For many adventurers from Azeroth, this world and its rules are as natural as breathing and running. Explore and fight. Equipment and weapons. Loot and level! You don't even have to be a veteran in Blizzard's MMORPG, because many mechanics are just absolute basic gaming knowledge. It starts with the simplest actions that we as gamers need in virtual landscapes: move WASD and mouse. Without this framework, which can be found in an incredible number of first-person shooters, third-person RPGs, and isometric pixel games, we literally can't take the first step. But it is precisely such entry hurdles that the developers at Blizzard want to resolve in the upcoming expansion. The key to this is the new tutorial on Exile's Reach, which is aimed at newcomers to WoW who not only have no idea about certain classes. The island will also help those on their first trip to Azeroth who have had little or no contact with games of this kind. In our article we will tell you how well it works, what awaits newcomers and why the whole thing is a worthwhile visit for veterans too!
Where should I put my fingers on our keyboard first?
So far, the races of Azeroth have started in their respective starting areas, more or less preparing us for what awaits us in the rest of the world. The typical collecting quests and crusades against the local fauna can be found in Mulgore, Tirisfal as well as the Elwynn forest and many other zones. The island goes in a different direction. All races have the same experience here, we are just a fresh chick of the Alliance (or Horde) who set off on board a ship of this faction to find out what has become of a missing expedition.
In order to spend the time traveling the last known route sensibly, we train the basics with our supervisor Captain Garrick. At this point, beginners immediately get more visual help than they did before. Hairline illustrates the game where we should place our hands. The fingers of the left hand on WASD and the space bar, the other hand is to hold the mouse. This may seem absurd to some readers, but keep in mind: This is about giving absolute beginners a pleasant start. After a short check, whether we have understood how we move and look around the world, we learn, for example, what exclamation marks mean about figures, how we address NPCs and accept quests.
In the subsequent fight, we are taught not to turn our backs on the enemy and are familiarized with our first ability. The interface has been purified to match the "learning mode" we are currently in. We cannot yet see what has not yet been explained to us or is irrelevant. For example, we only discover the control panel for our magic book when we receive our very first skill, which is also highlighted in bright colors with all sorts of hints.
Inevitably, it will remind some of you of the class rehearsal: learning skills and fighting while we are on the deck of one of our faction ships. But the beginning of the island is much simpler and more general, while the class rehearsal wants to bring us closer to stuff like skill rotations.
By the way, the new tutorial is by no means a constant hand-holding. For example, after we have learned how to recognize and select Quest NPCs, the relevant hints no longer appear. The game assumes that our brain is not a complete sieve.
Predictable shipwreck with amphibious reception
After the basics of the basics on the ship, there is inevitably a (rough) landing on an island; the crew is injured and only we can help! We already find the very first real quest in an area to be explored in front of us. Opponents have stolen our bandages and medicine, which we need to take care of our team. And of course our first adversaries in the game can only be one species: Murrrlooocs !!! The two-legged amphibious vermin simply belongs to WoW (buy now 15.00 € ) like the color red to Orgrimmar, the brand new tutorial doesn't shake that either. Parallel to our first brawls, we also get to know the compass that shows us quest goals and one of the absolute cornerstones of any decent role-playing game, namely bagging loot! This is how, for example, our tutorial villain earned the first new pair of boots in Azeroth. Of course, the game goes through all the steps with us – from clicking Murloc corpses to presenting our hero view, which highlights our poor equipment. It won't look so lame at the end of the exile! But more on that later …
As dumb as possible
Of course, we couldn't help pushing the tutorial to its limits. As a player, it was clear to us that we should use the bandages we had collected on our injured allies. But how about a complete newbie? The tutorial did not disappoint. Because after wild clicking on wounded NPCs, the game tells us that we should click on the bandages next to our pursued quest. As a reward, there is fittingly more space in our inventory in the form of an empty medicine bag for working as a paramedic.
Afterwards the area opens up even more to us, we get to know the map, which helps us to find missing members of the expedition. While we try to track them down, things even get culinary for a moment: in order to nurture a starved draenei, we hunt animals in the area and process their meat. A foretaste (ha!) Of the cooking profession, although the developers do not explain here that a profession is necessary for this later.
Thanks to a satiated draenei lady, we have information about the whereabouts of the other expedition participants and actually want to go straight to the caves of quilboar who are experimenting with necromancy. But stop! Captain Garrick reminds us that we are playing an inexperienced recruit here and continues training from the boat. As a villain, we have access to combo points and attacks that can cause a lot of damage based on these, for example eviscerating. We learn this mechanic as an assassin while sparring, while at this point in the tutorial we learn more about assault with a newly created warrior, for example.
With the new knowledge about the potential of evisceration in our luggage, our adventure in exile finally continues. Little by little we will free the survivors of the expedition from the clutches of quilboar, spiders and harpies. The whole thing is magnificently staged and makes the dusty tutorial quests of the previous starting areas of WoW look really ancient. So we explore a gloomy forest, which we rid of totems and in which we face nasty harpies. Or we explore oppressive tunnels in order to escape from a fiery inferno after fighting a necromancer on the back of a druid shaped like a deer. The previously prepared meat is just right for us on these excursions, because as soon as our life points drop far enough, the developers remind us of the snack.
