The prepatch is just a patch, at the end of the day. The expansion is yet to come. But this significant stumble causes me to pause and contemplate what we're getting when BfA hits. Will AI-infused Islands and massive PvE Warfronts represent enough new gameplay? Or will the new zones just feel like an in-game content patch (Argus, say, for Legion players) on steroids?
The expansion allows players to level up to level 120, an increase from the level cap of 110 in the previous expansion Legion. Initially, there will be ten dungeons included with 8.0 with Mythic Plus versions of the dungeons and the first raid, Uldir, being available soon after the game's release. Following the beginning of preorders and the release of four allied races in January 2018, the number of character slots per server was raised from 12 to 16; with the launch of the expansion in August, it was raised to 18, to make room for the two additional races unlocked with initial content. The number of available bag slots in the player's backpack, which has been fixed at 16 slots since the game's release in 2004, will also receive an increase if an authenticator is attached to an account.
Heirlooms. At the bare minimum you make sure all the armor pieces upgraded to 110, since this is the lion's share of your experience increase. Neck and Ring upgrades are secondary, but still important due to being able to enchant them. Trinkets can't be enchanted, but you'll want them at max as well, if only to save time by not having to worry about replacing them as you level.
Azerite equipment is currently balanced around being able to unlock the outermost, earliest tier of power immediately upon acquisition, while delaying further advancement until the Heart has been further empowered. For example, the first piece of Azerite equipment, gained shortly after the Heart itself, is fully empowered once the Heart of Azeroth has reached level 3. A character at 120 (the maximum for the expansion) may find a piece whose first tier requires the Heart to have grown to level 12 or greater.
The guide should advance to the point where you are in the zone's progression. There are a few steps that can-not autocomplete and they should (hopefully) have comments to the effect of -- you need to manually check this step off. -- For some reason you have to click these steps off 2-3 times to work. (the first time will move the tom-tom arrow, the 2nd time unchecks it and the 3rd click advances the guide).
For Alliance it's Lok'Modan, Redridge, Darkshore, Felwood, Stranglethorn (both parts), Plaguelands. Somewhere between 3 - 3.5 of these get you to 60 in like a 16 hours /played, if you queue for dungeons at the same time. I recommend dropping everything at 45 and going to Darkshore-Felwood if you didn't do them yet - they are literally the fastest levelling zones in the game right now, maybe only trumped by Silverpine.
Two new raids coming after the initial update differ drastically in size and content, depending on which side of the war you’re on. The Battle of Dazar’alor raid sees Alliance players trying to take over a city, but if you’re part of the horde, your version will see you try to defend it. Once you’ve beaten it once, you can then play the other side. The Crucible of Storms raid, on the other hand, is smaller and only consists of two bosses.
But compare that with BfA's lackluster prepatch. Last week, players' uber-powerful Artifact weapons, which they had spent the entire Legion expansion building up, abruptly burnt out with no in-game explanation, no storyline, no quest, no Dad jokes from Khadgar, just a line of text on the Artifact screen saying they had been sacrificed to help stop the destruction of the world--part of the ending quests for Legion.
The Horde will now control most of Kalimdor, and the Alliance most of the Eastern Kingdoms. For a low-level character the quests and storylines won't change, but for high-level players many zones will see changes via phasing. Teldrassil is burned and Undercity is in ruins as the story progresses by phasing. At max level Arathi Highlands and Darkshore are phased to be updated to reflect their status as locations for Warfronts.
This leaves players chasing an endless loop of trying to get higher level Azerite gear — which can only reliably be gained through raids and isn’t available in Mythic+ — but only the pieces with exactly the right traits will actually be an upgrade. It’s even possible that some items that should be huge upgrades are nullified by the loss of a specific trait that makes one ability do more damage than the others.
War Mode, which allows players on PvE realms to turn on PvP combat and PvP realm players to turn it off, launched--offering a fairly measly 10% extra experience to leveling players for the privilege of getting ganked by max-level characters, or 10% increased world quest rewards for level-capped characters. For many players, that's not much an enticement.
