There’s Fireflint, off helping Kul Tirans as he levels up. He took some time to partake in a hunting party, and moments later I was literally having flashbacks to Hellfire Penninsula and the characters I took through there…probably Tum the most. Back then, that early entry into Outland, it was quest away and kill boars. You had to, because the bastards just kept showing up. Sometimes you’d get real lucky and end up with a few of them at once. All the healing in the world couldn’t save me. And it only got worse because Illidan forbid you were on a quest for a drop item (or multiples), because half the time the stuff wouldn’t drop. This place? SAME DAMN THING. Six expansions later and I have to suffer like this again? Is this the thanks I get for coming back? Ugh. Thank Illidan Fireflint has some durability and damage output otherwise I’d have probably lost my mind. Suffice to say I doubt any of the other Alliance toons will be visiting these yahoos. For shame Blizzard, for shame.
When Wrath of the Lich King came out, had I not taken a break I would have had a very good chance at world first level 80 Rogue. I don’t say that as a means of bragging, because well…what’s there to brag about? I didn’t get the achievement. So why bring it up? Well, to illustrate just what I thought of the rogue class at one point. Siori was my main. I loved Combat and then its evolution into Outlaw. So after Saintvache hit 50, I decided she was the next out of the chute.
With the druid and paladin, I fell right back into old habits and rotations and took care of business. Imagine my surprise when that was not the case with my rogue. I got Slice ‘N’ Dice going and made sure poison was equipped and the other usual things. But overall it felt flat. I was incredibly underwhelmed and while I can’t quite put my finger on why, I do think the current state of combo finishers plays a large part. There were more to choose from when I last played. And I found them more affective. Now hitting your rotation is just as easy, but there’s no DoT’s anymore (that I can really see). Dispatch is there for dealing damage and Cheap Shot of course for stunning the target (when Kick just doesn’t do the trick). But overall I just felt I wasn’t putting out as much damage as I used to. It made me really keep an eye on what felt like a depleted survivability.
I did end up getting her to 50 though. How much play she’ll see from here out is up in the air at best. I feel like my Feral Druid does rogue better than rogue does, if that makes sense. Her biggest asset at this point is probably making Enchanting scrolls and opening lock boxes. Not exactly where I expected to be with my rogue if you had asked me a few years back. And if you’re curious, I did look at the other specs. While they might be more optimal, I wasn’t really feeling them all that much more than Outlaw. So, I suppose it is what it is. Perhaps at some point I dust her off again and suddenly the class clicks for me again, I don’t know. But for the short term, the boss is going to be doing her work from behind the desk instead of out in the field.
Nothing quite like exploratory ding sneaking up on you. After getting in good with Highmountain, I had Saintvache visit Suramar, since I wouldn’t mind a Nightborne. Once again failing to look up what is required bit me in the rump. I figured it would work the same as the Highmountain in that I needed to complete the initial group of quests. As you likely know, that’s not the case. But at this point, I’d now done two of the factions for “Uniting the Isles.” So it was off to Val’Ashar for some more samaritan work. It was while wandering about there the 50 happened. At this point, I’ll probably keep him up in that area to continue to unite the isles. That’s now the Paladin and Druid that are level capped for me. I think up next is someone on the Alliance side. The who is still up for debate.
After dipping my toes in over the weekend, I decided to get my hooves wet. Saintvache was off to Legion Dalaran as I decided if I couldn’t have a Zandalari, I could at least get a Highmountain Tauren into the fold. Plus, it gave me a chance to do some leveling, which…wow. Such an improved experience. I’ll elaborate on a later date but I definitely approve. Saintvache is now 47, and that’s just from doing the main Highmountain story and a couple of bonus objectives that happened to be where I was questing anyway.
It didn’t take too long to complete that main story and set up the meeting between Baine and Mayla. I was in for a bit of a surprise as I never looked up how any of the alliances worked. I figured I would fly back to Orgrimmar and it would be a simple case of “hey, thanks for all your help. You proved the Horde is good. We’re in, ok?” Needless to say that is not what happened at all. I really enjoyed the story that lead to them officially joining the Horde. Though I can only imagine what it was like to have to do that chain without a flying mount. Dear Illidan it was like a classic WoW questline – all over the damn place.
In the end, though, it all worked out. The most difficult thing was getting back to Orgrimmar because everyone is logged in for Shadowlands.
See? Just a few people. I actually had to go to Pandaria and use the shrine portal to get back. Then I was able to scoot off and get my new mount and more importantly unlock some new friends. It didn’t take long for one to fall into the fold.
Not a fan of her default armor, but we’ll get that fixed eventually.
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.
There are a lot of quests of varying satisfaction in Classic WoW. One in particular many players manage to bypass. The quest has two requirements: Alliance and level 28. To start The Missing Diplomat, you need to pop in to the Stormwind Cathedral and talk to a young boy named Thomas. He tells you there is a bishop in Stormwind Keep that you should speak to. Over the course of the next dozen or so quests, you are going to follow the trail of some shady Defias activity and go from Stormwind to Duskwood and Wetlands to Dustwallow Marsh, where Jaina and company are thankful for your assistance.
