Posts Tagged ‘zone’

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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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Fort Livingston, I presume

01.12.2010

A week has passed since the Shattering, and coincidentally, I’m back from a week of much-needed vacation. So instead of blogging about every single change that I noticed, here is a collection of impressions from my shattered Azeroth.

 

Phased Zones

They said that they wanted to make heavy use of phasing, and they didn’t disappoint. I’ve only seen it now in the Plaguelands, but it is simply epic. Actually seeing a difference you make in the Battle for Andorhal, later the recapture of Tyr’s Hand – that is truly fantastic. The journey along Fiona’s Caravan isn’t too bad either, and serves quite well to keep the quests flowing.

It’s not quite on the level of interaction you get from single player game like the Fallouts, but it really keeps you immersed in the game.

 

Bugged Quests

Sadly, the new, phased zones seem to be plagued with a few bugs. Actually, the first quest bugs I’ve encountered so far.

One, the Battle for Darrowshire, seems to be now hotfixed – though I’ll have to try for myself later today.

Two, Into the Flames can be completed but not turned in – I’ve already opened a ticket and am awaiting a response.

Other than that, NPC’s in phased quests seem to behave strangely sometimes, especially when multiple players are doing the same quest.

 

Stormwind rebuilt

Deathwing almost destroyed Stormwind. But that’s okay, they rebuilt it, bigger and better than ever. Did you notice the subtly applied new textures? How the pavement changes between districts? The old park may be gone, but the new outskirts area is so much more open, and in my eye, even more beautiful than the old park.

Also,  the castle. It’s like the completely tore down the old one and build a new one instead. With a proper entrance and everything.

And if you were complaining about the lag in the marketplace and auction house – head on over to the Dwarven district – I like the bank and auction house there. Ideal for smelting and blacksmiths, and with almost nobody else there (yet).

 

Worgen now in!

Of course, with Worgen PCs coming in just a few short days, there are already Worgen NPCs around. And the nice touch: You can already gain Gilneas reputation! And don’t you just love the accent? Granted it’s a bit exaggerated, but which of the accents in the voice acting of WoW isn’t…

 

New music is kind of meh

Entering Stormwind the first thing you’ll notice is the changed music. But, sadly, like the old one, it gets annoying rather quickly. So listen to it once, then turn of in-game music and switch back to your favourite iTunes mix. But points for effort.

 

New flightpaths are sometimes overkill

In some zones, like the Wetlands, it’s nice to have a few more flightpaths scattered around. In other zones, it seems like overkill. If you can’t stomach a short 40 second ride (or shorter depending on your riding skill), maybe questing isn’t for you? But then, I probably shouldn’t talk – I’m lazy as hell myself and yes, if there is a flightpath, I take it. I may immediately smack my forehead for wasting 20 copper (25 years of living in Swabia will do that to you), but I ride the taxi nevertheless.

 

Zone specific quest achievements

Not much of a change for those of you coming from Northrend, but the new achievements mean a lot less bookkeeping for potential loremasters. They also provide some sort of progress bar when questing through a zone. I’m German. I like statistics and forecasts and whatnot. So yay for a more detailed breakdown of questing achievements.

 

New questlines – epic!

Really. I don’t think anything else needs to be said. The new, remade questlines are well written, gripping and generally much more involved and character driven than the old ones. Instead of the old “Kill ten Defias thugs”, followed inevitably by “You’re back? Oh well… go and kill ten Defias muggers, then.” you get to know the questgivers, the reference you to others who then have already heard of your exploits and maybe you can help with this much more pressing problem they’ve got.

 

A new leveling experience

This is a combination of the phased zones and redone questlines, really. But leveling feels much smoother, much less grindy, much more story-oriented than previously. It also feels a lot faster, which in some ways I regret. I’m a big fan of the “there are much more powerful enemies and dangerous areas out there” feeling. The smaller zones mean that in many cases the mobs are more tailored to your level – changing it up sometimes with a couple of rare but powerful mobs would be nice.

Of course, most of the time you’re so deep in the storylines that it doesn’t matter. Questing through the Plaguelands was the first time that I didn’t want to stop playing not because of “just a couple more mobs and maybe I get a cool quest reward” but “I won’t stop playing until I know what happens to this character”.

