Last night at the appointed hour (11pm, UK), Shadowlands went live on the retail servers of World of Warcraft. There was a suitable crowd of eager player characters waiting to take their journey into the realms of the dead.
Despite the crowds, there were few performance issues to be seen, the layering technology was in full effect as characters flickered in and out of visibility. As soon as I partied-up with my husband’s monk I phased into his layer to see a completely different gathering underway. As the clock ticked over – a short quest chain with some narrative scenes soon saw us thrust into the Maw and a position of some peril – I was reminded of the launch of the Nazjatar zone in tone and setup.
Due to the late hour I didn’t get very far, in forty minutes of questing we fought our way across the starting zone to a cave with Jaina and co (again shades of Nazjatar). The action was almost continuous so not much time for screenshots or gazing about.
Despite my mobility abilities as a monk, I did have to resort to jade lightning spam to ‘tag’ some of the more important mobs as the press of players swept back and forth like a multi-coloured locust swarm. Casters have the advantage in this type of content I suspect at least while the zones are crowded…
From what little I have seen the art design is particularly impressive. I particularly liked Jaina’s story telling using ice sculptures during one in-game cut-scene.
So it was a positive start to the new expansion: very smooth from a server/login perspective for those players I know. We’ve encountered one bug so far, as a duo. Just after the scene pictured above, Mograine appeared twice to me with the next quest in the chain, but my husband couldn’t see him at all. I took the quest and shared it and that worked as a fix, hopefully something that will get bug-squashed quickly.
If I had any reservations it would be the linearity of the leveling path, at least to start with. We’ll have to see how quickly we get to the point of choosing a covenant, as that is where alt-play will become less repetitive at least for the first few play-throughs. I’m loooking forward to delving deeper into the story tonight!