First Look: SimCity 5 March 13, 2013Posted by Stormy in Uncategorized.
…and now for something completely different.
I’ve been a Maxis fan since the days of SimAnt and SimIsle. When you’re a lonely kid with a fascination for pushing buttons, being put in charge of your own ant farm, island or entire city and being given carte blanche to run the place is pretty much the coolest thing ever. Strangely, I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to the hype surrounding the launch of SimCity 5…which is weird, because I actually played a fair bit of SimCity when I was a kid and really loved it. It never really dawned on me that the new SimCity was out until I started hearing the chorus of screaming from various Internet People who were just outraged…OUTRAGED, I TELL YOU that SimCity didn’t work perfectly well for the first week of its launch.
To those people I say clearly you’ve never been through a marquee game launch like a World of Warcraft expansion or the Great Diablo III Clusterfuck of 2012. Anyone who was expecting EA’s servers to work flawlessly on Day One of the biggest and most-anticipated game launch of 2013 needs their head examined, and anyone who has sworn off EA over this launch snafu is making a huge mistake.
I was once like you. Last week I went to the EA website and promptly lost my shit when I saw the sticker price of the game: $60 for the base game, and $80 for an expanded collector’s edition. I even went so far as to post a “You’ve got to be shitting me.” post about it on Facebook. There was NO WAY I was paying $60 for this game, no way no how nosirree bob. Except that my birthday is next week and I like shiny new things and I’m prone to moments of weakness and yeah…
Not Just SimCity 4 With Better Graphics
In this age of faster processors and GPUs, EA/Maxis could have just slapped better graphics on classic SimCity, polished a few bells and whistles and called it good, and the masses would have rejoiced and paid through the nose for it. Instead, they’ve rebuilt the game from the ground up and innovated in some pretty amazing ways.
Much hay has been made over the idea that SimCity is now a server-based always-online social game instead of the single-player game of yore. While there’s a good point to be made there about the reliability of EA’s servers, and while I’m sure somewhere some game reviewer has invoked the word “Orwellian” with respect to EA’s DRM capabilities, the fact is that moving the game to the cloud has allowed EA/Maxis to expand the game in some pretty cool ways.
Instead of one massive single-player city, players are thrust into a “region” with anywhere from three to sixteen individual little hamlets. The social aspect of the game works very similar to that of Diablo III: I can create a game, then invite two to fifteen of my Origin friends in to play around in my region with me, or I can leave my game public so that any random person with an internet connection can drop in and play with me.
But here’s where it gets interesting: each one of the little hamlets in the region is blessed with its own set of natural resources, and these resources can be traded openly with the other cities in the region. If my little town is rich in coal and ore, I can set up a pair of huge mines and a trade depot to sell these things to other cities. A friend running another city in the region can then specialize in, say, electronics manufacturing and buy my materials for use in his business. We can also share things like fire protection, hospitals, and police protection. Regions come pre-loaded with a highway between the cities and a basic railroad, so you could theoretically decide to make one of your little hamlets into a bedroom community and one into a manufacturing powerhouse.
I’ve already touched on this briefly, but it deserves explanation. New in SimCity 5 is the ability for your city to specialize in being a particular type of town: for example, a manufacturing town, a tourist town, or a gambling mecca. In my cities I’ve been maximizing the town’s tourism potential by opening a sports stadium and at least one or two other specialty tourist destinations. If you were playing with a friend, you could make one of the towns specialize in mining and trade, and another specialize in manufacturing.
But here’s the best part: adding a specialization to your city is very, very lucrative. Running a sporting event or rock concert in your city’s stadium can net you 50-100,000 Simoleons per day. Granted it’s because I’m older, smarter and a better gaming strategist than I ever was as a kid, but this is the first time I’ve ever run a city in SimCity with a positive cash flow.
Remember the old SimCity? Every two minutes, somebody in the town wanted something. The citizenry were unnaturally needy. Every two minutes the power plant was overloaded and needed to be upgraded, or your city planner was yelling at you about traffic, or the populace was whining about taxes. Everyone in your town constantly had a litany of problems you had to deal with. At times, playing the game felt less like being an all-powerful government magnate and more like being someone’s errand boy.
Not so with SimCity 5. Sure, you’ll deal with the occasional sewage overflow or brownout if you’re not careful, but I’ve never once had to delve into the boring minutiae of playing around with tax rates to lure in Sims. Sometimes this does go a little too far–last night there were a few times where I literally had nothing pressing to attend to and I was pretty much watching an animation of my city going about its daily business, but overall EA/Maxis has traded annoyances for depth and strategy.
I’ll be honest: you may have noticed that posts here on the Wall have been sporadic lately. My future in WoW is in doubt at this point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m not actively subscribed to WoW in six months. But this SimCity game…I’ve messed around with RIFT, LOTRO, GW2, Civ 5 and a handful of other games on Steam, and nothing has sucked me in or held my interest nearly as well as SimCity 5. So where is my gaming future going? I have no idea…but if you need me, you can always add me as a friend on Origin.
