Welcome to Halas

So I’ve been waiting for Halas to drop (ok I’ve been waiting for Tyrannis to drop too, but not much I can do on planets when I’m dodging t2 war fleets), and I even saved one class to play around with in that time.  I stumbled across the Mystic’s AAs and the ability to dual spec their spells to also function (apparently on a shared timeer) as melee strikes as well.  Genius.  Why haven’t they done that with the defiler as well?  It would make the Shaman overclass much more viable as a whole I think.

Anyway, so I fired up my Woof Elf Mystic, and the name I’ve been squatting on since I resubbed for her – Ghosthawk (an homage to the last Shaman I played – on a WoW RP server).

Not as cold as it looks.

So here’s my rundown of the new starting area thus far:

The Good

The new area is easy to navigate, making questing easy.  And the quests are interesting and have the proper RP fluff nod to good characters, with some nice conversation choices for those who aren’t quite feeling the love.  The starting armor sets are fantastic, themed to look great, and that is a great draw for even older characters.  I saw plenty of high levels mentored down to try out the new areas and collect a great new set of appearence armor (and that excellent 36 slot bank box).  The starter crafting quest is great and useful as well – a nice speed boost and good introduction to see if crafting is something you may want to do.  The story unfolds nicely and the quests move you along at a decent clip.   Overall, there are some nice  things going on here.

The Bad

The nice things going on though, are accompanied by a number of great frustrations.  Some of these will be fixed over time – the spawn rate for fish harvesting is atrocious, to the point of having to stand around waiting for several minutes to wait on one to spawn so you can gather the 3 sunfish needed for the harvesting tutorial quest (speaking of – again with the forcing you to do things you may not want to do – collect 3 of everything, seriously?).   I have a feeling they will also look long and hard at the mob levels, though part of that could be the anemic dps of the Mystic – not helped by the fact that you still have a very weak weapon ten levels in.  My quest reward mace to match the armor has pretty much the same dps as the starter spear.  I thumbed through the old Trial Isle drops and rewards I had stashed in my bank and actually put some of it to use – that should tell you somthing.

The Tilt

One thing I don’t like, but that I acknowledge is merely a matter of taste – I don’t like that you won’t get to New Halas until level 20.  I just don’t, sorry.  The big cities are part of the wonder and draw of these games, and having my way to one blocked until I run a gauntlet of starter quests is just two stepts backwards in my opinion.  At least put in the option to skip over there, as there was in the Trial Isles, or put in an option to slide that way at level 10, as the Timorous Deep area does.

Overall – not bad.  There’s alot there to like.  But I would stop short of calling it the best starter area, and I will snicker at the next dev who says they put everything they learned from earlier starter area failures to use.  You missed a spot or two.  Sorry.