Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cataclysm: Scariest Thing in Vashj'ir

I was just swimming around, going to hunt some crabs or some other menial task, for we survivors have to eat something. All of a sudden I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. As I approached I realized it was some sort of giant sea creature. Then its eyes turned upon me, and I was struck with momentary terror. I thought I'd accidentally bumped into an Old God. I actually swam away as quickly as I could. I was frightened out of my mind.

Later, the shamans of the Earthen Ring told me that inside this creature was where the naga had taken our captured friends. It turns out Nespirah is no C'thun, even if her eyes look like his. The eyes still creep me out, but I guess she's just Old, not a God, right?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cataclysm: About Ambivalence

Traxy over at I Like Pancakes wrote an interesting post about feeling ambivalent about the game right now. I have to say, I can understand where he's coming from.

With Cataclysm's initial release, my bestfriend and gaming partner plowed ahead of me, doing the whole playing right at midnight and staying up for 36 hours or something, rushing to get higher level. He's 85 now. He's told me that he felt rushed through some of the questing where he would have liked to see the lore. He's been running 5-mans with his guild and working to get geared up, and eventually he'll go back and see all of the story on one of his alts.

With him shooting out ahead of me, I was kind of left at a loss of where to begin with Cataclysm. Being guildless, I don't really have the urge to rush ahead and get raid ready right away. After a lot of thought, I decided I would level up my main first, but that I would do it slowly, my way, taking in all of the story and enjoying it.

Boy, am I enjoying it. I think it helped that I went to Mount Hyjal first. The lore there is just incredible.

Traxy made mention of a lot of quests being the kill X number of things, or gather X number of things, and that's true. There are still a lot of those kinds of quests out there, but the difference I'm finding is that if you read the quest text, there are good reasons for killing things or gathering things. Interspersed amongst these quests are the meat and potatoes of the storyline. I find the story to be far more seamless than it once was and its very easy to get immersed in it.

It's kind of funny to me, the choices I've made in playing since Cataclysm launch. In the past I've tried very hard to keep all of my professions at about the same level as the zone I'm in, taking them all up gradually at the same time. I haven't thought more than once about my cooking or fishing skill. I want to skill them up, but the pull of the story is too great. I keep thinking I should go back to Stormwind and work on it, but then I get some amazing mission to complete and I can't be bothered. I've been back to Stormwind twice since I first stepped into the newest zones. Once on the insistence of my partner, and once in between Mount Hyjal and Vashj'ir.

As amazing as the story has been, I have my concerns about re-playability. As Windsoar at Jaded Alt has said in her post about Vashj'ir, the story line is very linear. There's not much option to not do a quest that is distasteful to you and still continue with the chains that are needed to complete a zone. Once you've done a zone, you have most likely seen all of it. I guess we've said goodbye to those random hidden quests that are so awesome to just stumble across (I'm looking at you, quest to get the Sprite Darter Hatchling).

I haven't set foot in any dungeons yet. I'm kind of afraid to. I don't want the story to be broken up by a random dungeon. For the same reason, I haven't started Archaeology yet. It looks awesome, but I'm terrified that its going to engross me. All I'm going to want to do is go to dig sites and uncover ancient ruins and fossils. So I'm saving the dungeons and the Archaeology for after I'm 85 and have completed all the zones that I wanted to.

That's my biggest regret from Wrath, I never did quest much in Icecrown. On all of my toons I would hit 80 long before making it out there, and then would jump right into the gear-up to raiding. I could have taken the time out and done it, but by the time I realized that I even cared about it, well, it was going to be too difficult to get back into the swing of the lore. I'm not making that mistake in this expansion. Every zone will be completed by at least one toon.

I have made a Worgen and a couple Goblins that I haven't even gotten out of the starting zones with yet. I still have my alts in the back of my mind. They creep into my thoughts when I'm not playing, because when I am playing I can't be bothered to do anything else but see what happens next.

I almost feel as though the Shattering patch came out too late, but the expansion itself came out too early. I could have used a little more time on my alts. I was having a blast leveling slowly through the re-vamped zones. Now, although my focus is on 80-85, I still feel greatly conflicted. Will I remember where my alts left off once I'm done with the high level stuff? Will I end up starting all over with a new stable of alts? Time will tell.

Between the desire to keep up with my friend, the desire to see all of the story, and the desire to see an alt through the newly re-vamped world, I was feeling ambivalent too. I actually fluctuated for a while considering not even purchasing Cata right away (mostly due to money constraints).

On the urging of my bestfriend, I realized that I wouldn't be happy if I didn't keep up with the story. I've been pretty close to spoiler free this whole time. I have no idea what is in store for me in Deepholm or Uldum and beyond. Heck, I have no idea where I'm headed even in Vashj'ir, and that's the way I like it. If I'd waited to get Cata, I think I probably would have ended up seeing or learning about things that I really wanted to see first hand.

Thank you, Spellpower, for pushing me in this direction, and for getting me the expansion. I've had more fun so far than I can even put into words, and there's still so much more to do and see.

Ultimately, my major goal for the expansion for now, is to get Loremaster on both a new Alliance and a new Horde toon. So far, I haven't been making any progress towards that, but that's ok. If my judgment is correct, I have approximately 2 years to get it all done, and without worrying about raiding it shouldn't be an issue.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cataclysm: What's Going On?

