Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Traffic Jam at Sunwell Isle

Jeff Kaplan of Blizzard said several weeks ago when talking about the next expansion that ‘they learned from Burning Crusade that having a single point of entry into Outland was a bad design’ and that Wrath will have multiple entry points to Northrend. Anyone else find this statement highly ironic considering the latest patch and the single point of entry to Sunwell Isle?

I only have one word to describe yesterday on my highly populated PvP server: Mayhem. Shortly after patch download, the Sunwell area was completely flooded with both factions all competing to complete the first two dailys that are unlocked. Luckily, these two are quickly completed and the competition wasn’t terribly fierce. It’s also worth noting that 500 level 70s in the same general area causes incredibly horrible lag. My only comment on the quests here is that they were VERY simple. Too simple. My guess is that while this is something I don’t appreciate now, I’ll have a much different opinion after I do them for the 15th time.

The next questline for the new dailys teleports you to Hellfire Peninsula where you will find two more quests. The flaming ball of fire one is easy. You don’t even need to kill the elementals, just be around them when they die and your spark gets bigger. BUT – the other quest is VERY badly designed due to the horrible spawn rate of the Felbloods. It is pretty easy to get the blood to power your device, but with a hundred other people hunting for the Felbloods, you practically have to be standing on the spawn point when it spawns in order to grab the mob. I eventually left the area in frustration after having only two of my four completed.

Things were relatively peaceful between the factions early in the day while people explored around a bit. Later in the evening, many people had finished the daily and exploring and were just waiting for an instance group. That’s when it started to get a little surly between the factions at Sunwell and I don’t envy anyone trying to get those quests completed later in the day.

If I ignore all the congestion for a moment, I can see that the changes actually have a lot of polish and I like how the story arc is going to wrap up Burning Crusade and lead up to Wrath. The first day was disappointing, but if I wipe off the dirt a bit I can see the gem underneath. My issue is that all the congestion isn’t going to go away. It might slacken a bit, but for the forseeable future it is going to continue to be a very crowded place. At least when BC released, the congestion only lasted the first zone until people got a chance to spread out into the other zones. In a way, Sunwell Isle is the launching point to Wrath of the Lich, so it seems to me that Blizzard didn’t really learn from that lesson after all.

About the instance, Magister’s Terrace: I did a full run on normal last night. No heroic yet, just the normal version to get a feel for the dungeon. I’ll likely run it a few more times on normal before attempting Heroic. I like doing new dungeons with no prior knowledge and with no one else in the group having experience. It causes more wipes, but part of the challenge and fun is learning the instance.

My overall impression is that it’s fun, but perhaps a bit long. I think being able to jump off the balcony as a shortcut would have been a nice touch. The first and third bosses were pretty trivial. The second boss is – tricky. As melee DPS positioned behind the boss, I couldn’t really see what was happening with the adds. My big recommendation to our group was keeping us on the move whenever he spawned the adds (pure energy) and keeping our biggest range DPS focused on the adds until they died. They do an AOE attack, so keeping your distance from them is critical. Once he overloads, thump him fast. We got him on our third shot with this strategy, so that seemed to work.

Kael is the toughest, but I really like the phases make this a fun fight. Our hunter was gimped, so the entire run was a little more difficult than it needed to be, but overall it was good. I’m not looking forward to that six mob pull on Heroic. That pull alone is likely reason enough to never bring a DPS who can’t CC to the Heroic instance. Warlocks are actually really helpful on that pull because they can seduce and banish.

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