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.