Monday, April 9, 2012

MoP Beta: First Glance

Ooooooooooh. Aaaaaaaaaaah.
And boy, I tell ya, this is only a glance. In the few days that beta has been available to me, it seems like everything got broken. Merinna has spent a combined 25 minutes trying to TP to the new continent so far, during three different log in sessions. That lil' load bar has gone further than it ever has before as I start writing this post. We'll see if it makes it this time.

Pandaland:  The pandas animate very very nicely. Honestly, there is more character in the way these characters move than just about any character models I have seen in the game. On the slight downside, even a Pandarian warrior looks like Kung Fu Panda, which is to say the Pandarens are stereotypically unacceptable to me.

My adventures through the Wandering Island came to a screeching halt at Level 2 when I found the "Edict of Temperance" to be unburnable due to the fact there are 146,354 other player characters trying to do the same thing at the same time and even a /tar Edict macro won't let you connect with the damn thing. (and no, the "/c interact Edict of Temperance" macro that is being spammed on site will not help either).

Monks with Hooves: Not kidding. If one of the major attacks of a class involves kicking, then you need to do that with hooves.

My next stop in beta has been good ol' Azuremyst Island, which is really really showing its age and lack of compelling reason to be there after all these years.  I'm reminded what I dislike so much about how they have simplified the starting zones by making most mobs yellow, and thus indifferent to your presence unless you attack them first. Having the Belves wandering around that first area completely ignoring you sends a seriously mixed message for what emnity lies in store for them and the local Draenei.

As for the monk herself. This is such a work in progress. I remarked recently that there hasn't been much change announced to the monk class since Blizzcon which suggested to me that maybe they had developed it relatively far along before that time. Nope. Now, I just think they haven't worked on it since last October. Low level monks are booooooooring as crap for lack of much ability development.

By level 6, you have gained Jab to build chi, and either Tiger Palm or Blackout Kick to hit harder and use up chi. And it looks like that's about all you get until maybe level 18 or so. Blizzard has said this needs work. Yes, it does. Yes, it does.

The draenei don't have any special animations yet. Nor do most races that I've heard about. Those are allegedly coming as well. If my drae female is going to have to punch using that same open handed slap that usually comes from fighting without a weapon, that could be a deal breaker.

And finally... PANDARIA!:  While I was writing here, I logged back to beta and another 20 minutes later, Merinna appeared on the shore of Pandaria apparently close to an Alliance forward camp.

Something is just not right because it feels like all the art assets are downloading to my client when I thought they should have been there already. Another 10 minutes and I could finally see the other players and some of the mobs near there. And as I roam off into other parts of this zone, I can hear trouble much much before I can see it.  Finally, I'm bumping into invisible walls that presumably haven't dl'd and rezzed either.

Well. Do you remember the first time you walked through the Dark Portal and saw that insane multi-colored Outland sky along with armies of demons fighting the combined forces of the Alliance and Horde? How about when you went to Northland for the first time. Going to Borean Tundra was kinda breathtaking, moving through the mists and glaciers off the coast, but I especially enjoyed rolling into the Howling Fjord through that deep chasm and Utgarde Keep looming above the water and that burning ship hanging over your head.

My first glimpse of Pandaria is an Alliance shipwreck camp. It's muddy. There's lots of flotsam. Somebody is starting to build the typical Alliance houses you see everwhere. I wander a few feet and there is a barricade manned by cannons shooting at monkey creatures called Hozen.

If you read that last paragraph and with a developing sense of disappointment, then we understand each other, you and I.  The rolling hills of the The Jade Forest make me think of of Ferelas for some reason. And the landing zone doesn't quite have that punch of excitement I think Outland and Northrend gave me on first look.

I don't get my "Oh, wow!" moment until finally approaching The Temple of the Jade Serpent which is a beauty of fantasy ramming its head into traditional Japanese and Chinese architecture. Seriously, it's awesome (and pictured above) beyond that are narrow buttes with severely arching bridges connecting them with multi-colored War Serpents (that look like Chinese dragons) fluttering through the air and banners pulled into the sky by kites. Finally, it feels like I'm in new territory.

People are actively complaining about the lack of flying mounts on general chat even as I write, but I'm enjoy being landbound for exploration. There's something exciting about seeing something you want to get up closer to and the only way you can find to do it is to jump down 300 yards into a lake, swim across and climb out the other side.

Anyway. I think it's a shame we don't get a better reveal to the new continent, but honestly, the land looks nice and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

1 comment:

  1. Good to see you blogging again man, been too long, and you're pretty good at constructing sentences.. better than a second grader anyway >.O lol