By Meredith Watson, OnRPG Azeroth Reporter
Escalation is finally here. It arrived yesterday in the states and here in Europe this morning. It is a large patch with quite a bit of content but I have to wonder – does anyone care? It has recently been reported that World of Warcraft subscriptions are down by 1.3 million with 14% of players leaving between January and March. That million plus, according to the BBC, is in the east where Blizzard has been pandering to most recently (pun intended). Ironic, no? The excuse is there are just so many free to play games available.
Like most that play WoW I have multiple alts across several servers. When I log on to any of those servers at any time of the day they are seemingly dead. Where is everyone? My guess is that most people, judging by the inane chat in Neverwinter, are giving that a try. However, this normally happens during the end of an expansion. Players get bored and start to drop off.
The servers may not be that active right now but there is some good stuff in Escalation. If you are anything like me you’ve already taken multiple alts through Pandaria and like me you think it is laborious. One of the most significant changes is that the experience needed in Pandaria has been reduced by 33%. Another clear indication we are at the end of Mists of Pandaria’s life cycle. It is welcome news for me. I still have a druid, paladin and another priest to get through the Pandaria zones.
Another indication we are nearing the end is the war is heating up with the horde showing cracks, the Darkspear trolls are rebelling and the Alliance is getting stronger. There are new level 90 quests that will take the player through more of the story as well as the new scenarios I have previously previewed.
If you are a fan of the Brawler’s Guild then you may be happy to learn there are several changes included in this patch for you. Firstly, there are two new tiers and eight new bosses. Aside from this, challenge cards are being introduced. These cards can be found fishing, out in the wild, dancing with a certain grummle or even from archaeology. The cards offer quests which could open up twelve new bosses to fight.
One of the biggest changes with 5.3 is loot specialization. Essentially this will allow you as the player to have more control over what kind of loot you get depending on your specialization. You can change the loot options through your character portrait interface. The default setting will be for your current spec but, and here is the neat part, you can instead choose off spec gear. So, if shadow priest is your main spec but you’ve been thinking of getting some holy gear now you can.
It wouldn’t be WoW if the PvP-ers and PvE-ers weren’t whining about who gets what and the new gear changes fit the bill perfectly for getting everyone heated up. The voidbinders are back and will upgrade PvE gear for valour or justice points depending. Item upgrade, for the most part, is not coming back for PvP with Blizzard stating “no new PvP items for the foreseeable future will use the upgrade system.”
- Malevolent Gladiator’s Conquest (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
- Dreadful Gladiator’s Honor (Season 12) items that have upgrades available are still upgradable at their original costs.
- No other PvP items are upgradable, and no new PvP items for the foreseeable future will use the upgrade system.
There is plenty of new content and changes in Escalation but there doesn’t seem to be much excitement for it. Having spoken to several WoW players who are now playing other things, not one of them seems s to be in any particular hurry to come back and give Escalation a whirl. What about you? Is Escalation enough for you to come back if you’ve left? If you are still playing, are you excited for this patch and the continuing storyline?