Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Been a while

It's been a little while since my last post, and a few things have happened.

First off Congratulations to Redbeard (Quint) for just about reacing level 58 and hitting the first expansion! Exciting times!

Secondly, as per usual with my indecisiveness I am back at playing my death knight and he's now level 70 and patiently waiting my wife's mage to catch up a bit. He's got maxed out blacksmithing and is pimping a full level 70 cobalt armor set and an axe of frozen death. It's cool to have "crafted by *insertyournamehere*" on just about every piece of armor you've got.

My decision this time was well warranted. I believe the ammount of cooldows you can pop and being a blood spec DK tank with an inexperienced healer makes the healer's job a little bit easier because you can regenerate your own health fairly easily to assist the healing.

And this is shallow, but I like fast. The main reason I still use my paladin half as much as I do is because he's got an epic flyer and crusader aura. It's just more convienient to zip from mining node to node and collect ore much quicker than it would be with a non epic on my DK (up to 2,300 gold towards the 5k it will be for epic flying, however).

I love the death knight talent entitled "On a Pale Horse" that increases mounted movement speed by 20%. And the unholy presence that lets a deathknight move considerably faster on the ground as well is quite nice. I imagine once I get the money saved for epic flying on my dk, the paladin will be shelved.

In past MMOs I have also seemed to gravitate towards characters that get around faster. In Lineage 2 I played the rogue archetype which gets bonus movement speed (faster if you eventually be come the ranger specialization). And in that game you spend most of the game running and running and running (no flight paths or when I played, no mounts of any kind. Good Lord that game was terrible.)

And in Vanguard I played a halfling bard. Just for fun I decided to link a video demonstrating just HOW FAST a bard could move in that game. Although the character in this video is human, it's still good. Just imagine a halfling moving that fast. I swear it was like the cartoon legs you'd see on Wiley Coyote. ZOOOOOoooooom!

Another terrible game, but man was it fun to zip around the world like that.

Back to the WoW discussion though, as both my wife and Quint near crossing the level barrier to entering the dark portal, I'm curious to see what the continued game play will bring.

Will Quint drop the old world quest and rejoice in the new found xp and sweet sweet gear of the outlands?


Will my wife actually begin to quest instead of contsant dungeon grinds?


Will I flip flop my choice of tanks again? (gimme a break, we're not even 80 yet or raiding!)


Stay tuned right here until next week. Same time, same place...

When hopefully we'll hear a post from Quint about his impressions of the difference in game design he can notice in moving from Azeroth to Outlands.

nana nana nana nana~ Con-Text!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Class Pride

During one of my lunch breaks last week I happened to stumble on a thread on the official WoW forums talking about things that make players who play warrior proud. It struck me as interesting. Why? Because in all my experience playing I had not really felt that since playing my rogue.

And to be honest, I did feel that at bit while playing my warrior.

Quintalan (Redbeard) can attest to my recent (more like constant) internal battle between playing my death knight or warrior. Both are fun. I LOVE the tanking style and flexibility of the warrior. I also think they have the strongest tool set of the tanks.

On the other hand, the death knights do decent damage and and pretty fun to play too. It's nice to have an AOE to throw down and lock aggro in with blood boil.

So what's holding me back from playing my warrior you ask?

Tauren. Yup, they may look cool and have the best racials for a PVE warrior, but I can't help it. I just don't like Taurens. Here's the thing: When playing a Tauren the rest of the world is smaller. Having to dismount every stinking time I want to enter a building, or ride the elevator in UC is such a pain. However, being so large is nice because your weapons are HUGE! Rawr! Right? But being a Tauren player they just appear normal size in relation to your own character. Big...normal size deal.

The main thing that really bugs me playing a Tauren is this: When you zoom your camera in all the way you end up focusing where the height of a normal player would stand. So what this does is offset the camera lower than your character's head. Which means if your fighting anything smaller than your character you have to pivot the camera to the side or up enough to see what's going on. That aggravates the hell out of me for some reason. And playing a Tauren pretty much means EVERYTHING is smaller than your character.

Yesterday was the Day of the Dead event in Warcraft, and one of the nifty things you could do was get a 12 hour costume buff that turned you into an undead guy / girl in a tuxedo. This gave me a chance to realize that I actually REALLY liked the animations of the sword & board undead. You could easily spot the difference from a dodge or parry to a block, and the animations actually looked like you're doing the actions. What I mean is, when you block an attack you actually raise your shield and block the attack, or you raise your weapon and parry the attack. Maybe at this point I just don't care for cows enough that I didn't notice those types of animations before on my Tauren.

