Battle for Azeroth: Alliance Leveling Guide

Having played through multiple alts, I’ve worked out my best ways of leveling through the zones.

General notes: 

  • The goal of this guide is to provide climactic story experience;
  • Without getting lost in side questlines;
  • And leaving no side questlines behind.
  • Exploration achievements will be completed on the way.
  • As well as all flight paths opened.
  • The order of the zones is optional.
  • Each zone provides ~4-5 levels upon full completion.
  • You will hit level 120 by the middle of your third zone.
  • I choose to put aside gathering and war campaign quests until level 120 – not to distract from the zones, but you may choose to do them in between.
  • Leave all dungeon quests and dungeon runs until 120! I’ll explain this further.
  • Beware of the spoilers ;)

Drustvar

Drustvar is a straightforward story with small number of side questlines.

drustvar-leveling-map

  • Start with Fallhaven and clear the witch corruption to earn your tavern and flight path (1);
  • Do Carver’s Harbor and solve a cult problem (2,3);
  • Save stranded kid explorers from troggs (4);
  • Clean the Barrowknoll cemetery on your way to Hangman’s Point (5);
  • Prove Lucille Waycrest innocent at Hangman’s Point (6);
  • Solve the crazy fisherman’s trouble (7);
  • Solve the trouble at Fletcher’s Hollow (8), return to Hangman’s Point;
  • Solve Gol Koval troubles (9), then hearthstone to Boralus and fly back to Fallhaven;
  • Do the yeti and Order of Embers in the mountains (10);
  • Finish the questline with Drust druids (11);
  • Complete Arom’s Stand (12);
  • Proceed to the south (13);
  • Clear the Crimson Forest – this is a long and climactic story (14);
  • Earn your flight path in Anyport (15);
  • Solve mushroom problem (16);
  • Do Corlain (17);
  • Do Whitegrove Chapel (18) and don’t forget to sail/travel by water strider to the island to complete Explore Drustvar (19);
  • Storm the Manor grounds! (20)

The zone is a lead-in to Waycrest Manor dungeon.

Tiragarde Sound

Tiragarde Sound leveling is split in half in two even parts: north and south of Boralus. I choose doing the north first and finish with the zone climax in the south which leads you back to the capital.

tiragarde-sound-leveling-map

North: 

  • Go to Hatherford with your bundle of furs quest and solve a witch problem in Alderson’s Lumber Yard (1);
  • Solve Thovas Base-Camp (2);
  • She sells sea-shells on your way! (3);
  • Hunt beasts and save a Timmy from troggs (4);
  • Complete Norwington Estate prancing and tortollan story (5);
  • Save castaways from sirens (6);
  • Hunt with the Roughnecks! (7);
  • Complete Anglepoint mystery (8) – a climactic and long storyline with lots of swimming and grinding;

South: 

  • Travel with your lead-in quest and clear Ashvane Foundry (9);
  • Go to Bridgeport and take the quests, but don’t go with Flynn yet (10);
  • Go to another town on the shore and proceed to the gnome steam resort (11, 12);
  • Help hunters from Kenning’s Lodge (13);
  • Solve the mine trouble (14);
  • Now return to Bridgeport, go with Flynn to clear the castaways and sirens quest (15);
  • Proceed to Freehold outskirts and Freehold itself (16);
  • Fly to Vigil Hill by quest and repel the invasion (17);
  • Participate in the zone climax in Boralus (18).

The zone is a lead-in to Freehold dungeon.

Stormsong Valley

The zone has mutiple themes – mostly you help the farmers to repel different threats, as well as solving the mystery of a lost Kul Tiran fleet.

stormsong-valley-leveling-map

  • Learn more about the fleet mystery in Boralus (0);
  • Storm through the ‘gates’ and meet Brother Pyke in the zone capital city – Brennadam (1, 2);
  • Solve a lost caravan trouble and kill some saurolisks (3);
  • Advance with the main story towards totem-enslaved citizens (4);
  • Solve the Mildenhall Meadery mystery (5) and open a flight path;
  • Advance with the main story and fight in the Brineworks (6);
  • Proceed to unveil the threat at ship parking zone (7);
  • Storm Sagehold (8);
  • Proceed up to the entrance to Shrine of the Storms (9, 10);

Here ends this big story arc which leads into Shrine of the Storms dungeon. But we have more troubles in the west and more than half zone unexplored!

