Monday, January 22, 2007

TBC Week 1: First Impressions

So the first week of The Burning Crusade is nearly gone, and I have a very clear impression of the work Blizzard has done to make this expansion successful. There have been some trials and tribulations, restarts, lag and the usual press of desperate levelers stealing each others kills, but as the dust begins to settle on the mad dash to 70, those of us who have been stopping to smell the roses, and the fetid Underbog flowers have seen some wonderful sights and fantastic game play.

Rissiel of Militiae Templi started a post listing his favorite observations from TBC so far, and I will do the same:
  • Quest progression, complexity and availability: The Burning Crusade is chalk full of fun and diverse questing options. In Hellfire Peninsula alone, there are well over 30 quests that the hapless adventurer can choose from, and while many are kill X and bring Y, the devs have also expanded the quest menu to include flying bomb runs, destroying key enemy objectives, lots of mini-boss type quests and some PvP based objectives.
  • Tradeskilling: Blizzard has decided to further incorporate the trades into everyday leveling. Last night I learned that herbalists can 'skin' plant mobs for useful reagents and quest items... Jewelcrafters have a direct impact on the improvement of quest and instance gear... Blacksmith's can improve on their creations as the progress, taking their Masterwork Longsword to a Grandmaster's creation (so-to-speak_... These are just a few small examples, but we keep finding them with each passing day.
  • Instances: The new group instances are dynamic, quick and available for all players. From Hellfire Citadel, accessible to all gear levels, to the Underbog that is a very demanding instance they have created an array of options for those with just 45 minutes to plan, to those with hours to spare.
  • Graphics: The backdrop of Outlands is just stunning. The battle worn lands set against the space-like sky is one of the most amazing scenes I have ever quested in. The first time I crested the ridge of Terrokar Forest and the visage of Shattrah City came into view, my breath was taken away. I had goose bumps from a game...
  • Completeness: Aside from a few bugs and testing oversights, TBC is very, very polished. One druid in our guild complained that the Reagent for his L70 Gift of the Wild spell has not been coded into the game yet... Oops.. (Ya, Yorick hit 70 after 4 days... WOW) For the most part, the quests work, the servers are holding strong, items function properly, and the game play is smooth and enjoyable.

The first two days of release, Hellfire Citadel instance servers crashed on Magtheridon, where I play Cyndre. I was trapped inside a down zone for about 75% of the first two days and got a bit behind on leveling, but last night I Dinged 63 regardless. The game plays fast, even though I am taking my time. Having a very skilled guild, using Vent and assisting each other in every facet is a great boon for me, and as a guild we are progressing through TBC content very fast, and with few issues. I expect Cyndre will reach 70 inside of three weeks of real time (not /played) and we should be starting a partial raid schedule inside of one month as enough of our compatriots reach max level again.

I give The Burning Crusade three thumbs up, and wish I was playing right now... so close to 64, must quest....


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