Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Played Lately: World of Warcraft

  • Now that I've done the standing in line, chatting with strangers, waiting for my beautiful little box with the magic disk inside, you're likely to read that subject line quite a lot over the next several weeks. Of course, that's only if I bother to write. I make no promises.
  • I came home from work Wednesday night with the intention of taking a nap so that I could stay up all night playing. That didn't work out so well because I was so wired with excitement. (I am still a little kid in some ways.) So a little earlier than I expected, I hoped in the car and drove down to the local GameStop and the expected queue. I took a book with me (Lucky at Cards by Lawrence Block; thank you Hard Case Crime.), but I didn't get a chance to read it. I ended up chatting with a bunch of other players, each nicely fulfilling a gamer stereotype. One guy (around my age) had 12 level 70 characters and was unsure who to launch into the expansion with. One guy was an inveterate altoholic, with thirty to forty midlevel characters spread across multiple servers. The younger guy was the epitome of the PvP mindset, annoyed about the lack of skill, proliferation of epics, and frustrating class balances in the game. The fourth was the quiet guy that barely said anything, and thus a stereotype of his own. I ended up passing an enjoyable hour chatting about our game playing experiences and plans for the expansion. The employees did a great job of insuring that everyone had prepaid the expansion in full before midnight, so the line flowed a lot better than the last expansion. The weather was better too, so thank you, Blizzard for launching on time. Anyway, I had my new precious in only 15 minutes and the five of us parted ways, never to meet again. I'm sure that we're each playing the expansion in a different way.
  • I drove home as fast as possible, kissed my wife goodnight, dropped the disc in the tray, upgraded my account and waited. It was not a long wait. I remembered TBC taking far too long to install, but this was much quicker. Soon I was in the game and on my way to Northrend.
  • Although patch 3.0.2 gave me incentive to play my paladin again, it was Ashlynh, my mage, that took the first zeppelin to Vengeance Landing. And the first thing I did when i got there was train all my professions. That was funny. Between Enchanting, Tailoring, Fishing, First Aid, and Cooking, the only one I've made any progress on is the one involving ovens. That's primarily because I was so far behind on Fishing that I haven't even reached the prior skill cap. It's also because the new food available is so nice compared to the old, with buffs lasting a full hour now. And with a pool of Imperial Manta Rays right behind the zeppelin tower, I had to see what a manta ray was good for.
  • As you can guess from reading all that, it took me about twenty minutes just wandering around before I thought about questing. Luckily the quests show a little flair in dressing up the "kill ten rats" paradigm. I got to train a plaguehound, meet the vrykul, burn them out, and fight off the Alliance landing near the base by dropping plague bombs on their ships and targeting their cannons for an offshore bombardment. None of this is anything new for the game, but the fact that they mix in all these quest types right from the start.
  • But I didn't spend all my time questing. Not long after getting started, I queued up to try out the new instances. Everyone has said they are very PUG friendly, so I figured it could not hurt to try. In short order, I was able to get groups for both Utgarde Keep and the Nexus. Both instances were beautiful, the boss fights were fun, and both had some neat mechanics that made the experience interesting. I eventually when back to Utgarde with a guild group and it was just as fun the second time.
  • And all that was on my first day. I could only stay up until dawn before I could play no more. I showered, went to bed, and crashed. It was a short crash, though, since I couldn't stay away from the game for that long.
  • As an aside, the writing in game is still as fun. Upon freeing a Warsong Peon from his silk cocoon, he said "Why it keep telling me to put da lotion in da basket? Me no like da lotion!" I had to retype that and sent it to the guild. I'm so glad to have something new in WoW.

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