A Weekend Resumed

Looks different around here, I know. But so does Azeroth. No, not in the private sector where you’ve occasionally heard me from. The real deal. I resubbed on Friday…for a month. Who knows, I might wrangle enough gold to buy a free month as well. But in the short term, we’ll see how it goes. It doesn’t mean I’m back for Shadowlands. Much as I have to have the Collector’s Edition at some point for my collection, I’m in no rush. Instead I came back to see what everything else is like.

The first thing I did was putter about on a couple of toons. Elcombe still has a 6-tab Guild Bank full of pets. So, guess no one hacked me at any point. After checking that, I took him to the barber shop to see what the new options looked like. He ended up looking like Stephen Baldwin apparently.

After that, I did what I do most. Maybe best. Took a bag full of pets over to the auction house. It’ll take me a little while to get settled into the market. But if I can sell a lot of what I’ve got in stock, that free month might not be all that difficult to achieve. Heck, if I put all my toons in one place it would be mission accomplished. But, that’s not the case, though I do still know how to move money around to some degree if I so desire.

Then it was time for familiarity. Over to Zarahi and druid adventuring. She was sitting at the top of the toons at level 42. So I puttered in Warlords for 1-2 levels and then made my way to Azsuna. Apparently I had some quests there from the last time I logged in…a couple of years ago. So I went through a few of the storylines.

Then decided to take her to the Barber Shop. Holy crap, I can be a Druid of the Flame. Permanently. Didn’t see that one coming at all…and nope, didn’t even look at Bear Form.

At this point, I decided to go to Zandalar. Figured her last few levels would get me on track to unlocking Allied Races. Of course, I didn’t put much research into how to do so and was disappointed when I completed the Zandalari stuff and it turns out that’s just the beginning of what was needed. Oh well, still hit the level cap in no time at all.

When I realized I wasn’t unlocking the Trolls just yet I thought I’d visit a place I’d been dying to see: Siege of Orgrimmar. If I can’t have what I want, at least I can go kill Garrosh, right? Well, not so much. Despite researching the issue, I just could not solo the Scrolls of Pandaria. After dying about a half dozen time I gave up. Between the trolls, Garrosh, and this site causing me grief (hence the new look), I wasn’t in the best of moods by Sunday night. So, I needed to remedy that. Went to a favourite place. No, not Karazhan oddly. Instead it was off to Sunwell Plateau. Wasn’t long after I paid Kil’jaeden a visit and felt better. Even had the Chaos Pup and Wretched Servant drop.

So I experienced some of the new and some of the old. We’ll see what the next 30 days brings. I know Shadowlands hits this week and as I said off the top, I’m in no rush to get it. I haven’t played the game in a couple of years so there’s lots for me to do for my dollar (which, yes I was fairly certain I would never again give Blizzard…eh, times change I suppose). I’ve certainly built up a few thoughts on how things are in Azeroth now. We’ll see if I can get them out here with some semblance of frequency. No guarantees, but for now we’ll do our best and enjoy the ride.

Warlords: The Grand Reveal

In a rare move today, Blizzard held a mini-event, the sole purpose of which was the cinematic and release date for the next expansion in WoW.  As always, I got goosebumps as soon as it started.  I really got goosebumps at the end when I saw the construction of the Dark Portal.  That was just one of those jaw-dropping moments in the grand scheme of things, which is good because the developers have made it clear the Dark Portal plays prominently in the expansion more so than it did during The Burning Crusade.

The release date is a little earlier than I expected.  I know their original suggestion was sometime in December and so that’s not a huge stretch.  Still, based on the latest numbers (which showed another 800,000 subscribers lost) Blizzard no doubt at least wanted to get players talking about the next expansion’s release date.  I don’t normally put stock in subscription numbers, but it seems strange for Blizzard to have a day like this that isn’t BlizzCon.  It says to me they might recognize numbers are still strong, but almost half of what they were at peak.  So get the community talking even more than just the beta, and perhaps some of those lost numbers will be reconsidering their November gaming plans.

