Early Thoughts on my Return to WoW

Yeah, I returned to WoW. I’ve put in a few hours casually over the last 4 days and have to say I’m starting to really, really enjoy the leveling experience in Warlords of Draenor. In fact, so much so that I am regretting having not played from the beginning. Technically it would have never worked given I was busy getting married, etc., but there is definitely a twinge of “Ugh I missed out on this in its heyday.”

This post is simply going to serve as a place to dump a few quick thoughts on my experience thus far, and maybe even get a little bit of your feedback and help on some questions.

I decided to roll up a Hunter. I plan to convert him to a melee spec Hunter when Legion launches. I’m enjoying how Hunters have changed since I played one as my Main from Vanilla through WotLK.  Any advice on a particular pet?

Khadgar has Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian
Why does Khadgar have Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian?


I love the emphasis on lore and story. Right from the get-go we meet Khadgar and Durotan and really big players. So much early RTS lore being thrown at me. However, I’m sorta confused. So uh.. where’d Khadgar come from? Wasn’t he in Outland in Shattrath? And why does he have Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian?! Isn’t that Medivh’s staff?

WoW Garrison
Having a useful, functional place to upgrade and work on is a welcome change of scenery


The Garrison system is fantastic. I think adding a place to call “home” is definitely a much needed change of pace from everyone roaming around a capital city. The feigned sense of social contact in WoW was off-putting. We were never there to chat. At best it made for inspecting people and suffering from gear envy. Having a practical and useful place that generates items, income, and something to do — a reason to log in that isn’t the same kind of daily quest — is welcome.

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Atmosphere & Quests

The zones themselves seem much grander than typical WoW expansions. MoP was so bland and the lore and atmosphere stank in comparison. I really feel a sense of “Warcraft” here.

Quests in Frostfire Ridge were quite good. I like the emphasis on cinematic and leading me around via story. On the main map there is a Story Progress indicator which is nice to see how far I should be progressing through a zone. Thus far, the story has taken me to all of the outposts and I feel like I finished everything I wanted to do in Frostfire Ridge by the time the story took me to the next zone.

[Spoiler ahead] When Ga’arn told his brother the tribe needed their Warchief and Durotan’s eyes widened… then Ga’arn sacrificed himself and yelled “LOK’TAR!!” I had the best nerdy goosebumps and was on the verge of getting emotional. Whew… starting to feel it again… okay, moving on.

Questing itself is definitely not bad. Yeah, it’s the same old stuff but man when you go to other games and do their quests and you come back to WoW it’s like a warm chocolate chip cookie giving you a hug. As far as themeparks go, WoW is king and no one else should even try.

WoW Rare mob spawns
Gathering treasures and hunting “rare” mobs adds fun

Treasure and Rares

One of my absolute favorite additions are the treasures and rare mobs/items around the map. I LOVE the exploration element that exists even when I cheat with this UI mod that shows me where everything is located. Personally, seeing these rares on the map is even more push for me to go out of my comfort zone. I also like how they can require a little effort and acrobatics.

Gear Upgrades

REALLY cool feature I just discovered is random gear upgrades. I got a quest reward that I swear went from a green to an epic. I now have like 5 epics that are way better than the quest reward was going to be. Such a neat dynamic element to a very stale questing model.

I’m excited to see what adventures the next zone brings

I’m just now entering the second zone: Gorgrond. Setting up my outposts was yet another “cool, that’s neat,” moment. Those moments will keep me engaged and wanting to continue logging in to level.

  • Just to make sure I didn’t misunderstand you, did you get 5 epics in the last 4 days of playing a new toon?

  • It’s a fun exp for about a month or 2 max. Garrisons are cool at first, but once they get upgraded its meh.

    Like most themeparks, WoD is fun until the luster of new zones expire. After that there is little to no depth to keep someone interested.

    Fun game, nothing special.

  • Yes, quest rewards have a chance to ‘upgrade’ to higher quality. If you build the War Mill as your large garrison building, this chance doubles.

