The more I throw myself into Invasions, the more apparent it becomes how brilliantly well designed they are. So much so, that I need to write my MMO Games column about them this week. Before I do? Let me count the ways of their AWESOME:
Don’t Open the Box
The temptation, undoubtedly for some with this ‘format’, is the gear you get after completing the 2nd and 4th wave of each Invasion ‘event.’ However, if you resist the temptation to open your chests whilst nabbing all the yummy XP? At max level, it becomes the Mother of all Paydays. The top bag there is all the 650 gear I collected for my Shaman to use when she turned 100, most of which is completely negated by the 700 gear that came out of the chests when I maxxed out. If you don’t break into the chests, the gear ‘matches’ to the level you are when they’re opened. What this means is that, once I sorted out what was Warforged and what wasn’t?
That’s quite a big deal considering it is eight days until Legion, and the only thing I spent was time doing the legwork across two continents. That’s not the whole story, however: the Broken Shore questline opens at 98, but I’d urge you not to do it until 100 so you can ensure your rewards are max level: that means one ring and a trinket as rewards. The Nethershards I collected from the Invasions then took care of the cloak, other ring and trinket slot I was missing. End iLevel result? 659. That’s lower than it would be if I’d have made the effort to equip a shield, but with Artefacts just around the corner and no Guild runs on this Toon to worry about? I can cope without. In fact the Shaman can now probably be mothballed once I’ve provided her with potions and food, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Top Value Entertainment
What is quite easy to miss in amongst all this biffing and running around is the care and effort that has been put into the ‘lore’ and ‘flavour’ for each of these events. There’s two protagonists for each ‘zone’: the NPC in the town you’re fighting for (or in Kharanos’ case, several because DWARVEN CLANS YO) and the attacking Demon Head Honcho. This serves two purposes: it introduces the ‘talking heads’ format of quest text that will become the standard when Legion launches, but it gives a sense of context to the area you are fighting in. If you take a moment to read the /yells and /says during your time flying from Point A to Point B to kill shit? There’s some classic NPC’s around to lend you a hand:
Unintentional deaths aside (OBVIOUSLY) this adds quite a lot to the feel of the events as they unfold. I’d strongly suggest an addon like DBM for the fights too, which will tell you what special abilities you have to dodge: in certain places (looking at you, Westfall) trying to avoid ground AOE that gets hidden in the hills can be a bit stressful, but with the PvP resurrection mechanics in place across about 90% of the graveyards, it is hardly an inconvenience. If your sole complaint is there’s too much moving to kill a boss? Time to go do some more LFR ^^
Just Like Old Times?
If you’re just too hardened and jaded after years of being ‘disappointed’ by Blizzard over how they trail Expansions, this point is just for you, because I defy anybody not to feel at least some form of unbridled joy when, after Stage Two ends and you’re off to fight in the zone, you’re mounting up with dozens of other players and streaming to places to destroy the Legion’s presence. However, what is easy to overlook when you’re just heading for the Elite mobs that give the most Nethershards is that this content is not just for those people who can fly, far from it. Hidden across the zone are a selection of mobs at different ‘difficulty’ levels, which allow everyone from lowest to highest level the opportunity to add to the percentage completion total.
As you can see here, once these demon dogs are picked off, I have a Citizen with the ‘blood drop’ icon that you’ll be familiar with from Garrison Invasions. Clicking on this adds to the total, as to picking off any number of smaller demon structures or packs of roaming mobs. Everything helps the overall cause, expediting completion of your ‘mission’ but clearly for some it is only the big XP numbers that matter. Let it not be said however that this ‘format’ isn’t covering all the bases, which bodes well for questing generally going forward.
It has been a long time since I found myself genuinely compelled to complete a task, but I can now prove that it’s possible to go from 91-100 in less than 24 hours. Of course, if you do nothing else for a day, it is possible to do so in far less time, especially with the right combination of potions and mobs. The benefit of doing this, of course, as opposed to a 40 quid boost is that you’re more likely to learn how to play your character with the new spells and abilities. In a sense this is a Proving Grounds scenario without any of the uncomfortable feelings of failure that you get when you can’t hit the requirements: you can just stand and AFK through it, should you desire, but be warned. People like me will come and stand next to you with AOE debuffs that will kill you, and feel no remorse when this happens. After all, this game’s not single player, and never has been.
Invasions are AWESOME, and if you turn up? Make the effort to take part.