November 13th and the cinematic weren’t all we were shown this morning, though they were arguably the most important.  I enjoyed the first episode of Lords of War, and have long thought a WoW animated series would do well.  The dark tone definitely makes it hard for a television sell, so making it a digital series works well.  It makes me hopeful they’ll do more than just this series.Without going into things fully about what we saw and heard, I’ll share just a couple thoughts:

    I’m not a hardcore PvP’er, but I love the idea of Ashran!  Being able to loot half of someone’s currency just screams cheshire grin.  It almost makes me regret selling all my Owned! loot cards.  UBRS.  Dead Leeroy being hilarious and all, I’m excited about the chance to try out the new dungeon before the expansion launches.”Death Knight like start zone.”  I better have the option to skip this after the first go.  To this day I like the Death Knight class, but going through that great zone more than 3-4 times is like onion juice poured on my eyes.Garrisons.  This feature I really don’t want much to do with. I haven’t followed much about the beta information thus far, but I will be disappointed if it turns out to be a “must do” in order to play and enjoy the expansion.

As of late, I’ve been pretty quiet around here, mostly due to being busy.  I’ve been playing WoW sparsely, but enjoying it enough.  My thoughts have wandered plentifully towards Warlords.  I wouldn’t have had Pandaria if not for the kindness of others.  At no point did I really look forward to the contents.  This time has been different, but by not tapping into the beta information I haven’t had anything to enhance my excitement further.  Until today.  What I saw, for the most part I very much liked.  Most importantly, with my son going to school in September I will have a couple of months for any further preparations for the game, should I desire to be there on launch day.

Warlords Are Now Calling Us

The news came across my Facebook page this afternoon, courtesy of Mrs. Amateur herself.  Blizzard announced players can now pre-purchase Warlords of Draenor for digital download.  As the above video suggests, that means you can now have your insta-90 character boost.  It’s true.  I was not prepared.  I’m still not.

When Wrath of the Lich King launched, I was ripped, roaring, and ready to go.  Even took a couple of days off work.  When Cataclysm launched, I was excited and ready to go but had grown up a bit and went to bed within a few hours of launch.  Mists?  I was definitely ready because at the time I wasn’t even getting it.  But this?  On, or around, December 20th?  I’m not so sure.  I suddenly feel like I have work to do and much of it revolves around leveling and character ideas.  When time allows, I’m trying to boost my Gnome Warrior to 90 the traditional way.  She’s one-third of the way there.  But then there’s 2-3 other toons that I’m considering for the insta-boost and I was supposed to have plenty of time to make that decision because I would just decide to level one in the time that remained.

I know.  Getting a toon to level 90 does not take that long.  Many could take all of my toons and get them to 90 by the end of May, I have no doubt.  Heck, with a slightly better schedule I could probably do it as well.  But, we’re dealt the hand we hold and I’ll make the most of it.  Still, it’s weird to feel a bit under the gun now and at the same time incredibly excited.

All of the previous expansions had a pretty obvious story to them.  The Burning Crusade had heroes head to Outland and take on the obvious baddies out there.  Wrath of the Lich King was going to lead to the inevitable confrontation from the moment it launched.  Deathwing reshaped Azeroth (mostly) and had gotten loose.  Pandaria showed up randomly and we took war to its lands.  Now?  Now we know Garrosh evades his sentence and thanks to some bronze assistance, goes back in time and sets to work on an alternate timeline where his ancestors leave the blood in the fridge this time.

But when do we deal with that?  I’m thinking Garrosh is dealt with by 92, and his helping hand by 94-95.  Then comes the Warlords and their involvement in the story.  How each will play out is pretty much a mystery at this point, as well as what else the precursor to Outland has in store for our heroes.  Either way, I’m certainly excited about it (self-imposed work to do not included, of course) and Christmas can’t come fast enough.  What about you?  What was your initial thought on the announcement?