So getting back to the first thing I posted about, I would like to sum it all up with the following snippet from Achtung Panzercow.

"I am the Warrior.

When you see me, I will, most likely, not be attired formally. I will be encased in my steel. It will be dirty, bloody, and battered. I do not have a quick tongue or eloquent speech. I know nothing of the manners of the King’s court, or the ettiquette of the formal ball.

I am known by many names. Tank. Meatshield. Fighter. Brawler. Corpse.

I am the Warrior.

I have not the capability, nor the inclination, to hide. I cannot strike from stealth with devastating blows, then fade into the darkness. I cannot incinerate a foe from twenty paces away. I cannot deal death from a distance, safe from the return attacks of my enemy. In order to kill, I must close with the enemy. I see his eyes. I smell his breath. I taste his fear. And he tastes mine.

I cannot bend Nature to do my bidding. I cannot tap into the Nether and force it to do what I command. I cannot study the arcane and master it to my control. I command nought but my mind, my body, and my will. It is by those, and those alone, that I stand or fall.

I have no friends on my journey. No walkers of the void, summoned from the Nether as servants and bodyguards. No loyal beasts of the plains or woods, to defend me and comfort me in my pain. My sole companion is my weapon. I must care for it better than any hunter has ever cared for his beast. I must master it more than any warlock has ever mastered his demon. Without me, it is useless. Without it, I am nothing.

I cannot heal. I cannot shield. I cannot call upon the gods and see my prayers answered. I call to the spirits of my ancestors in the heat of battle, and they are silent. My only ability to protect is to offer myself, my blood and bone and sinew, as a sacrifice. To draw the attacks of our foes. To take the blows that would kill a lesser being, and continue to fight on.

I cannot kill with the speed and grace of the rogue, the suddenness and shock of the hunter, or the flamboyance and power of the mage. When I kill, it is a slow business. Slow and bloody for all concerned, myself included. I fight on, pummeled and battered so that my companions may receive the glory of the kill and the wreaths of victory. If I die and they yet live, it is an expected sacrifice.

I come in all races, all sizes. I fight under a thousand flags, on a million battlefields. I am dismissed by the highborn, scorned by the noble, lectured by the priest, and forgotten by the peasant. Until the time when the trumpets of battle sound, and those who would destroy them come forth. And then the cry goes up…”Where, oh where, is the Warrior?”

Pray to your gods that I continue to answer that call.

Few do answer the call. Fewer still survive. It is a long and hard road, this way of the Warrior. Along it lie pain, and fear, and death. Scant rewards and scanter gratitude. At the end, for most, is an anonymous grave on some windblown battlefield. If they are lucky.

And yet, I fight on. I do not even know why. Perhaps for glory, perhaps for fame, perhaps for money, perhaps for my country, perhaps for my family. Perhaps it is simply all I know how to do. But fight I will. Whether you appreciate it or not. Whether you even notice it or not. I will be out there, on the battle lines. Fighting. Killing. Dying.

I am the Warrior.

Death is my business.

Be it yours…or mine."

So I'm going back to my roots. My real roots. Undead warrior. My first character was an Undead warrior and I never got him past level 34 after re-rolling to a rogue.

On Being 'Tarren Milled'

Murtaugh, his wife, and I play Horde on the Stormscale PvP server. (If you see Quintalan or Gdaan poking around somewhere, that's me.) When you reach your upper-teens/low-20s as a Blood Elf and you venture out to the Undercity, you're given the "Report to Tarren Mill" quest from the Sindorei representative to the Forsaken. Being a noob, my first thought was to take it easy and work my way through Silverpine Forest first, and then make my way to Tarren Mill once I'd gone up a few more levels.

(Now, in the sake of honesty, I do use Quest Tracker, and the arrows to Tarren Mill from the Undercity go through the Western Plaguelands. I did venture into there as a 25th level Paladin, and promptly found out why it was NOT a good idea to go that way. Like I said, I'm a noob.)

I finally ventured to Hillsbrad Foothills and Tarren Mill somewhere around 27-28th level, which was my first exposure to the Contested areas. Naturally, if you're traveling on foot/horseback from Silverpine Forest, you have to pass several Alliance controlled areas. I kept expecting Alliance players to see me and come streaming out from their base to lay some serious smackdown, but I arrived in Tarren Mill without incident.

