Are fewer people streaming Fall Guys? Are you lacking some “sus” people in Among Us? There’s a reason for it. World of Warcraft is back, baby. Kinda. Sorta.
But it’s enough to make people ask where their gamer friends have been and why they’re logging into a game that’s old enough to legally drive.
Like many others, I went to log into my WoW character this week, and I saw something I haven’t seen in a while. A queue for the login servers along with about 50 friends on Battlenet that I haven’t seen in a while. That’s when I knew that coming back was the right thing to do. People are excited to play World of Warcraft again, and they have every reason to be. After all, the expansion looks like it could be a lot of fun even though we don’t have a World of Warcraft: Shadowlands release date yet.
A quick look at some of the features that are coming in the pre-patch to World of Warcraft: Shadowlands shows that there are several reasons to consider re-subbing and getting back into Azeroth.
Increased Character Customizations
While this is definitely not the only reason that people came back to the game this week, it was the first thing I noticed. Many races got new customization options when creating new characters or revamping old ones. As an Undead, I saw new faces, skin tones, and hair available as choices for my character.
More importantly, the Undead finally got new body types. Instead of being damn-near decomposed, you can now choose your level of skin coverage! You can be fresh, mottled, or bony! Maybe we can finally wear some boots!
These are just some of the new options available, but most classes will find that they can customize their characters to look a little more like the player.
This was very long overdue, and I am glad Blizzard finally got around to it.
The Level Squish Makes It Feel a Little Like Vanilla
I believe that leveling to 120 was asinine. Then again, I thought anything over 100 would looked dumb. Still, the new max level will be 60 in the Shadowlands expansion. Right now, the max level is 50, and that still brought some interesting changes to the game.
Our health pool and damage output are low enough to almost wipe away the nightmare that was Legion-era DPS. Oh, you hit someone for a few million damage. What?!
On a much better note, I feel like we’re getting the best of both worlds between new and old WoW. The leveling has slowed a fair amount owing to the fact that we no longer have the same heirlooms buffs or have 100+ levels to gain.
Also, we don’t get flying until we’re halfway done leveling, and that makes us rely a little more on flight paths and ground mounts. From my perspective, that made the leveling experience feel properly throttled. Sure, I’m not gaining 10 levels an hour, but there’s no need to when I am only racing to level 50.
You Can Level in Any Expansion
Now that there are fewer levels to gain, we have the option of leveling in specific expansions for the majority of the time. From levels 1-10, you have to go through the new introductory area if you’re completely new to the game (yeah, right) or you end up at your race’s starting area.
Once you hit level 10, though, the world is your oyster. Just go talk to Chromie and you can get quests from any era in Wow history. I love Cataclysm, so that is where I took my hunter.
I will admit that it’s a little weird being in these places at such low levels. While not every area of the expansion is open to you at first, the fact that you can quest there at all is a bonus for me.
Unfortunately, this has made queuing for dungeons a little tedious since the players are segmented into their chosen expansion. In other words, you can’t really look for dungeons from Pandaria if you went to Chromie and decided to play in Wrath of the Lich King. It kinda sucks, but I think the overall effect of leveling in all these expansions has been a huge draw.
Obtain Your Allied Races without the Grind
They took out the reputation grinds needed to access the allied races in World of Warcraft. If that sentence made any sense to you, then you’re a nerd. But, if you’re like me, you were probably thrilled reading it.
The reputation grind to unlock allied races was so long and crappy that I gave up on the Lightforged Draenei and Dark Iron Dwarves. Now, all you have to do is complete the quests as prerequisites and you can play the allied races.
While that’s a bummer for anyone who tried to get them done before pre-patch launched, it’s a saving grace for the rest of us that just want to play as a new race. Even if it’s the Vulpera, and I hate the filthy Vulpera.
Class Skills Were Revamped
I went into Battle for Azeroth playing Affliction Warlock, so needless to say it was a tough expansion. The constant need to put Unstable Afflictions on enemies and manage all the other DoTs was frustrating.
In pre-patch, the Affliction Lock is streamlined, strong, and comes with nifty curses to add a little bit of “F-you” to the mix.
A lot of classes were revamped during pre-patch, and several of them look good. Sure, my MM hunter is just as clunky as ever, but Elemental Shaman looks playable again! I’m sure it’ll be benched when I pick Ardenweald, but whatever. (Just kidding, I don’t raid like that)
The fact is that a lot of people logged in just to see what changed with their main classes. I know I am reasonably happy right now, and I haven’t even seen any of the Shadowlands content. Sure, things could and probably will change when legendaries, Covenants, and Soulbind Conduits are introduced. These class skill changes were fun to see, though.
We’re Waiting for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Release Date
When Blizzard pushed back the release date for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, it felt like a kick in the gut. I was getting excited to spend some time leveling and doing dungeons with the old gang. Unfortunately, the release date got delayed until who-knows-when.
While none of us are going to have the chance to jump into a fresh expansion on October 26/27th, the next few weeks will see people coming back to the game just to see what’s happening.
We’ll get to kill time, level new classes, and line up mains with some kind of certainty about the content. Except, we don’t know when it’s coming, but I’ll keep a weather eye on the release date.
Bonus: Let’s See How Blizz Broke the Game
I think it’s always a little fun to see what elements of a video game are broken in the process of integrating a major patch.
As I’m writing this article, Doomguards are apparently going nuts in the game. They’re simultaneously hostile and friendly, so when a Warlock performs the ritual to summon one, it’s killing everything in sight. In fact, one player has shown a Doomguard wiping out most of a dungeon on their behalf. You love to see it.
I know the servers were completely beleaguered when the pre-patch went live, and that’s not the kind of “broken” game I wanna see. I just like it when some craziness happens because it keeps Blizzard on their toes.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands looks like it will be a lot of fun based on what I’m seeing. I haven’t done any of the pre-patch main content on the live servers yet, but I’m looking forward to it.
Now is the time to get back into the game. Guilds are recruiting, people are leveling, and everyone is somewhat patiently waiting to get into the afterlife.
Let me know what you’re most excited about for Shadowlands or feel free to talk about what disappoints you so far. I’m always down to commiserate.