  • From Shrine, fly to Brennadam to witness… Horde invasion! Help to protect the city (11);
  • Help a smaller village in the north (12);
  • Lay waste to the Horde base in Clearcut (13) and leave it for now;
  • Find an old sunken treasure in Deadwash (14);
  • Help the farmers with quillboar invasion from Briarback Kraul – this is a long and grindy questline (15);
  • Help the mill town to cope with ettin (16);
  • Start your acquaintance with naga in Seabreeze village (17);
  • Solve naga problem in Fort Daelin (18);
  • Aid tortollans in their ecological efforts against the Trade Co. (19). Here you can give in your tortollan pilgrimage scrolls from treasure chests.

When you finish up the zone leveling, you will get Jaina’s questline. Jaina’s questline requires several dungeon runs:

  • Waycrest Manor
  • Shrine of the Storms
  • Tol Dagor
  • Siege of Boralus (mythic-only)

That is why you postpone the dungeons until 120. This way you could do zone quests and Jaina quests simultaneously, and also get gear for 120 instead of poor leveling items.

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Uldir: A Peep into Halls of Containment

The first wing of Uldir is up and running – Halls of Containment. The wing contains three bosses – Taloc, MOTHER and Zek’voz.

Uldir-Scenery-Central-Hub

I came drastically unprepared. This is actually funny :) A friend of ours came to visit yesterday (she lives across the road, so it’s a common thing), and I’ve remembered that we have a new raid available only after a couple of hours and a couple of beers :) So I excused myself, left her and my wife chatting, and logged in to manage this before bedtime :) Naturally I didn’t repeat the tactics which I read before. Queue time being less than 3 minutes (I didn’t even get to my first world quest) didn’t help. So, I had to check the things on spot.

Uldir doesn’t look as easy as the Emerald Nightmare. The only thing that makes it being the ‘first’ is the bosses’ health bars. I felt that the fights were very quick, like killing a stubborn rare mob of elite sort.

Scenery

The looks are beautiful – this ring in the central hub, those titan machines, and at the same time this uneasy rotten addition. This blight is more prominent in Underrot, but like Emerald Nightmare’s red blobs, it’s certainly quite unique and somehow cozy in a twisted way. In the raid it is masterfully intertwined with titan building, so it’s the nice place to walk around.

There is not much trash, and the trash encounters are not long and/or annoying, just your normal guys. Remember how EN just swarmed with them – I hated that satyr pipe after the first boss. Trash are blood trolls of course.

Lore

Lorewise, I think the Alliance gets a nice lead in – considering that this is certainly Horde’s raid. We’ve been around the raid when we settled an outpost in Nazmir, I think Brann and Keeshan explained the things to us.

And there is Brann in the raid itself to explore and explain. Obviously he can’t pass by titan structures, and he has some experience with Old God defilement (Yogg-Saron, anyone?). I will see what the Horde version of the raid looks like on weekend.

Bosses

I think they were not as easy as the first expansion raid would suggest. They have certain mechanics to be figured out, and following them is crucial for success.

Taloc – this construct was damaged by a goblin walking tank, and from the subsequent falling through the roof deep down (this happened during Nazmir leveling questline).

Taloc is nothing to worry about during the first two phases (cudgel and elevator), and it was a mess in the third. I was always having different blobs following me, and I need to read the tactics again to see how to avoid. Nevertheless, I didn’t die, and Taloc came down with our first try.

MOTHER – is a boss for group coordination, and this is punishing a lot. There are three rooms divided by grid. Raid has to move through the grid to another room to avoid a wipe when MOTHER will purge the current room in three minutes.

The problem is, every player passing through the grid will damage the whole raid, and also spawns a blob add which is to be killed asap. So the idea is to bring small groups through the grid to let healers cope with the damage and not allow too many adds at once. If the whole raid passes at once, it’s an obvious wipe.

Our first try was an obvious wipe in the second room. On our second one, more people understood the idea, so it was a success. It didn’t save me from kissing the floor though. Me and several guys (no tank, no healer) went first to the next room, adds chomped some vital pieces from us, so when the rest of the raid moved after the boss, they obviously killed me.

It’s an interesting mechanic, and I think this will be one of the best and most remembered.

Many-many points to Blizzard for MOTHER’s voice! It’s mechanical, artificial, and very pleasant to listen to. Such a difference from normal titan’s booming in low key.

