Back at the beginning of May, I took a look at the first go around of the new Heart of Azeroth questline and some of the early Nazjatar questing. Since then, Blizzard has wiped characters and implemented everything in a way which seems to be more representative of how they will be when 8.2 goes live. For example, previously, I had to talk to an NPC in Boralus to head out to Nazjatar, but all the intro quests were already completed. With everything having received a fair number of updates, it seemed like a good time to check back in with the PTR. I’m going to stay away from story spoilers mostly, though there will be some minor ones which are unavoidable.
The questline to go to Nazjatar is straight forward for the Alliance side; we’re pretty much heading out to stick to the horde after the events in Battle for Dazar’alor. As should probably be a surprise to no one, we are attacked by Azshara (or at least her minions the cutscene isn’t in yet, so I’m not 100% sure what happens) and become shipwrecked on Nazjatar. It could be we aren’t directly attacked, but Nazjatar rises out of the water when we are passing over it which shipwrecks us.
The intro quests are simple, and at most take 10 – 15 minutes to get through; that’s assuming you are taking your time and are maybe doing some exploring rather than focusing on quest completing. There’s not a whole lot of quest pile up at the beginning which helps to keep everything streamlined. One thing I did notice while doing these intro quests is, I did take damage while fighting. I was still never really in danger of dying, but it is nice to see things out in the world which could potentially be a threat. Unfortunately, this didn’t hold up for the quests after the introductory ones. I’m hoping this means they’ve only started working on the balancing of the intro quests and everything else on the island just has not been scaled yet.
The intro quests end with the opening of a portal back to Boralus at which point Magni appears and invites you back to Silithus to check out some new happenings. One thing I had wondered about is if we were going to be shuttled to the Magni questline at some specific point to get it opened or if it would be left up to the players themselves. At it currently stands, you are forced to do the Magni questline after opening the portal. At that point, there are no more quests available in Nazjatar, so there’s no good reason not to do it. This makes sense since many of the essences are earned playing through the Nazjatar content.
One thing worth mentioning though is the character I had copied over only had her Heart of Azeroth at level 47, and she was still able to do the questline and equip the essence she got at the end of the questline. I’m not sure if this is something, they made for the PTR so more people can test out the essences, or if they decided not to require players to have their heart at level 50. I’m hopeful it’s the latter though because it would help make it feel worthwhile for players who are behind the curve on Heart Levels. Also, since it seems baked into the opening storyline for Nazjatar forcing people to wait on it would be a real problem.
One change from how things were previously on the PTR is I was able to knock out all the branches of this questline one right after the other. The way it currently is I did the first questline, which unlocks the forge and gave me my first essence, and then I needed to go back to Nazjatar. My guess is some of the other questlines become available as you level your heart up. I believe part of the reason they previously bumped everyone up to Heart level 55 is that they wanted to enable everyone to test all the questlines. Now they’ve transitioned to a more live set-up I think it’s likely one questline will open per Heart level beyond 50.
After returning to Nazjatar, there are a few more quests which get the story on the island rolling and unlock the World Quests. There is also a quest which introduces the new upgradable gear and conveniently rewards an upgradable 385 ilvl piece of gear and just enough Manapearls to upgrade it to 400 ilvl. The system is straight forward and reminds me a bit of the old reforging system. I still don’t like the fact there is a new currency for Nazjatar, and the fact you need to buy your essences once you unlock them using Manapearls. It’s just an uninteresting way to gate the obtaining of rewards.
One aspect of all of this I am still apprehensive about is the rewards for doing the new questlines. The first questlines in Nazjatar still seem to reward gold and gear or just gold. Considering there’s a whole new reason to want to level up our Hearts in this patch, and it’s going to take a lot of AP to do that, I feel like there needs to be Azerite quest rewards on the island as well. So far, the only quests I saw with Azerite rewards were in the first questline with Magni which rewards a total of 500 AP. There are still quite a few quests in Nazjatar which only reward gold though so it is possible they could add Azerite as a reward before the patch goes live.
Overall, I am enjoying patch 8.2 content so far. Letting people unlock the forge and get their first essence at sub Heart level 50 is a great choice and a smart move for the playerbase. I’m really not looking forward to farming up manapearls though. I could accept the manapearl addition if they weren’t tied to buying the essences. Having to earn them by doing specific things and then also buy with some random currency feels a bit like a double whammy. I can’t comment about the pricing on them though because I don’t have any feel for how easy it will be to acquire Manapearls at this point.
That’s all I have regarding 8.2 currently. I’ll keep playing and updating on the gameplay of it all as everything gets updated.