Archive for the ‘In The Zone’ Category

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Switch Or Not

30.04.2011

I find myself playing a bit more regularly again – not as much as before, but still enough to progress a bit on my priest. Soloing instances on a priest has to be harder than on any other class, even in Shadow spec.

Anyway, it’s a bit disappointing that leveling has been streamlined so much. Just by completing all quest in Dustwallow Marsh I gained double as many levels as the zone is designed for. That of course leaves me with the question on what to do now.

Next up would be Eastern Plaguelands – a fun zone, completely revamped in Cataclysm. But I feel the need to change things up a bit, so switching characters is in order. My girlfriend has a mage as main, so toying around with my mage would be an option in order to give better advice. Then again, those would be essentially the same zones I just finished. My paladin is at 70, ready to mop up the last quests in Outland. And her alt is a paladin as well.

On the other hand, I had a dream last night about playing my deathknight – fresh into Outland. Taking a different path than my paladin, that would be a new adventure as well.

Desicions, decisions. Any insights or should I let fate (and some dice) decide?

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Worgen woes

19.12.2010

Have you started your Worgen yet? Or, in case of Horde, your Goblin?

If no – but you still plan to – I advise you to wait another month or two. Or three. Not because of bugs in the starting area. Not because of balancing issues or whatnot. No, simply because of the novelty factor. See, I started my Worgen the day after release. And it was frustrating. Really. I came close to tears.

The story is simply fantastic. The zones, the phasing, the characters, all the perfect introduction to the new, modernised World of Warcraft. New players and old alike will get sucked deep into the story of the Cataclysm unfolding around them.

So where’s the frustration? In the other players. Gilneas was so overrun with players that it was near impossible to find the named mobs for a few quests. They had a lifespan of about .2 seconds. Gathering quests were equally frustrating. Stand right on top of one of the needed objects, fighting off three of the insanely fast-spawning mobs, and watch helplessly as someone else runs through you, gathers the object and then leaves you to die. All the while reading the Gilneas chat scrolling by, making the infamous Barrens chat look like a civil book-club discussion.

If that is what new players are presented with as normal behaviour, you no longer wonder about the behaviour in PUGs and battleground. Or that of high-level players finishing up low-level quest areas. Or pretty much anything, really.

And once you get out of Gilneas, it’s exactly the same, because all the Worgen you just witnessed trampling over one of the most tragic storylines written? They’re all there with you in Darkshore. Congratulations, welcome to Worgen hell. Or Goblin hell, I suspect.

No, if you truly want to play a Worgen not for the coolness, but for experiencing the unique flavour and backstory – wait. Please.

And a special, sincere thanks to the Worgen who grouped with me so we had at least a double chance of actually killing a quest target. You were the rare, singular, shining example of teamplay on that day. You made me stay with the story instead of giving up.

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Stranger things have happened

21.08.2010

When I’m stressed out or bored, I do strange things.

I’m very stressed out due to an unfortunate incident at the office. I’m also bored out of my mind when at home.

And to demonstrate that A && B := C, I clicked ‘join battle’ today and had a go at Arathi Basin. The first time was pretty much what I expected, complete and utter chaos, confusion and generally not knowing what to do. Of course I’ve read about Battlegrounds, chuckled about anecdotes and memorised basic guidelines. It all goes to hell, though, when instead of my normal ‘me vs. the World’ battles there are 20 characters running, jumping, casting, slashing and hacking away. Incidentally, we lost.

So I re-queued immediately. This time, our team was better organised, some people even using /bg chat. I went defence after capping the mill (see, I’ve still got the lingo down from years after years of team-oriented FPS gaming) and camped there for the remainder of the match, calling out incoming Horde and successfully defending the flag. I even had enough time to set up WIM to intercept battleground chat, which I hadn’t bothered with before.

The whole affair reminded me very much of playing on public servers in Counterstrike or Battlefield. I never liked the latter, but mostly because I’m a simulator fan and seeing tanks and planes so misrepresented caused physical pain. In this fantasy setting though, capturing a place like the mill or the blacksmith or the mine, seeing it actually come to live with people suddenly working there – it suddenly all makes sense. And it doesn’t feel like playing WoW, it feels like I’m playing my character playing a game. Which is strange. And fun. And this sort of controlled PvP is exactly what I like. Nothing I could do all day, but as a brief respite from questing, bring it on!

So I think whenever I’m too pressed for time to do serious questing, or don’t have any quests coming up that I like, I’ll go and stomp some Horde in the battlegrounds. Some honour-gear also looks like upgrades to my mostly green-blue quest gear, so that works out as well. I just wish there was a central honour-based vendor, instead of having to fly and sail all over Azeroth to get the particular piece of equipment I’m after.

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A weekend recap

16.08.2010

This weekend marked the first time in quite a few weeks that I had more than enough time to play WoW. So I spend two happy afternoons levelling my rogue, who was the lowest level of all my characters. That spot is now firmly in the grasp of my druid and, frankly, I don’t think he’ll relinquish that one any time soon. Even the Worgen priest (and I don’t like priests) who is forming in my mind has a fair chance of catching up once Cataclysm is out.