Zek’voz – I hated his appearance. It’s so unimaginative, yet another qiraji or mantid’s big bug. Just a common bug.

There’s nothing too complex about the encounter – step out of the bad, bring the bad to the edges of the room, catch an orb, kill adds if any, and damage possessed players. I generally liked it. We wiped at 1% the first time for there were too many players catching an orb – so too many possessed to cope with. I also helped by deliberately running into the add-spawning void zone (I thought it was the place where the orb comes – now I learned my visuals).

My loot out of 5 tries (3 bosses and 2 coins) was an off-hand from MOTHER. As I currently equip a wand and an off-hand, it was a nice upgrade.

Uldir-Zekvoz-down

Generally the first wing and the raid as a whole is nice. I liked the visuals, the boss variety, the imaginative mechanics and the lore part. Basically – everything. Let’s see what’s next :)

Pre-Patch 8.0. Class Changes Overview

A thourough research, alt+tab guides, was held yesterday and today. I’ve tried all the classes in the field during Army of the Light emissary quests and assaulted dummies in Pandaria hubs.

Here’s my report.

First of all, healing will not be a thing of this article. The arsenal of healers did not experience too many radical changes, and I’ll be testing its worth in group content like dungeons and raids – during the expansion itself.

While almost all of my healers are gonna be leveling as DPS, there’s one exception: Aurinko the Priest, because I’m not planning to go Shadow while Insanity mechanics exist in game. She tried questing in Holy, and her DPS as such is amazingly great. I’ve swiped out the pack of 5 mobs with ease and surprisingly quickly. Also I was able to pummel an elite mob with no trouble. It’s quite a viable leveling option. I may try Discipline too, but why care switching specs when you’re decent in your played healing one?

The second thing that can be described in few words are tanks. Tanking doesn’t differ from what we had in Legion, so there’s no worries about rotations. Their biggest flaw considering leveling is that tanks are lacking DPS in scales. I’ve engaged an elite Argus mob with my warrior, and while she couldn’t penetrate my defence, picking at her solo was the most boring thing I did during my session. I gave up after taking 20% from the demon which took ages, and then just jumped into my exosuit to burn her down. I even doubt taking my monk as Brewmaster leveling – I felt so much underpowered. In other words, if you opt for an active and quick combat, tanks are not your choice. Yes, they are supposed to aggro dozens at once to speed things up, but that’s not always possible in questing. Verdict: group content.

Now, on to DPS class by class.

CLOTH

Mage

Fire – is pretty much the same. Bombarding a dummy revealed that I have many instant Pyroblast procs, so they are pretty quick and powerful. It’s yet to try some tweaks in AoE gameplay, but overall I’m happy. It’s gonna be my Dark Iron Dwarf spec.

Frost – I’ve summoned a water elemental, and my poor Gnome drowned in its bulk. Dismissed water elemental and chose the talent where I will not summon it. Gameplay is pretty much the same, although I replace a nova instant nuke with a freeze ray. Basic Frostbolt is unexpectedly powerful. Micromantica needs to get used to the new nuke, but her rotation is almost the same. Considering there were not major issues with Frost Mage in Legion, she’s happy.

Arcane – there is much more control over Arcane Missiles, and that surely is a big improvement. If Myde someday will step forward, she’ll feel better than Legion experience. Until expansion lulls, she’s dismissed – the core idea of paying constant attention to mana pool is not my thing.

Priest

Described in healing section. Holy is Aurinko’s current choice for both solo and group content, and I’m not into Shadow.

Warlock

Affliction – Blizzard lost me in Legion when they implemented the need to apply multiple Unstable Afflictions and wasting mana for every spell. None of these issues were addressed in BfA version, so it’s time to say goodbye. I could only mention one great thing: a talent to make Corruption DoT constant without the need to refresh it.

Destruction – this is Faerella’s spec to go in every type of content. Powerful, crystal clear and logical, and with brand new animations on top. Everything stays like in Legion, and it was quite solid to proceed with.

Demonology – I’ve spent half an hour getting the idea, and I must say that this is FUN. You summon millions of demons now, and the spec name finally justifies itself! The rotation leaves some space to think, yet it’s quite easy and straightforward once you get the priorities. It’s a mere pleasure to play, yet maybe not a leveling option for me. Summoning a literal ARMY for another 10 bear asses feels a bit overdone :) It’s a viable option for raids though, ensuring a battle of epic proportions.

