Tag Archive: cataclysm


What’s Better than One Druid?

If you answered ‘two druids’, you’re half right!*

Anyone who’s troubled to look back to the beginning of this blog may have noticed that Dhakeilh is not actually the only character I had intended to feature here. Poor Aminyara, who really has been most shamefully neglected, was the victim of unfortunate circumstance; only a month or so after I actually started blogging properly, the regiment to which she belongs got put in indefinite hiatus due to real life issues with some of the other members. As she can’t level past where she is now and remain in the group, she has pretty much been on hold too, and I’ve been concentrating more on Dhak and various other baby alts.

Now that Cataclysm has dropped, however, I can finally do what I’ve been wanting to do for a while, that being start a second ‘main’ on an Oceanic server. In a BA shared topic back in October I got her name all picked out, but of course (being a worgen) she has perforce been waiting in the wings until now. Since I have finally given in to the inevitable and admitted that of all classes I much prefer druids, she is of course of the druidic persuasion. I’m quite excited about this – I’ve spent the last few months thinking ‘When I can finally make that new druid, I’ll…’

And here she is!

The yellow eyes are a particularly ferocious touch, of course.

 

Akhyataj, or Taj (as she almost immediately became) is intended to be my Alliance main for at least the duration of Cataclysm, and most likely longer. There are quite a few achievements that I’ve consciously ignored on Dhakeilh, although I love collecting them, with a view to creating a ‘real’ main character in an Oceanic time zone – things like mounts and pets that take a lot of grinding, and that sort of thing. She’s only level 20 at the moment, since I’ve been stomped by the Real Life boss this Christmas, but that will change…quickly, I hope. And, of course, there’s the all-important question of hair/druid form colour; I quite like black, but I haven’t really decided whether to settle on it yet or not. I suppose that’s what barber shops are for!

Then, of course, where there is Alliance there must be Horde (at least in my admittedly odd world view). Therefore, I would also like to introduce Andiyaba, who was not a part of my plan for Cataclysm, but who has settled herself into the collection of characters quite firmly already. Naturally, she is also a druid (what else?), but in a small departure from what I’ve done before, she will be resto rather than feral. Healing raises my blood pressure (just ask my poor, long-suffering guildies who get to listen to the complaints), but I haven’t yet tried it on a druid except in emergencies, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. So far I have yet to break myself of picking agility gear over intellect from quest rewards, though!

A druid in caster form is a new experience for me...

 

So there we have it, the ongoing projects that will hopefully last me for the foreseeable future (with, of course, plenty of other alts mixed in). I have a few ideas for writing projects based around the two of them, but that will largely depend on available time, and now is certainly not the moment to start anything new. In any case, just leveling two new druids should keep me out of mischief for a while…

Well, out of obvious mischief, anyway.

*Correct answer: More druids. Always, more druids.

Advertisements

Playtime! New Toys…

Is quoting Meathook a bad thing?

Cataclysm, unfortunately, hit the world during a week where I was covering a colleague’s leave at my real job and also three days before I took an exam. In addition, my left wrist is currently in a brace, which means half of my typing is much as usual and the other half (i.e. the keybind half) is slow and awkward. Can we postpone all this for a couple of months, please?!

No, not really, of course. In spite of getting wiped by the real life boss and the fun of trying to play with an immobilised wrist, Dhak hit 85 early last week via Vashj’ir, Deepholm, Uldum and Twilight Highlands. So far it’s been fun, though I am suffering from a severe case of toomanythingstodoallatoncemustdoNOW; the tactic that seems most helpful is deep breathing and a firm resolve to stick to one goal at once!

Things I’ve loved so far:

– Pebble. I want! That is the most adorable little earth elemental ever spawned.

– The end of the Uldum quest line (the whole zone is fun, too, but the end made me go wow…no pun intended).

– Halls of Origination. Yes, it’s super long, but it’s original and interesting and you actually have to think about the fights.

– The Abyssal Seahorse, which I can’t use outside Vashj’ir… /cry

– Archaeology, which is quickly turning me into an addict who spends her time soaring around looking for dig sites instead of, oh, leveling jewelcrafting or actually gearing up. Because I needed another time sink…bad Blizzard!

