Alpha diary 01

Hey ho,

Please note that this post is all about my feelings, impressions and some experiences I had when I first logged into Alpha. This is by no means intended as a guide to play elemental or how to approach the game. Mathy posts might follow at a later date, but no promises. This post might contain spoilers about story, location or connections. I’m trying to keep these out, but I can’t promise a clean article.

As I am currently the sole member of SE&L that is blessed with Alpha access, I feel the need to share what I encounter. Please bear with me. I hope we’ll be able to get more of our members to join the Alpha to be able to explore and show other perspectives on the current state of Battle for Azeroth. But let’s head into it.

Of course I hoped to create a Zandalari Troll, but sadly they aren’t available yet so a normal troll it had to be. I probably should tell you that I never before really tried to test a game in any kind of alpha or beta. But now I’m trying to pay attention to…everything. It’s new. Well…the action bars aren’t. So after some key binding fixes and trying to figure out how to get more buttons in the standard interface, I could finally start noticing the world.

A princess in need

I have no idea

  • why my character is this ugly
  • or

  • how I managed to get here.

But either way, my mission is clear. This princess needs my help, so I, immediately start running away and attack the first enemy I can find. After traveling through many dead animals I finally find a Rivermarsh Snapjaw.

Adjusting to these small numbers is easier than I thought at first.

This fight yields three things: a placeholder item, the possibility to witness the number squish firsthand and the knowledge: “I’m dealing almost no damage”. So it is the same experience like I remember Elemental Shamans from every expansion start. Dying through quest mobs while others rush through everything. But maybe I should’ve checked out my talent screen because in the excitement, I neglected to choose any talents. I return to the princess, finally accept her quest and after traveling a short distance to a new location I have the time to check out the talent overview. It wasn’t really a surprise, considering that Wowhead is doing a very fine service of data mining and creating talent overviews. It still feels different when I hover over these and have to actually decide what to take. So for now I chose active abilities because I don’t intend to use them right now. This might sound strange, but I want to experience the bareback base spell interactions. This almost makes me forget where I’m standing.

Whatever happened here, we're probably no friends with the culprit.

I don’t know what happened here, or what the princess wants from me now, because my data curiosity kicks in again. Therefore I only hand in the quest, don’t accept a new one, but rush into the swamp to fight with different crocolisks, dinosaurs and blood trolls. Somehow I end up in a troll camp to find my first Flight Master. Try to understand my surprise to see such a map.

Alpha world maps look much different than live maps.

But I was told that the actual map art is added much later on. So what we’re seeing here are combined minimaps. Back to business. Here in this camp I finally find an Innkeeper. Now I’m able to start switching around my talents to try them all out on different mobs in this area. I’m sure one could quest here, but fighting like this has the advantage that I can solely focus on the abilities.

So what did I gather up to this point about us?

  • Earth Shock 6 second CD feels bad, even without capped maelstrom after 6 seconds it still feels restricted (please note that I was playing not very focused on properly building up MS).
  • Flame Shock 6 second CD is incredibly annoying, considering that you want to have it active on your current target. On the other hand Flame Shock doesn’t cost Maelstrom, which is awesome.
  • Earthquake is unusable while questing due to its huge MS drain. So only the talents Volcanic Rage and Liquid Magma Totem can help against mob groups. Stormkeeper could too, but it’s so weak on single target, that I opted for Electric Discharge instead.
  • Fire Elemental reduces the cooldown of Lava Burst by 50% (down to to 4 sec), which makes it finally noticeable as a cooldown.
  • Maelstrom generation during AoE with Chain Lightning feels gutted again with Chain Lightning generating only 4 MS per target hit instead of 6 MS on live.
  • Frost Shock is the only shock without a cooldown, but it still spends up to 20 MS.
  • The current state of Alpha feels like there is a really strong focus on empowering Lightning Bolt via the new Fulmination debuff, applied by casting Earth Shock with multiples of 25 Maelstrom. This focus is not only because of my talent choice. That choice just catered to it, because it felt like the most solid way to progress.

After experimenting in the open world I ended up with this talent combination.

Please note that some of the gathered information do not contain bugs that I didn’t notice at that time in play. I already did a dummy testing session on stream last friday and found some bugs, which affect what I wrote above. I intend to describe these tests and the findings in a different post soonish.

And with these first few lines from the Alpha journey, I’m going to end this first diary entry. I hope you enjoyed this little insight. I’m going to try to write more about this journey in the future. And maybe we’re even going to help the princess…

Hit me up on Discord to let me know what you enjoyed about this post.