Monday, November 17, 2008

Initial Impressions

Server Stability

First of all, let me give some major kudos to Blizzard. The servers were up when I logged in, and they were silky smooth with no lag, or ques. I was quite impressed. I played off and on Thursday through Saturday and never once got a ‘World Server Is Down’ or ‘Server Restart in 15:00’. The game was imminently playable.

Speed Leveling

I’ve already seen a Level 77 on my server, and others have reported there already being a couple of level 80s.

Some people view 70-80 as a barrier, an inconvenient interruption to be rushed through so they can get back to raiding. I see 70-80 as its own journey. I want to raid again, but I don’t see the point of rushing the leveling process to get there.

We all should play a game we enjoy, but at times it doesn’t seem like we are playing the same game.

It seems every time a question is asked about a quest in General chat the answer that comes back is for the person asking the question to get the mod QuestHelper. I love QuestHelper, it’s a great mod, but right now I have it turned off. I want to explore, to get lost a time or two, to accidently wander into a Horde town.

I hope no one reads this and gets the impression that I’m saying my way of doing things is right and rushing is wrong, because that’s not how I feel. I am stating that for me, it’s more fun to take it slow, and explore and do things. You play in whatever way is most fun for you.

Fjord versus Tundra

It seems like my theory about the starting zones was accurate. I took Honors to Howling Fjord, while I took my Hunter to Borean Tundra.

Howling Fjord is less populated than Borean Tundra. In the Tundra, I was fighting for quest mobs, and the entire area was overcrowded. The chat in Borean Tundra also has an almost ‘Barrens’ or ‘Trade Chat’ quality to it. I haven’t noticed that in the Fjord. People are questing and grouping in Fjord, but for the most part it feels like any other zone you quest in as far as population. I’ve never had any trouble getting quests done.

I really like the way the game offers you transportation to outlying areas. When I had to go to a Dwarf camp north east of Valgarde, the Dwarf quest giver offered me a ride in his plane, and it dropped me right down at the camp where I could begin questing.

The lore quests in Fjord have been outstanding. I especially like the quests where you get to go back in time and see the Vrykyl as they develop. My favorite quest so far has to be the quest in the Catacombs where you are tasked with recovering an Ancient Artifact.

Another quest has you take control of a huge harpoon gun and shoot down dragon riders out of the sky. That was cool. Later you fire yourself back to Valgarde to turn in a quest.

The quests have been varied and very fun.

In both zones, whoever made the quest rewards had a serious liking for Haste. It’s everywhere.

PVP Server

PVP hasn’t been too bad. In fact I haven’t engaged in any undesired PVP except around the summoning stones. At least a dozen times, I rode past a Horde on a road from here to there and neither of us so much as dismounted.

My friends leveling Death Knights in Hellfire have reported roaming bands of Horde killing every DK in sight (but leaving the other classes alone). One story I heard was a Druid alt leveling with a DK friend. The Horde ganked the DK but left the Druid untouched.

Professions

I’m really regretting being double production right now. All the crafting materials are rare and when they do show up on the Auction House it’s at ridiculous prices. A stack of Cobalt Bars was going for 200g. There are no uncut gems on the AH, just cut ones. I haven’t even been able to finish the initial Jewelcrafting quests.

In fact, that is a big reason why the Hunter has gotten as much play time as he has. Since he can mine and skin, I’ve been running him around looking for nodes and skinning animals (but to D.H.E.T.A’s chagrin). Of course he’s not a leatherworker so I can’t combine the scraps into leather. Every quest reward is a major upgrade for him.

Hunter Alt

I’ve tried a couple of different pets since the patch, but my favorite so far has got to be my Rhino, Rocksteady. I absolutely love all the tricks he can do like Intervene and Last Stand. And let’s face it, what could be cooler than a Big Red Rhino.
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