LEATHER

Demon Hunter

Havoc – Melaris has lost several cooldowns due to class changes, so her burst somewhat shrinked now. Otherwise everything stays as it stays – a mobile, swift and agile style.

Druid

Balance – lots of options to overload your panels with extra damaging abilities. The renewed talent tree allows me to stay in Legion style which I were more than happy with, so Helu walks into BfA largely unchanged.

Feral – Brutal Slash, despite its nerf, is still a more powerful combo builder than Shred, so it stays in solo rotation. I like that spell! Jammu feels that now you have to make use of 2 speed cooldowns, and she’s not happy with that. Outside of them she waits for abilities to be cast, so it’s an annoyance. Why not bake one of the cooldowns into basic energy regeneration and leave us with a boost we’ll never know. Haste is her gear priority from now on.

Monk

Windwalker – not so many changes for Paitsu’s DPS spec. It’s quite ok to play with, and if I feel that Brewmaster is too weak in the field, I will switch to Windwalker by all means and with pleasure.

Rogue

Assassination – something’s very wrong with my favorite spec, and this wrong is: Haste. Energy regeneration sucks so much – you spend 1-2 seconds constantly with nothing to cast, even when all your talents are about haste and energy regeneration. Dismissed for now. I’ll be missing it.

Outlaw – still not a fun of my swordplay interrupted with a clumsy pistol shot. Nay.

Subtlety – the one and only spec for me now. It’s quick, very effective, and now served with a rich talent choice. Only to think about it, I’ve never touched the spec before Legion. It is simply awesome.

CHAINMAIL

Hunter

Marksmanship – another complete overhaul of Marksmanship spec. It’s only four basic rotation buttons today, two builders and two spenders. And even this small number feels very crumpled. The major idea is to balance around ~50 focus – there, I said it. Balance, as in Druid Balance. This is strange how it largely resembles the previous Balance spec versions of druids – remember this rolling ball? I basically imagine this ball on the current Hunter’s Focus bar. Needs to be tested and tested to make a final decision about it. Maybe I will get used to it, but it’s a bit tense now.

Survival – ooh, that’s definitely a big thing going on. Some giant strides were made towards the stalker fantasy, and it’s just great. Ranged options were added, so now only a couple of strikes and auto-attacks are melee. The rotation rolls around maintaining a couple of DoTs on the target, as well as weaving in your powerful spear strikes. And yes, it definitely is exciting to play. I will make the final decision after I play it in the field a bit. For now it looks as a strong and interesting hunter option. Bravo, Blizzard!

Beast Mastery – they’ve addressed my major Legion issue. All you did in your rotation was yelling, not shooting. Now you’re a guy with a gun again. And still I quit after a couple of minutes – it’s simply boring compared to the other two.

Shaman

Enhancement – excellent. Was it GCD added, but it made the playstyle quite comprehensible. In Legion all you did was facerolling. Now ability management is present, and choices are to be made. Despite that, it doesn’t feel slow at all – another wasted second, and you’re overcapped with Maelstrom energies. Constant casting, pro-active fighting style, no time to get bored. What’s left to test is survivability – in Legion shaman were paper dolls.

Elemental – excellent. I was happy enough with them in Legion. Yet they implemented a minor tweak that improved everything greatly: Earth Shock / Earthquake now cost exactly 60 Maelstrom, not the previous range of 50-100. So basically you don’t have to manage this now: as soon as you have enough, you do the thing. It makes the spec so much more comprehensible and easier to play.

One more issue in Legion was a slow pace of acquiring Maelstrom power. You could pick a mob with your ‘plink’ abilities and never have a chance to plant your most convincing strike before they died. As a result, leveling felt slow and underpowered. Not an issue anymore. You gain Maelstrom fast enough to effectively finish out the mobs.

PLATE

Death Knight

Frost – everything is the same here. But Haste addressed, you don’t wait for abilities to come anymore, it’s very quick now. Make me able to wield zweihanders again, and we’re good :)

Unholy – not a fan of pet specs, I didn’t play it or test it.

Paladin

Retribution – everything is the same here.

Warrior

Arms – now feels like a feeble attempt to mimic Fury. And yet speed is not there. They reintroduced one more (annoying) strike in the rotation, so now it’s crammy, unsatisfying. Dismissed with no regret or intent to return.