    For Grogrond and Talador, choice of outpost building actually changes what quests you get in the zone, as it becomes the focus of how you complete your objective. Areas for quests related to the other building will house ‘bonus objectives’ if you so desire, but when I leveled my second character it was neat to see how the other option played out.

    The first character I leveled in WoD was also a hunter, so here are a few tips.

    Pet choice actually matters little. You can actually respec any pet to be DPS, Tank or Utility anytime you are not in combat. My goblin had a Rylak he used for everything because I thought Rylaks were cool. The one thing different species does provide are differing raid buffs. They are equal to other class buffs but you can always swing out a different pet for anything your party lacks. Some pets, such as the Core Hound have a bloodlust ability instead of a class buff.

    http://www.wow-petopia.com/talents/skills.html has a list of all the possible pet skills and default spec. Anything marked ‘exotic’ require being the beast master spec.

    Build a lumber mill! By far the best resource for garrison supplies, also comes with some funny quests and followers.

    You’re on my home server of Emerald Dream so here are also some warnings. Nagrand was the final quest zone, but a choice for your Nagrand outpost allows mounted combat. While neat, it pushed world pvp into the lower level zone of Spires of Arak, which also housed a neutral quest hub. The Tanan patch alleviated this a bit, but Spires is rather notorious for ganking, along the same lines as Stranglethorn Vale of old.

  • Oh, the first couple of days of Warlords are fine. Although the zones and storytelling are not as good as Mists of Pandaria.

    Once you hit level 100 though, the story literally stops. Literally. And by then you will be far enough along in your Facebook Garrison that you will see why everyone agrees this is the worst WoW expansion.

  • @Zeldain I somewhat disagree on that. I had more fun at max level in Draenor with no flying than I ever had with Cataclysm. Flying may kill Draenor for me, I understand why Blizzard backtracked, but I much more enjoy going through the world encountering players than over it seeing no one. Heck, I’m enjoying WoD more than MoP with the exception of the 5.1 war beach. That place was fun for the rest of the expansion.

  • @Gankatron: Yep. That’s WoW for you.

    @JJ Robinson: And that’s when I quit. I think they need to realize that if they kept their entire game full of that same ‘luster’ you see when leveling, people would play more.

    @McJigg: Emerald Dream is where I’ve played since WotLK, so it’s where I have my main characters right now and where many people I know play on and off. That said, I hate PvP in WoW and I think the “open-world” PvP is nothing but a gank-fest. I’ve already been ganked maybe 10-12 times in Frostfire. Not fun being 1 shot. Thank you for the advice — I will certainly skip the Mounted Combat part.

    I need to get myself an Exotic Pet. I was given advice to get one of the big dinos from Ungoro.

    @Zeldain: So far in 4 days of playing I feel like the story (minus the paradoxical nature of much of it) is better than MoP. And you are correct about the story ending at 100. I have no doubt at all that the story will come crashing to a stop and attempt to throw me right into dungeon grinding and raids. I’ll do some dungeons and a few raid finders, but then I’m probably going to just farm gold to pay for my Legion subscription time.

  • About the epics, it’s worth mentionning they are epic in names, but not necessarily in quality. Sure they are marginally better than your normal quest reward, but all they really do is allow you to skip your next quest reward. It’s not like you’re going to raid these epics. They are a nice psychological twist though, that’s a nice carrot to direct your mind in the right direction which is basically to continue your journey.

    I agree with you Keen. As far as levelling and questing experiences go, WoW is still very solid and enjoyable. Personal mileage will vary at level cap of course. If the fun lasts only 2 months, so be it, I can’t even say I’ve played a lot of games for that long.

  • You wont want to skip Nagrand which is the “mounted combat zone”. He meant that it caused world pvpers to not want to do it in Nagrand due to the inherent imbalance fighting on a mount gives some classes (like hunters). So they went to Arak, though now most will be in Tanaan.