I do not recommend going for TBC, although I remember Hellfire peninsula to be decent, everything else is rather slow. Instead go for WotLK, Borean Thundra gets you levelled very fast, and then you can head straight for Icecrown at 67, which is also insanely fast, although admittedly has a few elite quests. You can go to Sholazar Basin alternatively. 2 zones should get you 60-80 no problem.
The tail end of Legion saw the introduction of Allied Races, which introduced two new races for each side to play as. Battle for Azeroth introduces more, with Dark Iron Dwarves and brown-skinned Orcs included in the upcoming choices. Blizzard hasn't confirmed much about what other kinds of races might show up, but there's plenty of datamined info out there for those who want to take a look. Allied Races start at level 20 after a short scenario and players can earn a special set of cosmetic armor if they level the character all the way to 1110 without buying a level boost.
For Horde, Vol’Dun the area captures the feel of Battle for Azeroth is both the hardest and continues than other areas in the game. It can get quite frustrating in this area so better to go it early when you can utilize your old gear. The next two areas are highly dependent on personal opinion – Nazmir is filled with mobs and Zaldalar is one of the easiest zones.
Once you have your potions, proceed to complete all the bonus objectives in your starting zone. This should easily level you to 92, where you can proceed to Gorgrond. Interesting enough, for some reason many Gorgrond quests are worth nearly double the experience of quests in other zones. Maybe this is a bug, maybe intended, I'm not sure. But I actually recommend you do all the quests and bonus objectives in Gorgrond. For your outpost choice, I recommend choosing the Gladiators, since they give access to more treasures than the shredder IMO.
Take breaks. Unless you're straight up no-lifing it over a weekend or something, this leveling process is going to take ~40 hours. But any time you do need to step away, log out. That tiny little bit of rested exp is insignificant...but you never know when something might come up and you'll have to leave for a longer period of time than you expected. Better to be logged out and safe(especially with War Mode on) than AFK waiting for a d/c. Plus, you'll need to stretch, eat, shower, and maybe sleep. XD
The raid is made up of eight bosses that each have interesting and unique mechanics. Some bosses might put extra pressure on the DPS players to kill an add before it can heal the boss, while others might require players to move around the environment in a specific pattern or order, all the while still doing as much damage to the boss as possible or keeping the group alive through healing. While past raids often repeated mechanics or had one or two boring fights that didn’t ask much of the players, each encounter in Uldir feels unique and challenging. It’s been a long time since we had a raid where each fight was as much fun to do over and over again as the fights in Uldir.
That lack of storytelling agency may soon change with Patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance, which is coming to Battle for Azeroth soon. While there are plenty of fun gameplay changes that should make the expansion better, one of the most interesting additions is that of choice. In an upcoming quest, players will be able to choose whether they want to support Saurfang or Sylvanas — essentially honor or evil — in the struggle for Horde warchief.
Currently, it is believed that the War Mode rewards will change depending on which faction is more heavily prevalent with War Mode activated. The Horde have typically had more participating in War Mode, so the reward has been increased for the Alliance to incentivize more participation in War Mode. These rewards could potentially be increased to both the Horde and Alliance to incentivize both factions to higher amounts of War Mode participation.
-Gameplay- Gameplay has largely been stripped down to be a shell of its former self. This trimming has been going on for several expansions, but now it's even worse. Classes only have so many buttons which has resulted in very little skill involved in PvE (even PvP is a faceroll for most melee, lacking any sort of depth and decision-making as it's pretty clear what buttons to press in any given situation) and it's become more of a gear check. This expansion gave zero new abilities to classes, only took them away.
For reference, my previous best time abusing Method-0 in 7.3.5 was 32.4 hours(as show in the old thread). A difference of just over 8 hours; which isn't all that bad, all things considered. And I believe I made several errors along the way, which could be cleaned up in future runs. I believe that that gap could be significantly closed by using a monk's bonus, but I hate playing monk...so...yeah. YMMV