Wooo, look at the time! Has it really been that long since my last update? Well I have a pretty good excuse. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my very great pleasure to present to you, Calli The Seeker, level 80 Frost Mage, Northrend Dungeonmaster, Exalted with the Kirin Tor!
It’s been a hell of a ride. By now most if not all of you reading this should have a toon levelled to 80 already. I actually took the week off work when the expansion was released and went into Northrend like I was out for revenge. In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have followed the herd and started in the Borean Tundra, hereafter referred to as the Boring Tundra because if the shoe fits, wear it. Yes, it was a bit laggy, yes it was crowded, yes there were too many people and not enough quest mobs and yes, I wish I’d been an engineer so I could also have made a fortune ripping people off over Overcharged Capacitors (Overcharged, geddit? Blizz MUST have seen that one coming) but it was fun all the same. For the first two hours. After the novelty wore off and general chat had been given time to sap your will to live, all the factors mentioned above sort of combined to begin making the Northrend experience something you endured rather than enjoyed. I began actively looking forward to the moment I hit that magical quest number, got the Boring Tundra achievement and could just get the hell out, not because I wanted to see what came next, although I did, but more to just get the hell out of the Tundra!
Pirates > Ninjas
While we’re on the subject, a lot of people were complaining very loudly and at great length about the constant ninja’ing that was going on, whether that be of quest mobs, ores, herbs, whatever. Ok, first of all, this is going to happen when you have so many players packed into an area with a limited amount of resources. Secondly, there are those who subscribe to the policy that “It’s not yours until it’s in your bag”. Let’s just make this clear so we’re all singing from the same hymnsheet, this philosophy is nothing other than an attempt to justify being an arsehole. Pure and simple. Someone’s killing a mob right next to an ore vein and you run in, dismount, and grab the ore without asking if the guy killing the mob wants it? You’re an arsehole. You see a Warlock DoT up a target and you blink in, hit it with an Ice Lance before Corruption has a chance to tick, tag the mob, then kite it until the damage from the DoT makes it switch aggro to the Lock and forces him to kill it for you? You sir, are an asshat. End of story. You are a hat for the use of wearing by asses. Discussion over.
Now I expect this sort of stuff to happen, due to the sheer number of people crammed into the starting areas. With that many people jammed together you’re going to get an equally high proportion of dickwads in close proximity to everyone. But what amazes me is when I wander into a quest area and see 4 other people all competing with each other for a limited number of kills, it never ceases to boggle my mind that I always seem to be the first one to suggest grouping up. You can almost see the gears turning in the minds of the others present as they digest this novel new idea. “You mean, co-operate instead of compete? Well it’s a wild and crazy idea but what the heck, it might just work, we’ll give it a try!”
To their credit, Blizzard have certainly learned a lot from their experience with Hellfire Peninsula in Burning Crusade and wherever a single boss-type mob is required to be killed to finish a quest and there are likely to be upwards of a bazillion players wanting to kill him, they’ve made quest completion dependent on a drop from the mob that anyone can loot! So it really doesn’t matter if there are six paladins, four mages and a shaman spamming the spawn point with every flavour of aoe in the book, let the greedy assholes kill him, and you get the drop anyway.
On those rare occasions where an actual kill is required and where the scumbags who are camping the spawn refuse your offer to group (because that’s what assholes do) or where they’re the opposite faction, turned up after you’d already been waiting patiently and immediately start to spam aoe, here’s a tip to ensure justice is done. Press V, and get an instant attack ready. You’ve done everything a decent human being could do to try to get people to co-operate, now it’s fair to show them that being a prick doesn’t always pay off. AoE doesn’t drench an area in damage, it’s either limited by the global cooldown or it has a tick once every second or three. An instant attack, however, is an instant attack. When mobs spawn, you see their healthbar long before you see the actual mob, which is why you pressed V to see enemy healthbars. So the second you see that healthbar, fire off your instant attack, then do nothing. You’ve tagged the boss with an instant, low damage attack, then he fully spawns into an aoe shitstorm of epic proportions at which point you lose aggro, and the spawn-camping, non-cooperative asshole brigade gets to kill him for you. Some may call it hypocrisy, but they’re the assholes who do this sort of stuff and think they’re funny and I don’t particularly care what they think. I call it justice.
