The previous post derailed Brig's leveling adventures a bit*, so I figured I'd catch up on how things are going. (Or not going. Whatever.)
On Saturday morning, I got up early to help my wife get out the door to her job, then I settled in front of my computer after some breakfast.
Perhaps I should back up a bit.
I believe that I mentioned back here about how we really didn't have the parts to build a new PC, and there were "ongoing negotiations" as to how I was going to proceed with using the PC for leveling and general use. All that was true, especially due to the ongoing issues with the graphics card shortage. I would have preferred to build my own PC, but the parts simply weren't available.
However, I did consider the pre-built options that I had, and based on my previous experiences with pre-builts (mainly HP and Dell) I dismissed the idea. When you get down to it, their options aren't that great, particularly with the bloatware they both put on, and there's also the issue with proprietary parts (mostly Dell here). I wanted an option that was more in line with the "boutique" builders, such as Origin PC, but without the inflated costs.
Microcenter, however, does have their own "house" brand of pre-built PCs, called PowerSpec, and after I perused their options I began to feel pretty good about them. They use LianLi cases, off the shelf parts (ASRock motherboards, Corsair water cooling, etc.), and the cost was better than that of the boutique builders.
And they actually had current gen graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia.
So the afternoon of Memorial Day my son and I took a trip to Microcenter to check a couple of the systems out.
I was... surprisingly impressed.
I remember when the Microcenter house brand (eMachines) was pretty bad and contained non-customizable bare bones systems. But these systems were the real deal, and actually looked halfway decent. I mean, they came with RGB, which I didn't need, but they were really nice in their layout and cable management. I talked to the salesperson there for a bit, kicked the tires, and decided that this was going to be my best option for quite a while.
So my son and I brought back home a new PC and a nice, new monitor.
Now, I may have bought the thing, but I needed to clear space to use it, so I spent the next few days working on the piles of crap that I had on the table I use as my work space, and finally set the entire thing up by the weekend.** So yes, Red has a new machine for the first time since 2012. And here's hoping this machine lasts as long.
All that didn't matter last Saturday, as I finally got the chance to do what I wanted: walk across the Dark Portal on my terms.
There was almost nobody on from the guild, which was perfect. That meant nobody noticed when Briganaa took care of clearing out bags, repaired her gear, and flew out to Nethergarde Keep.
I ran from the Keep down to the slope leading to the Dark Portal. Brig was passed a few times by some toons hurrying into and out of the Portal, but I paid no attention to them. At the slope, I RP walked down to collect the "Go to Outland" quest, and walked up and through.***
|Totally worth the wait.|
Briganaa was back home.
I set about working on getting to Honor Hold, collecting those first few quests, and seeing just how hard it would be for me to take down these initial mobs.
|And saying hello to the true owner of|
Stromgarde. Apparently he hadn't heard the news.
It didn't take me long to discover that I had to be very careful around these initial mobs.
I died a few times to those Wargs + Fel Orcs, but that first piece of gear. Oh, that first piece of gear....
|You have NO idea. Okay, maybe a little.|
The piece that I selected:
|Not much to write home about|
in Outland, right?
Replaced this piece:
|From the Lord Shalzaru|
questline in Feralas.
I practically wept from seeing gear that would actually improve my set.
And that's how my first hour in Outland went.
After a little bit of time, one of the other Leveling Shamans still behind in the Old World logged in. He was at L56, and needed two more to go to Hellfire Peninsual.
I kept my promise and grouped up with him for the next hour or two, finishing up quests with him and making sure he was on much better footing. When I logged from TBC Classic to run some errands he'd gone up 1.5 levels, bringing him within easy striking distance of L58.****
That evening, when I had a chance to get back on, I discovered my leveling buddy was in a Hellfire Ramparts run, and as they finished up she asked me if I wanted in. A couple of other guildies were in here, she told me, so it was (practically) a guild run anyway.
"Sure," I replied, and got a summons to a place I'd not been in since.... 2012? 2013?
And, as it turns out, I remembered more about Ramps than I guessed I would.
The weekend pretty much passed that way, with me becoming acquainted with Hellfire Peninsula, replacing my crappy mid-30s/40s greens with baseline L58 Outland greens, and running Hellfire Ramparts about 4-5 times total. I wasn't running it for the rep, as by the time I got into my second Hellfire Ramparts run I was already Friendly with Honor Hold, but I got the chance to relearn how the BC instances were going to be going forward: shorter, more intense, and requiring more tactical thinking than "I hit it with my axe".
There was one disconcerting moment, however, which occurred early Sunday morning.
I'd logged in to enjoy a little bit of time questing and I got a call out in Guild Chat. "Hey Card, you want to switch over to Cardwyn to run [one of the Steamvault or Auchindoun instances]?"
"Uh," I replied, "I could but I'd be turned into pulp."
"Oh, Card isn't your main anymore?"
"No, she's not set foot in Outland."
That, to me, highlighted something that has been happening with quite a few guild interactions ever since Pre-patch dropped: people somehow never read the official raid lists and realized that I wasn't going to be on Card, but Briganaa the Shaman. Even members of Guild Leadership, who should have known, were surprised by that revelation.
Of course, that only served to heighten my resolve to keep Card retired even longer than I originally intended. But to be fair, TBC Classic is feeling more and more like it is Brig's time to shine. Taking Card to Outland just doesn't feel right, and I've grown increasingly reluctant to login as her.
I have pulled Card out of the garage, however, but just not in TBC Classic.
Yes, in the Classic Era server I copied her to.
I haven't done any dungeons or raids or anything, just wandered around a bit, enjoying the way how things were before Pre-patch dropped. Sure, the server is dead, as everybody and their Grandmother is in Outland, but after people finish gorging themselves on the Outland content they'll likely wander back to the Classic Era a bit more often. I didn't think I'd like the Classic Era servers that much, but the lack of crowds along with the lack of pressure to push hard with raids means I get the time to just relax and go fishing or something for a while and enjoy the spoils of Azeroth as it was.
*And I felt that those comments about the state of TBC Classic a couple of weeks in were important enough to not wait.
**Yes, I was busy leveling Brig the entire time. And working, too, so all this may have contributed to my feelings of being overwhelmed at the leveling task before me.
***I recorded it just because.