I just hope that when I outlevel Azeroth and move on to Outland and later Northrend that the quests there hold up to the new standard.

 

 

The world lies in shambles. But what a world it is!

Well done, Blizzard!

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The world will break!

22.11.2010

Got any plans for Tuesday night? Or, presumably, Wednesday if you’re on an EU server like me? No?

Well, get ready. All signs point to The Shattering happening this week.

And I’m running out of time. Seriously. Just yesterday I leveled my warrior through Swamps of Sorrows. And then I realised – it won’t be a good place to hang out at level 40 any more. It’s going to be a level 52-54 zone. Stranglethorn will be, well, broken in half. Auberdine, gone. Menethil Harbor, flooded.

And of course, my careful leveling plan completely wrecked. Will I still be able to follow my chosen path? The wiki page on that matter has become quite confusing – a byproduct of breaking larger zones into multiple smaller ones.

So, yeah, I’m in frantic “gotta see it all before it changes forever” mode. Funny, we all knew that Cataclysm was coming. But now that it’s here, it still manages to catch us by surprise.

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Stranglethorn Blues

02.11.2010

Cataclysm hits in just over a month. With it, most, if not all, Old World zones change. So far, so good – we knew that a while ago.

Yesterday, it became a bit more personal. My mage is progressing through Stranglethorn at the moment. What better moment to get the Green Hills achievement? Especially since it might not be around in its current form come December. Only it seems I’m not alone with that idea.

A working night, close to midnight. And the place is more crowded than any of the starter zones I’ve been to. Sure, Stranglethorn is a lot bigger, but it looked like there were at least two guilds organising parties to complete the exact quest lines needed for the achievement.

It does take the magic out of things a little, seeing a bored level 80 AoE’ing hordes of raptors down so the three level 30-somethings don’t have to do it themselves. I’ve never been a fan of booster-runs, but instances are a fair game. This, however, was disheartening. Especially together with the usual obnoxiousness. Happily AoE’ing the mob I just attacked. Skinning the mob under my feet as soon as I’m finished looting. Not that my mage is a skinner, but come on! I could just be checking inventory for free space!

I understand the desire to get the achievement and quests done before Cataclysm. Hell, that’s what I’m doing myself. But you can still respect other people doing the same thing.

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Fun in 4.0.1

19.10.2010

I got to finally enjoy the new patch. And since I haven’t had a screenshot post in a long time, here it is – minigames in 4.0.1!

There is a Gnome warlock in this picture. Really, there is. Big hat, glowing staff and all.


(click to zoom)

 

And here we have a main road. Honestly.

(click to zoom)
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Effort vs. escapism

02.09.2010

One of the reasons I started playing WoW was to find a way to quickly relax after coming back from the office. A nice ride through a couple of zones, grinding a few mobs, finishing a level or two and top it off with some meditative profession training and auctioning.

This works remarkably well. Without any obligations to a guild, raid attendance or so much as PUGging, I can get home and just play for a bit while my mind settles down. Then I can decide if I should do something actually useful, or keep playing. In a good mood, hop into a battleground, or maybe start a solo run in an instance.

However, I also set myself a few goals. Having one character of each class, all within ten levels of each other was one of them. This is so I can decide spontaneously which class to play without having to adjust to a completely different power level. Of course, there still is a huge difference between finishing off level 30 and starting fresh at 20 to bring the next character up. But mostly, it works well. All classes play differently but on average I’m within a five or six level range, which means the general feel of what is dangerous stays the same.

My druid is a problem, though. I want to keep him leveled with the rest. Partly because that’s what I set out to do, partly because I expect him to start being fun on the higher levels. Still, it feels a bit more like a chore to level him in comparison with my other characters. My current questing zone of Stonetalon Mountains doesn’t help either, I put that on par with Westfall when it comes to being the least entertaining or engaging zone. So I log on, manage to gain half a level, then start pondering if peace of mind has to be achieved by boring yourself out of it.

In the long-term, yes, I want to level my druid. And I want to do it before continuing with my hunter, simply because she’ll be even more fun after spending seven levels on my druid. And who knows, maybe I’ll get to the fun part of being a druid sooner than I think.

There are quite a few world events coming up this month, maybe they’ll provide both a decent distraction and a level boost.