When it comes to new players, World of Warcraft has never been that “welcoming with open arms” type of game. Some of the systems and mechanics are fairly old. It has been pretty hard for someone to join Azeroth with no prior experience.
Exile’s Reach is the single best solution by Blizzard to bring everyone on the same level and up to date with the modern WoW experience. With Shadowlands being just on the horizon. There is no better time to get a drink, sit back and level up in the brand new zone.
The Quest for a Streamlined WoW Experience
Ever since a couple of expansions back, Blizzard has been really dedicated to making World of Warcraft an easy-to-get-into game. Before that, it was almost impossible for new players to “survive” WoW, even with previous MMO RPG experience. During Legion, Blizzard gave everyone who bought the expansion a free max level boost. This was so people can play together with their friends and enjoy the end content. The intention is not getting confused by all the zones and the other expansions.
In addition to that, the leveling through both Legion and Battle for Azeroth was pretty streamlined as well. Usually, you had one introductory quest chain that welcomed you in the new adventure. And then, you would select a zone to level up through. No matter what you chose, all of the zones are connected in the main story. They all played some part in your end gameplay. So they were great for following and being on the same page with everybody.
But World of Warcraft: Shadowlands went even further. During the pre-patch, Blizzard implemented the long-awaited “level squish”. With the max level available 50 (60 in Shadowlands), the leveling speed increased greatly. On top of that, players don’t have to go through all the different expansions and quest for a couple of levels before moving onto the next one. Nuh-uh! In Shadowlands, every character after level 10 will be able to choose one expansion. This designed to spend their time in it until they reach level 50. Then they will be launched in the new content.
And Exile’s Reach serves as the first stepping point in the new era of World of Warcraft. This will get players familiar and engaged with the game from the get-go! By the time they reach the Shadowlands, they will be up with everybody else.
But what makes Exile’s Reach so great?
Exile’s Reach – the Perfect Introduction to World of Warcraft
Exile’s Reach is the first real “tutorial” of World of Warcraft, and you don’t need any prior knowledge or add-ons to defeat the content. The first part of the whole campaign takes place on a boat. Here is where you are given an easy chain of quests that anyone can follow. Completing these tasks quickly familiarizes you with many basic mechanics, like moving, rotating your camera, and using your spells. But most importantly, the game teaches you how to play your class!
World of Warcraft is a game that heavily revolves around the class you choose when you first create your character. Class identity is one of the most important things because you essentially experience the game through the “eyes” of your class! Specialization, items, and transmogs are all secondary choices. However, your class is what sticks with you from the beginning to the end of your WoW time.
Exile’s Reach does a fantastic job of giving you all the necessary info for who you are inside the game! A large part of the quests is class-related. Meaning that different classes have different quests and ultimately different experiences on Exile’s Reach. These “class quests” teach you what you can do with your spells and which rotation to use them for the biggest effect! They also unlock even more spells, which are all relevant to things you’re doing. Plus, you follow a coherent story for all of this, so the rewards make a lot of sense.
Another thing that is also vital for new players is that the quests are super connected. Whenever you finish a quest, it is crystally clear where the next begins and what needs to be done. Additionally, you will never face a great danger since the quest givers follow you most of the time. Giving you great instructions left and right.
But what deserves the most amount of appreciation is that Blizzard didn’t forget to add some “mystery”. Although Exile’s Reach’s campaign is pretty linear, there are tons of side distractions to keep the new players in awe. One of our favorite things was discovering hidden chests or fighting the rare elites for some sweet loot and gold.
All of this, combined with the game’s modern look, is the perfect introduction to World of Warcraft that Blizzard has ever done!
How to Access Exile’s Reach if You’re New or a Veteran Player?
Exile’s Reach’s idea is pretty simple. The whole thing works like this: both categories can enter Exile’s Reach when creating a new character. Those who will purchase World of Warcraft for the first time will be immediately sent to Exile’s Reach to learn the fundamentals. Upon reaching level 10, they will be instantly sent to Boralus or Dazar’Alor, respectively, to continue their adventures in Battle for Azeroth.
However, players who already have a high-level character will have a choice upon character creation. Whether to play through Exile’s Reach or the regular starting zones. Choosing Exile’s Reach will give you the whole tutorial experience as if you’re a new player too. After that, these players can also choose to level up in any other previous expansion of WoW. This will be done through a simple time walking with Chromie.
This level of personal choice is something that is very new to Blizzard and World of Warcraft. We’re happy that Shadowlands shows its quality right from the pre-patch!
