In an attempt to stay organized, I’m going to address various parts of the patch experience separately.
As usual, the WoW Cinematics team has done an outstanding job. From the initial We’re Going To Argus clip, to the latest Big Thing of Awesomeness, it’s all incredible. My ONLY gripe, if it can be called that, is that the lip synching on Draenei NPCs is pretty bad (the initial Mac’aree cinematic seemed particularly sloppy).
Krokuun and the Antoran Wastes are, overall, OK. Taken by themselves, they’re great. Unfortunately, they don’t exist in a vacuum, and they feel a bit like someone took the Broken Shore zone and dialed everything up to Eleven. This isn’t a terribly bad thing, but I suspect most people are starting to suffer from a bit of Fel Exhaustion at this point in the expansion. Mac’aree is more Suramar 2.0 than Broken Shore 1.5, and this is to its advantage. With non-demonic architecture, colors other than Fel Green, and those wonderful feather trees, Mac’aree is a delight. The Vindicaar, which is your base of operation on Argus, is basically the Exodar’s little brother (and, unlike your order hall, actually has a MAILBOX). Finally, the scenery on Argus is absolutely DOMINATED by Azeroth looming in the skybox. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I love it. It even rotates!
Flying (or lack thereof)
I’m a bit torn on this subject. Those that know me at all know that I’m a HUGE proponent of in-game flying wherever possible: it’s convenient, increases my immersion in the game world, and it’s FUN. The current status of flying on Argus (according to The Blues) is that it wasn’t designed for flying so we won’t ever have access to it. Strangely, I’m mostly OK with this. I admit that Krokuun and Antoran Wastes can be a royal pain to navigate on foot (or hoof, or whatever) due to the multiple vertical levels and high mob density (Mac’aree is mostly flat, with fewer mobs, so it’s not nearly as aggravating). It should get easier over time, as people become more familiar with the terrain and mobs become less deadly (giant Elite Rares and Fel Reaver 2.0 notwithstanding, of course). The beacons that replace flight paths are FAST (though maybe a bit sparse), and the reputation-gated upgrade to the Flight Master’s Whistle will help immensely once acquired. In the past, I’ve been VERY skeptical over claims that various zones “aren’t designed for flight”, but it makes sense to me with regards to Argus. Unlike the Broken Isles, there’s no physical connection between Argus and the rest of the game world (Azeroth). While you can isolate Northrend/Pandaria/Broken Isles from other continents by fatigue-inducing water, that won’t work here. You can SEE Azeroth, but you can’t get there from here (except via portals). If you travel to the edge of an Argus zone, you’ll see how the zone abruptly ends and the rest of the planet is just a (very well-done) background painting. The only way to make that work with flying is to implement a massive invisible wall encircling the Argus zones, which would feel pretty damn clunky in my opinion. Well, maybe that or a forced plummet into the abyss. Either way, yuck. Now, if the developers did an about-face tomorrow and said they were working on adding Argus flying, I wouldn’t complain one bit; however, I’m OK if they never do.
My experience with these is limited to two normal Invasions and one Greater Invasion, so keep that in mind. I thought they were great, though word of mouth on the Internet is that I’m probably the only one with that opinion. I like that you just zone in without queueing or forming a party, as it makes them feel more spontaneous, urgent, and immersive (and ultimately doable regardless of how dead the LFG tool is at 3am). I’m quite aware that as a well-geared tank (ilvl 928), I avoid a lot of the problems that DPS and healers might experience (continuous aggro, painful Mobs o’ Death, missing out on loot due to resurrection timers), so I’ll submit that the Invasions could use some tuning to make them more viable. I’d much rather see them become a bit under-tuned than have them bolted onto a queue/premade framework (we have enough content like that already, though I really wish we could queue for normal Mythic dungeons). I’ve seen suggestions on Twitter that they would be MUCH better if people got grouped into either parties or a raid to make healing possible; I wholeheartedly support this. I’d just hate to see the Invasions turn into another form of content where 60 percent of players have to queue for 25 minutes to participate in a 5 minute scenario.
I think it’s fine. My initial thought when I started questing on Argus was “damn, lots of people are going to complain about how hard this is”, because it IS a bit daunting at first. High mob densities, fel goop everywhere, multiple vertical levels to get lost in/fall to your death from, and no flying to quickly save you from danger: Argus is a dangerous place. We’re invading the Legion’s stronghold, so it SHOULD feel like a fight for survival (it reminds me of the early days in Suramar, to an extent). If you’re currently of the “this place is too tough” mindset, I encourage you to keep at it for a bit. Your power curve increases rapidly with questing/catch-up gear (even at ilvl 928, I’m getting upgrades), and a bit of familiarity with the terrain goes a long way. I’ve found that I’m most likely to get myself into a bad spot when I’m distracted by “shinies” (ore, treasure chests, pets, rares), so try to keep your wits about you.
- Argus is where AP goes to die. Seriously, I’ve gained three Concordance levels without trying.
- The demon designs are great, but there aren’t many of them. We get Eredar, Felementals, skeletal lizard-dogs, and the occasional Dreadlord or Shivarra. WTB more demon diversity!
- I for one greatly appreciate the availability of new mounts and pets; Legion was feeling fairly bleak up until this patch.
- The Lucid Nightmare quest chain was BRUTAL, but I loved it!
- Illidan is still a colossal jerk, but he has a point.
- I can’t wait to see the new dungeon and raid!