– The shaman down inside the gullet in Twilight Highlands. I presume their chatter is different depending on your class, but it made me giggle repeatedly. ‘When was the last time you saw me turn into a wild beast…wait, never mind.’

– And, of course, the goblin and worgen starting zones. I love them both for equal and opposite reasons (which surprised me; I didn’t expect to enjoy the goblin zone, goblins being the kind of race I never usually play and have very little sympathy for). Fun!

Things I’ve disliked:

– The new Darkshore. Yes, there is much that is cool and interesting about it, I love the new pet, and I’m not arguing that it’s bad from a development or gameplay point of view; quite the opposite. But of all places in the world, this one just bowled me over when I saw what they did to Auberdine and the surrounds (being afraid of exactly that, I didn’t actually visit it after the Shattering until my new worgen reached that point). You can hardly walk ten yards before you have to climb over or around some new canyon or gorge, Auberdine is not just damaged but totally wrecked – and to add insult to injury, the first quest you complete there is going off to recover the survivors. This would be fair enough, except that the survivors are the old named NPCs from Auberdine…and you have to walk past the corpses of half the others, lying on the beach! Bad Blizzard (in the other sense, this time)! Of all the horrid things to do to players with fond memories of their early leveling days…anyway, that in particular definitely knocked me for six. Laird was my FRIEND. He sold me fishing recipes!*

– The amazing vanishing mining nodes (and herbs). Hopefully this bug will be looked at soon, unless of course the GMs are just getting too much amusement out of watching players trying to sneak up on obsidium nodes and mine them before they vanish. Puzzling at the beginning, this one becomes frustrating fast.

– Tol Barad, at the moment, though this may change when more people are 85. My experience with it so far has involved small groups and frustrating attempts to elude or distract the Horde gank squad long enough to capture a base only to lose it again, but since a) it’s new and b) I suck at PvP, this opinion is highly likely to be both ill-informed and invalid. On the other hand…it has a dragon as a reputation reward…which may reconcile me to its shortcomings.

– Lag in Stormwind and Orgrimmar, combined with roughly a billion dragons flapping their wings between you and whichever important quest NPC/vendor/flight master you’re trying hard to click on. Yes, people, we know you’re uber. You do not have to hover three feet off the ground on your Bronze Drake in the middle of the Trade District. Also, the lack of a common city for Alliance and Horde makes holiday achievements trickier!

All in all…yes, I’m having heaps of fun. No question of that. It’s been interesting too to see everyone’s gear level suddenly even out quite a bit; I’ve discovered that while I’m by no means good at my class, neither am I quite as abysmally awful at kitty dps as I had been thinking, which is a nice confidence booster. Also, I love the challenge and the need for actual thought in instances now. It remains to be seen whether I’ll ever dare to raid…

*Yes, I know. It hasn’t escaped me that this is exactly the reaction I’m sure Blizzard wants, and that they’ve done an excellent job with the expansion. But still. Bad Blizzard!

Scattered Thoughts

I suppose major changes like this to a world that people know and love are always going to provoke a lot of comment (and boy, is that an understatement. Have we heard anything but Cataclysm lately?). My feelings are rather mixed – so much so that, in fact, I’ve started this post no less than four times in different tones! I hesitate to apply the word ‘bittersweet’, because that might lend the whole thing a little too much gravitas, but I think that’s the term that best expresses the flavour of the moment.

I tried out the new troll starting area today (along with roughly ten million others, mostly playing druids). Having competed madly for quest mobs and listened to dialogue rendered meaningless by constant repetition as each of the ten million did the same quests, I quite liked it – but I think I’m going to wait a while to go back, since it was rather like being in pre-Shattering Dalaran. I shudder to think what Gilneas and the Lost Isles are going to be like! I also had a look at a few other places, including Dun Morogh (interesting), Stormwind (er…shattered) and Menethil (flooded), and ran around a bit to get a feel for Dustwallow Marsh.

