The Dead Sea


When Cataclysm came out, I made sure to hit up every zone. Tumunzahar went through Vashj’ir and even as a Holy Priest it was enjoyable. I quite liked the quests and the lore of the zone. Granted, it took much longer to do anything until you got your swimming boost, but it wasn’t all bad. At least not as bad as everyone made it seem to be.

At least not the first time.

I’ve taken several toons through the Cataclysm content since then and always went to Hyjal simply because of how quick and easy the zone is. It’s more familiarity than anything else. So when the Death Knight recently hit 80 I decided to shake things up a bit and head back under the sea. What a terrible idea that was.

Now, as you might expect, there wasn’t another soul in sight. I’m used to that at lower levels, so no biggie. Got my quests and off I went swimming. And swimming. And swimming. It was painful. So much so that I managed to hand in one quest (despite being in the process of completing several more) and then hearthed back to Orgrimmar. Because damn.

It then reminded me of what I mentioned earlier, and that’s that most people hate the zone and avoid it like the plague. It got me thinking about all the zones in the game now, and there are plenty of them. Is there any other one that comes even close to Vashj’ir in terms of disdain? I mean, for me Hellfire Penninsula was revolting because of all the damn boars everywhere and the grief that caused me over time. But that’s peanuts compared to trying to go through Sea World. I know some might mention Lost Isles but even that’s limited to Goblins only.

The thing with Vashj’ir is that in principle it was a fantastic idea. I think what separates it from everything else is the 3D movement and combat. It’s one thing to do it in the air, such as we are used to courtesy of the Oculus and other such events. But in the water folks can get confused. And really, we were in the water for a lot longer than a few minutes in a raid. Not to mention, you were hardly ever on the ground.  Interacting with mobs and NPC’s was tricky as a result…and they weren’t always easy to find because the zone was huge in terms of both depth and sprawling.

It’s too bad, because lore wise it’s definitely one of the best zones in the game…even if some of the stories were left unfinished. It leads me to hope we get some sort of follow up down the road. And I think Blizzard could learn a lot from the zone and make a lot of great improvements that would lead to people enjoying the environment more. In the mean time I think Vashj’ir will continue to be the zone that is the most devoid of players.

You Want To Bring War? Then Bring World War!

We know the line is being drawn once more between the Horde and Alliance. After a couple of expansions of working together (brought on by bat-crazy Garrosh), it’s going to go out the window all over again. But that’s the heart of Azeroth (no, not the necklace) over two decades. Two sides that just can’t exist together for one reason or many others. The Battle For Azeroth focuses on one specific area. The stretch of sea between Zandalar and Kul’Tiras. We start on our own island and once reaching the level cap we will be able to start venturing on the other side. Not to mention the 3-player expeditions to islands between them. Then there are Warfronts as well. But as far as we know, that’s it.

The Battle For Azeroth shouldn’t happen over just a tenth of the (known) world. It should be all encompassing in more than just (likely) scenarios for high level characters. The effects should be felt everywhere. This actually ties in with something I have felt for a long time, in that the events and quests that take place throughout Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms need to evolve and change. I had this idea that every month or so, one of the region’s could get tweaked.  Maybe the Gnolls are no longer encroaching on Redridge. Or the Trolls of Zul’Aman come further out into the Ghostlands. Those kind of things. Perhaps a quest-giver is gone or has moved somewhere else and has new ambitions.

Regardless of how it played out, it feels necessary. It would make the game feel more alive and we haven’t had any real change since Cataclysm seven years ago. Much of the change that came then was well done in principal, but the execution left a lot to be desired. Still, the world was changed. So why can’t it change again? We don’t need land masses drastically altered like things were when Deathwing arrived. But something would be nice, and this is the perfect time to do it in a story sense.

So much comes from war and conflict and when you’re talking about a battle for a planet then it should involve the whole planet. Accidental casualties, espionage, gathering supplies, constructing machines of war. All of these things could be spread out throughout places across the land. Not every place, mind you. After all, what’s Loch Modan going to contribute in the grand scheme of things? But a few zones (aside from what looks like Undercity and Teldrassil) would be nice all the same. I want to feel like it really is global conflict rather than just a few islands in a fresh expansion.

