With the launch of the Legion pre-patch, I have returned to my dark master. Warlords of Draenor’s reign of terror has ended; let the cries of joy echo across the land!
A whole new world (of Warcraft):
The class changes for any expansion are always big, but this time the changes are so radical that it almost feels like an entirely new game. The new versions of classes are a bit of a mixed bag, but on the whole I’d say the good outweighs the bad.
I’m most happy with the changes to rogues. After several expansions of stagnation, rogues have received a much needed facelift.
I’m very pleased with the new outlaw spec. Despite the name change, it still feels a lot like the old combat, just with a bit more flavour. If you take slice and dice, you’re basically just playing combat, except a little faster and a lot flashier.
The animations have been vastly improved for nearly all melee classes, but rogues may have gotten the best of it. There is so much style and flair to everything they do now — a stark contrast from how visually bland they were before. Killing spree is now a strong contender for coolest looking ability in the game… though it’s probably not good if you get motion sickness.
Also, pistols. Damn the pistols are fun.
I do miss the cooldown reduction and energy refunds on finishing moves, but otherwise outlaw is the embodiment of everything I envisioned combat to be: a versatile weaponmaster proficient in all fighting styles, quick as thought and deadly as the embrace of the grave.
Subtlety is really hurting from the loss of a separate action bar for shadow dance, but aside from that, it seems to have turned out well enough. I like that it’s now a hybrid magical spec. Gives it a very distinct flavour from the other specs — again, something the class badly lacked before.
Thanks to the new ability to swap to any spec within your class, I have also now given assassination a try for the first time. It turned out to be almost as boring as I expected it to be, though, so I don’t expect to play it much.
Rogues are in a better place than they have been in a very long time, but warlocks, on the other hand, have been run through a woodchipper.
Demonology was my favourite spec in the game before the patch, and I’m quite bitter over its loss. I spent the last few days before the patch playing demo heavily and taking lots of screenshots of metamorphosis while sad music played in my mind. You are missed, Minidan.
I refuse to even look at the new demo. My initial reaction to affliction was one of utter disgust. Once I tried it a bit more, I mellowed a bit, but it’s still pretty dull. When I last played it, it was too complicated, but now it seems too simple, and the talents you can take to add more complexity come with problems of their own.
Destruction, alone, is okay. It’s slow and turrety, which I’m not fond of it, but it works, and with the right talents its AoE potential is pretty insane. It will probably be my go-to spec now.
I was very worried about the changes to brewmaster monks, but my fears seem to have been unfounded. Mostly.
My concern was that the loss of chi would make the class feel as slow and awkward as other tanks, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. If anything the rotation might be a little faster now. I always have something to press.
I do badly miss keg toss, but otherwise the spec is still pretty fun to play.
The downside is that I’m super squishy now. My mitigation abilities don’t seem to do much of anything. I pity my poor healers. I can only hope artifacts will make the difference.
Windwalker seems to be pretty much the same, with only minor tweaks. It was fun before, so that’s fine by me.
With so much changing, I’ve also been revisiting older characters I had stopped playing to see what they’re like now.
My shaman is probably the most different, with enhancement having been heavily overhauled. I think it’s probably an improvement over the old “whack-a-mole with cooldowns” version, but I’m still not in love with it. The rotation just doesn’t seem to flow quite right.
Mages seem pretty much the same — somewhat satisfying but very basic. Fire is slower than I remember, and I miss living bomb.
Let me tell you, it felt very weird to be playing my mage again, however briefly. He was my original main, but I hadn’t played him since the end of Cataclysm.
On my even more neglected death knight, the current iteration of frost seems very dull, but unholy seems okay. Nice rotation — not too simple, not too complicated. Animations are surprisingly bland by the new standards of WoW melee.
Paladin healing isn’t hurt as much by the loss of holy power as I expected. WoW healing still feels a bit dull to me after playing other games like Neverwinter and The Secret World. Whoever came up with light of the martyr deserves a hearty slap.
On the other hand, I did take a quick look at paladin tanking, and that looks like it could be very fun now. Further investigation is warranted.
And then there’s the transmog changes. Ah, the transmog changes.
I made at least five to six thousand gold in the first day just by vendoring all my old mog gear. I was also able to get the “Fabulous” title on the first day. I was only missing three shirts, so I bought a few cheap ones off the AH.
I mean, I’m a Blood Elf. Of course I’m Fabulous.
I was also pleased to discover that the Pandaria legendary cloaks can now be used for transmog. They don’t trigger their wing procs, and other legendaries are still ineligible, but it’s a start.
It’s nice to be able to easily transmog weapon enchants now, too. While I was dusting off my paladin, I got her to make some of the illusion tomes. Light of the Earthwarder, berserking, and netherflame are my favourites right now. Not too subtle, not too flashy.
I haven’t made many new outfits yet, but I did take the opportunity to return my rogue to her traditional outfit, including my favourite weapons from back in the Wrath days: Liar’s Tongue and the Bone Warden’s Splitter.
The new system has also created an odd opportunity for making money. Several starting shirts from pre-Cataclysm are now BoE, and because those appearances can no longer be obtained, they’re very valuable. Easiest ten thousand gold I ever made.
This sent me investigating even older characters as I searched for any other pre-Cata shirts. At one point I wound up on a level three Dwarf paladin with no abilities and broken boots (?) running in terror from troggs on my way to Ironforge to see if his shirt was worth anything.
The mountain queen cometh:
Just before the patch, I finally got around to using my free level 90 boost that came with Warlords of Draenor. I chose a race and class I never could have predicted a few months ago: a female Dwarf warrior.
Warrior has traditionally been one of the least appealing classes to me, but what I’ve heard about their artifact and class hall storylines in Legion sounds amazing, so I decided to give it a shot.
As for the race choice, I always thought if I did play a warrior I’d make them an Orc or Tauren — go big or go home — but I really like how female Dwarves look since the model revamp, and since I may be dusting off old characters, most of which are Horde, another Alliance character seemed a decent idea.
Plus, female Dwarves are among the rarest race/gender combos in the game, so I get to be a hipster.
As for gameplay, based on my vast experience of two hours /played before the patch, I’d say fury is much improved by the changes. It’s not going to be my new favourite spec, but the rotation is mostly solid, and I like the mobility… even if having that much mobility on a plate class makes no sense at all. Also, I love the rampage animation.
I’ve also been milking the nostalgia by going for as much of a “mountain queen” build as I can. Avatar, storm bolt… All I need now is bash, and it’s Warcraft III all over again.
Because priorities are important, I have not yet spent any time on leveling or anything practical and have simply been farming transmog gear for her. I’ve already got a pretty good outfit established, though I would like more weapon options. Turns out WoW has almost no decent two-hand hammer models.
Finally, a few nights ago a friend was running Black Temple for the pets, and I decided to tag along. I figured “Well, the Warglaives won’t drop, but it can’t hurt to try.”
So guess what dropped.
Of course now I have to get the other one…