Thursday, September 29, 2022

Same Same But Different

Wrath Classic dropped at 3 PM Server Time Monday, and I was an expac behind.


But let me make one thing perfectly clear: this time, it was by choice. I deliberately chose to not board the boats (or zeppelins if you're Horde) for Northrend on Launch Day, because I firmly believed it was going to be a nuthouse. 

Our 10 person raid team had a "get to know you" sort of raid on Sunday, which was a combination of Zul'aman and Karazhan --minus the pre-patch Invasion boss in Karazhan-- and it was there that I discovered that the pre-patch included some additional nerfs to the bosses in these raids.* But when the question as to who is going to do what when Wrath drops, I told them I was going to wait in Outland and quest there for a little while. "I'm not entirely convinced that the boats won't have a Sultana re-enactment when they head for Northrend," I replied.

While the boats didn't blow up and sink --which admittedly would have been just the sort of thing that the Lich King would have loved-- I found out that afterward that on Atiesh-US the first ship to leave for Valiance Keep circled around and came right back to Stormwind's port. The people on the ship couldn't get to Northrend afterwards, so they had to take the port that Blizz put in place when things went south.

On the whole, however, people swarmed all over the place on Atiesh-US (and to a lesser extent, Myzrael-US) and I was grateful I was not caught in the middle of that mess.

My questing buddy logged on that evening and was going to group up with me to do some questing in Outland when she got pinged to join a couple of dungeon runs, so she headed off for Northrend too. That meant I could goof around by myself for a bit, and then I figured "why not" and ran some Alterac Valley battlegrounds. 

Deuce just hanging around with
The Knights Templar. Who knew?
(This particular screencap was the night
before, as I couldn't find a decent looking
one from Monday night.)

Did I miss not being there?

Uh... Maybe? Maybe not?

Okay, there are thoughts that I need to unpack here, and it starts with adjusting to reality:
  • The questing would have driven me nuts.

    It kind of goes without saying, but the crowd in Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord had to go somewhere, and for those who chose to level gathering professions or quest out in the field were going to find it extremely hard to do. I don't care how many layers Blizz puts on a server, people have to go somewhere.

    Additionally, I want to quest at my pace, which is a LOT slower than most other people. If I were grouping up, I would have simply stopped picking up quests at all just so I wouldn't slow down the leveling group. Even my questing buddy zips around from quest to quest much faster than I like, so I've pulled that before on her where I just hang around and kill things with her. I go back much later, in the very late night/early morning, and quest on my own where I can relax, read the quest text, and enjoy what is being presented to me. It's been since 2013 that I've actually been out in Northrend, enjoying the leveling experience in a non-beta fashion, and I want to savor the experience. Maybe on the 3rd or 4th time I'll start speeding up, but now? Are you kidding me?

    There was a Horde toon just out of view
    from this screencap, impatiently waiting
    for this to end so they could get moving
    to the next quest.

    And yes, I RP walked for this.

    My desire to quest at a leisurely pace would have put me at odds with almost everybody out in the field in Northrend, and all it would have done is gotten me frustrated. Even though there were at least 50 --and likely more-- people in Zangarmarsh when I was there Monday evening, I barely saw anybody. It was nice to quest and not deal with people pulling mobs out from under me. You know, like what it was when Briganaa finally made it to Outland on her own.

  • Chain running instances to level quickly is not my idea of fun.

    Everybody has their own idea of fun, and yes, I do enjoy running instances. If I've done those instances before, hey great, let's chain run a few. No biggie. But running them time after time to level quickly? Eh, no thanks. 

    That's the big difference between Deuce running some instances in Outland and Brig doing the same. Brig was doing them in their original, more difficult state, and I was just learning how to do those instances. Additionally, by the time Brig (and later, Linnawyn) got to Outland, people were already burning out on chain running instances to level their toons as quickly as possible, so I had to pug a lot (or in Linna's case, simply not run instances at all.) 

    Deuce, on the other hand, got to Outland after the pre-patch dropped and at the end of the expac, so chain running Ramps and Blood Furnace was a nice exercise in figuring out just how overpowered we were compared to the beginning of the expac. 

    I have to clarify something here: I really really like Wrath 5-person instances. I really do. Just like I really really like BC 5-person instances. And Classic instances. The problem is that people just want to use instances as a means to an end, while I want to enjoy the instances as they are. It's like people who skip all of the interlude text/interactions in SWTOR Flashpoints and then get grumpy when you have someone in the group who is reading it all for the first time. Well, I'm one of those people who --like when questing above-- enjoy those small parts of group content. 

