I hadn’t stepped foot in Retail in months. Well, possibly a year, actually, as the last time I hopped in and really played was in the weeks leading up to the release of Classic (and only then because I’d resubbed early to make sure I got my character names). But this past weekend three of us – myself, Skronk, and Wilhelm – returned to the modern world to test a new feature that dropped with the pre-Shadowlands patch: Chromie Time.
Along with Level Squish and some other things, the patch introduced a new alt leveling option involving speaking to Chromie, who offers the option to select a past expansion, scaled, in which to level.
The group always enjoyed Wrath of the Lich King, so we all rolled up new alts and decided to give it a try – even though two of us (myself and Skronk) did not have any characters at level cap, which was rumored to be a Chromie Time prerequisite.
I decided on a Holy Priest in case we find ourselves needing a dedicated healer (given that Skronk has essentially rage-quit as healer except when in our regular Classic group). And so Mendula was born, scary monster baby new-gnome face and all.
Here she is soaking up the starting area storyline quest experience:
Soon she was off to rebuilt-Stormwind to finish the intro campaign and seek out Chromie. During this experience, I enjoyed the racially- and gender- (sort of) diverse cast, but the NPCs talked an awful lot, to the point of annoyance. Anyway, with that over, I was ultimately able to find Chromie with the help of some directions from the group.
Somewhat to our surprise, she allowed me (and Skronk/Fergorin) to select an expansion to level in, without asking whether we had any characters at level cap. Hurray!
And that was all it took. Once I clicked Select, the world around me transformed. I supposedly was back in Wrath, lead-in quest in hand. The three of us then began questing frantically, running around the Stormwind docks and out to Borean Tundra to commence investigating things, collecting things, and killing things. We played for hours, leveling at break-neck speed, until retiring for dinner with each of us at level 18. I became so exhausted that I didn’t take any further screenshots, making this post seem a little me-me-me, unfortunately. Hopefully Wilhelm/Merchie will remedy that on TAGN, along with correcting anything I misstate here.
As I’ve said before, I find the artwork in the retail game gorgeous (with the exception of female gnome faces), and I love the smoothness and responsiveness of the game. But I’m still frustrated by the lack of challenge when questing. In the hours we played, the three of us took down all mobs, including elites, with barely a dent in our health or mana (or “other”) bars. Often, no one got off a spell more than once before the given mob fell. It was common for another player, sometimes even a Horde, to join in a fight, making things all the easier for us. And we just screamed around like that, fight after fight. I thought I’d start to learn the ways of a healer with this character, but so far I haven’t needed to use a single healing spell.
So this experience definitely is not like playing original Wrath. That said, it should be interesting and a nice change of pace. And I look forward to our first three-man Wrath dungeon.
3 thoughts on “Living on Chromie Time: Revisiting the Lich King in WoW Retail”
I’m totally confused by the new “pick your expansion” leveling system. I’ve taken two characters through Exile’s Reach now, one Alliance and one Horde. Both got the option to start in their respective racial cities, which supposedly means the account is flagged as “veteran”. Otherwise there should only have been Exile’s Reach with no choice. Once they’d finished ER and gone to Orgrimmar and Stormwind, however, neither could immediately move on to an expansion of their choice.
Rohan at Blessing of Kings says you get a dialog option when you get offered the “Tour the capital” quests to say you already know the city, after which you can tallk to Chromie and pick a different leveling path. I didn’t get that option on either character. I took the Alliance character to Chromie anyway and she told me to finish the tour. Haven’t done that yet – i’m hoping when I do it will let me pick an expansion.
My Horde character did complete the tour, which slid seamlessly into the start of BfA without any hint of another option. She’s currently level 13 doing quests for the trolls in thie ziggurat. Since I need her to get far enough to open the quests for the Vulpera race I’m happy with that but it was definitely the only option I got.
All of this is complicated by the fact that I’m playing on an account that is currently unsubscribed, so I’m using the “free trial”, which still goes to level 20 but now to the new 20, which is close to the old fifty. I’m going to resub at some point – I’ll have to to get high enough to make my Vulpera – so I might re-test how the options go on a new character then. Also I have another account I could experiment with and I might even make a brand new one to see what happens there.
It’s a hell of a lot more complicated than it used to be, anyway, which seems to be the opposite of the intention.
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Yes, it’s definitely complicated. With my character, I don’t remember seeing an option to skip the tour. All three of us completed the tour, then went straight to Chromie, and she offered the options. I haven’t heard anything about how it’s going on the Horde side. I’ll be interested to see if Wilhelm has heard anything about it. I’m guessing he’ll post about our experience soon.
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