Fury – is perfect now. A careful talent choice has turned me into a non-stop killing machine. Talent choices allowed me to exclude even the smallest gaps between attacks, so once in battle, you strike, strike and strike, never giving an opponent a chance to answer. Amazing.

My Resume:

  • I’m glad that they didn’t touch some of the classes that felt right in Legion (Death Knights, Paladins, Druids).
  • Many classes were tweaked to make them a lot more enjoyable to play (Warriors, Shaman, Mages).
  • As for regrets, there are few. My favorite Assassination and Affliction options are buried for tonight – luckily I have replacements at the ready.
  • Personally I need to test drive Hunter, Mage and Shaman in questing, but in general the changes are positive, and I’m ready for Battle for Azeroth.

 

Pre-Patch is Live!

Battle-for-Azeroth-login-screen

EU maintenance was planned during 3 a.m. – 11 a.m. By a good Blizzard tradition, I was able to successfully login at 8 a.m. :)

First of all, the login screen. I hated the initiate sharp Legion tune chords, so I was happy to hear the new, softer one beginning of Battle for Azeroth. BfA music pieces are pretty cool, and anyways, it’s a welcome change of tune. The picture is also changed, and unwelcoming demons turned into Azeroth battlefield. If I may say so, it’s a lot more Warcraft-ish, RTS menu screens coming to mind.

Interface – it’s yay! I quickly got used to bag and system buttons in the right bottom corner. I will only need to use shortcuts more instead of clicking.

The new action panels are cool, most of the abilities were conveniently sorted out already, although I did a re-adjustment nevertheless. Mostly with convenience buttons like ranged aggro for non-tanks, warlock’s health stones, travel speed buffs etc. My main rotations remained untouched.

More or less, my action panels are now arranged this way:

Panels

The major thing is that there are still 3 options for core action panel. This is vital. Take Aurinko the Priest: her default core action panel is healing, one click switches her to DPS mode, and yet another grants her fishing on key 1. The fishing option is also used for quests with extra button like TBC bombing dailies.

Class talent changes are plenty. The choices were made, I tend to choose the passive abilities to make it a minimum of buttons. I am not a fan of having 5 extra cooldowns to remember about. Yet passives are pretty powerful, so it doesn’t look like compromise at all.

All in all I am pleased to say that all options are really great now, and offer a drastically different gameplay. I didn’t spot any useless ones throughout 12 classes. So it all comes down to the style of gameplay you prefer. Hardcore raiders will scrap out the smallest DPS crumbs out of the “best builds”, but who are we to judge them, right?

I’m not sure about several options yet, but I just need to try them in battle. Conveniently the emissaries are reset, and Army of Light is up, so I expect a very productive evening of class changes trial.

As for rotation changes, there are not many. Affliction Warlocks and Marksmanship Hunters got drastic overhauls, that needs to be tried and tested. As far as I get, Marksmanship will be focused on build-spend calmer gameplay rather that frantic clicking based on procs – this is good, and this serves class fantasy better.

There is an unpleasant talent change with Frost Mages: dismissing a Water Elemental and my favorite instant nuke are on the same tier now, so I can’t get both. I still go petless, and there is some channeled freeze ray instead of nuke which looks awesome. We shall see how it will work in the field.

My resume is: the changes were long expected and very welcome. Now on with field tests.

Managing Alts in Battle for Azeroth

As in Draenor, I’m entering the new expansion with the same scary amount of alts – 17. It is high time to determine my alt priorities for the upcoming expansion.

The alt system was very simple in Legion: I had to shorten my roster to 12 toons of every class – to see every storyline, class order hall campaigns, artifact weapons, collect every raid set, and later – mounts. Which was a great success, and it totally paid off. This time it will be a lot different.

While my alts cover the played and enjoyed specs nowadays, I’m still going to put a huge bunch of them for later. There will be no class-specific content in BfA, and more – there won’t be class-related raid sets as well. While I probably plan to level them all someday (probably at expansion lull days), I need to pick the priority toons for the initiate days and the first expansion raid.

ALLIANCE

Micromantica

Micromantica

Micromantica the Frost Mage is my main and flagship of the whole game, the first and the ultimate character. She’ll be mastering Frost – whatever Blizzard do to the spec again. She’ll be the first to earn reputations and see every new bit of content during the expansion. No questions.

Aurinko

Aurinko

Aurinko is the major healing toon, so she’s bound to be in the first rows for the first raid. I’ll have to struggle with leveling as Holy (Shadow’s awful nowadays), yet she’s to level up fast and nice.

