Lifetap Volume 1, Issue 32 – Warlords of Draenor Launch Impressions of Doom

Now with 100% more doom!

Hot on the tails of BlizzCon, this week has been one dominated by the Mighty Blizzard of Doom. In today’s doom-filled issue of Lifetap, Sardu recounts tales from his initial experiences with the new World of Warcraft expansion, and getting back into Hearthstone following a six month hiatus.

The stickiness of Hearthstone is a phenomenon unlike most others I’ve witnessed in gaming over the years. The game is definitely fun, and what it does, it does extremely well. But it’s also a game with a singular focus and not many bells and whistles involved for those of us who enjoy fiddling around with things between matches.

The deck builder is certainly serviceable, but leaves much to be desired when it comes to filtering options. You either build up your game knowledge to the point where you know your available options intimately, or you’re otherwise left to bumble through deck building like a blind knight gallivanting across the countryside in search of his lost spoon.

These were just a few of my observations this week while diving back into Hearthstone, following a somewhat extended period away from the game. Our staff has embarked on a friendly tournament, so I’ve been brushing up on my warlock skills so that I can more effectively reign doom down upon the doomed heads of my doomed enemies, Invader Zim style.

Surprisingly, I managed to place decently in the first week of the tournament, but I suspect that heading into week two the competition will escalate. While some of the warlock guides and tips whipped up by our resident Hearthstone expert, Messiah, have been a big help reminding me of what to factor into my warlock decks, I’ve also been dabbling quite heavily in strategies I’m making up on the fly as I go along.

Have some warlock tips to share for a semi-experienced Hearthstone player? Comments on the subject are greatly appreciated.

Not that I’m looking to get a competitive edge against my fellow staff members mind you...

Warlords of Draenor Launch Impressions

In other Blizzard news, WoW fans are in the midst of embarking on a new journey into the relatively unknown today with the release of Warlords of Draenor. While I’ve only scratched the surface on the expansion so far, it was fun to scamper around with Xerin through the initial storyline and introduction to the garrison system.

Along the way, I made sure to scribble down plenty of notes on some of the more outlandish and standout moments I’ve witnessed so far. Some of these initial impressions are listed below in order of my first encounter with each.

Please Note: The following list may contain spoilers, even though they might not make much sense if you haven’t played through the content yet.

  • Traveled back in time to Middle Earth
  • Once there I helped prevent the rise of Sauron by poking him in the eye
  • King Kong shows up to help save the day
  • Barricaded with a group of total strangers in a basement, Night of the Living Dead style
  • Did a galactic-sized /facepalm at the fact that Blizzard really loves writing quests involving s**t
  • Got to live out my Dark Knight Rises fantasies by creating a giant flaming Batman symbol for absolutely no reason, even though the time would have been better spent helping save lives (just like Batman!)
  • This segues into a scene directly out of Escape from LA

In vanilla WoW and the first couple of expansions, the pop culture references weren’t even remotely subtle. Most slapped you right in the face and you either smiled or groaned, depending on the context.

In Warlords, every single turn in the road still feels like a massive pop culture reference, only now they’ve been obscured by what has been one of the most valiant attempts at proper storytelling in a WoW release to date. Some of these references have been far more obvious than others, and some I might have just been projecting based on my own tendencies to find such connections where none really exist.

Perhaps my biggest takeaway from the expansion so far is how much I’ve enjoyed the garrison system. While a part of me will always loathe the fact that each faction gets a one-size-fits-all theme rather than something involving the cultural flavor of your character’s race, I can live with the horrifically ugly orc architecture for the time being.

Something even remotely resembling player housing has been a long time coming in WoW (it only took them 10 years to add it!) and I’m glad they didn’t half-ass it and just tack on something hollow and meaningless. Even though I’m only just barley into what the system has to offer, garrisons are a very welcome breath of fresh air in WoW, and that I look forward to exploring and tinkering with in the coming days and weeks.

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Last Updated: Mar 18, 2016

About The Author

Sardu 1
Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.