The Lore and Questline of Exile’s Reach
Exile’s Reach is a small island located somewhere between Northrend, The Broken Isles, and Kul Tiras. We come to know of it because of a misfortune expedition that our faction has sent. Which is now missing. Therefore, we are sent on a mission to investigate what has happened to this expedition and save its crew.
On the island, we learn a lot of things. First, we find out the two primary races, ogres and quilboars, and we learn that they’re heavily invested in necromancy. They practice and organize a number of weird rituals that involve sacrificing the members of the lost expedition. We are led by our rescue party’s chief, Warlord Breka Grimaxe (or captain Garrick if you’re on the Alliance), to dismantle their plans.
Here, the ogres have set themselves as Exile’s Reach rulers, while the quilboars are only their servants. But they are charged to kidnap living people and to make their sacrifices with them. One by one, we pick up the pieces and realize that the Ogres’ goal is to raise an undead dragon on the island.
We track their leader, Gor’Groth, a powerful necromancer who is behind the schemes. He dwells in Exile’s Reach’s high citadel. To stop him from completing the ultimate ritual, we must first decimate his surrounding army and infiltrate his home.
The story culminates as we plunge into the deadly fortress, which is actually a mini-dungeon of 2 bosses. We work together with our allies to slay Gor’Groth. Unfortunately, he and the rest of the dead Ogres, become final sacrifices for the ultimate ritual. So the undead dragon Ravnyr is finally awake, and we have to take him down too. When the day is saved, we escape the citadel and fly to our capital city, where we take refuge before our next adventures.
While Exile’s Reach’s lore is closed and only tutorial-oriented, it might hint at what is to come in the future. In Shadowlands, we essentially go into the realm of death, and we’re probably going to meet some necromancers there. Getting a zone in the pre-patch that primarily focuses on battling this sort of magic might not be just a coincidence. Who knows, maybe the brand new hollow-green aesthetics of the necromancy spells will not be restricted to just starting a starting zone for new players that come to WoW?
The Aesthetics of Exile’s Reach
Time after time, the World of Warcraft art team has proved more than capable of creating purely special zones. The game has been heavily criticized by the community for its lack of content. Everyone praised its visual and audio quality. Legion brought us some of the most mesmerizing and breathtaking scenery in gaming overall. At the same time, Battle For Azeroth had one of the best soundtracks of all the expansions. And Exile’s Reach carries that tradition into Shadowlands!
Exile’s Reach has its own aesthetic style that courses around the theme of death. While the island itself has many natural-looking spots, they aren’t in their usual radiance. The grass is dark green, the ground is all gray, and the sky is just overhung with heavy clouds. The beaches give off a tiring feeling while the woods seem gloomy and dangerous to thread alone.
On the other hand, the natives of Exile’s Reach have transformed their habitats into ghastly areas. There are scattered bones everywhere, purple fireplaces, and spooky effigies. Nearly all NPCs talk of dying and being sacrificed, which immerses you in the story’s topic. You can feel the touch of necromancy wherever you go through that sickly hollow-green color that predominates the whole island.
Overall, we loved the tone of Exile’s Reach, and we think it’s the ideal start for Shadowlands. We give a solid 10/10 score for hitting everything right. Combined with the new character customization options, new players, as well as old, are looking at one hell of a blast on Exile’s Reach!
The Pre-patch Character Customization Options
Along with Exile’s Reach, Blizzard implemented a ton of new character customization options in World of Warcraft. Every race has multiple choices for skin tones, hairstyles, beards, and all else, so you can really create a one-of-a-kind character! For example, humans got a couple of afro haircuts, orcs have received their historic war paints. While undeads can now be “freshly dead” and not show any bones.
But, our favorite changes are at the Night Elves. The Kaldorei hit the jackpot this pre-patch because not only did they get a lot more depth. Their druids are now limitless in combining the skins for their animal forms. Yes, druids can now use all the skin options from their Legion artifact weapons, regardless of their specialization! The second-best feature is the addition of vines and leaves in their hairs and beards, which is a defining characteristic for the Night Elves in Warcraft 3!
But honestly, every race has gotten more than it was expected! The level at which you can customize your character in World of Warcraft now is simply a dream come true! And the best part about it is that they’re all free. You can visit the barbershop at any point and completely transform your looks! And did we mention that you can also change the gender of your character? Yep, you can do that too. You’re welcome!
The WoW community is very engaged in the new character customization options. Blizzard has received positive feedback from nearly everyone. Our only wish is that the developers will continue to expand this system. Give us even more choices when styling our characters! But for now, we’re pretty happy WoW players!