Paitsu

Paitsu

Paitsu enjoys both tanking and healing – she’s ready to accept both roles in BfA. She’s one of my ultimate tanks, so she’s ready to be there in the first row.

*As soon as it’s gonna be possible – I will roll and level a Dark Iron. She’ll be a casting shaman, and I want to main her among other toons.

HORDE

Schlitzchen

Schlitzchen

I tend to think of Schlitzchen as my Horde main. She’s the only toon of all others that kept her identity (race) apart from Micromantica, so she’s important to me. As I’m leveling my Dark Iron as a caster, she will go as Enancement like she initially started. as a tropical goblin, she’s so ready for the jungles of Zandalar and will happily return to Kezan in one of the dungeons.

Helu

Helu

Helu is my casting druid. She’ll be the one to bombard the bosses and everything as Balance, but she can switch to Restoration in a blink if needed.

Jammu

Jammu

The playful cat may be this very guy for the initiate Zandalar experience. Rotation built-in sneaking makes her perfect to learn the roudabouts of the new continent and where the enemies and the shortcuts are.

So, it appears to be a Gnome party for the Alliance, and a shaman/double Tauren druid combo for the Horde side.

Fun Gameplay

The toons below are quite enjoyable for me, I like their specs very much, but I will pick them not earlier that I feel like playing them. When I’m tired of rotations of my major roster and when I want something new – I pick one of them. They will be saved for lull times. This includes pretty much every toon left:

Baisa

Baisa

Baisa will sport Marksmanship like she always did, with no intention to change specs. A pleasure of leveling with a pet tank and a relaxed raiding experience is what I always enjoyed in my hunter.

Faari

Faari

Faari is the Fire Mage, and it’s purely a fun character. Her personality fits the spec so well, so she’s my roleplay toon. Fire is a very fun spec to play too – I had one deleted in Draenor, I now have a new one from December 2017 which will stay.

Myde

Myde

Myde is an Arcane Mage. The spec is not that fun to level, although it’s absolutely bombastic when geared at endgame. She’s sea-theme clad now, and I may bring her forward for Azshara raiding if we have something later. As a void elf, she’s also interested in Void/Light themes which will drop sooner or later.

Backston

Backston

Backston sports Frost and Frost only. Until they completely change the Blood spec from mortar slow blows to rapid vampiric style. She’s a sort of an evil character, and she waits for Bolvar to make his move.

Anibell

Anibell

Anibell is my another ultimate tanking character, so it’s very likely she will step in very soon. Protection Paladin is one of my best tanking toons, and being Alliance-clad human, she fits so well into the expansion.

Kalaari

Kalaari

Kalaari is a Retribution Paladin. Upon 110, the dim Lightforged zealot will have a long rest. She’s important for roleplay: there are many hints that Naaru and the Light are not as good as it seems. When the Light becomes the new evil, I’m bringing her up from hiatus. She’s my evil character.

Oulu

Oulu

Oulu is a bloody rangari. She stays in hiatus for now.

Melaris

Melaris

Melaris is a Havoc fighter. She stormed Antorus, she had extreme fun and satisfaction, but now she’s off for Night Elven woods to reconnect with her elven past. She wants to remember and recover, and she needs a rest from the scorched fel lands.

Berringer

Berringer

Berringer is currently on a faraway secret mission from SI:7. The Stormwind intelligence has her, and in the wake of war her skills are most needed – whether she wants it or not. It’ll be a while since she will be able to bring her poisonous daggers into the fray.

Faerella

Faerella

Faerella will eagerly explore Affliction and Destruction ways… later. But she’s a very probable candidate to catch up with her Horde allies soon – for schemes and profits, not for the faction pride of course.

Arkeona

Arkeona

The subtle Nightborne political assassin is currently investigating the Sylvanas reign… She’s seen the atrocities in Hillsbrad and in Dragonblight, and she’s not a fan of her. She’ll be plotting and scheming. She will wait. When the throne of Sylvanas will shake, she’ll be there to help overthrow the ‘warchief’. Not yet. Not now.

============

Summing it up, I’ll be good with a smaller amount of toons rushing forward in the coming expansion. I would not feel overwhelmed as I frankly was in Legion. And I will always have another toon for the exciting new class/profession experience or roleplay at the ready.