I notice we now have new achievements as well, which has adjusted a few things one way or t’other. Of course, as we were warned, my characters have lost basically all their quest counts for old Azeroth (sigh). On the up side, the higher level ones seem to have gained the exploration achievements for nearly every zone, including ones they’ve never visited (Azshara, for instance!). I have a feeling that World Explorer, at least for pre-existing characters, has just got an awful lot quicker; I’m only missing 5 zones on Dhakeilh now. It was interesting to have a look at the achievements for the Cata raids and for archaeology, too – I’ve not been in the beta and have avoided hearing too much about the upcoming storylines, so I’m having fun speculating on where all the bosses come in.

The down side, of course, is the glaringly obvious. Deathwing has done his dastardly work and destroyed the world as we know it, and (since, as aforementioned, I’m beta-less) things keep taking me unawares. I trotted out the western gate of Razor Hill today and went splash into the Southfury River, somewhat to my surprise – and Orgrimmar looks so different that I have to keep looking at the map to find myself. I haven’t yet dared to visit Auberdine and Darkshore, and I’m not entirely sure I want to; I spent a lot of my early leveling time there on Dhak and on other characters, and in spite of its dreariness, I was quite fond of the place. I suppose I’ll have to go and have a look, though.

Common sense and experience with Blizzard both dictate that there will be plenty of new (or improved) areas that are just as beautiful and/or just as lovable as the ones that are now underwater or broken into bits. Likewise, in the grand scheme of things, an expansion that rearranges a computer game’s virtual world is not exactly an issue of major importance. Even knowing both of those things, though, I can’t quite evade a tendency to wail ‘But I wasn’t ready yet!’ when I see some newly devastated place. There were still things I should have got round to, screenshots I should have taken (why is it only now that I want to look at the statues in front of Stormwind as they were, when I could have done it any day for the last two months?), places I should have spent more time in, quest lines I really should have done…and so on, and so forth. I don’t think I realised, I suppose, that we’d be having the Shattering two weeks before Cata – but even with those extra two weeks, would I have felt ready? Probably not.

I have never been a person who really enjoys changes. Of course, I only started playing about a year ago, so there are still huge swathes of WoW that I haven’t touched. Unlike the majority, who were raid-ready as Wrath started or during its course and are now bored silly, there’s still heaps of content that would be plenty new and exciting (and difficult) for me. Probably that contributes to the mixing of my feelings – I’m not so desperate for something new to do as many others are, and all of the predictions about how Cataclysm will make everything far more difficult are worrying me a bit (I am quite dreadful enough as it is without adding more complications)! All in all, I’m looking forward to it – I think. But there is a level on which it feels rather like they’ve taken a good game that I was getting fond of and turned it back into a new game that I don’t know at all. Of course, I can only imagine how much more jarring the changes must be for those who’ve been playing years longer than me, too.

The title of this post should have served as a warning about its content! I really didn’t intend for this to turn into a whine about Cataclysm, because there are many things about it that I’m eagerly awaiting. Really, I think, it’s just the aftermath of seeing the destruction for the first time; when I get more used to it, and have got over the shock of seeing a few favourite places destroyed, I’ll find new spots to love and all will be sunshine again.

After all, who doesn’t love a new challenge?!

The end of an era always tends to bring on a spate of reminiscences and bewailing the disappearance of whatever we most loved about said era. In the spirit of the times, therefore, I’ve been doing a little meditating on the idea of a home in Azeroth – and, being possessed by the lunacy of Hallow’s End, Blog Azeroth has elected to use the idea as a shared topic this week.

Here’s my original trigger question:

What does ‘home’ mean in your book? Do you have a particular home in Azeroth – a place you feel you belong, that you know like the back of your hand, or that you feel more comfortable in than anywhere else? Would this be different for different characters or different factions, or is there just a place that really resonates with you? Do you think Cataclysm will prompt you to find new and different turf, or will you be heading back there first thing to see what might have changed? If it is destroyed, how do you think that will affect your experience of the game, or your characters’ lives? Or do you think the whole idea of having a home doesn’t even really apply to a game?