We learn that we can eat the tough jerky meat in the inventory and that we just shouldn't move. Most of all, the warcraft cartoon mix we are familiar with is provided by the gnome we saved. In order to kill a sea of undead, we resort to experimental warfare with its help, enlarge a boar many times over and pound the rotting mess to a pulp. Of course not without failing the transformation process a few times … hopefully the test boars in the Shadowlands that burst in the service of the Alliance can forgive us.
Class training via mind
After the previous combat exercises, there is even a quest that is adapted to our class. The spirit of the expedition villain teaches us how to use poison to amplify our attacks (which will be available to all villains again in the pre-patch). In collecting the right ingredients, however, we have to dodge a bear who is the target of another quest in parallel. But at the current level he makes doner kebab out of us with his claws. But death in a bear fight also has its good points. For the first time on the otherwise simple island, we see how dying works in the game. In ghost form, we receive helpful tips and information on the location of our corpse. In any case, the shaggy adversary is too much for little villains, we'll save him for later.
After rescuing almost all of the expedition members, one might think "It was great, let's get out of here", but we would not be (future) heroes of the Alliance if we simply left an island dominated by ogres and necromancy. Because a powerful ogre wizard who wants to bring a real dragon back from the dead is behind all the enemies we have fought so far. Except for the murlocs. They just stole our bandages from us. With the help of our companions, we combine void energy with the elements to visually transform ourselves into an ogre. The eyebrows of some lore experts may be catapulted up here, but we're not complaining about the new look, which lets us safely stroll into the fortress inhabited by ogres. We pretend that we are bringing the rest of the Alliance soldiers with us as prisoners, in order to secretly rescue the expedition leader whose sacrifice is imminent. In this way we even get to know chat emotes where the game fails to say exactly where we should enter the commands / wave and / dance. As fine as other elements have been explained, when playing from a beginner's point of view, it seems as if the developers have forgotten this feature.
A rescued expedition leader, various defeated ogres and destroyed catapults later we still haven't won, but our character is now level 10 out of a total of 60 – with a playing time of around two or three hours! With the level increase in our luggage and clad in chic Alliance armor (in the style of the first PvP season from BfA and available as transmog!) That we got through the various quests, we are ready for the grand finale: ours first dungeon, the "Darkmaul Citadel". In this the ogre necromancer Gor'groth works feverishly to get the dragon back to life. In the small dungeon, NPCs follow us as a substitute for healers and tanks, which leads us to some extent to the dynamics of group play. Something similar had already happened in the forest of the harpies, but it was only against the dungeon boss Tunk that it became clear how important tanks are for our fragile villains. The showdown with Gor'groth is beautifully staged and marks a worthy end to our adventure in exile.
Finished? No, it's time for the epilogue!
The new beginner's experience does not end with the journey home. Instead, we fly in a glorious squadron on Alliance griffins to Stormwind, where we learn more elementary aspects that should help us to explore. So we find out that city guards can help us at any time and go to the stables where we learn to ride and receive our very first horse. We also get to know our class teacher, who tells us about different specializations. The new tutorial really ends in the tavern for the Whistling Pig. The cozy inn becomes our home thanks to a hearthstone, before we are promptly to accompany Jaina Proudmoore on the way to Kul Tiras to secure her fleet in the fight against the Horde.
Oh, did that sound too fast for you guys? Then we captured it perfectly. Barely two hours after we were approached as an inexperienced recruit, we are supposed to accompany and support an absolute legend of the Alliance. With this approach, the developers want to ensure that new players in Shadowlands know the latest events in Azeroth before the excursion into the afterlife. Anyone who has already played BfA with a character can decide at this point in which expansion they want to experience levels 11-50 before playing the Shadowlands expansion.
We can reassure anyone who is a hardcore advocate of the classic starting areas. The island is completely optional and is not intended to replace what we have learned to love and hate over the years. After all, the expedition is basically aimed at newbies. But we really recommend it to every single player, whether it's the first hero or the Twink Number 49. Because the developers have really bundled what WoW stands for with the mysterious island. The ruins and landscapes would fit into any romantic painting. Even off the beaten track, we can discover treasure chests that give us the first "riches" on the way to the role of savior of Azeroth. Even characters who only accompany us for a short time are likeable and present an excellent presentation of what makes up the different classes and races. And the quests exude a lot of charm and stay in your memory. Anyone interested in WoW will definitely get it made tasty here – and well explained.
After playing the island, we are sure that we can also introduce super Azeroth to friends who are not gaming enthusiasts in this way. Because, as I said, the scenario presents the fundamentals of fundamentals. Regardless of whether it is about a sorted inventory, selling items or finding a dungeon and assigning roles. Of course, such a WoW multiplication table has its limits. For example, we would have liked to have been taught as villains exactly when to use kick skills to break skills. In addition, professions are not really explained in the new tutorial, apart from the mini-appearance of cooking, which is really only dealt with superficially. But at some point, of course, the tutorial has to let us out into the world where dangers lurk. Dangers like the darned Killclaw bear, whom we were able to defeat before we left the island. The booty for the hard fight was just perfect for a challenge in WoW: Send new shoulder armor … what more could you want?
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