    For questing being able to stay on your mount is a great boon.

  • Oh, okay. I get it now. I guess no matter what I’ll still try to avoid the areas that will lead to my untimely demise at the hand of griefers.

  • You sound like a teenager playing game for the first time. Overly zealous to the point of being rediculous.
    The story as always been there, even in the boring grinding quest you hate so much. But you finally took time to bother reading them.
    Just cuz it’s characters you recognize you suddenly feel the story is awesome.
    You created the term “3 monther” . Well as I visit the page less and less I’ll grant a term to your writing. ” ️Sugar High”

  • @FreshFromHell: I’m pointing out the parts of the game I appreciate after returning from a 2+ year break. The story HASN’T always been there — far from always being there. The story of Warcraft has been abused for so long in WoW. At times, there’s no story at all in favor of grinding and zaniness. WoD has a very nice narrative and so far has kept me far more engaged than any of the expansions in terms of what is going on in the world.

    Outside of the story quests, the rest of the questing is the same old experience albeit highly polished and far better than questing in any other game I’ve played.

    I think you are missing the point here entirely. This is not “omg WoW has changed it’s awesome.” This is about me enjoying the leveling, knowing full well that when I reach the level cap I have a couple weeks tops before canceling. This IS a built-in less than 3 month exercise.

  • The setup for wod is this. After the fall of grim at the end of pandaria. He was rescued by a bronze dragon, they went back in time and stopped grommash from drinking mannoroths blood.

    At least that’s how I understood it.

  • The setup I totally get. There’s a great cutscene showing the mannoroth blood scene. What I don’t get is Khadgar’s major influence or how Garrosh was rescued by a bronze dragonflight member — there doesn’t seem to be a cutscene for that.

  • Prior to WoD, I only enjoyed raiding in EQ, vanilla WoW, and a little bit in FFXIV.

    If you are enjoying the game and your character, 100 doesn’t have to be a brick wall. Find a group of people you like and you can have a lot of fun 2-3 nights a week. I had a blast progressing through HM and BRF, I wish our guild didn’t disband because I’d still be playing.

    The biggest thing that WoD taught me is that raiding isn’t “RAIDING” anymore. Bring however many people you want. Set personal loot if you don’t want to deal with distributing it. I really like everything they’ve done.

  • Is there a downside to bringing fewer people?
    Is there a downside to personal loot?
    Will these things stay into Legion?

    I’m loving the sound of that stuff….

  • http://wow.gamepedia.com/Flexible_Raid

    “Is there a downside to bringing fewer people?” – no and that’s the point of the system. As long as you have at least 10 you can raid.

    “Is there a downside to personal loot?” – only downside is that its completely random. One person could get 5 pieces one week while another doesn’t get anything for weeks though that’s extremely unlikely. At the raid level its more overall gear than doing master loot.

    “Will these things stay into Legion?” – Almost certainly. These two systems have been some of the biggest wins in MoP and WoD.

    Also unlike back in the day, people regularly PUG current raid content on Normal and Heroic difficulties so there is no need to commit to a set couple nights a week to raid (which is personally hard for me to do).

  • There’s no downside to less people except proportionally less loot (as long as you bring at least 10. Under 10, the difficulty is still the same as 10). It was a special difficulty called flex raiding in MoP, and it was easier than normal IIRC. In WoD, they modified all difficulties except Mythic to be ‘flex.’

    Our guild did personal loot for the first month of Highmaul. Some people might get lucky/unlucky, but we didn’t see anything extreme. I think once you have a raid on ‘farm status,’ it does become less efficient. Lets say a guild has 3 hunters. One hunter might get a bow two weeks in a row when the other one still needs it. BUT, this isn’t as bad as it sounds, because every week you can (very easily) earn 3 reroll tokens. If that hunter really wants a bow, they can use a reroll token on that boss, and get a second shot at loot.

    It’s drama free and I loved it.

