Friday, June 10, 2016

Mr. Hammer Goes To Beta

Thanks to a contest run by the good folks over at WoWhead, I am now in Legion Beta. This blog post is Spoiler Free.

Legion goes live in 82 days. I leave for vacation in 79. If you are thinking, that's great, plenty of time to play, you'd be wrong. If I try to break out the laptop and fire up WoW during this vacation, Mrs. Hammer will ensure that the Happiest Place on Earth isn't so happy.

My goal with Beta is to both enjoy the story and figure out where everything is. When it is live, I'll be going as fast as I can in order to catch up. It's hard enough securing a tank spot. There's two and only two per raid. Being behind won't help.


Hello Beta


Logging into Beta was a jarring experience. I've been using ElvUI or Spartan for so long, I had almost forgotten what the default UI looked like. Character copy isn’t implemented yet so you get a stock Level 100 of your chosen class. Sure, I can call him Honors Hammer and make him look like Honors Hammer, but in reality, he’s not Honors Hammer.

One cool thing is these premades have all these incredibly rare mounts. I’ve now gotten a chance to ride around on a Love Rocket, Invincible, and Mimiron’s Head just to name a few. My premade had old world flying, but not Northrend flying. Without spoiling the story too much, let's say that not having Northrend flying (or any Northrend flight points opened) made one of the early quests a little more cumbersome than it would have been on Honors.


Gear


Premade Paladins start as Ret but you have a full set of Holy and Prot gear in your bags. The gear is all iLevel 680 which is a little worse than my Live set which is iLevel 700.

It's not only the iLevel, but the itemization itself is worse. I don't have my 2 or 4 piece set bonus. My Stamina, and Strength are way down. Apparently, Blizzard HQ still hasn't gotten the memo that we love Haste. My Mastery and Versatility about doubled. It makes comparing Beta to Live a little difficult because you've got this huge gear variable to contend with. 
Live Stats versus Legion Premade Stats

It's pretty amazing the amount of difference it makes. I'm definitely squishier. On Live, I fear basically nothing. I’ll pull anything outside of a raid zone and expect I’m going to live including Tanaan Rares. In Beta, I'm far more mortal. 


Story/Questing


The story is impossible to discuss without a one way trip to Spoilerville. There were parts I didn't like and parts I loved. It's still Beta so there are quests that don't work quite right or places where the scenes get a bit jumbled because the dialog starts over every time someone turns it in so you have a character repeating phrases or having phrases out of order.

I've been a bit surprised by how many times I've come across bottleneck quests. These won't be a big deal a month after launch but during the initial leveling rush, they will be frustrating. Didn't the developers learn anything from the opening of Vash'ir in Cataclysm, or the Jade Forest in Mists?


Play Time


After all the complaints I've heard, I was worried about how my Tankadin would play. I'm almost Level 101 and so far its been enjoyable. I could feel some inertia toward change during my initial play sessions, but after a while, I settled in. Most of my enjoyment is coming from the story characters and locations. Combat feels pretty much the same as Live, only slower on Beta. Some of this might be from missing my 4 piece and some from missing all that beautiful Haste.

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