Mists of Pandaria Beta – First Impressions [SPOILERS]
With this newest wave of invites I have finally joined the mass of Annual Pass people who are playing in the MoP Beta. I wanted to do a quick write up about my first impressions with the beta. I do know that it is beta and things are subject to change, and I will keep writing about things I see as the beta progresses.
Say hello to Bearidar, he is my Pandaren Warrior. I decided to use him to test the new starter zone. The zone itself is very saturated on most test servers as everyone who joins wants to play a Panda, but that being said, I managed to complete the zone in about two hours without any real bottlenecks. The first 10 levels through this zone are all about your training and helping to heal the land that has started to rebel. You are mainly fighting different types of Hozun or Varmin, while working to bring the elements to the Temple of the Five winds. You are assisted in this by the fiery Ji Firepaw and the sedate Aysa Cloudsinger. Upon reaching level 10 you accompany the two of them to talk to the turtle that is the island, to find out what ails it. He tells you that he has a thorn in his side and asks you to remove it. You fly over to that area, see the crashed ship and then head back to the Temple before heading down to the contested area. Without getting into what happens down there, I haven’t seen the conflict that is supposed to be the main portion of this yet. You deal with very wounded reps of both factions and honestly you are offered a choice on how to remove the boat from the turtle, but only one faction has even made a suggestion on how it should be done. It may just be me, but I didn’t feel there was enough of a lead up to the choice for it to be anything but a preference and no difference one way or another. After making the selection ( I chose horde, because it’s my prefered side), you are transported to the faction capital to have a talk with the faction leader. Quick note, if Blizzard is trying to make me hate Garrosh more than I already do, his little speech cemented my dislike. This is where I’ve left him at this point, I will probably remake him a couple of times during the beta just to see changes as they are implemented and see if I can find any bugs.
This is Klanu the Tauren monk. I am using him to test the monk class. I have not done much with him yet as was concentrating on other things, but will be leveling him through Mulgore. I chose to go this route rather than the Panda, because I wanted to test the new class with the least amount of lag I could find. Only place that I could think of that might have been less would have been Silvermoon. My initial impression of the class (really initial as I’m only level 5) is that it will be a fun class to play and will definitely present a almost rogue like play style. It does appear Blizzard has done a lot of good with the skeletons as the movement seemed natural and not overly forced, at least to my untrained eye. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this class as I progress through the levels.
The final part of what I started on beta was to start my shaman, Bulidar on his road to 90. At this point they don’t have the beginning quests for Pandaria, just a messenger by Garrosh’s Throne room that will teleport you to one of three locations. I chose the wreck because from what I had seen that is the actual starting area. For questing, it’s a lot like Vash’jir initially in that you are going around and recovering things for the survivors, but these portions move relatively quickly, as you complete more and more quests you begin to work your way up to Hellscream’s Hope which is the first of the questing hubs. So far I have noticed two quests that I see being real bottlenecks when there are a lot of people moving through the area. The first is wet work that requires you to grab orbs spawned by elementals, the issue is the spawn rate is currently very slow and is one at a time. This will cause a back up I think. Luckily that quest is skippable. The second quest I see as an issue is Acid Rain. The quest involves you flying around bombing Hozun with poisoned throwing stars. With about 30 people flying around the area simultaneously tonight the quest took about 25 minutes to complete. I can’t imagine what it will be like if there is more.
Last thing I want to talk about still deals with Bulidar, but is more about the shaman changes. I like the idea that most of our buffs are innate now and don’t require a totem. What I have that I’m missing is the Call spells that let us drop multiple totems at once. The main reason I miss the was that I was able to keymap the single spell to drop all 4 totems, now we are back to the original way it was which means single dropping totems. Luckily with the buff totems mostly gone this allows us to pick and choose what we drop. The exception I see to this is enhancement which always needs to have Searing down and anything else will be an additional drop. I will admit I have only tested enhance so far and still have a lot to try out, but with the exception of totems the gameplay is very similar.
This wraps up my initial impressions. I will write more as I get deeper into the beta and get more play time. As always, questions and comments are appreciated.