20 December 2014 | Rob_Taylor
A Good Expansion with a few "hmmmm" moments.
So, to begin with, I really like this expansion. Whilst it is, essentially, more of the same, there are enough added features (that I like) to make it worth the money.
At launch, there were some issues with the expansion and people getting stuck, but really, this is par for the course these days for nearly every game launch, so it wasn't much of an issue for me.
So I've been playing for over a month now, and have levelled one character all the way to 100 and done the anniversary raid. Additionally, I've run five alts through the Draenor starting area. I see that part of the game in my sleep, I've done it so much.
So what do I like about the expansion? Firstly, Blizzard have listened (sort of...) to the cries for some sort of player housing and given us garrisons. A place to build up and expand that is unique to your character. Of course, with each character having their own garrison, it quickly becomes very samey, and very time-consuming, but at least it gives you something to work towards. You attract followers through your character levelling progression that join your garrison and go on missions for you, often rewarding you with items, money or even experience for your character. Levelling up these followers is a game in itself, much like the previous pet battles system, though less hands-on than that mini-game.
Garrisons are quite good fun and you can build each one up just as you prefer, allowing you to try different combinations of buildings to see what works best for each character. If you put in a building that proves to be not as helpful as you imagined, then you can simply replace it with another.
From logging in, it takes about ten minutes or so to run your character around your garrison doing your daily chores (mining, herb gathering etc.) starting work orders in the buildings you have, gathering resources and then assigning your followers to do missions. Which doesn't sound like it is particularly tedious, but if you have several alts, each with their own garrison... you can see the time starts to mount up! It would be nice to see some sort of mobile app for this portion of the game, or at least perhaps an in-game "Steward" that will automate some of this for you, because it does become a little tedious at times.
There is also now a new pet/mount/toybox window that shows you all that you have and all that you don't have! It is a nice little account-level organisational touch that means you no longer have to have items in your inventory and they are accessible by all your toons.
In similar vein, there is now a new bank tab for reagants and crafting mats. Again, you no longer have to keep all the tools of your trade on your character. Mats can be used straight from the bank tab no matter where you are.
So, what didn't I like? Okay, so in giving us some nice things there are inevitably going to be casualties elsewhere.
Guilds have been nerfed. They no longer have levels or generate additional guild income. Also gone is the rep bonus and a few other things. Blizzard say they have rebalanced the game to take account of all this, but I'm not sure. It was kind of nice working towards levelling your guild up and getting bonuses. Now, everyone gets the same bonuses and rewards, barring the ones that required guild activities to obtain, which remain the same.
Money, in this expansion, seems ridiculously easy to get. In levelling the one character to lvl 100 from 90, I vendored all the usual trash drops and greens (I couldn't be bothered to either disenchant or sell them on the AH) and I made in excess of 10k gold. Once the garrison is up and running, you can expect your followers to net you two or three hundred per day easily from missions. The average vendor price for items gathered from quests and drops seems to be between 10-50 gold per item and even junk sells for 1-10 gold.
In short, money so far hasn't been a problem for me.
The power level has been nerfed somewhat, but mostly just in terms of the numbers. You won't see items with +700 stamina anymore, but +200 or so is still quite common. Play-wise, the change makes little difference. Mobs have been nerfed too, so you still fight them at about the same level of difficulty.
Another thing that has changed is the quest helper mechanics. Beforehand, you picked up quests without reading the text, followed the map to the area and then looked for the highlighted mobs to kill. I didn't think they could make this any easier, but somehow they have! In addition to the above, specific areas of the highlighted mape area are themselves highlighted, indicating particular goals of each quest. When you loot a mob, the quest items are highlingted. In essence, you no longer need to have any idea what the quest is about in order to complete it successfully, which is a bit of a shame really.
FINAL EDIT: So, it all kind of went sour when Blizz failed to support the expansion properly. A zone that was supposed to be in from the start only appeared in patch 6.2. Endless sodding Apexis Crystal grinds. The flying debacle. Selfie patches! PvP horribly broken. Lack of content. Cats and dogs, living together...
This expansion now looks like what it is... a filler between MoP and Legion, put out at full price, but with sub-par quantity, and quality, of content. 45% of the subscriber base gone within six months of launch.
Apparently, it is not just the players that get a "need/greed" loot roll. The developers do, too! And they chose greed.