Epic Win, Epic Fail.

Alternative title: So close yet so far.

I finally got by the WoW queue on my server and was able to experience the Death Knight class. The hour and a half quest chain in the Death Knight area was without a doubt one of the best Blizzard gaming I have ever enjoyed. The quests were fun, the storyline and lore were well done, heck, I was reading books on the ground in Ebon Hold. So how does Blizzard follow up the best hour and a half of gaming they have produced in a long time? With Epic Fail, of course! More after the break.

After finishing the quests, hitting level 58 of course I went to Outland. I was so curious what else they added here to continue the incredible levelling experience I had just enjoyed. The quests in Ebon Hold have you pimped out in a full set of sweet looking Death Knight blue gear – not too shabby! I grabbed the first few Honor Hold quests and (I fondly remember them, having multiple 60-70 characters) proceeded to finish the first one. The quest reward? I replaced my incredibly sweet full of awesome Death Knight specific pants with the same typical generic green plate reward. Wait, that can’t be right. Are the stats REALLY better? Yes, they are. Why bother? I know in 10 more quests I will have all generic plate gear, the same garbage I upgraded to with my warrior in outland. Why did Blizzard end the experience so immediately? I logged off. Not sure I will bother logging on again.

At bare minimum Blizzard should have put in Death Knight rewards for all Burning Crusade quests – heck, at least SOME of them. They didn’t change a thing. The stupid problem is that not only are you doing the exact same quests again to go from 58-70, but you are doing them with ONLY other Death Knights. Pretty hard to make a balanced group with just one class. I am shocked and dismayed. Blizzard really dropped the ball on this one. Why not start at level 65, do the Ebon Hold quests, and start in Northrend at 68? I just bought a brand new expansion, with a super fun and super cool looking new class, are you REALLY going to make me do the same content I did 2 years ago to start to enjoy the character? I know you want to stretch out time for subs, but why ruin this experience? It could have been great. Heck, it could have been good. Why force it to be bad? Start at 65, finish the starting DK area, and go right into the new content – and you would have a winner.

Stupid. Dissapointing. Pointless.

To be fair, and this may sound a bit silly, but the DK starting area alone was worth the $50 expansion. They included a new ‘phasing’ mechanic to the quest and storyline meaning depending on what leg of the quests you were on, you saw different mobs and backgrounds than the person next to you. It is a very well done mechanic and if they continue to develop content this way we could have a strong renaissance with good old WoW. Also to be fair, if they just made WoW a LAN game or single player experience (which in effect is what phasing does) you would have an even bigger winner.

I guess I shouldn’t have put my hopes so high. I should have known by now.


17 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This sort of thing is bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I want to see the subscription model fall flat on its face. On the other hand, I really like what Blizzard does in the game, for the most part. That they could make WoW into a fantastic LAN or solo offline game is fantastic… that they do not is highly annoying.

  2. Wait… you logged in?? And didn’t even msg me? I’m crushed…
    And, while I do agree with you on the Death Knight quest issue, making WoW into either a solo offline or a LAN game would be a big mistake, imo. While it would still be a fun time for the solo adventurer or a small group of adventurers, I think there would be a social loss. I enjoy the game… very much so… but what keeps me coming back is the friends I’ve made. I very well may have quit long ago, if not for the people I’ve met, gotten to know, and whom I call friends. Yes, I realize that you don’t really get to know someone online, but you get my point…

  3. I looked for you Hezz, you weren’t on =) I didn’t stay on long (just did the DK starting area before being plunked into crappy BC – boooo) but I did look!

    I still think a LAN WoW would be perfect – if you had your own server. I wanted to choke half the other DK’s spamming useless garbage in general chat. It was extremely annoying.

    Imagine a server, where all of our friends could play on like normal, where we can share the costs and have it end up cheaper without the “other” community component? Where you could choose who could play on it to keep all the annoying people out. WoW has a terrible community. Not *our* community, but Blizzard doesn’t care and allows the jerks full reign because they pay for the right to be that jerk.

    At least, at bare minimum, I could probably stand it if I had an unlimited, account specific ignore list. If I put a guy on ignore all of his toons go on it. I was pulling my hair out.