A moment, please? January 25, 2013Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
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I’ve noticed a disturbing new trend in dungeons while leveling over the past two weeks.
Attempting to take the entire dungeon as one continuous pull.
The other day I was in the Nexus, and there was an approximately lvl 74 tank/heals/dps guild triad that just started running down the hallway without communication. The other dps and I could hardly keep up, because we had stopped at the first big dragon and were fighting it for a few seconds before we realized the rest of the group had run off. When we caught up, he’d already pulled the entirety of the Horde forces and was working his way up the ramp towards the first boss. There were still a half-dozen alive when we engaged the boss, and I’m pretty sure most of the trash never got looted. She wasn’t quite dead before the tank was heading down the next hallway again. The next boss was at 30% health when the tank started moving on, and we had almost a dozen trash mobs around us as we engaged the third boss. At one point, I asked in the otherwise silent party channel “Are you late for something?” and got a snarky comment back from the dps. When Keristrasza died, the tank only said “too slow” before abruptly leaving the party with his cohorts. I think the entire experience took just over fifteen minutes.
I’m used to chain-pulling. I’ve done it myself when tanking. But it’s almost always included a brief pause to loot before running off to the next group or two. No one died, or even came close to it. No one played poorly (although I’m sure those three, would disagree). But I put the dps and tank on my ignore list, because if you’re going to attempt to “challenge mode” a dungeon, at least have the decency to inform the other members of the group so they’re aware of what’s about to happen.
Getting out of the rut January 24, 2013Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
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(Insert comment about not blogging a while here)
Over the course of the Cataclysm, I leveled four alt characters to 85 in addition to the others I already had on my Horde realm. Leveling with a full complement of heirlooms, guild bonus and often fully rested is like seeing Azeroth at turbo speed. You can’t complete a single zone before you’ve surpassed the ideal range for the next zone. You have so many slots filled with heirlooms that dungeons don’t always have upgrades, and definitely not the kind that give your character a different appearance between level one and eighty. If your goal is getting to max level as quickly as possible, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It also means not having to worry about your gear trailing far behind your level (with the exception of trinkets which I’ve had dungeon-crawling characters not upgrade between Blackrock Mountain and Mount Hyjal)
But the alt bug bit me again two weeks ago. I already have a Pandaren Brewmaster Monk on my horde server that is leveling via dungeons (and sitting in the low 50s where that gets really annoying), but I decided to make another one. I only have one slot left on my Horde server, so I went back to my old Alliance server (where I have a level 90 Gnome Mage) and rolled a Night Elf Monk to level as a Windwalker. I’ll admit that I expected it to go like many other alts I’ve started without leveling perks. I’d play it for an afternoon, get into the 10-20 range and promptly forget about it.
Except that didn’t happen. I’ve only leveled two characters through the post-Cataclysm Alliance tales, so the stories are still fairly fresh. The monk Enlightenment buff (+50% experience from monsters and quests) keeps the experience bar moving at good pace, and adding in the dungeons that I enjoy along the way, I had a blast. In less than a week, I was heading to Outland, and in the back of my mind, I knew this was the end of this character.
Except (again) that didn’t happen. The ennui of another character in Hellfire Penninsula didn’t set in, and then it was off to Zangarmarsh and Nagrand, and I was off to Northrend. Surely this would be the end of this alt. After all, I have a couple alts stuck around level 71.
Except (again) that didn’t happen. I’m currently sitting at level 77. I’ve done dungeons along the way, and doing quests that I hadn’t done in years, and rediscovering how much better the Alliance story in Dragonblight is than the Horde’s.
Why is this alt successful where so many others have failed? I’ve got a few ideas.
- Enlightenment – For one hour I get 50% extra experience, and I hate to waste things like this, so I’ve tried to use it strategically. Taking a groups of quests at mad dash, avoiding things that involve more travel than necessary. Holding off on profession training or vendor visits unless absolutely necessary. Pre-level 60, I could squeeze at least two levels out of each hour-long buff. And the extra buffs at each tenth level were strategically received after completing tasks like going ALL THE WAY BACK TO DARNASSUS FROM THOUSAND NEEDLES for riding training.
- Dungeons My Way – I almost never used the “random” feature, choosing instead to select from the list of available options. Because I didn’t have any heirlooms, the world was suddenly full of upgrades, plus there are some dungeons that I just don’t enjoy. And the experience bonus of “random” isn’t worth it to me to get stuck in yet another run of Dire Maul after I’ve out-leveled it. And the [Satchel of Useless Crap]? Yeah…
- The class is genuinely fun to play. Roll, Flying Serpent Kick, Spinning Crane Kick, Spinning Fire Blossom, Rising Tiger Kick.
But leveling without heirlooms, a guild, or gold-rich characters on the same realm has reminded me how much better in small ways this game has gotten better over the course of eight years.
