Perhaps because my last visit was so short, it feels like it’s been a long time since I played World of Warcraft, though rationally speaking it hasn’t. Regardless, it is as ever easy to get back into the swing of things.
I’m taking a relatively laidback approach to my return so far — after a brief burst of intense grinding the first couple days — so I haven’t yet visited the Tomb of Sargeras or done anything too dramatic.
I did give the new dungeons a run. I enjoyed the Cathedral of Eternal Night. Solid five-man, nothing to complain about. Return to Karazhan I’m mixed on. I know a lot of people loved original Karazhan, but I was always bitter such an iconic location in WoW lore was reduced to a cheesy haunted house. The new five-man version is less of a waste of potential, but only somewhat.
My initial goal was to focus on the Broken Shore story. It’s not the most exciting content they’ve ever done, but it is pretty quick and painless as grinds go, so I was able to unlock flight much quicker than I’d anticipated.
It’s so much better now. The game feels complete, and I can finally start playing at my own pace. I cannot exaggerate the relief I feel upon being able to take to the skies again.
First up: Monk.
I’m developing a slightly unconventional but effective and so far enjoyable alternative leveling style, since I’ve already done plenty of questing in Legion. Basically I just fly around the Broken Isles collecting herbs, completing bonus objectives, fighting Legion invasions when they come, and doing anything else quick that catches my eye. Also queue for the occasional dungeon while flying around.
The variety keeps things fresh, and so far the levels seem to be going by pretty fast. Invasions in particular are a great source of XP. Their only downside is they don’t seem to award much gear, but I think the solution there could be to stop doing them at 109 and do quests and/or dungeons for the last level. That should get you some fairly up to date gear for when you hit max level.
I’m not sure if this will be my strategy for every alt going forward, but so far it’s working for me.
The one other thing that’s making this exploration-heavy leveling method enjoyable is the newly implemented Inky Black Potion. Easily obtainable from a vendor at the Darkmoon Faire (or the auction house when the Faire isn’t on), it turns the entire game world to night for its duration.
Unlike most games, World of Warcraft’s day/night cycle is actually tied to real world time. Between that and the fact that Blizzard is in California, that means I have to stay up well past midnight to actually see the sun set over Azeroth. As a result, I’ve had very little experience of in-game night despite playing for the better part of a decade.
Therefore, playing with the Inky Black Potion almost feels like playing an entirely new game, at least visually. Everything takes on a totally different character. Val’sharah is somewhat pretty in daylight, but it’s breathtaking in total darkness. The soft glow of lanterns, the bright wisps fluttering through dark branches, the shafts of gleaming moonlight… it’s enchanting.
The only problem is it can sometimes make it a bit hard to see what’s happening on screen when playing in the afternoon. Downside of living in an apartment that’s half windows and faces due west.
Of course, the Inky Black Potion is a perfect fit for a Night Elf, which is why I’m mainly using it on my monk so far.
In retrospect, it seems incredibly bizarre my Night Elf has spent the vast majority of her existence in daylight. Just imagine how messed up her Circadian Rhythm must be by now. Poor girl must be exhausted.