I stand corrected (actually, I sit corrected, but why quibble?). The launch has had its inevitable problems, but it went far more smoothly than I anticipated. Sure, Outlands was lagged all to hell on the first day, and Honor Hold is still pretty laggy, but that’s inevitable with so many players all trying to occupy the same space at the same time. The Draenei area has had only slight problems with mob shortage on my server, and that got under control pretty quickly. So, here are a few preliminary post-launch thoughts on the expansion:
Blizzard really succeeded in giving it the feeling of a war zone. It’s hectic and dangerous, with plenty of milling about and a ton of fighting. Once you get past the initial area you realize it isn’t all going to have the same Blasted Lands look to it, so it doesn’t look like it’ll get boring anytime soon. Of course there’s a shortage of things like herbs to skill up on, but as folks further spread out that’ll change. I’m happy to take my time leveling there for just that reason.
The area is, I think, a bit harder to solo if you traditionally like to solo. Which is to say, if you’re decked out in epics from raiding it isn’t that much of a problem, but if you already liked soloing and didn’t tend to raid for gear, you might have some difficulties. It works well for a two- or three-person team, though.
The quest rewards are quite surprising. Even the greens of the low-level quests tend to be better than the tier 0 and suchlike equipment.
I’m glad the reports I heard of the degree of PvP-ness in Outlands were exaggerated. There are certainly PvP quests on PvE servers, but you aren’t PvP all the time or anything like that.
I love the Draenei. They’re the best addition to the game yet. They have swiftly become my favorite race ever. Their emotes are fun–playful but with a sly kind of dignity to them. The voices are different. The appearances are nifty, particularly the females; it’s nice to have attractive females that don’t rely on looking like supermodels or traditional pubescent fantasy fare, and again, they have a kind of dignity to them that I like.
The Draenei plotline is very fun. Crashed spaceship? Escaped fauna specimens? Contaminated environment? Radiation? The whole thing is a ton of fun, and very different from what has come before. It really makes the game new again, and that’s very immersive. The appearance of the Draenei starting area is similarly new and interesting.
It’s nice just to have a new profession to play with. I also love the way you can use gems in socketed items to interact with other professions. Being able to make rings and necklaces for low-level characters is rather fun; it’s also a nice way to pump up your alts for quicker grinding when you’ve already gone through the game a handful of times.
I haven’t interacted with the Blood Elves a huge amount, so these are tentative thoughts. But tentatively… UGH. They’re like every worst stereotype of a vain, self-absorbed cheerleader or the like. Their emotes drive me nuts. I’m so glad that when we switched servers some time ago we happened to roll Alliance on this server, because I can’t stand the idea of playing a Blood Elf (or even playing near them).
I think it’s inevitable that with so many players trying to explore the same content at once, and such unanticipated rapid growth in the player base, there’ll be stability programs. Blizzard may not always be as on top of everything as they ideally should be, but I think they’ve done an overall good job of handling the situation.
There were fewer problems than I anticipated. There’ve been a few dicey restarts and the occasional glitch, and I’m noticing the reappearance of a couple of bugs that had been fixed before (nothing earth-shattering though). Overall, however, I’m surprised at how well it’s gone.
Sadly my realm might get split (the night of the release the queue was reportedly around 800 at one point, at least). Blizzard is offering free transfers; if not enough people take them, we’ll get split. Our guild is part of a large conglomerate, so we’d really rather not transfer. We’d all like to stick together.
There are so many little things Blizzard has done that I like. Many more things stack higher in your bags (such as ore and gems). The Draenei starting area contains fun allusions, such as the “Kessel run” quest (not the only Star Wars allusion in that area!). There’s just so much MORE to explore now–honestly I don’t understand the folks who are trying to rush to 70 as fast as possible, because I’d rather take my time and see everything.