30 Days (April) – Favourite Legendary

Admittedly, I don’t own a single legendary item on any of my characters.  Fangs of the Father appealed to me for Siori, but I’m tormented by flawed pickpocket opportunities, be they caused by someone else or my own accord.  Otherwise, I’ve never bothered to even attempt to obtain one.  It’s odd considering some of them seem interesting enough.  The Mrs. has one half of the Warglaives and we really should work on trying to get the other one because, well really it’s the Warglaives.  No reason is needed.

As you might have guessed from the picture, though, my favourite legendary in the game is Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest.  Not because I’ve had anything to do with obtaining one, but because of what it does and how the story goes.  If you’re not familiar with the item, it’s a caster questchain.  The picture above is what you see when you use the fully completed staff and transform into Tarecgosa.  It’s a sight to behold if you’ve never seen it in Stormwind or Orgrimmar.

So what’s the story?  The elements attack Nordrassil and Volcanus attempts to use a bough of the World Tree in order to destroy it.  You get to stop him and return the bough to Kalecgos who attaches the Timeless Isle to it.  The staff is evolved further after Tarecgosa sacrifices herself to stop Arygos from killing Kalcgos.  In the process you become fused with her essence, which Kalecgos stabilizes after he’s named the new leader of the Blue Dragonflight.  At this point he also infuses the staff further and it’s known as the Runestaff of Nordrassil.  After heading into the Firelands, you return to the Blues with Smouldering Essences and the Heart of Fire (from Ragnaros), which the dragons then use to complete the staff and fuse Tarecgosa’s spirit to it.  Hence the final name.

It’s not a historic weapon by any stretch of the imagination, but the story in the quest line is a decent one and ties the player right in with the lore of the game, particularly a very pivotal moment for the Blue Dragonflight.  Add in the visual effect when you use the staff and it’s an impressive enough item to top my legendary list.

30 Days (April) – Favourite Official Trailer

I’m going to give two answers once again today as I’m not 100% certain what defines “official.”  If we’re talking about cinematic trailers, then there is excited like I was for Wrath of the Lich King.  But then there’s “oh #*$&” like I was when we got the Cataclysm trailer.

I was pretty well excited with terror when I saw that for the first time.  Even when the expansion was announced and we got “there can be no peace.  Deathwing…has returned.”  He’s just a monolith of evil.  Now, we’ll ignore how the whole expansion played out in terms of living up to that excitement.  But it was still a pretty sound trailer for Neltharion coming back to the surface of Azeroth.

If we’re going to include the Patch trailers, then it’s a completely different story.  The trailer for 3.1 (Ulduar) that I posted earlier this week is a great one.  But, when it comes to the preview videos for all the patches of WoW, there isn’t one that captures the content or delivers as well as 2.3 did.

I knew nothing about Zul’jin when I came into the game, pretty much right after this patch went live.  But man, this trailer made me want to.  Whoever wrote the dialogue just captured everything so well, and the voice work was phenomenal for it.  Yes, Ulduar is a close second, but I don’t think another patch trailer comes even close.

Grounded In Draenor?


For the better part of six months, there has been on and off discussion regarding the status of flying in Draenor.  The developers have said from the onset that it won’t exist out of the gate.  No, not in the sense that you had to learn it once you were level capped such as was the case in previous expansions.  We’re talking no flying PERIOD.  Patch 6.1 was the initial consensus as to when your characters could start learning to fly in the past dimension.  A longshot now is the idea we might never be able to fly there…then?….Draenor.

I honestly don’t see Blizzard doing this, even if I want them to.  The developers have several examples where they implement something and the player base cries foul so loud they backtrack.  Making a no-fly expansion would cause a huge uproar, plain and simple.  They can handle having to get to the level cap before they’re rewarded with such a luxury and they’ve been conditioned to receive that ever since the Burning Crusade.  I’m not going to argue the majority on this one, even if I would love to go an expansion without flight.