Along the way it doesn’t take long to find out who has gone missing and it adds to the story that much more. It’s a quest chain that doesn’t require a lot of “kill x to get y.” A great deal of the quest chain involves talking to various people or cracking down on a few individuals. In the end you get a decent ring depending on your class and a great deal of xp along the way.
But none of it happens if you don’t come upon the start of the quest in Stormwind Cathedral. There’s a good chance the non-human races don’t come across it if they level in their race’s region. To say nothing of Horde characters. Honestly, I would definitely recommend rolling an Alliance character to experience this quest chain and a few other quite good ones. I’ll share a few more over the next couple of weeks. And don’t worry Horde, I will get to you as well. I just have to reacquaint myself with a few of them once more.
It’s funny. Until you go back in time (no, not Warlords), you don’t realize just how much of the game has changed. But when you stop to think about it, Wrath ended 10 (!) years ago. With all the changes that have taken place, here are 5 things I like from Wrath and 5 things I’m glad changed.
Going back I’ve come to realize how much more difficult the game was, particularly at lower level. Yes, it was still the era where start zone mobs were yellow, but once you tag them, they can be hard to deal with. Even more so if they bring friends to the fight. My Mage has died a lot and it’s not from doing dumb things. Hunter could say the same pre-pet.
Minus: Mob Tagging
This was one of the things Blizzard got right, likely taking the lead from Guild Wars 2. There’s little more frustrating when you are doing a kill ‘`em quest and someone tags one of your mobs right before you do. And heaven forbid it’s a quest objective mob, otherwise you may as well get comfy for a couple of minutes.
Plus: Talent Trees
I might be in the minority on this one, but it was one of the things I always liked. The modern formula of choosing one of three abilities here and there was never the “better choices for the players” that the developers lauded when they brought it forward. Instead it became even more cookie cutter. Sure, the old trees still have their optimum build, but there is room to play around. And if the character isn’t raiding, the tree is your playground.
Minus: Profession Specialization
It’s a bit trivial, but having to choose between Weapons or Armor, for example, feels like you’re forced into a specific direction that by this time in the franchise certainly wasn’t necessary. For someone who also likes to have all craft options, it makes it a bit more difficult. But let’s be honest, if this is one of my gripes then things can’t be too bad.
Plus: Less Flight Paths
The abundance of flight paths post Cataclysm makes getting around significantly faster than it had been to that point. However, between that and being able to fly your mount, Azeroth got significantly smaller. But in the modern game if you are starting out then you’ve got 120 levels to get through. With only 80 back then, it wasn’t so bad. You could get Outland flying at 70 and Northrend flying at 80, the latter of which then unlocked the Cold Weather Flying option for any of your other characters and they just had to be high enough level to be in Northrend in the first place. But there’s something nostalgic about running from Loch Modan to Menethil Harbor, or Stormwind to Westfall, that while a short distance still seems to emphasize the “World” part of WoW.
Minus: Corpse Run
I like the world to feel bigger, just not when I’m dead. Having to run across a zone to get back to your body can be painful sometimes. Ok, almost always. And if you’re the only member of a group or raid, you feel even worse while everyone is waiting on you to return. The changes that made getting back to your body a minute or less ordeal was definitely a step forward.
As I said in flight paths, the leveling had to change for the modern game. But the pre-Wrath zones that were changed in Cataclysm took things too far. We got quest hubs that we often outgrew before even finishing the story or getting the xp for the area becase it was no longer worth it. Ten years ago, that wasn’t the case. You could do all the quests in a hub and sometimes it wouldn’t even be enough to level out of. You might head to another zone just to get topped up, and start a new trek. Combining that with the talent trees gave a feeling like every level after ten meant something.
Minus: Wailing Caverns
I can honestly say I have almost no difficulty in any of the dungeons or raids from 3.3.5 and older. This one, though, is a whole mess of worms. Without the later introduced map tool for dungeons, getting lost is incredibly easy. And then one wrong step or turn and you’re really running around in circles which isn’t the best in an already incredibly long dungeon.
No, I’m not contradicting myself. With this one, I’m removing WC from the discussion save for the fact it’s a good run if you want the Druid of the Fang armour. But that aside, I love the way things were. Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman aren’t 5-man’s. High Inquisitor Fairbanks is hiding behind the secret wall in Scarlet Monastery, Deadmines is back to the way it was meant to be (though Vanessa Van Cleef’s story was one of the better ones in Cataclysm). The original dungeons had excellent stories, and you tended to farm them while leveling. Now the pre-80 stuff you might see two or three times if you’re lucky, again because leveling is so much faster.
Minus: Missing Race/Class Combos
Sure, this one is purely cosmetic (for the most part). But I miss a lot of the things we got in 4.0.3. For the most part they were changes that made sense. Human Hunters, Dwarf Warlocks, Tauren Paladins, Troll Druids, and so forth. There are a number of them I am quite fond of being able to create. That said, I do not miss the idea of a Gnome Hunter.
So there’s a handful of thoughts that have come about as a result of my time warp. I might be able to make the list a bit longer, and maybe even on both sides of the equation, but these are the ones that stand out the most. If you can think back that far, what changes are you happy for? Which ones do you wish had never changed?