Well, Viva is currently level 82 and making her way through Vashj'ir.

She doesn't actually ride the seahorse often, because, well, she's a druid. OMG! I get to use my water form! SQUEE! While I'm not sure I'll ever get completely comfortable with the 3D environment that is underwater, I am finding it absolutely beautiful. Every time I pop out of one of the underwater caves I'm stunned all over again at the beauty of the ocean.

Best NPC so far? Well I'm torn between Budd and The Great Sambino. While Budd might be completely insane and obsessed with shinies, I think Sam wins this one. Only a goblin shaman would do such strange things to his elemental companion.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cataclysm: On Gear Replacement

I have only just reached level 82 on my Boomkin/Resto druid, but I've already replaced the majority of my Wrath epics. Granted they weren't super-awesome Item Level 277s, but 251 isn't that far off. Maybe some of these choices were not the best, but gosh darn it, I was ready for a change. The biggest difference has been losing gems and enchants, but I've kind of decided to disregard that stuff for the time being. Afterall, gems and enchants can always be re-applied at level cap.

Let's take a look at an example, my pants. I'm currently wearing Treegrip Pants (quest reward from the quest I posted about yesterday), which replaced my T10 Lasherweave Legplates.  Looking purely at stats, the Treegrip Pants are a definite upgrade, but when you factor in the loss of gems and spellthread, not to mention tier bonuses and socket bonuses, it really isn't an upgrade at all.

The thing for me is that now is about immersion, and I lose some of it if I don't get new gear from quest rewards. I know that's pretty illogical on my part, but one thing I've learned over the years of playing the game, you gotta play the way you want to. Viva is fighting on the front lines of the battle to save Azeroth, and she should look the part. The spiffy armor she is now sporting feels very martial for me. She finally looks like a soldier to me.

Her next stop is going to be Vashj'ir, so who knows how she's going to be feeling about the leather once she's in the water. More to come.

P.S. Still WTB an option to hide Shoulders!

P.P.S. PANTS! (For those of you in the know.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cataclysm 80-85: Quest of the Day - Mount Hyjal

Well, the race to 85 is on, and I spent my day leveling Viva through Mount Hyjal.

I have to say, my favorite quest today was The Bears Up There.

I mean, even Keeper Taldros says the plan cannot fail, so it must be fool proof. Nevermind that I'm climbing a tree to grab a baby bear that is terrified because it's home is on fire. Nevermind that I'm supposed to toss them GENTLY on to the target to get them to safety. Nevermind that the Keeper had to momentarily "pacify" Momma and Papa bear.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wha? Huh?

Yeah, you may have noticed I took my Blog Azeroth post down. They switched the thingies on me. So that post will be re-posted next week.

The big news around the block is Cataclysm. Duh.

Or, if you're a precious little teeny-bopper that likes to read crap on webcam and then blow kisses, Ca-Tackle-ism (found via The Instance). If you guys missed that little bit of Youtube drama, well, I don't think there's any getting it back.

Basically it was a beautiful teenage girl reading a blurb from the Wowiki site about what Cataclysm is, in which she speaks as though she reads at a 2nd grade level or poorer, and mis-pronounces Cataclysm. She posted it, took it down, reposted it with a little blurb about how she mis-pronounced Cataclysm, then took it down again.

What an idiot. Seriously. If you are going to do little "news" blurbs on Youtube, you should at least be able to complete a sentence so that it sounds natural instead of pausing every other word. I could forgive the bit about mis-pronouncing Cataclysm, but the whole thing was trash. The only thing that could redeem her at this point is if she came out with something saying that she does these kinds of videos as a joke to mock bimbos.

I'll be posting a real post later (read tomorrow) about my real thoughts on Cataclysm.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The 20 Days of World of Warcraft: Day Twelve

Suggest any idea for Blizzard that they could put in the game.

So many ideas...

Well, let me narrow it down to just one. One simple request that I don't think should be too difficult, one easy little thing that almost every other MMO has, one area where Blizzard has fallen atrociously behind.


I don't normally resort to all caps/leetspeak, but this one kinda deserves it. I feel like many of us have been begging for this forever, and they just don't listen.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that the newer races (Draenei, Blood Elf, Goblin, and Worgen) get very nice updated models and a few more choices in faces and hairstyles, but I want more. The appearance of the older races is abysmally out of date and very limited in choices. When games like EQ2 and LOTRO can afford to include fairly detailed choices in faces, skin tones, eye color and hair styles, why the heck can't Blizzard do the same thing in WoW? I thought Blizzard was the king of MMOs?

It's not just about player character model appearance though, it's also about gear customization. The idea of the overcloak was a step in the right direction, but then they went back on that promise. Based on the Blue posts in the overcloak thread linked above, it appears that Blizzard just doesn't like the idea of customization. It's disheartening to know that no matter how many posts, Blizzard just doesn't listen to those of us who really care what our toons look like. I'd settle with even just the addition of being able to hide more pieces then just helm/cloak (see shoulders, gloves, belts).

Blizzard representatives will tell you that the reason they don't implement these things is because they'd rather focus on producing a good game. I'm ok with that. I'm beyond happy with the game. This is why I still play. What I don't understand is why we can't have both. Maybe those of us that actually care about what our toons look like are the minority, but when other games have moved so far beyond the simple choices Blizzard has implemented, why can't Blizzard get with the times?