For quite some time now I have pondered whether World of Warcraft should ever have implemented old world flying.  The harvester in me says it’s a handy feature and going in a straight line to certain destinations is so much easier…but that was also before there were 2.000 flight paths.  Yes, I can certainly admit there are benefits to the feature.  At the same time, though, Azeroth feels so much smaller now.  The ability to fly anywhere and everywhere on your own just downscaled the magnitude of the world.  Even the scope of Pandaria changed dramatically the moment I was able to purchase flying.

Now I know what you’re going to say.  You don’t have to purchase the flying if you don’t want it.  This is quite true and until sitting down to write this post, I hadn’t even considered it.  I have some toons that can’t fly in Northrend because they didn’t spend enough time there, so the grand scale of it should have occurred to me.  So yes, individuals do have that choice and the wish of the few should not outweigh the wish of the many.  But sit with me for a moment and realistically discuss with me the negatives of an expansion without free roaming flight.

  • Takes longer to reach instance entrances. Most of the 90-100 is going to involve LFG dungeoning far more than walking in through the front door.  When it comes to raiding, once two are there the summoning can begin.
  • Takes longer to farm materials.  For certain folks, this will be understandable as rare mats are needed for things such as Alchemy or Blacksmithing.  But other than that, the problem is…?
  • Unseen beauty. A number of people enjoy flying over the zones and just taking in the beauty.  You’ll most definitely lose that scale of beauty, but you’ll still see the artistic efforts that were used to create such a lush land.

Are there really any more than that?  Truthfully?  These were the only three that I could think of and to be fair two of them are only negative because we’re so accustomed to the “now” principal in that we don’t want to wait for anything as a society.  In World of Warcraft it’s even worse because for the most part we don’t have to work hard for very much anymore.  Not at the level of basic necessities needed to play the game.  Raiding, PvP, or personal goals can dramatically change the scope of difficulty but for just playing the basics of the game much is almost handed to you from the moment you step foot in Azeroth.

But I’m strolling off into an unnecessary tangent.  Quite frankly, I will be incredibly surprised if there’s no flying in Draenor, ever.  Even holding off on it for a while is refreshing and yet surprising.  It keeps the scope larger and the fear slightly higher.  There’s not always going to be a safe way in and a safe way out.  I personally like these things.  As I said earlier, I have been contemplating flying in the old world and whether that change was for the better.  While I abuse it as much as the next person for its strengths, I think it was a mistake…even if it didn’t happen until the third expansion.  So if Blizzard wants to wait a patch or two into Warlords before we’re allowed to fly in Draenor, they definitely get a thumbs up from me.

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?

LBR Goes Cata

Last night was the first Cataclysm Raid for Laid Back Raids.  The Alliance who were able to make it were set to visit Blackwing Descent.  I know what you’re thinking.  That’s Cho’gall in the picture.  Cho’gall isn’t in Blackwing Descent.  You’re right, he’s not.  You see, I somehow got it into my head that I had scheduled Bastion of Twilight.  I even studied the boss fights beforehand and thought to myself “I thought Onyxia was in here…oh well.  Guess not.”  I literally didn’t think anything of it until someone else pointed it out after the first boss.

The good news is that we had ten people and only a few of us were 85, so we had some power.  Still, Repgrind and myself kept busy with healing.  Phinkbunny was on his Paladin tank, which he hadn’t used too much, while Healblade had a Prot spec for his Warrior but no gear.  Still, he Off-tanked just fine.  Though, it wasn’t as though we facerolled the place…

Even there, the three of them did manage to get the dragons down.  The shot was taken well into their venture as I believe they were closer to 40-45 percent health.  So we had a few deaths and even a few wipes.  But, as per the LBR atmosphere, no one was concerned.  We got great direction from Repgrind and Draynee, and Healblade checked some of the fights as we went along.  The Elementals was probably the fight that gave us the most difficulty, but we made it.  It was nice to have a bit of a challenge, and that’s only made better when you have a group of people that can stay relaxed and just enjoy things.  Hopefully that’s the case again next weekend when we send some Horde into the Firelands.