the realm first ally DK after 4 days and started 10-mans. Got Demise and ran heroics. I now have epics in all but 5 slots. Less than two weeks in. Is it too fast/easy? Yes, but I hope/have faith that they'll introduce more demanding content soon (hello Ulduar/3.1). I understand they want less hardcore players to enjoy the content and not get frustrated, and the current content that some of us have 'broken' in the first week or two will provide entertainment for millions for months.