Sunday, November 30, 2008

Progress Report

  • Exelus to 75: check.
  • Culling of Stratholme: check (kinda, barely hit anything).
  • Collecting caster gear for Resto dual-spec: check.
  • Haelus to 72: check.
  • Broke after the Flying Carpet: check.
  • Codus to 64: check.
  • Mining to 300+ on the DK: check.
  • Doing my part to "stimulate the economy" by ordering an early holiday present: check.
  • Another lame excuse for a post: checkity-check.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shamantic Briefs

  • Ambassador Exelus to 72: check.
  • Haelus to 71: check.
  • Utgarde Keep: check x6.
  • Azjol Nerub: check.
  • Ahn Kahet: check.
  • The Nexus: check.
  • Healer shortage still in effect: check.
  • Too busy in-RL and in-game to write a real post: check.
  • Too many checks: check.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend of the Lich King

With a cleared schedule, I took a wowcation and played an unhealthy amount a great deal of WoW over the weekend. :) A brief breakdown and first impressions:

Death Knight
Wanting to get the blue rested XP ticking right away, the first thing I did was roll a Death Knight. Of course everyone else had the same idea, but thanks to the new "phased" instance-like starting zone, the mob/quest ganking was kept to a minimum. I managed to plow through all the starting quests until arriving in Stormwind at level 58 (ready for Outland!).

Later in the weekend, I took him into Hellfire and started on quests, and even managed a four-DK run of Ramparts with some guildies. I think I left him around level 60. So far he feels rather overpowered for the content, but I expect that to even-out closer to 80. The jury is still out on whether or not he will become my tank, however. He's currently Unholy spec but that may change (Blood/Frost maybe?) - I don't really like the Ghoul pet. Kinda creepy.

Starting Zones
Figuring I should see what this "Northrend" business was all about, I took Exelus north into the Borean Tundra and encountered all sorts of lag, mob/quest ganking, and a fairly meh first impression of the zone. It wasn't until I took Haelus into Howling Fjord that I had that feeling of, "oooh aahh."

The quest quality seems fairly similar between the two, but the atmosphere is distinctly different. The Fjord is like landing in Scandinavia, whereas the Tundra is more reminiscent of... Siberia?

Ding 71 (twice!)
I got Exelus to 71.5 via questing and a single run though Utgarde Keep, but have already run UK with Haelus five times or so (LF1M healz pls!) and have reached one bubble into 71. So the plan of leveling one via questing and another via instancing seems to be working out fairly well. However, with the promise of dual-spec'ing on the horizon, I'm a bit torn: Ex would be able to DPS or heal as needed... maybe I should just work on him exclusively for the time being?

Ciribrus the druid is, for the moment, semi-retired in Shattrath. He was closest to 70 when the guild needed another healer so it was natural for him to go Resto, but am not sure what role he will fill (if any?) going forward. Maybe tank if the DK doesn't feel right?

Utgarde Keep
The "first" instance in Lich King is awesome, and tons of fun. It seems to be tuned just right: a healthy challenge for new-ish 70s yet still not a complete cakewalk for Kara-geared 70s. The boss encounters are reminiscint of Kara too: the first boss is a caster that likes to freeze people (a la Illhoof's Demon Chains) and the second is a Romeo/Juliet-like encounter where both need to be burned down at the same time. The final boss is a tank/spank with the exception of some nasty tricks: resurrects with a big AoE, a melee smash effect (tank and melee should run 10 yards), and a spell school lockout if you happen to be casting during his roar (instants seem to be fine though?). All in all really fun, look forward to coming back in heroic mode!

Goals for the coming days: get Exelus to 73 or so, take peek into Nexus... sell over-inflated Frostweave and Cobalt ore for profit!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On Achievements

As part of the upcoming Wrath expansion, Blizzard has added an Achievement system to WoW: a method to track one's accomplishments in-game. The way it works is fairly simple and requires no additional interaction from the user: complete an achievement and you get a "ding" of sorts, an announcement in guild chat and a few points earned.

When I first heard about this system I was resoundingly meh'ed. Just another useless carrot-dangling mechanic that fuels the OCD in all of us (as if we don't have enough of that in us as MMOers!). Very few of the achievements actually do anything for us in-game... a few titles here and there, an epic mount after collecting some insane number of mounts, etc. Again, meh. There are goals within the game that I mentally keep track of, but you won't see my dwarf running off to Teldrassil just for some exploration achievement.

However, what I didn't anticipate was the team-building and community aspect, which so far has been an overwhelmingly positive thing. The guild chat announcements encourage conversation ("grats!") and cooperation ("LFM SFK!"), even from our quietest members. Another benefit of the system is that it helps keep track of certain goals you may already have, like playing through every instance in the game.

So in the end, I have to give kudos to Blizz for adding a mechanic that you can either take or leave, with no real impact on your ability to play the game well (e.g.: kill mobs faster). It's an added grind only if you want it to be, but doesn't have to be if you could care less...

Like with Fishing.

Or Cooking.