Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pining for the Fjords, a look back at the first 4 levels spent in Northrend

Northrend has been a discovery experience for me, mainly because we've been discovering:
  • how much I hate waiting for a quest mob to start, spamming my Shadow Word: Death button with the hopes that I'll tag it first.
  • how much I hate bugged quests. Damn you spores.
  • how goddamn slow the Turtles are (irony, no?) when travelling from Howling Fjord to Borean Tundra.
  • how much I just want to skip all of this leveling bullpoop and just get to 80 so I can spec the way I want and experience real content, not some interim mishmash of talents designed to kill boars faster.
  • how much I would like to quest with friends, but the fact that we're at different points in the leveling process makes it incredibly hard to coordinate quests.
  • how brutally expensive herbs are when youre not an herbalist.
  • how annoying 'Mist Vision' is when doing quests in Borean Tundra. Mist Viking respawn rates need to be looked into.
  • how incredibly ugly the Taunka are. Talk about inbred flat faces. The Forsaken need to engineer some Mad Taunka Disease and wipe them uglies outta Northrend. Better yet, send them to Outlands.
  • how awesome being able to Levitate over water has been while questing.
  • how awesome siege vehicles are.
  • how awesome the art is in each zone when compared to Outlands and Kalimdor/Eastern Kingdoms.
  • how awesome it is to be able to call in the level 80 Warrior Tauren muscle when the Alliance get a bit too frisky near a contested quest hub. Scatter all ye would be gankers, for the cow-lvary has arrived!

Of course, this is just the short list of the things in WotLK that have stood out to me, good, bad and ugly. One thing's for sure, we cannot wait to get to 80. This leveling thing is killing us.

So, how much content have we completed? Well, we started our leveling in the Howling Fjord and we had an awesome time there. The ganking was fairly minimal because HF was pretty much horde dominated. Why? Well, It's easy to go from UC to HF and the lush and visually pleasing landscape doesn't hurt the eyes. Even the crazy cliffs were quite fun to Levitate off of. More than just that, though, is the fact that Blizzard touted the hell out of Stormwind Harbor, and since Stormwind Harbor only goes to Borean Tundra, BT became the unofficial starting point for the Alliance. Thankfully, HF wasn't nearly as Alliance dominated and this definitely helped the learning curve.

As we plowed through quests, we noticed all of the little things that Blizzard did to add realism to a virtual (and quite cartoony) world, such as the headbutting Shoveltusks and targetable birds. Flying critters are no longer as one dimensional as the Chimera of Shadowmoon Valley. We like the little things, oh yes we do, and after we found ourselves wondering where to go next, we picked up the Jame's leveling guide off of and started making sure we got all of the possible quests completed.

One thing we did notice that didn't please us is that the reputation gains in HF and in BT wouldn't really help us in the long run. Sure, there was some fatty walrus rep, but for the most part, the quests and even the beginning instances of Utgarde Keep and The Nexus really didn't give any applicable rep. I would much rather be getting a bit of usable rep while questing than having to grind endless instances at 80. Memories of chain running Shattered Halls for the healing head enchant still makes me cringe. Oh well.

That being said, the beginning instances, while fun, were quite short and exceedingly simple. For both, and for much of the zones that I have seen, the art is amazing. Flame effects are gorgeous and layout/design of the structures are quite ingenious. Sadly, the moment I am able to get Cold Weather Flying, I will be hopping on my flying mount and avoiding all of the mobs between my quest giver and the target mobs. It's a little late now, but I would have liked to have PvP faction controlled flight hubs in each Northrend zone and all flying mounts disabled. Let's bring back a little world PvP, mmkay?

At some point, we got ghetto summoned to Dalaran from some kind Shaman who queued us into a BG from Dalaran and then told me to afk out. My prediction for the future? Dalaran is going to be paaaaacked. The streets are narrow and the presence of profession trainers are going to likely flood the city with travellers. On top of all of that, there are portals to instances in Dalaran. Thankfully, there is no 'Follow Khadgar's Minion' type quest. What a waste of time that quest was, eh?

After trying to navigate Dalaran and buying ourselves an Armored Bear mount to replace our ugly undead pony, we ventured forth to work on the Borean Tundra quests. Questing in BT has been truly hellacious and we're anxious to get out into some more diverse zones without the billions of potential bad players ganking in groups because they can't succeed solo. Literally every quest mob I've attacked as had several Alliance standing and waiting to complete the same (or similar) quest, which, in turn, necessitates staying mounted and at a respectable distance. Aka, the Wuss Syndrome. We don't like playing the part of the wuss, but starting a fight is just wasting precious time that could be better spent getting to 80. We are, however, writing down the names of the jerkholes that we've met while leveling and we're going to camp them later.

Oh, and the geography of BT? Sucks. The looks are drab and the boring color palette reminds me of both the Barrens and of Hellfire Peninsula at the same time. Yes, I know there's Coldarra, but Coldarra = gankfest so we tried our hardest to gtfo as soon as possible.

We're not done with BT yet. We have just a few more quest chains to go, but we hope to get close to 75 tonight. We've heard rumors of Dragonblight sucking a big one, but we'll faithfully follow Jame and his uber guides. Baa. We can be sheep for efficient xp.

So while I'm not a dead parrot, I am hoping that the next few zones will be like the Howling Fjord in both art and questing ease. It would definitely help me enjoy the excruciatingly painful time while I level.

80 or bust!


hans said...

I am without a doubt convinced that you do nothing at work.

Elysiane said...

Undead ponies are by no means ugly.