I’ve recently spent a little time on the PTR, taking an early look at patch 5.2, Isle of Thunder. While I have not gotten to look at everything that the patch has to offer, I did go through some of the new content in the new zone, and I have to say that I have mixed feelings.
It starts simply enough, with a quest that appears in your log (at level 90) that will direct you to Shado-Pan Garrison, and from there you will be transported to a ship for your faction off the coast of the island. At this point, you will undergo a series of single-person scenarios that take you through the process of your faction gaining access to the island.
Now, I am a fan of scenarios and my initial thought was that this would be a good idea. However, as I progressed through them, I realized that they are a mixed blessing.
There is a positive aspect, which is that while everyone will be rushing to the new zone, once we get there, since our first few quests will be solo scenarios, we will not be fighting others for mobs or objectives. These days, there is not as much of that as there used to be because most “named” quest mobs can give kill credit to anyone who at least gets in one attack, but there can still be some level of competition, and the more people in the area, the more congested things get.
However, there are a couple of negative aspects as well. While you are actually in a scenario, you are alone, and the game has essentially become a solo game. Sure, you’ll be able to talk to guildmates and whisper friends, but you won’t have other interactions with players, as there are none around you. For many players, this interaction will be missed. Another potential problem is that while these are not designed to be terribly difficult, there is simply no way to complete these scenarios with others. I know many players who enjoy grouping with others not because they need the help, but because they enjoy the company. Forcing people to complete this content solo will be disappointing to some players.
Having said all of that, the scenarios are relatively interesting. I completed them on both the alliance and the horde side, and I was slightly disappointed that there were not differences between the scenarios, but overall they had some nice moments. There is a segment with in-flight combat, and some parts where you use non-traditional fighting methods to work your way through to your goal.
Here’s an important tip. When you have an NPC leading you through, stay with them. They can help fight, and some of them can also heal you. Their assistance can be crucial. Also, if you die, don’t worry. Similar to rezing in a battleground, you simply wait a few seconds, and start back at the beginning of that part of the scenario.
Now, we won’t be doing all of the scenarios on day one, at least more than likely. Similar to other events back in the earlier days of World of Warcraft, things will open up as players on each server progress through the content. While this will make the initial content last a little bit longer than it might, I still believe that most servers will move through it fairly quickly, as players want to explore the new zone, and many will want the blacksmithing benefits.
There will be new dailies on the Isle of Thunder, and while I have not actually done them yet, I can tell you they will be different in one respect. You can choose to complete PVE or PVP dailies, and your choice will determine what the quests themselves will be, and what you will earn upon completion. I think this is a nice addition to the grind of dailies, as you can choose your reward according to your needs and how you play the game.
The current target date for patch 5.2 is March 5th, so you still have a little time to do any last minute things. With Blizzard’s decision NOT to have a point conversion for PVE, many of us don’t have quite as much preparation as we might have had, but there are still things we may want to do in the next few days. Wowhead News has some great preview articles that can help you to prepare.
Look for part 2 on this subject tomorrow.