  4. Believe me, I would love to see the private server, where we could all hang out. But what about the regular person, who knows no one on a server, doesn’t know anyone who really plays… how would they end up on a private server where they could make friends and play with a group like ours? Unless someone kept an alt on a regular server, so that if they meet a decent player, they could get invited to the private one… sorry, logistics isn’t my strong suit…

    And I was probably on my DK (Bonsnuit)… 🙂

  5. I’ve come to believe that the “new players” are more or less mythical at this point. There are WoW regulars, WoW revisiters, and WoW recoverers. New players these days are few and far between, and I suspect that most jump in because a friend is already playing. Private servers wouldn’t trouble them, and may even make signing up easier, since they wouldn’t start on the wrong server or deal with a bunch of random idiots as they are getting used to the game.

    Yes, private servers might just thin the world population even more for those who aren’t aware of them, and they might concentrate the idiots on public servers… but it should sort itself out. I think of private servers as a natural extension of the guild mechanic. Guilds already have the ability to control membership, and some of them even just actively recruit on the forums, rather than via PUGs or whatever. If a private server admin wanted to keep recruiting, they could handle it just as easily as guild recruiting.

  6. *shrug* You have a good point, too, Hez. I just think that we’re probably at the point in the game where it’s not as big an obstacle as it might have been a couple of years ago.

    *signs petition*

    What would be really great is if we could also absorb the hardware cost of the server by having some sort of Blizzard oversight on independent private servers. I haven’t done a lot of research on it, but I suspect that savvy techies could set up servers sufficiently geared for their guilds at a fraction of the cost of the Blizzard behemoths. Blizzard would have to patch them now and then and run verifier checks, especially if anyone wants to migrate across servers, but I know the tech is there. The trouble is with the beancounters and policy wonks.

  7. @Tesh: That is what BF2142 does. They work with third party companies with the server software – such as Wolf Servers, and other companies. Do a google. =)This gives the consumer choices on who to host with, depending on geography and prices and creates a competitive situation that ends up being good all around.

  8. Speaking on the phasing aspect of the new WoW expansion, they use it in multiple occasions in the different zones in Northrend and I must say, it makes the game feel MUCH more alive.

    Not going to say much without spoiling the interest you seem to be getting back into you Chris 😉

  9. Blizzard knew the DK players would be trying to get out of the DK Zone as soon as they hit 58 so they could hit Outland, so they probably tweaked the entire experience to have you ding 58 and be done with the zone shortly after.

    As the only players who can access the Mobs and Quests/Rewards in the DK Zone are new DKs, why not tweak the encounters and Quest Rewards there? Make it so that on exiting the zone the DK’s gear is at least comparable to the first Hellfire Pen quest rewards, and maybe even rivals that found in Hellfire Citadel.

    For a very successful company, they sometimes don’t seem to think things through that thoroughly.

  10. @Capn – The sad cynical part of me DOES think they thought it through thoroughly, and thats the troubling part. That they knew it would take casuals a couple of months to hit Northrend as a Death Knight, so to stretch out those sweet, succulent subscription dollars they made the straight up choice to drop them into the “real world” at 58.

    The experience would have been 1-beeeeliiion times better if new DK’s started at 65, and were dropped into Northrend at 68, and could enjoy the new expansion immediately.

  11. The question is, would a “casual” spend time leveling up a DK to 68 to get him/her into Northrend? Or are they more likely to play the DK just to experience the DK’s starting zone.

    I’m wondering if a Casual wouldn’t ditch a DK once it’s time to do Outland, again. The casual already has a Main and a couple of Alts they like playing, unless the DK really appeals to them they’re not likely to run it through the BC content. Instead they’ll jump on their Main and take him/her into Northrend…or at least that’s what I’d do.

    “Ok, I did the Death Knight thing. Now, which of my real Toons will see Northrend first?”

  12. Aye Aye, Capn! (Always wanted to say that.) I used to be “medium core”, had scheduled raid nights, did 2-3 a week, and was in Black Temple before I left WoW. I am far more casual now.

    And I did exactly what you said.

    Enjoyed the DK area – did it TWICE! Now I am flubbering on which of my already level 70 toons to take into Northrend – or just cancel (again) altogether.

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