Battle For Azeroth Beta: First Impressions

So, yesterday was my first ever beta evening. I haven’t participated in beta yet, so everything was quite new to me. And here’s what I saw.

Interface

As you know, I don’t use a single addon, and I’m playing with basic UI. Blizzard has implemented some grand changes to our panels, which I consider a huge improvement.

Bags and auxiliary system buttons (like character, specs, lfg etc.) went from the central panel to the right bottom corner ghetto. While they are surely not that convenient to press nowadays, I can live with that. And at the same time they gave space to major action buttons.

Now we have what I believe four action panels in the center and one extra auxiliary side panel. This is really huge – now all my action buttons are clustered in one place in a convenient way, and operating them would be awesome. Side panel will sill be saved for professions and mounts.

Starting Scenario – Battle for Lordaeron

The scenario is really fierce, and you could find yourself dying quite often. The AoE and mobs’ attacks are massive sometimes, and it takes you a deal of experience to avoid. No trouble for alts though.

Almost every cutscene is not voiced or not even present. I think it’s very good because we will see this upon expansion release. From what I get, it will be one of the most epic experiences so far. Even the castrated version is quite nice.

A+ for bringing Gnomes into the fray and making their contribution not only big, but also vital for success.

The story is almost the same for Alliance and Horde, but shows it from different angle. You don’t miss much if you play one side only, all the cutscenes are the same. It just gives you more insights about faction camps.

Strange enough, I were more comfortable playing Horde side – somehow it felt exactly like the cinematic sequel, with troll shaman doing their job and a better look at the battlefield. We shall see upon release.

Landing in Allied Continent and Initiate Questing

I’ve completed Kul Tiras entrance scenario. It is very unsettling to enter your new faction capital which is initially hostile to you :)

After a brief set of quests you are introduced to Boralus haven – people show you where the bank, the tavern and flightmasters are. Then you start communicating with more or less friendly Kul Tiran faction, Magni pops up to give you your artifact necklace, and you’re sent to quest in a zone of choice.

The most awesome thing is that Kul Tiras has a system of ferries! A couple of natives will row the boat around the coast – which works exactly like flightmasters. It adds so much ambience to the area. I wonder if Zandalar has the same stuff.

The first place I went to was of course Drustvar, and it exceeded my expectations beyond imagined. I think we never saw a proper victorian/witch horror in WoW (save the starting worgen questline). It was so creepy and so awesome that I immediately dropped the questline after a couple of quests. I really need to see it all ready on live servers!

Probably no questing for me for that reason. We have this: a witch horror, a corrupt/fascist society, and an old gods cthulhu thing in Kul Tiras, while Zandalar offers some indiana jones jungle, a tatooine desert and a blood god cult. I already love all of them.

There’s nothing to say about zones – since WoD, they’re an eye candy with lots of detail.

Artifact Necklace 

Didn’t get much from it – the interface has a placeholder. But once I put it on, my chest piece was lighted, and I got an option to assign an upgrade of choice to it. I think it’ll be pretty easy to work out – like with talents.

Character Power and Abilities

I’ve tried three classes: a Warrior in Arms/Protection, a Shaman in Enhancement / Elemental, and a Mage in Fire.

Whilst I had no artifact weapon, I didn’t feel underpowered. The abilities pace and damage with basic gear is quite decent, and remember you will have your awesome Antorus gear to start with. It was a bit harder in the scenario, but absolutely no worries in questing. I killed a random elite mob quite easily solo.

Talents seem sensible yet, and I liked the choice they provide. All in all, the combat doesn’t differ much from Legion, but it may be a bit more tuned. I felt that I liked the minor changes, making specs easier to play, yet having much depth and tuning options in them.

Allied Races

Finally, it’s the new Allied Races that I want to talk about. Beta allows to try Mag’har Orcs and Dark Iron Dwarfs, so I tried a Fire Mage orc and shaman/warrior of Dark Irons.

The character creation options are awesome, I found lots of likeable options for both races. With Mag’har skin tones you could easily create the one from every clan, from dark grey skinned Blackrocks (think Draenor’s Blackhand) to rich brown colors of Warsongs.

Dark Irons are simply badass. It’s the only Alliance race that allows totally bald girls, and this is awesome. Facial tattoos are very cool as well, and all their hair is a bit singed at the ends, creating a unique look.

