If you’re anything like me, you’ve been off enjoying the outside world, or just playing other games. WOW hasn’t been a part of my life at all this summer. After listening to a few of my usual podcasts, however, I felt a slight flicker of interest. I finally found the energy to try the WOW beta again.
If you haven’t played the beta at all yet, or have been away from it as long as I have, then you’ll quickly realize a LOT of things have changed. The most jarring thing is that the level 85 starting area, the Jade Forest is no longer accessible.
Don’t worry though – Blizzard didn’t leave everyone stranded. If you are still level 85 or created a new template character, just find your main ‘Heroes Call Board’ in Orgrimmar or Stormwind. Standing next to the board will be this amusing NPC – ‘Adm’rl Placeholder’.
The Adm’rl will have a quest for you that, after talking to him, will port you to Pandaria’s Valley of the Four Winds.
Turning in the quest to Private Tim P. O’Rary will grant you a free level. O’Rary also sells a complete set of greens for all classes that are more fitting for a level 86 toon than most Cataclysm epics. He can also port you back to your Capital city if you should so desire.
Flaskataur Esq. is a glyph seller that you can find in your capital city before you leave, or standing behind O’Rary in the Valley of Four Winds. You can’t really miss him – he is a giant Tauren with a tophat.
Once you’ve gotten yourself to the Valley of the Four Winds, and refreshed your gear and glyphs, then you’re ready to go! It’s still a bit of a lag-fest in in the initial starting area, but once you venture off into the lovely farm-filled countryside things get a bit better. The zone is filled with Pandaren farmers, the endearing Vermin, Chen Stormstout, and much more. I’ve been really enjoying the questing so far. The scenery is gorgeous, the mob designs are unique, and the quests feel a bit more immersive – like there is actually a reason to gather X watermelon and turnips, or kill X mobs.
There is a lot of speculation on why exactly Blizzard closed the Jade Forest, since it’s not something they’ve previously done with any expansion. I think its a combination of having major quest-flow rework in progress, and wanting the swarms of Testers to move on to other zones. Regardless of the reason, I like how Blizzard was able to do an on-the-fly tweak to make it simple and painless for players to continue progressing. I also enjoy the beta humor, with the ridiculous NPCs.
Have you been spending any time in the beta? Have you been keeping up with the news at all, or has your attention been mostly elsewhere? I’d love to hear how everyone’s summer has been going.