Well, it isn’t much of a secret, depending on if you listened to the WoW Insider podcast last Saturday.
The secret is, I haz a Beta key… and I used it to check a few things out, do a little investigative journalism… and to report on what I could find to the Devs, of course.
I still have the Beta key, but at the moment I have no access. One of my hard drives went down, and ate the WoW.exe file while the latest 8970 build was being patched.
Hard drive issue, not the patching process. But since it happened in the middle of patching, yeah, it took me a while to figure out what happened.
I’ve since recovered my other data, but the Beta program is gone and I’ll need to re-download and install from scratch. Just haven’t had the time.
But what I did do, aside from testing Druid stuffs, was play the Death Knight class from 55 to 58 and Hellfire Peninsula.
Not once, mind you. Twice.
Yes, it is that much fun, even with insane lag.
I started on the PvP server, made a gnome with pink pigtails… and immediately deleted her. I went back and made a human female with rather pale visage, and went with that instead.
Well, first and foremost, while I had thought it would be awesomely ironic to have a big bad evil Death Knight be a cute gnome with pink hair… when I logged in with mine on the Beta Server, what I found was, so did everyone else. An army of gnome DKs with pink hair.
The reason I went human in particular instead of night elf or tauren, was the Human Expertise racial bonus, of course. I’m a tank and DPS, I know what Expertise is used for, my good friends.
The PvP server was lag free. I went all the way through to Hellfire, leveling Unholy spec the entire way, and had a great time. Every part of the entire quest chain and playstyle was awesome.
I didn’t like playing an evil character, but the care and craftsmanship that has gone into the quest chains, area, and staging of the play from 55 to 58 is truly epic. Everyone should at least take one that far, even if you go no farther.
There are also a few new quests that bring a lot of fun.
Do you remember, those of you that played pre-BC, how astonished we were when we had our first ‘bombing run’ style quest in Hellfire that first day or two?
The gushing in general chat over how awesome the bombing run was, and how people just wanted to do it over and over again, because of how neat it was?
It was a new, fresh experience in the game, a new style of quest that reminded us how sick we were of “go kill 10 of xxx and bring me 30 ears”.
There are actually a COUPLE of new styles of quests in the starter zone that give you that exact same feel.
Seriously. They did a great job.
The gear you get also looks great. No question. Very nice design job. It is fun seeing the difference your new gear makes in your appearance.
I had so much fun, I went and made another DK, on a PvE server, to experience the lag, and leveled that one Blood.
Ice is the third spec, but from what I saw it was truly a tanking spec, so I didn’t try that for the leveling feel.
I can tell you that both Blood and Unholy are incredibly fun.
With Blood, so much of the Talent tree is built around giving you health back when you do damage, that at the time I played, I was almost never damaged after a fight. Even after hitting Hellfire, I could easily take two or three Orcs in Hellfire, even a wandering orc plus an orc and his wolf, kill them all, and still be nearly full afterwards if I rotated Dots on all of them and payed attention to what I was doing.
With Unholy, you have a lot more downtime from Health issues, but your spells are just more fun. You get lots of neat spells, like corpse explosions and anti-magic party shields and permanent Zombie pets that it just feel like a ton of fun.
Basically, I think of Blood as going Alchemist to get the useful pots, while Unholy is going Engineering to play with all the neat toys.
One is all business, and one has a lighter side. For an evil bastard, that is.
Do I feel they are overpowered?
Well, that’s a hard question to answer.
They are supposed to be an Epic class. And they certainly feel epic.
Are they more powerful, in direct comparison with a similarly geared level 58 DPS toon, when just entering Hellfire?
Yes. Without question.
However, they are undoubtedly still being adjusted for balance. And they are Epic class, after all.
But I have to say, if this is an example of the care and the attention to detail they are putting into an Epic class, then I really, truly hope that the rumors of a possible Arch-Druid epic class for an Emerald Dream expansion someday come true.