#208 My Review and Criticism of the Isle of Thunder

I mentioned last week that my server finally unlocked the fifth and final stage of the Isle of Thunder and with that brings an end to the story arc of patch 5.3 . With everything  available to us we can look back on the whole experience with slightly unbiased eyes and that’s exactly what I am going to do today, going back and reviewing this patch’s daily hub and pointing out some complaints I had with the zone.

If you’ve been living under a rock, or haven’t been paying attention to the quest text, the whole patch follows the Kun-lia Summit quest chain of the Thunder King’s revival thanks to the agents of the Zandalari. During the time we were too reoccupied with cleaning up the Sha’s mess, fighting the Klaxxi, and then each other down at Krasarang Wilds Lei Shen has regained his strength and has gathered enough of an army that now he is a big enough threat that both factions and you needs to address him on he’s home turf.

The main draw to the island is that the entire story was not available to you at day one. Your involvement on the island was locked behind game-play gates, like all the others reputation lore in Pandaria, but this time the gates are not removed by your personal advancements, but by your faction’s activity, that is determined by how many dailies each visitors of the horde or alliance completed for that day.

It was clear that Blizzard was trying to recreated the Historic Gates of Ahn'Qiraj opening event, or the Isle of Quel'danas dailies with the focus on the player participation in the zone.

It was clear that Blizzard was trying to recreated the Historic Gates of Ahn’Qiraj opening event, or the Isle of Quel’danas dailies with the focus on the player participation in the zone.

Once your faction reaches a checkpoint, you are given a quest to that lets you enter solo-scenario and experience a specially catered series of events that just focuses on you and your heroic deeds that you accomplish while working with your faction leader. As I stated before the scenarios were expertly designed and it made me feel that I was actually making advancements on behalf of the faction.

One could argue though that Blizzard failed on the epic feeling of the player cooperation toward the faction’s effort during the play times when you were out of the scenarios, because despite me completing all the dailies that the Kirin Tor decided to throw at me, I never got the feeling that I did anything for the cause. On an average day I was trimming the herd of various races and stopped one big bad guy and interrupted one or two rituals, but that was it.

I did not get the feeling that what I did mattered to the faction, I was not recruiting more foot solders, gathering valuable equipment, food, armor, or materials it was all just dailies. I know that Blizzard wanted to move away from this quest model but I believe that the whole experience would have been improved if they added a cloth/leather turn in quest like the AQ event. It would be a hassle to balance on high populated servers but it would have given me the feeling that I was constantly contributing and not just brought out for the special missions.

The quests themselves were also well planned out, with each stage adding new dailies while removing the less interesting quests of the previous stage’s dailies leaving us with the cherry picked the best of the mogu, troll and saurok areas.

The other problem I had with the zone was that I never got the impression that our base was under any sort of threat. When I did the scenario that established the Alliance base, Jaina made clear that although the area has great strategic value for the Alliance, it was also open to attack from all sides. After the event and everything settled back down the sense of danger went away, I completely forgot that the Alliance’s base has any vulnerabilities

On the Isle of Quel’danas the quest hub zone was always active, there were archers on top of the building constantly shooting down demons from the sky and there was waves of demons right outside the city limits  There was none of that on the Isle of Thunder, the closest monster from the Alliance establishment was the sauroks and they were just hanging out by area.

If we had the trolls or mogu fighting the constructs outside the base, that would be a different story.

If we had the trolls or mogu fighting the constructs outside the base, that would be a different story.

I do want to reiterate that the area was fun to play, as i mentioned a few posts ago that each segments had their own part that stopped it from being a regular grind. The mogu had those runes on the round that increase your critical strike chances, the troll area has damage increasing potions scattered around their tribes and your get turned into a saurok and leap around their area saving constructs and killing major leaders in their tribe.

The whole island was successful on behalf of the
Scenario. I think next time, Blizzard needs to focus on the environment outside and after those scenarios.

But I want to know what you think about the Isle of Thunder, did you like it? What would you change about it?

 


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Be MOP focuses on the Mists of Pandaria expansion of World of Warcraft with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the game’s life cycle. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “#208 My Review and Criticism of the Isle of Thunder

  1. I blogged about this recently because I just can’t understand it. Yes, there are some rares which give rare loot. Big deal. There are also some cool battle pets, i’ll give them that. I like that you have to unlock the stages too… something different. I also like that you have to form some groups for the quest, that’s pretty cool.

    But, more swampy ground? More multiple dailies to grind for seemingly little reward? More elitist idiots mob tagging and making it hard for everyone? Meh.

    • “Meh” seems like the best word for zone, nothing was there to catch the eye of the players to make them go “whoa” (a side from the scenarios which was epic), but there was also nothing there that made the experience bad.

  2. Agreed!

    Oondasta is pretty cool though… 🙂

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