As a final word on the whole asshole/ninja subject, I’ll close by saying that I believe the rampant assholery that prevaded the Boring Tundra was actually a good thing. “NOES!” I hear you cry, well let me explain. At the very least, it served to get all the dickwads out in the open where you could identify them and get them added to your ignore list early. You know.. before you were level 80 and looking for a last dps class to fill out your instance group and one of these clowns joins your group, or even worse, fills out a guild application. See? No matter how lousy the situation on the surface, there’s always an upside.
Meanwhile, 300 feet above Crystalsong Forest…
Of course, being a mage I headed straight for Star’s Rest in Dragonblight the very instant I dinged level 71 to do my Dalaran “attunement” quest and get access to the greatest and most wonderful city in Azeroth well before anyone else. And let me tell you, my guildmates were well and truly sick of my spamming /g with how awesome Dalaran was. I think Dalaran is just Blizzard’s way of saying sorry to mages for The Burning Crusade. I must have spent two hours just wandering around squealing with glee at every new sight and linking the stuff the vendors were selling, buying myself the Armoured Brown War Bear, doing the cooking daily ages before anyone else, fishing in the fountain and the sewers, etc. For a few blissful hours I actually had Dalaran almost entirely to myself, then someone figured out the Battleground queue “exploit” and the peace and quiet was over. There were warlocks in Dalaran! Warlocks! Pfft..
But we have the last laugh. If you’re a mage and you ask one of the Dalaran citizens (not guards, citizens! Dalaran is a city of magi, we have no need of such mundane things as guards! Pfft!) for directions to a class trainer, he or she will quite happily point you in the direction of the mage trainers. If you’re not a mage and you ask you’ll also be given a flag to follow on your minimap…. to the portals to Azeroth’s other, lesser capitals.
Ha! Muahah! MUAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!! Thank you, Blizzard, really, from the bottom of my heart! Thank you!
There’s Vikings in Them Thar Hills!
After getting the Boring Tundra quest achievement I decided to head over to Howling Fjord to complete all the starter quests there too. Now this may just be a matter of personal preference, it may just be because to get to the Fjord you have to fly first from Ironforge to Menethil Harbour and so the Fjord wasn’t as crowded, but I VASTLY preferred the Fjord to the Tundra. The Howling Fjord is where my “ZOMG!” experience of the Northrend zones began, and pretty much continued as I wandered into each and every zone afterwards. Sure, Coldarra in the Tundra was quite spectacular, but the rest of the zone was really a bit “meh”. It is a tundra after all.
The Fjord on the other hand, is.. well.. it’s a fjord! It’s got spectacular hardwired into its’ genetic code even before Blizzard go to work on it. The character models for the Vrykul… wow. I just wish the base player character models looked that good. The questing in the Tundra was of an equally high standard, but the amount of asshats crammed into the area and the general “meh” factor of the scenery robbed it of any lasting virtue for me. The Fjord on the other hand was relatively free of players, looked amazing and was just more of a fun experience for me. You also got to surf across the fjord on a burning harpoon and if that’s not awesome, nothing is.
Well, maybe surfing on a crocolisk beats it. What? Yes you heard me, surfing on a CROCOLISK!
You get to surf on the back of that particular reptile in the Sholazar Basin, which is where you meet up once more with the world famous Hemet Nesingwary and once again aid him in his mission to exterminate the wildlife of Azeroth and turn it into something useful like a nice handbag or umbrella holder. Practical people, the Dwarves. Sholazar Basin is what you wish Stranglethorn Vale had looked like. Let me take this opportunity to remind you that Wrath of the Lich King looks simply stunning, something you appreciate more once you hit level 77 and get access to Cold Weather Flying training and can once again take to the skies. Storm Peaks in particular is quite simply breathtaking seen from the air, and that has nothing to do with the cold.
Speaking of flying mounts, feast your eyes on this little beauty…
Available only to tailors, I give you the Magnificent Flying Carpet. Requiring a tailoring level of 425 to make, it never fails to drop jaws and ensures you are bombarded with whispers demanding to know where you got it. It’s waaaaaaay cooler than any other form of transport, but no Feral druids! They shed on the carpet and it takes an age to get it clean.
I’ll just leave you with one word of warning, be very careful when it comes to drinking stuff you find in the Underbelly of Dalaran, you never know what those mages have thrown away…