    Part of the reason Questie exists.

    What I'm concerned about is that by the time I get to Northrend and actually want to run some instances, people will be burned out just like in BC Classic and I'll just make do. I mean, I can certainly make do well enough, it's just that I feel like I'm watching June 2021 on repeat.

  • Grinding out the Wintersaber Mount on OG Cardwyn taught me how to get maximum XP gain out of low level zones.

    It may seem kind of funny thinking of Winterspring or Silithus as low level zones, but compared to the content in TBC Classic they were. After I left the Monday raid, the Wintersaber Mount grind became something that kept me playing. And sane, to be honest. I learned how to spread out my XP so that I could always keep the Rested XP boost going, and how critically important it was to pace myself to prevent burnout. 

    So... Along comes Wrath Classic, and oh look, I've got a metric ton of quests available to Deuce in Outland.

    Here's the proof that it works.

    Take a good long look at that screencap. What do you see?

    1) The only zone that I "completed" was Zangarmarsh.
    2) Nagrand has exactly ZERO quests complete.
    3) My XP bar --with Rested XP active-- shows Deuce is over halfway to L71. And this was just after getting really really close to finishing up Terokkar Forest.

    What you don't see is that I completed only 18 quests total in the following zones combined: Nagrand, Blade's Edge Mountains, Netherstorm, and Shadowmoon Valley. For reference, 16 of those quests are from one zone: Shadowmoon.

    I have plenty of room to work with to get XP for. And unlike a lot of other people, I've not been out grinding every chance I get. If I take my time and do it right, I could potentially be at L73 by the time I hit Northrend.

  • Will I last that long before heading north? No.

    I may have willpower, but I only have so much willpower. I realize I've got about a month to get to L80 before we start raiding, so I know I've got plenty of time. Still, I don't want to leave my questing buddy in the lurch. She's leveling her Priest, Zarlie, as Disco, and I know from experience that leveling as a healer out in the field absolutely sucks. So, I'm going to make the jump up to Northrend as soon as I feel like there's enough space out there in the field to quest and I have enough gold to afford purchasing Dual Spec. I'm going to be a Fire Mage for raiding, but everything else? It's Frost. Deuce is returning to my Frosty roots.

  • Do I really hate having the spotlight on me? Oh hell yes.

    I mean, it's me. Did you have to ask?

    I may be back on a raid team, but I'm not on the leadership team. While I may have seen the sausage put together, I don't have to worry about it any longer. 

Of course, this will likely all change by tomorrow, but we'll see.

*It was scary, to be honest. We finished Zul'Aman AND Karazhan and had 30 minutes to spare before the raid was due to end. When I commented on how insanely fast the raid was proceeding, I was told my one of my fellow ex-Monday raiders that a raid team she's been on lately has been doing SSC + Gruul + Mags in one night.

**"Sultana?" the raid lead asked.

"Yeah, the steamboat that was filled with ex-Union POWs from Andersonville that was heading back north. It was overloaded with people, the boilers overworked, and on the way back home the boilers blew up and about 2000 people died."

"Holy crap, they were coming back from Andersonville prison camp? I've been there, and it's a horrific place."

And for the record, here's one article about the Sultana and here's a link to the Sultana Disaster Museum, which includes links to this podcast.


  1. Replies
    1. I mean, I do have more white in my beard than red these days...

  2. After the first go-around, the boat disconnected me, and left that character unable to log in. Every time I tried, the character d/c'd during the logon process.

    1. Yeah, I knew a couple of people who that happened to as well. It's as if the character data itself got corrupted.

  3. I'm with you Red, when I'm questing I prefer to take time to smell the flowers and, you know, read the quest text! There is so much lore in WoW that you're really missing out if you don't read everything fully. Nothing gets on my nerves more than when you've clicked on a quest giver and are reading the quest text (or the turn-in text) and then another character comes and interacts with the NPC causing them to move away from you and interrupt you so that you have to read it all over again, ha ha. It happens far too often due to how thoroughly I like to read everything.

    Interestingly on your point about chain running instances for XP, I have seen it suggested in a few places lately that in Classic WotLK questing is actually better XP per hour than dungeon running (at least in a full 5 person party). However I suspect those people saying that are questing far more efficiently and rapidly than I am.

    1. I believe I can back that up, having gone through a couple of runs of Utgarde Keep now. I expected to get some sort of XP out of it, but I got a grand total of 3-4 bars' worth of XP from 2 runs with 4 people --not 5-- all of whom were either L70 or L71. In the 1-1.5 hours it took, I could have gotten similar results just questing in Outland.