Sunday, 29 June 2014

Warlords Of Draenor Beta: First Impressions!

Hello ladies and gentleman! I was blessed to get the first wave of Beta Invite overs the weekend which actually fell on my birthday so as much as I was spoiled by my family and girlfriend, blizzard decided to gift me something rather special, a WoD Beta pass! I was at work on the Friday and I could not help but jump up and down and sing to the lords of three hammers and dance like a gnome for a few moments... After that out burst I waited a few days before I had a bit of time to give it a go.. Here is my first impressions, but remember folks, its Beta, everything you see here may not be in the game upon release so take everything I say with a grain of salt. So sit back, relax with your finest brew, It's Beta Baby.. Monk style! 


So upon logging in after the download the first thing I wanted to do was copy over my monk and test out the new and beautiful Shadowmoon, after all this was one of the main reasons I came over to the Alliance side. Unfortunately Shadowmoon was closed off for some time due to too many DC's and so on, not to worry I thought! Lets get the monk over and see stats and whats different.... Nope. According to MMO-Champion there is a bug with EU character copies, its only available to US players.. bummer. Well thankfully this let me have a look at the other models and below is a picture of some of the texture changes to human females.


I'm really fussy about characters, I want to make them look perfect and the new hair styles and their fluid/natural look is incredible, for all the models we could see. I know this is only the human POV but I'm sure you guys can have a little look on other blogs, websites for that, I just love the humans more so than other races.. Boring right!? Right! Anyway, the hair looks great, my only concern is the faces. With the new amount of polygons used (this could be a bug) but I thought there would be more variation on the facial features (eyes, nose, mouth, chin) because the only thing I could see change when scrolling through the face options was lip color and very minor lip changes. Even so, the shading, tones and so on looked fantastic. Just wish there was more choice, even on beta. We don't want to all look the same do we? we have had a decade of that.

The next step was to have a little look at the action bars, spells and our passives. Not much has really shifted, there does look like very few passives but we have gained a few new shiny ones in the process. The action for monks really does not as drastic like other classes (empty/tumbleweed type bars) for WW monk anyway. But enough of that, The passives!


Windflurry - We knew this one was coming for some time, A nice but of raid coverage of a nice passive. Multistrike will be an integral part of the new meta game so its great to see our great class abuse that.
Multistrike Attunement - I'm pretty sure a number of classes get this, nonetheless, helpful and tasty. 

Note: Windwalkers also grant raid members with a minor speed increase within a certain amount of yards but I could not see the tooltip in my spell book, but I'm assured we do have it. Maybe just another bug. 

My next thing on the list to test was the one thing that plagued my monk all expansion... Not being able to see the pesky fist weapons! It may seem minor but too me I hated it! I love seeing my weapons and even if our fists looked incredible we could only see them on our character selection screen but I can confirm to you now, you can seem them during combat (See photo at the top of the blog post) YAY! 

Class Momentum and Fluidity
My main concern with the changes that were coming our way was the increased chi amount per Teb gained. Also the energy increase for jab. I loved how fast our spec felt, even if I pressed something wrong, I felt that pressure to make sure every key hit was perfected and timed well.. I wanted us to keep this, But with blizzards direction they were heading, I was sure and still am that they want to *slow our spec down* but right now it still feels great, if not better. I'm not hitting those chi generators as fast, and that is noticeable but personally I don't feel hindered like I thought I would. Also with the change to Fist Of Fury, when you hit that sucker, it bashes mobs hard and for the first time since patch 5.0.. Using FoF feels rewarding and good. Also SEF is now not on the GCD and feels great. Simple change but well needed... Some what overdue right? To add to these changes, being able to direct our Flying serpent kick/Rolls feels great. 

  
What I have also come to learn is that, blizzard can slow us down if they wish, but as we know, they want us to make more use of our Energizing brew. With this spell and Chi Brew, in all honesty we will still remain fluid and compelling to play. A nice little change (as shown on the photo above) Our Tiger Eye Brew has a more prominent spell effect. Sexy.

Note: One thing to be aware of  is that I have not unlocked any Perks yet. I'm yet to test our damage with those and in dungeons but regardless we still hit hard. 

Initial Questing
My questing experience right now is very minimal but I have done a few quest and seen a few things I wanted to share with you lovely folk. The questing right now feels a little loosely connected but I think that's blizzards way of stress testing quests. Maybe I just feel a bit awkward between, the horde and alliance factions. 


Some things to expect while questing.
- Some maps are not yet finished. 
- Alot of texturing missing making some quests hard to find/complete.
- Mobs dispersing/not dying. 
- Random porting if you stray to far from the portal.

I know I know, this is beta but it would be nice if the first zone we could test was some what polished a little to get more of a feel and understand blizzards direction/thought process. I mean we are testing their content but we don't have to much to look at. Not asking for to much am I? Well I'm new to the whole Beta thing, so just dropping some thoughts here and there.


As mentioned above some of the quests took me so long to complete because I could not see were to go because of the texturing. Maybe because Tanaan Jungle is still a work in progress compared to Shadowmoon but nonetheless it was a little annoying. Just be aware of this while your on the beta servers, some of these zones as shown below have caused a number of peoples clients to crash including me, and this is but a few of them! (Behind the portal also is a hot spot for DC's)


Another small thing that annoyed me some what was the following... Spot the problem here! 


That's right, I'm pretty sure Thrall took his Birth name forward in the lore and took it with him back through the portal, maybe its blizzard being lazy but still, little things like this pulls us in to the story and immerse use in the vibrant quests and characters, I just wish we saw Go'el finally. This is your time blizzard to make the story around these great characters rich and true... Make it so please!  

A few perks while playing the Beta
While my play time was limited on the Beta for the first time, I did notice a few things which was a nice touch to add. We are able to use any mount in the game, great to finally ride that roster! The mount tab also shows were you can get the mounts from, which vendor sold them, what reputation you need and so on. There is also a Random mount button that will make you mount one of your many Favorited mounts. Fancy. 


You can also mount the flying mounts that are in the game but due to the no flying rule, you can only use them as ground mounts, still, a nice touch and this made my Beta experience that more enjoyable. HOWEVER! one thing that was a bit odd was the following photo: 


While you quest you unlock core abilities for your pre-made 90, but this is made redundant because as soon as you choose your spec once you log in, you gain these abilities anyway. Logic? Anyway, despite these few flaws the overall experience was great. 

Quick/Basic Recap
The monk maintains its great sense of feel and fluidity which was my main concern. Some small tweaks to abilities/spell effects is very infectious. The questing and seeing our favorite Warcraft characters is awesome as hell even if some did have wrong names. Although the texturing is a bit off and some obvious negatives in Betas it was great to get a little insight in to blizzards work and I feel so lucky to be able to give it a shot Overall, I'm pretty happy. I will be doing alot more in-depth reviews of the beta as I learn more about it myself and telling you guys my adventures on the monk from 100 talents, leveling perks and so on. Not to mention the garrisons, but I have not got that far yet. 

I just want to say a quick thank you to blizzard for letting us test your game and enabling me to be apart of it/ Thank you to Faith for the referral for the Beta, its much appreciated my friend, a great Birthday present indeed. 

That's it from me for now folks! I hope you guys are enjoying your beta madness and I look forward to meeting you American monks in game at some point! For now I will leave you will a little photo I edited while questing in Tanaan, enjoy! - Vaylen.