Real thoughts this time. I actually got the beta to download and run! O, frabjous day, callooh callay! Which is what I exclaimed right after my mouse went snicker-snack through the character creation screen. I created a Panderen Monk first, of course. Spawned in to about a million other pandas. And that's not even exaggerating (much). One wonders how anybody was left on the live servers...
I only hung around the starting area for about five minutes. It was fun. Jumping was cool. Animations were smooth. I just didn't want to level with the throng. Might save it for a month after release or something.
Instead, I immediately logged out and worked on transferring my warlock over. It was simple, and I was able to log into him within ten minutes, easily. I noticed one problem right off-the-bat. While I was snicker-snacking above, I used my name for my panda. Thus, the real Fulguralis was flagged for a name change. I found this hilarious, so I changed it to Fulgularious.
Poneria, here's where you want to pay attention. I rolled both toons on Lost Isles. I searched for you, even stalked twitter a bit, but I don't think you were beta'ing. However, I am on that server now, should all and sundry wish to find me. I would have hollered more last night into the void, but it was swiftly approaching bed time. I didn't want to coerce anyone on, only to peace out when they showed up.
Anyhoo, I imagine I'll be on randomly in the next several weeks or so. Probably mostly this weekend. We'll see. I don't have any majestic plans, just wanted to poke around a bit. If I get to say "hi" to folks in addition, well that's just bonus.
Apart from just getting everything running, I did spend some time speccing my 'lock and playing with spells. I even got in some quality time with a dummy, though I was surrounded by those same million people that were in the panda zone. I swear they were following me around. Adoring, probably.
The good news is that I think the changes make the Affliction rotation more elegant. That is, there seemed to be less clunk than the current iteration. I like most of the changes, though I hardly delved deep. An AoE drain life is pretty awesome. Malefic Grasp feels burstier since damage starts right away. From a flavor perspective, I suppose I like it more than Shadow Bolt. Spells seemed to mesh together well, and I felt like I had fewer buttons to press (which is a good thing... fewer chunks as Cynwise might say).
I still think there were areas that could be polished. For instance, I choose Doom to replace Corruption (just to see) and I don't think Soul Swap flung it around appropriately. That is, I think it dropped off one of the targets, which Corruption never did... so that would seem like a flaw if it's meant to be used in place of Corr.
I had to check out the different pets. I'm not sure how I feel about Observer vs. Felpup. I like that each demon seems to have a signature ability that you're suppose to activate. Makes them seem more integrated.
I have no idea what they're trying to do with soul shards. It seemed like haunt cost a shard (though I didn't see that in the tooltip). In addition, nightfall gains shards back (since we have no more s-bolt). I seemed to be regaining shards far faster than I could use them. Probably should have used more Soulfires or something. I don't know. Again, see aforementioned delving depth. The skinny here is that I hope they aren't done with the system. I think it needs more options or something. Just doesn't feel quite finished.
All in all, though, it was a pretty positive little test session. I'm not going to hang my hat on any one thing in particular, since I assume it's all in a state of flux. The good news is that the underlying ideas seem sound. Affliction hasn't take a right turn off into the Arcane Mage weeds or anything.
I was all right with the pandas too. The one I made had orange-ish patches around his eyes. I kept calling him ULTIMATE WARRIOR PANDA. It made me cackle. Now, if they only add feathered 80's hair options...