Take a long look - it's all going to change!

So, instead of boring you with yet another post on low-level content, I bring you my current favourite zone – Wetlands. A rare shot with one of my characters in it, unedited.

I also found out that MobInfo already does what I’m coding at the moment. Well, partly. Not exactly what I want, anyway. So, I continued working on my add-on and am happy to say that it now actually displays something that vaguely resembles a scrollable list. It also record critter kills, which came as a completely unexpected bonus.

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King Hogger

05.08.2010

Yesterday, Eonar-EU was down for extended maintenance. This means I finally got around to update my character stats on this blog, but I also took the time to browse the web for a few Cataclysm updates. And boy did I find something. WorldOfRaids did previews of new (or renewed) instances, among them the Stockades in Stormwind. As I understand it, this instance currently isn’t very popular despite the convenient location due to generally low loot and boring design.

This is about to change.

For details, read the linked article, but the icing on the cake is this, the final boss of the new Stockades.

Hogger, King of Gnolls

The quest entry for the Gnoll King

That’s right, Hogger is back, bigger and badder then ever. Apparently, he finally got jailed for killing millions of low-level Alliance characters. And since those must have netted quite some XP, he got a power-boost as well. That means no more ad-hoc Hogger raids with two dozen level one characters, but Stockades are now worth a trip for nostalgia and retribution alone.

Elwynn Forest most likely will get a new bounty quest, but I doubt it will prove as memorable as the old Hogger. I even went as far as approaching his hideout from the coast of Westfall in a few cases, since that meant easier access without having to deal with hordes of Gnolls.

There seems a bit of conflicting information here – the instance is there, but according to the Elwynn Forest wiki entry, Hogger remains there as well, at Forest’s Edge.

However, there is hope – this expansion, King Hogger the dungeon boss. Next expansion, Hogger as true raid instance!

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Azeroth panoramic

22.05.2010

Current progress is a bit slow, mostly I’ve been trying to tweak my mage rotation a bit – Recount has actually found it’s way back into my installation for that. WoWWebstats is another tool that is a huge help, but doesn’t offer the realtime feedback Recount has.

But, since I imagine there are more interesting things out there than a level 30 mage rotation, I bring you a few panoramas that I’ve been working on. They’re a bit of an experiment, but I’m quite satisfied with them, so I’ll see if I can get as many panoramas of the pre-Cataclysm world as possible.

Be sure to click the thumbnails for the high-resolution versions!

Loch Modan - Thelsamar

Duskwood - Darkshire

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My kingdom for a capital!

03.05.2010

Today’s shared topic from BlogAzeroth is all about hometowns. So what better post than another list of comparisons?

Let’s start with the racial capitals.

Stormwind

Stormwind is not only the human capital, but the capital of the entire Alliance as well. As such, it provides a decent baseline to measure other cities. It is easily accessible by boat, train or flight, although if you have to switch from flight to ship, you still have to travel quite a way. The districts all share a common layout – with the exception of the mage quarter, but then they do get some leeway for requisite eccentricity. Shops are all there, even if some are in strange places. Bank and auction house are comfortably close to each other, and all major trainers are nearby. The shaman trainer is a bit hidden, but again, that’s almost expected.

A big plus for Stormwind on the account of having its own instance dungeon, the Stockades.

Darnassus

Everything is bigger. At least it leaves the impression. Built on various small islands, with connecting bridges and houses overlooking the lake, it has a feeling of freedom and openness that you don’t get anywhere else. That said, it takes an awful lot of time to get anywhere if you don’t know exactly where the shop you want is – it’s all very distributed and the quarters (or terraces in this case) aren’t as well-defined and laid out as Stormwind.

Darnassus is also harder to get to – the only way is by portal from Rut’theran village, which in turn can only be reached by flight or ship from Auberdine.

Exodar

However, Darnassus is still easy to get to, if compared to Exodar. The only way to get to the crashed spaceship is by ship – irony not withstanding. There is no flightpath, only a ferry from Auberdine. Given the fact that Auberdine also provides travel to Stormwind, I’d make a point in having Auberdine as a capital, but then again, it will get pretty wet there come Cataclysm.

The ship – the Exodar – is also quite confusing on the inside. Where human and Dwarf districts are clearly named and even the Elves in Darnassus made it easy for tourists, in Exodar, we have to guess the meaning behind “Vaults of Light” and “Crystal Hall”. While trying to discern blacksmiths from engineers working on repairs to the ship. And being blinded by liberal use of brightly glowing crystals.

Ironforge

Ironforge is pretty similar to Stormwind, with the exception of having a huge lake of red-hot lava in the middle. And better music. And an awe-inspiring approach, if you take the scenic route and travel there on foot. I admit – I’m a fan of Ironforge. Really, I like it. So much that I can’t really point out any flaws, maybe with the exception of needing a harbour, but that would be just … un-Dwarfish.

Conclusion

If you want a capital, buy an Ironforge!