Over the course of this weekend I had a lot of time to play beta. I had some quests to get finished, so I LFG pimped my hunter and got her out to see the 2nd wing of Hellfire Citadel - The Blood Furnace - and see part of the first wing of Coilfang Reservoir - The Slave Pens. After seeing more of the new instances now, I'm really liking instancing. You can only run an instance so many times over 2 years before it gets old and boring to you, but the thing that really stood out to me was how beautiful and complex these new instances were.
The Blood Furnace (Hellfire citadel)
This instance wasn't quite the speedrun that Ramparts was. Ramparts was quick lewtz in an hour. Blood Furnace took about 90 minutes with a good group, and again had 3 bosses. However this one was bigger, prettier (in a design perspective) in a sinister kind of way. With only two exceptions it was tank-and-spank. The first boss was totally tank-and-spank. The second was rather reminiscent of a Naxxramas fight - fight a whole bunch of elite and non-elite adds to start, and then fight the boss who drops poison clouds everywhere and you have to kite him around the room. Lastly the last boss starts with 5 elite caster protectors, and then the boss himself doesn't an emote periodically and kills anyone meleeing him. The end boss dropped a 2H axe (unsocketed) that was an upgrade from Zin'kroh if enchanted with 25 agi.
The Slave Pens (Coilfang Reservoir)
I didn't finish this instance - I had to break off because it was time to go to BWL with SHR and our MT in the group had to run off to his Naxxramas raid on his home server. Half the fun of this instance was getting to it. You have to swim to it - a good 90-120 second swim. Let's hope you either (a) are undead, (b) have a hydrocane from Gnomey, (c) bring water breathing potions, (d) have the water breathing ring from the AQ scepter quest chain, or (e) have a warlock :P. Coilfang has a singular beauty like going to the last half of Mauradon or doing Wailing Caverns as a lowbie hordie. Insanely pretty. And deadly. If you've always thought fighting Naga meant tartar sauce and chips, think again. These Naga are MEAN... and they have little draenei slaves that are even meaner. This instance is challenging because there are a lot of mobs all packed in closely pathing groups with casters and meleers.
After those two instances I decided that Silencing Shot was an absoloute MUST and specifically went back to 41 pts Marksmanship for it. (Respeccing on test is only 1c, not counting the spells you have to retrain.) But doing instances I got a full level - from 61 to 62. Bear in mind it's 500,000 XP to go from 60 to 61, and it only goes up from there. The Best XP is in group questing and instances. And because most people on Test are FRICKIN INSANE people who are all levelling in a big hurry like the whole beta will end tomorrow instead of 3 months from now and hurry their way to 67. This means finding groups to grind quests is not gonna happen. That leaves instance grinding on test. But... I figure if I run these enough I'll know them all by heart before they go live and can run my raiding friends through them when they hit live with ease. But then... things change between test and live. We'll have to see. :P
In any matters, more on RP. Sylvannas has been pushing the horde leadership council to accept the Blood Elves into the horde, but the horde was concerned that the Blood Elves had too many internal issues to be really effective. You, as the young Blood Elven upstart whelpling, properly whoop them, and become a young ambassador to the Horde... reporting directly to Thrall. I love the part of the quest where Thrall tells you "Welcome to the Horde, Elf." Thrall also seemed shocked to learn there were still horde on Draenor that were uncorrupted by demonic taint.
My Hordeling Blood elf pally hit 20, so I figured it was time to stop there testing her, because she's hit the point where all the quests were quests I'd done before, out beyond the new BE zones. But you are pretty much guaranteed to hit Exalted with the little Ghostlands faction because you leave that area. However, it appears that blizzard is working on Undercity. You can now see down into Undercity from the Zepplin, and see how most of the city doesn't really exist. But I was shocked to discover this door on the upper level was open and while empty, had been worked on.
The new LFG system is really buggy. While it has some cool features, it does weird things like putting groups of 3 rogues and 2 hunters together, or randomly swapping you out of one group to another after you've already manually established a group.
Tailoring: Because Mooncloth is so annoying to make, there's a new simple 16 slot bag pattern in outlands. That and a simple 18 slot bag pattern are on tailor trainers. There's another, 20 slot bag, whose pattern drops somewhere in Outlands. Onyxia... Arlokk... go DIAFF.
Pallies... Check this out.
I hope to have pictures from the new instances tomorrow.
- Beta Update: October 30th, 2006