I know that I originally said that if I wrote about the pre-patch, it’d probably be as a bonus blog post… but I’ve not played much else since they released Demon Hunters, Invasions and the Broken Shore scenario yesterday. So without further ado…
The first thing I did yesterday morning after jumping out of bed and forcing myself into some state of a presentable human being was hop on WoW and make my Demon Hunter. I’d settled on the name of my Demon Hunter months ago, and had reserved it, even though the chances were highly unlikely that anyone else would go for the same name.
Virizard, then, charged onto the front lines of Mardum and started chopping demons apart without hesitation. Having read the ‘Illidan’ novel prior to the release of Demon Hunters (which goes over their origins and their general state of affairs), I found the DH starting zone an absolute delight. The plot felt substantial, the characters believable, and the scenery… well, it was reminiscent of Outland in the best of ways. I cannot wait to return here for our Class Order Hall in Legion.
The actual gameplay of the Demon Hunters themselves is wholeheartedly refreshing. (Keep in mind I’ve only played Havoc, the DPS spec.) Sure, you’ve got the base rotation of an attack which builds up your resource, an attack which spends it, and all sorts of bits and bobs between. But you’ve also got Fel Rush, Eyebeam and Blade Dance, turning you into a lithe, bouncing, beaming bastard of bloody murder. And then there’s Metamorphosis which turns you into purple Satan. The simple inclusion of double-jump and gliding is not only a useful utility in PvE and PvP situations, but is also a fun time-waster; I’ve spent many hours already parkouring around the rooftops of Stormwind, Darnassus and other major cities whilst waiting in a queue.
But there’s more than Demon Hunters in the pre-patch. Besides the initial pre-patch’s updates to every class specialisation’s abilities and rotations, yesterday’s update gave us Invasions and the Broken Shore, giving us some relevant content with which to test out our new abilities on. Both the Demon Hunter starting zone and the Broken Shore scenario lead into Invasions, so I won’t be giving any spoilers despite discussing them first. The Broken Shore scenario was an exciting narrative introduction to Legion, with the Alliance and Horde leading an assault on the portal which has allowed these demons to enter our world. As has not been a secret, we get royally messed up, and the performances from the voice actors were, erm, horrifying… but in a good way! You also get a pretty sweet weapon at the end of it, so that’s nice.
Invasions are excellent. Zones such as Dun Morogh, Westfall, Hillsbrad Foothills, Azshara, Northern Barrens and Tanaris are being assaulted by more than a couple of big angry demons, and through defending these bastions of wonderfully re-purposed twelve-year old content you get Nethershards. There’s plenty to be bought with Nethershards, such as an (admittedly rubbish) pet, four sets of transmog, some armour and, if you’re a Demon Hunter, your Invasion weapon. Each class has a unique Invasion weapon, which will only be obtainable (for use and for transmog) during this event. There’s also a few Feat of Strength achievements up for grabs, which I’ve already nabbed for posterity.
And there’s plenty more! The Dark Whispers event is periodically turning people insane in Stormwind, Dalaran has inconspicuously appeared above Karazhan (probably so the residents can play card games), and there will apparently be Legion prologue quests that are released episodically in the weeks leading up to the expansion! This is in addition to the treasure trove of narrative content that Blizzard has already released in the weeks leading up to the pre-patch, such as comics, a video series, and a fantastic audio drama, all with unique plot points and keen topics of discussion.
All in all, it’s a good month to be a WoW player.