Ah, I thought. That worked out well.

I got the flight point for Tarren Mill squared away and logged off, confident that I'd be ready the next night to handle some initial quests in the area.

Things started out well enough, but when I was turning in one of the first quests you get (basically killing some bears in the area), all of a sudden I heard a "zap" and the release spirit window popped up.

"What the..."

Then I saw them. There were several of them -at least 5- and they were all well above my character's level into the "??" range. All Alliance guys. (I say guys because the characters were all male- your guess is as good as mine as to what their real gender was.) They were all having a grand time zapping everyone in sight, jumping around, and in general looking like a bunch of punks who deserved a visit from Mr. T and his Night Elf Mohawk. Considering I'd seen the results of such destruction in The Ghostlands when everyone in Tranquillien was zapped by a couple of '??' Level Alliance guys, I knew what to expect.

Okay, I just need to wait and they'll split, then I can respawn and that'll be that.

Only it didn't work like that. I waited five minutes, thinking they were gone -well, I couldn't see them anymore- and respawned. Ten seconds later I was chewing on my lip, staring at the release spirit window again.

I'd been Tarren Milled.

Murtaugh, when he heard about my misadventure, laughed and informed me that was why he didn't typically go to Tarren Mill when he was leveling. "That happens all the time," he more-or-less said.

"Yeah," I said. "I noticed. Kind of like shooting fish in a barrel."

Obviously I wasn't worth it from an honor standpoint -I was way too low level for them to get any honor from it- it was pure maliciousness.

I came from that experience having learned two things: always watch your back, and Alliance people can be real dicks.

Since then, I've had some run-ins with Alliance people outside of Warsong Gulch -in Stranglethorn and Feralas, most notably- but in those cases the fights began with comparably leveled opponents. Sure, Murtaugh tagged along in Stranglethorn for protection in case a higher level "friend" of the Alliance opponent made an appearance (he did), but the fight was comparably even. It was remarkably 'jerk free', compared to Tarren Mill.

There was one time in Alterac where I was fighting some Syndicate personnel, and all of a sudden the dreaded '??' Level Alliance person suddenly entered my field of vision, circled me on his mount three times, paused, and then continued on. I got the distinct impression of "I'm going to let you live, buddy, but I could have had your ass whenever I wanted."

Gee, thanks for making my heart beat a little faster.

The uber-level Alliance person I encountered in Harathi while I was trying to complete a Strombrad quest wasn't so nice, however. He simply butchered me twice while he was apparently hunting for something. I grumbled, respawned, and got the hell out of dodge while I could.

Then there was the encounter I had today.

I was taking a late lunch and logged on to complete a few side quests. (Hey, 6000 XP is 6000 XP to a 50th Level Paladin.) Riding through the Hinterlands, I stopped at one of the troll areas (the one with the big Mayanesque pyramids) to go kill some spiders for an Apothecary in Tarren Mill. While I was there, I noticed a quest marker, so I ran up a pyramid and killed the three or four trolls at the top to find the quest hovering over another troll. Jumping down to where the troll was, I was about to talk to him when a flash of another monster caught my eye, popping up directly behind the quest NPC.

Great, I grumbled, another troll I missed.

I didn't need this; I only had about 20 minutes left to play and I wanted to be in and out quickly. Without much thought, I clicked and sent Quintalan to go slice and dice.

Then I noticed the '??' Level marker.

Oh crap. I am so dead. I actually got in a hit or two before I yanked Quintalan off of the female Night Elf (either Night Elf or Human, I can't remember) and waited for the end. I was about to get Tarren Milled again.

A piece of action popped up in my screen. "XXX says we are NOT going there."

I swallowed, pushing my heart back into my chest from where it had been lodged in my throat. I quickly typed out "mistake" and pressed Enter.

A further piece of action popped up. "XXX smiles."

And that was that.

There really isn't any moral to the story, outside of the obvious: don't let your initial impressions color your perceptions for the rest of the game. Not all of the people on your side are fantastic people, like the Horde person who decided to start a fight with some Alliance people in Booty Bay when I was wandering through (you're making the rest of us look bad, buddy; take it outside of those neutral cities), but neither is the other side composed of Grade A jerkoffs, either.