    I don’t have any firsthand knowlege, but – when you consider that they moved flex from its own niche to all but mythic raiding, I’m confident its here to stay or even be expanded upon further. They removed personal loot from LFD for about a day, and the community rioted like I’ve never seen before. Personal loot isn’t going anywhere.

    After typing that out, did a little google fu, wasn’t aware since I’m not active – personal loot just got buffed!

  • I am having much of the same experience as you so far after restarting. Just taking it slow (only 91 after 3 days) but really enjoying it. I am on the alliance side though, and it’s cool finding out a lot more about the Draenai.

    As for Khadgar, he probably got the staff when he “killed” Medivh way back before the second war (warcraft II) started, but its more likely that it is his Staff of Nethergarde.

    I do see some inconstancy on why he was there at the dark portal, but it might have been explained in the launch event. But I imagine they would have asked him to return since he was the foremost expert on the dark portal and draenor itself.

  • My main is a hunter. I’m not currently playing but I usually used Gara for a pet. It’s a wolf spirit beast. I think it has a heal ability. You get it from an epic taming quest. Kind of reminded me of a mini EQ epic quest. I don’t like questing but I had a lot of fun doing this one. You’ll have to read the walk through. There’s nothing over the npc to indicate a quest.

  • Keen has been doing the sugar high thing for a while now- he pretty much readily admits it when he talks about the 3 monther. Instead of resenting it, I envy him his youthful enthusiasm 😉

  • @Maddogn: Awesome, thanks! I’m going to look that quest up now.

    @Krig/Jenks: Thanks! This sounds right up my alley.

    @Drathmar: Oh interesting, I didn’t expect the Draenei to get any further explanation. I feel their very existence is a stain on the lore. Also interesting that this expansion is so heavily focused on Orcs… now that I think about it… how do the Alliance play into this at all?

    @Jadawin: I get hate when I criticize things, and I get hate when I love on things. I get criticized when I cruise down the middle. I’ve learned to just be myself. Haters gonna hate.

  • Keen I think the story was discussed more in one of the books more than it was in game. It’s been awhile but if I remember it correctly it was in War Crimes by Christie Golden.

    After getting all the cut scenes on your Horde character I recommend also watching the one scene that is different for the Alliance side of things (I think the first zone for each faction is different). It was easily found on Youtube close to launch if you don’t plan on also leveling an Ally toon.

    Even though the expac seemed focused around Orcs I found the actual basic story seemed to be more about the Draenei more than anything (until you get to the killing of the warlords part of it). Then again I leveled on both sides and thought that the Alliance side story was a tad bit better.

    Garrisons are a bit of a mixed bag. Nice little “game” to play and it’s nice to be able to tailor it (on a small level at least) to what you like doing in game whether that may be PvP or Raiding/PvE. I can say that I wasn’t happy about how garrisons changed professions but then again to me crafting has slid down a dark slope the last few expacs. It’s one of the things I am curious to see what happens with the changes that are coming with Legion.

  • I think garrisons would have worked better as a function of a major city. Imagine if the engineering trainer/building in Warspear or Stormshield took your engineering work orders. You get all the same functions in a place with other people.

    “But doesn’t that mean you would have access to every building?” Like requiring a profession to currently get the most of the building, you could require a follower posted there to build relations and unlock the better functionality.

    Take a small instanced area about the size of the Brawler’s Guild and make that where your command table is. Here is where you build up your force of mercenaries and followers.

    I think having it in a city with other players would help make the game feel more lively as you’d spend less time in seclusion. Bonus points if just the command table was there, and the various buildings were actually out in the world. Heck, they could have made nice reputations and would still tie into the follower system. Then the world itself would have more player spots in it, spots where you know you have some things in common with these other players.

    Then again, as a no risk arm chair developer, all this could be HORRIBLE in practice.

