Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, we get a beta key, and maybe a little sloshed.
After getting a beta key, it was my intent to hit the servers and write an FAQ/reader mailbag-type column, but I'm not going to do that today. I'm going to answer my questions, not yours. I don't care about any of you.
Well, that's not true. I do care. But I've been in the beta for less than a week and:
- Half the stuff we've read about has been scrapped or just hasn't been implemented.
- The other half is a writhing mass of angry, toxic bugs.
- The servers crash like that drunk buddy who swore he'd only be on your couch for a few days but is still there weeks later and you poke him with a stick every morning to make sure he's alive and unfortunately he is.
- About the most I could do without pulling several consecutive all-nighters was level a worgen and troll druid to level 13 as quickly as I could. Oh, and wipe a Blackwing Caverns group several times over.
The simple truth is that I can't answer a lot of questions about how feral and resto are playing on the beta because neither's really functional at the moment; you can heal, tank or DPS, but none of their respective trees are finished and a lot of core talents and abilities are bugged. My main's also stuck at level 80, so no Thrash, Stampeding Roar or Wild Mushroom yet. So I'm just going to have fun with some general stuff I'd been wondering about ever since we confirmed that the alpha had dropped.
Troll druids: suck or win?
Leaning toward win, with the occasional grant-funded expedition into the darkest heart of suck. The forms are a little ... um ... garish. I can't say I was really chuffed to be saddled with yet another set of Horde druid forms (see: tauren cat form, old and hideous version of), where the animal would be physically unable to bite anything were it unfortunate enough to exist in the real world. I guess I like a little reality in my escape from reality. Their braids are also buggy right now and remain stiff regardless of whatever position the cat's in, resulting in a certain hilarity whenever the cat stretches, yawns, jumps, attacks or basically does anything at all.
I don't know. The forms are thoroughly appropriate to what trolls look like in game, warts and all, but I just think they're ugly. If you play a troll on the live realms and like how they look, you'll probably like their forms. If you don't play a troll on the live realms (and the vast majority of players don't; trolls and dwarves are still duking it out for the honor of least-played race) and you don't like how they look, you probably won't like their forms.
Trolls as a race are otherwise pretty badass and have gotten a much-needed boost to their early leveling. While their starting experience is only a shadow of the storytelling pyrotechnics you'll get in the goblin and worgen starting areas, you'll still get a much better grounding in their lore and what they're all about than you do now. You'll be sent to Vol'jin himself to learn why the Darkspear are on the outs with Garrosh (they've left/been forced from Orgrimmar), and you'll be treated to a thought-provoking cutscene on the Horde's political tensions.
I haven't yet played through any of the other older races' starting areas so I can't say whether it's unique, but without spoiling anything further -- the Darkspear may be many things, but stupid they are not.
Also, the quest Consort of the Sea Witch is really funny if you have a lot of baby raptors with you.
Win. Win, win, win, with a side of win dressed in red win sauce. This is how amazing worgen are -- you can't even customize a worgen character right now, the females still aren't available, and the starting area is filled to bursting with completely identical models, and despite all this they still rock the house.
I love how male worgen snarl at the end of a cast. I love their /roar animation. I love the contrast of their lumbering run and the feral grace with which they attack. Seriously, worgen and goblins are a lesson on just how good Blizzard's gotten at shoving the smallest bits of personality into character animation -- and, more depressingly, just how ancient and creaky the old models are compared to them. Whenever I played my goblin or worgen, it didn't feel great to go back to my main only to notice that she still can't sit without her tabard bugging out.
So worgen forms > troll forms?
That's a big 10-4, good buddy.
Anyway, if I had to rank the forms in order of personal preference right now, it'd be tauren > worgen > night elves > trolls.
Have new racials been implemented yet?
Nope. Worgen and goblin racials are still pretty firmly in holy-crap-that's-amazing-why-would-you-roll-anything-else territory. The other races still have whatever they've got right now.
Could Gilneas be any more awesome?
It couldn't. Visually, Gilneas is the Tonalist school as interpreted by a manic-depressive on the down swing. The first stanza of Dylan Thomas' "In Country Sleep" keeps running through my head while I'm there:
Never and never, my girl riding far and near
In the land of the hearthstone tales, and spelled asleep
Fear or believe that the wolf in a sheepwhite hood
Loping and bleating roughly and blithely shall leap
My dear, my dear
Out of a lair in the flocked leaves in the dew-dipped year
To eat your heart in the house in the rosy wood.
Hardcore, man. The only thing that Gilneas doesn't have going for it is that the Forsakens' reason for being there is never really articulated during the quest line -- or if it is, it's in something that hasn't been implemented yet. Right now the lore progression for the zone is kinda:
King Greymane: Kill the wolf-people!
King Greymane: Damn, we're losing the city. Hey, incarcerated domestic terrorists! Want a pardon in exchange for the stockpiles of explosives you squirrelled all over my kingdom?
Crowley: Sure, why not.
Crowley's daughter: (is kind of a badass)
King Greymane: Good, here's a horse.
10,000 other players from the other side of the zone: Is Gasping for Breath bugged?
Royal Chemist: It's incurable! You'll be a monster forever!
King Greymane: Never mind that crap, the Forsaken are attacking! For some unspecified reason!
King Greymane: Kill the Forsaken!
King Greymane: Nice job. Why is the floor movi--
Forsaken: OH S&*T GUYS
Gilneans: Nice, we get a zone for the first time in six years and it's underwater after some nitwit levels up.
10,000 other players: I think Gasping For Breath is bugged.
King Greymane: We know. Here's a horse.
Night elves: Hey we're kind of maybe a little bit responsible for your current situation and we feel super bad about it. Pals?
King Greymane: Whatever. Here's a top hat and a horse.
Garrosh's deputy: (to Sylvanas) We forbid you to horribly slaughter the inhabitants of Gilneas for no reason with the plague. You must horribly slaughter them for no reason with conventional weaponry.
Sylvanas: (waits for Garrosh's deputy to walk two feet away, which constitutes being out of earshot) Nah, we're gonna use the plague.
Garrosh's deputy: Plausible deniability. Is there anything it can't do?
King Greymane: I want my tax base back. Here's a bat.
Crowley's daughter: (is still a badass)
Orgrim's Hammer: (goes boom)
King Greymane: lol bye bitch
10,000 other players: Is Gasping For Breath bugged?
You: YES GODDAMMIT.