I’ve been playing World of Warcraft since it first came out in 2004 and have eagerly jumped into to every expansion that has come out. Some have held my attention more than others and I generally judge the overall expansion by how long I play it.
The previous expansion, Battle for Azeroth, captivated me for a whopping 4 months before I moved on. The deal breaker for me was how much grinding was necessary for me to enjoy the parts of the game that I liked playing. I love group content but the game wanted you to do all of this repeatable quests in the world that got super boring. This also made it really hard to play any of my other characters at a high level because of how hard it was to catch up (and you really couldn’t for a long time).
My hope in playing Shadow Lands was to be able to play my multiple characters without giving myself 40 hours worth of work to do per week. The first week is over and I clocked about 25 hours at level 60, which only was the past 4 days. I took a new approach to the game (for me) and didn’t do any research on what I should and shouldn’t be doing. I simply went in blind and played the game.
For this expansion I decided to dust off my priest who has been mostly untouched since 2015. Leveling was mainly a solo venture until I reached about 58 and happened to be in the same place in the story as some of my friends. I found that it was much quicker to do the quests as a group, especially the ‘kill ten boars’ type of quests. The party syncing feature in the game still confuses me and I understand what it should be doing in theory but every time I used it I’ve found myself wondering what the point is.
The new zones are stunning visually and find ways to encourage you to seek out high places and enjoy some beautifully crafted scenic views. I love the different flavors and color schemes of each zone and find some of the color pallets a bit nostalgic and similar to those found in The Burning Crusade.
The world quests have more substance and story to them. Instead of a simple go here and do X and then move on to the next quest, most of the world quests have multiple parts that force you to pay attention rather than zoning out to old episodes of The Office while you’re grinding your dailies. One of my favorite world quests is “Summon Your Sins” which has you collect fragments and use alchemy to combine the fragments into an on use item that summons a creature. I love these type of flavor items that are in the game, I enjoy using these items that give you a buff and make you a bit more powerful.
The world seems more dangerous and I like it. In the past few expansions of World of Warcraft I felt super powerful and almost would never die. I could pull giant packs of mobs and just mow everything down like I was grinding through a dungeon crawler like Diablo or Path of Exile. The first couple time I tried to use that same tactic in Shadow Lands I died a horrible death. In fact I died many times on my road to level 60 and felt the sting of punishment in that runback much like it is in WoW Classic. I liked that there were consequences to accidentally pulling extra enemies.
As we head into the second week of Shadow Lands I have pretty big dilemma. I’ve been playing a lot of WoW Classic for the past year and the final raid is coming out a week after Shadow Lands release. I hate the timing of this. So now I have too many games that I really WANT to play but not enough hours to do so. Lets not even talk about Cyberpunk 2077 which comes out the following week! It figures that all of these things would come out at the same time!
For now, I’m committed to raiding in WoW Classic to get through Naxx and hopefully set myself up to move into a future TBC Classic. This is assuming they go in that direction. I’m hoping for an announcement in February or sooner 🙂