  • Now these posts are more what I was hoping for 🙂
    Would even like to hear more details about your experiences in wow.
    I’ve recently resubbed too but not quite decided on what class to play and on what server. I’m down to either Hunter or Paladin, I really like Hunter but having the option to go tank or healer makes for much shorter dungeon queues.
    Also need to find out where my active friends are playing.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed WoD playing more often than I should for the first 3 weeks. Then it got really dull. I did what there was to do and had no desire to run a loot treadmill in the same content on multiple difficulties.

    It’s great for what it is but wasn’t a long-term game for me. I spent another week when I was offered 7 free days but didn’t not renew my sub.

    There was a time in my life when I really enjoyed raiding but that has long since passed. I will not return to WoW unless they add meaningful character progression outside of raiding. I don’t like feeling like a 2nd class citizen because I don’t enjoy that aspect of the game.

    Glad you’re enjoying yourself, there is a good amount of content for a month or two of casual playing!

  • @Misaligned: You and I are identical then. I’ll enjoy it until I hit the gear treadmill. If at that point I can’t find solace in other activities like my Garrison then I’ll quit until Legion — at which point the cycle renews itself.

  • “Questing itself is definitely not bad. Yeah, it’s the same old stuff but man when you go to other games and do their quests and you come back to WoW it’s like a warm chocolate chip cookie giving you a hug. As far as themeparks go, WoW is king and no one else should even try.”

    is this a paid review or an advertisement for WoW ? your post sounded like one.. and saying “no one else should even try” is ridiculous considering in the past posts you practically encouraged and praised other mmorpg than have even the slightest amount of bravery in standing up to WoW…

    whats with you man ? you truly changed from honest blogger into one of those corporate shills who seek freebies and monies from corporate sector and sell your soul and your honesty..

    thats really sad

  • The story does continue with Khadgar after the “main” questing is done. And the fact is its so easy to get gear now you dont even need to do hard raids. For me its worth it just to pug the raids to see the environments (for game dev purposes) and enemies.

    They tie it in well with the gear treadmill since its sends you into heroics and then raids for the story.

  • @Milomilo: If I could be paid to write my honest opinion that would be awesome. Unfortunately, I go to work every day and this here is just a hobby which barely breaks even. You may have mistaken what I said with what you think I meant. When it comes to THEMEPARKS — a model I find inherently INFERIOR to many other models — WoW is king. I have yet to play another THEMEPARK that comes even remotely close, and when I do I come back to WoW and can’t believe the difference. I think you’ll find I’m honest to a fault in my writing, and if anything I speak my mind with less of a filter than most.

    @Wonderwyrm: Seeing the raids once is what I like to do. I’m fine doing that in even a LFR if necessary.

  • Man, I just finished the first zone for alliance so like the first chapter. It’s amazing, like, I haven’t enjoyed the story this much since the arc in WotLK that culminated in the attack on the gates to icecrown and the betrayal of the scourge. It was kind of awesome finding out about Prophet Velen, who is pretty damn kick ass.

  • Are we playing the same game? The same story? I just finished the portal series and got my garrison started and I found the story utterly cringeworthy, boring and cheesy. I used to love wow lore but I had to stop reading quest text and watching them cinematics cos they destroyed my urge to play… 🙁
    Dunno why, perhaps my ventures in other games have raised the bar too high? I’m hoping that the story I just went through is something specific for l90 boost characters and that the story picks up from now on.
    I want to love the lore, I used to love it.

  • @Proximo: Horde or Alliance? I thought the Horde storyline has been well-done thus far. I’m a little annoyed by some unexplained time paradox stuff, but otherwise it’s as good as WoW has ever been. I think the story in Gorgrond was really lacking compared to Frostfire Ridge, but things pick up again in Talador.

  • Alliance (sadly, horde by heart, alliance by choice of friends).
    My biggest complaint is the delivery of the story, it’s so b grade voice acting and overly cheesy, but I think TSW has me spoilt, even GW2 story telling is awful in comparison.

  • Keen, apparently its an alternate universe that the bronze dragon takes garrosh to.

    Also khadgar came back from outland before mists of pandaria in a book