Decided to work on Loremaster before Tuesday hits and I must say, I hope these lower level quests are indicative of how the rest of the expansion will be.
Blizzard has taken the phase mechanic and ran with it, with fairly good results. For example, while questing in Stonard, I would pick up the quest from the quest giver, only to run around and find the place suddenly under attack. This was a slick move and was almost seamless.
Notice, I say almost. Phasing isn't a perfect system. Just ask one of my guildies who was unable to complete a quest during a phased portion. But there is ample use of it that I can see being of great use to transition the characters through phases of the quest lines.
In almost all the zones, there is a culmination of the quests which lead to an epic-style battle of some kind. Be it a huge elemental or some dastardly villian, as I player, I feel like there is a sense of done-ness with these fights. As a level appropriate player, you may not actually wait to see how these stories are fleshed out, but there are often blue quality rewards attached to these fights which gives a little incentive to stay for the fight.
What I also enjoyed about these fights is the fact that the zones often have beginning, middles, and endings. This speaks to the RPG-er in me and keeps me invested in the world of the game. As with anything, the novelty of this can easily wear off by the end of the expansion, but I look forward to what kind of fights they present us as we head towards 85.
Most people would agree that the Wrathgate cut scene is one of their favorite things about WOTLK. Blizzard recognized that and sprinkled a little of it in many of the revamped zones. Luckily, instead of the high drama, several minutes long scenes, they are really short but help move the quest story along.
What makes it work is that it's dynamic. You aren't just looking at the same pixels, but for a moment taken to a different level of the game.
Blizzard has a reputation to maintain for it's ability to not take itself too seriously. However, this expansion has a lot of dark undertones and following after Shakespear, Blizz made sure to add characters which offer a lighter side of things. Dwarven congo lines, bragging NPCs, a ghost who asks about Mankrik's wife and a Don Quixote-type are some examples. Some are pretty cool, some are cheesy as heck, but it is well needed when there is so much war and chaos going around.
When they added bombing runs in BC, it was kind of cool, but often required more than one run though to complete. This time around, they made sure that you are in the air as long as it takes and offer a quick (usually painless) way of getting back to the start. It also seems like the cooldown for whatever explosive/plague/destruction of choice has lowered a bit, making it a quick and dirty method of blowing stuff up. Well needed and I enjoy those quests a lot more. Of course, I am also usually the only one doing them at the time, and my opinion may sour in a couple days.
Some bad news
You didn't think that beloved NPCs wouldn't go unscathed did you? Some grew darker. Some didn't make it through the shattering (which, I recommend visiting a certain grave in U Crator). There is a lot of sorrow, pain and tragedy in Azeroth these days.
The other bad news is there are a lot of changes to how rep is acquired. Some quests and zones which normally gave a certain rep have been replaced, leaving folks who are trying to catch up suddenly lost. If you are one of those who are trying to bring up some rep in the lower zones may have to do some research and digging.
I have lots of screenshots, but will publish them in a separate post. In the meantime...
See you around Azeroth!