Warrior thing doesn’t feel flashy and mighty enough with a dwarf girl… so I may stick to a Shaman. As Enhancement is surely all about lightnings and thus a Wildhammer thing, it didn’t feel fit with my Dark Iron. So I think Schlitzchen the Goblin will go Enhancement like she started, and my Dark Iron will be an Elemental Shaman.

What’s Next?

In beta, I’m planning to see a Horde Zandalar introduction questline, and I guess this is gonna be it. I’ll learn class changes when they are final, and I don’t want to spoil the questlines. Besides, there are no maps present yet, and maps are vital for me when exploring the new lands and cities.

Maybe I could try some island expedition, some dungeon, and some warfront.

Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs: Class Choice

Blizzard’s official announcement about new Allies – Dark Irons and Mag’har Orcs – is up! Most importantly, the list of classes and racial abilities is published too. And it is high time to think about our new alts.

Dark Iron Dwarves

Dark-Iron-Allied

The Dark Irons can boast this set of classes:

  • Hunter
  • Mage
  • Monk
  • Paladin
  • Priest
  • Rogue
  • Shaman
  • Warlock
  • Warrior

The variety of classes is really stunning. Of course you could expect the darker and brutal options like Hunters (with bombastic guns), Mages (notably Fire), scheming Warlocks, Shaman (no race is THAT bound to Earth and Fire element), of course Warriors and Rogues. It is surprising to see Paladins… and Priests!

It’ll be really hard to choose the one class and spec from all.

Hunter – no option, it’s Marksmanship with my Gnome Baisa, and I’m not currently happy with the other specs.

Mage – I have toons for every mage spec: Frost – Gnome main, Arcane – Void Elf and Fire – lol, a Dwarf girl. Fire fits so well – but I prefer my Fire Mage to be a cheerful and adventurous ginger girl. Her lighter skin tone contrasts with the coal singed colors.

Monk – sorry, but I still think the idea of giving away monks to every next race is quite silly. Frankly I’d cut the class from most of them, dwarfs and dark irons too.

Paladin and Priest – mmm… nope. The Light thing doesn’t ring a bell with Dark Irons, although it could be justified with them joining Ironforge and learning these paths. Well, it just doesn’t. And as I’ve renounced shadow priesthood with my Gnome priest, shadow is not an option too.

Rogue – is just what we’ve seen the Dark Irons throughout questing in Khaz Modan lands. It fits so well, but I have two Rogues already which cover both specs I like – a highly competent elite criminal human Berringer currently in service of SI:7 (assassination), and a shadow blade political assassin nightborne Arkeona.

Shaman – both Elemental and Enhancement fit so good. As long as my Schlitzchen the Goblin drifts now into restoration, I would consider giving it a try. Most probably it will be Agility’s Enhancement, as Schlitzchen will share Intellect in Restoration/Elemental.

Warlock – probably no chance for me, spawning more pet classes :) I just don’t like pets. Although all the three specs are perfect options for a Drak Iron in my opinion.

Finally, Warrior. This is an awesome and solid option equal to Shaman. My warrior today is Oulu the Draenei girl, which I roleplay as a swift-blade rangari from alternate Draenor. She dual-wields twin axes, so Arms and Protection are opened options for my brand new Dark Iron Dwarf.

To sum it up, a Dark Iron toon is:

  • A must for me, I want this alt for roleplay sakes
  • It will be a brutal melee girl, just what it says on the picture above
  • I will choose between an Enhancement Shaman or Arms/Protection Warrior
  • If other class/specs weren’t already covered, my second best choice would be all kinds of rogues, all kinds of warlocks, or a fire mage.

Mag’har Orcs

Maghar

Them, and Zandalari are not what I’m excited to play. Still let’s see what Blizzard offers us:

  • Hunter
  • Mage
  • Monk
  • Priest
  • Rogue
  • Shaman
  • Warrior

In short, Mag’har orcs are alternate timeline orcs which come under Grommash Hellscream’s command, and they obviously lack the hated fel option: Warlocks. The list of classes is as pure and close to nature as possible.

Every option has a strong bond with elements and/or is about good honest steel. Priest option is highly surprising though… I really need a lore explanation for this. Holy Light and Orcs are like… strawberry and fish. You can eat them together, but it’s not natural or tasty.

I’m not planning to roll a mag’har toon yet, but if I were, I would go for the honest Shaman, Warrior or Hunter. The basics.

What are your thoughts?