 

This is a topic that’s close to my heart for a whole lot of reasons. I haven’t seen my own real life home in a long time, and probably won’t for a long time yet, but at heart I’m definitely a homebody (in spite of a life spent traveling). For that reason, I often will look for somewhere that ‘fits’ to use as a sort of base of operations – whether in a new city or in a computer game! – and, of course, I’m hardly alone in that. There’s a distinction in WoW, though, between a functional home and an emotional home…or at least, there is for me.

I originally became more familiar with the more traveled places, of course. If I had to choose the area I know best, it probably would be Darkshore (after leveling several night elves and draenei). The city I’m most familiar with? Probably Stormwind or Orgrimmar, no surprises there. My favourite place to look at? Ouch, that’s a tricky one. The jury’s still out on that one, maybe I’ll know in five years or so…but I’m guessing Storm Peaks or Stranglethorn Vale would probably be up there. Certainly Azeroth is a beautiful place. Functionally, I guess Dalaran and Stormwind/Orgrimmar share the honours – Dalaran for the shops and the portals, the others for the auction house. There are, after all, only so many places you can sensibly use to conduct all the practical micromanagement that is life in WoW.

‘Emotional home’, though, is a different story entirely. Stormwind might be practical, but homelike? Not really. Auberdine is familiar, but, well, a bit…dreary (is it only me who feels a cataclysm might improve it? *ducks*). And Stranglethorn Vale is a bit hot and humid really – I never liked the tropics that much.

Looking up toward the village

I will certainly admit that most people probably wouldn’t consider Desolace as their favourite place to spend time. In general, neither would I – with the exception of Shadowprey Village, tucked into a little strip of land ‘between the mountains and the sea’. I didn’t actually discover it until quite a while after I had started playing WoW, because Dhak never went to Desolace while leveling (and in any case would have been unlikely to visit a village full of trolls!); it wasn’t until my hunter got sent there in search of bloodbelly fish that I even had a reason to visit. When I did, I didn’t notice it much at first, being rather focused on finding the quest mob and then going for a swim to collect shellfish for him. It wasn’t until I was twenty feet underwater and actually opened my eyes and looked that I realised that actually, the seaweed and sea-floor were quite lovely. And then I surfaced and turned and looked back at the village, and fell in love – just like that.

The love affair was confirmed after I swam back and had a better look at the place. It reminds me subtly of my real home (which is nowhere near the sea) – the only explanation for this I can come to is that the air is clear and it’s tucked into the shadow of a mountain, but I think it’s something in the atmosphere. This is possibly fanciful, but I reserve the right to be fanciful in a blog about Azeroth! At any rate, an elusive something there makes me feel safe and happy, which after all are two major and necessary qualities in anybody’s home. The buildings are quaint and pretty, and you can get up toward the sky; this is terribly important for me as I have a love of flight and the sky that borders on an obsession. But above all, it just feels right. I can wander around there for long periods of time, just looking – even though I’ve seen it all before.

From the top floor of the inn

My horde characters, once they’re level-appropriate, tend to return there at regular intervals. I have one character on a RP realm who hails from there, and she is always pathetically glad to get home and away from the rest of the world. Being in such an out-of-the-way spot, too, it’s rare to meet another player – which for my introverted self can be a good thing at times.

But now, of course, Cataclysm is coming. And while I’m looking forward to it in the main, I’m getting more and more worried about what it’s going to do to the places I like – in particular, this place.

I think Rhii expressed it best in this post just after the Cataclysm cinematic came out. She’s more bothered by Freewind Post and Auberdine biting the dust, while for me the gasp came when I saw that wave hovering over Booty Bay – how dare he? From my understanding of things, Shadowprey Village will survive Deathwing’s arrival, at least in the most part, but just about the first thing I do when Cata hits will be to log on one of the characters who’s there and make sure he hasn’t touched a single thing, directly or indirectly. And if he has…if he’s drowned, burned, dislodged or otherwise destroyed anything in that village…well, just the idea of that is what gets me feeling really murderous toward a certain large, black dragon.

Home sweet Desolace. Who’d have thought?