- From level 1-59, the gear you receive has your two main stats and maybe one secondary stat. Then from 60-79 where suddenly all bets are off. A weapon who’s only stats are +Hit and +Attack Power? A cloak with only +Stamina and +Critical Strike? Thank goodness, Blizz has settled on more consistent itemization.
- It’s more than possible to make enough gold to afford most anything you need. I only had to delay the purchase of epic flying a few levels (because there wasn’t much of a market for Outland herbs on this server that week). Quest rewards eliminate for shopping the auction house almost entirely.
- Battle.net makes it much less lonely. Just because I’m on a different server, doesn’t mean I’m isolated, and if I hadn’t been gaining levels at such a clip, I could have run a couple dungeons with Stormy’s late-50s healer on yet another server. (Maybe at level 90, we’ll try to team up)
In a way, it’s a bit like rediscovering the game. Since the launch of Mists, I’ve almost exclusively played in the range from 85-90, and breaking out for two weeks has been just what I needed.
No. January 16, 2013Posted by Stormy in Uncategorized.
I’m just warning you: in this post I am going to commit pretty much every blogging sin I can possibly think of. I’m angry to the point of wanting to cancel my subscription, and I should never blog when I’m angry. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t like writing ranty posts. I don’t like sitting in front of the computer when I’m angry and spouting off a bunch of unhinged screeching, and I don’t like being labeled as That Guy Who Hates Everything and Complains About Everything.
…but sometimes a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.
For the first few months of Mists, the word on everyone’s lips (to the point where it’s largely become a dirty word) was “dailies.” Mists of Pandaria contains no less than six mandatory* faction grinds, the bulk of which must be ground out by doing multiple daily quests each day. Somewhere, someone at Blizzard got it into their head that preparing for raiding should be a long, arduous slog and gave us faction dailies gated behind other faction dailies, then decided to only give us 165 rep per quest. But enough about this. It’s painful. You know it, I know it, and I really thought there was no point in spilling more ink over their awful design decisions.
(*Yes, they’re mandatory if you want to be even remotely prepared for raiding. There is no argument here. If you’re in a raiding guild and you’re not doing the most you can to maximize your gear, enchants, valor points, etc., you are not pulling your weight. You can call them “optional” all you want, but if you’re a raider and you’re not doing them, you’re bad and you should feel bad.)
Then the Dominance Offensive/Operation: Shieldwall patch hit, and Blizzard once again proved that it had learned nothing from IQD, the Tourney, and the Molten Front. Well, they claim they did. They claim that people are doing the dailies (and they are–I can see that as I do them myself). But what their research doesn’t show is that people are doing these dailies because they *have* to to stay competitive, not because they’re fun and enjoyable. (I will admit that I enjoyed the Cloud Serpent grind…the first time. The prospect of doing it on at least three more Horde toons and one more Alliance toon makes me want to vomit.)
I resisted Shieldwall as long as I could, then the sadness of my current trinkets forced me to suck it up and start them. They are, without a doubt, the most awful dailies I’ve ever done. They’re repetitive and painfully over-tuned, even in raiding gear (I did them once on my not-at-all-geared Horde priest and threw up my hands). But most of all, they’ve turned the focus of World of Warcraft completely back to player-versus-player.
I don’t PvP. At all. I hate it. I hate it with every fiber of my being. I’m horrendously bad at it, and I absolutely hate the community that’s sprung up around PvP. Spending my non-working hours surrounded by 12-year-olds and people who act like 12-year-olds screaming and swearing and insulting each other is pretty much the worst way I can think of to spend an evening. Battlegrounds are a cesspool of humanity, and Blizzard Entertainment should be downright ashamed that they let that kind of behavior happen on their servers. I begrudgingly did School of Hard Knocks because I had help, and I did the 50 HK’s achievement for Winter Veil because hey, 50 HKs isn’t bad, but every time I leave a BG I feel like I need a shower. Until recently this behavior been confined to BGs and arenas, areas I can avoid, and I’ve been content with it.
Not so with Mists of Pandaria.
First of all, we’re saddled with this cross-realm zone nonsense, which carries a litany of negative effects (increased competition for resources, a slower questing experience, and increased opportunity for griefing, mainly). CRZ, as it’s been dubbed by the community, carries all of the negatives of being on a crowded, high-population server, and none of the benefits. For the most part you cannot talk to the people around you from other servers, and when you leave the cross-realm zone you’re back in Orgrimmar on your deserted server, where there are tumbleweeds growing in the auction houses and recruiting for a raiding or RBG group is futile. The only “silver lining” in the CRZ debacle is that it provides greater opportunities for so-called world PvP. You call it world PvP, I call it griefing*. Tomato, tomahto. It’s as if Blizzard is screaming “You will PvP AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.”
(*If you are level 90 and you are in a low-level zone getting your rocks off by one-shotting lowbies, you are not some noble hero of the Horde/Alliance “playing the game as it was intended” and “glorifying the Horde/Alliance.” You are an *asshole*. You are not engaging in “world PvP,” you are *griefing people*. You should not be lauded for your efforts to aid your faction, you should be *permanently banned from the game for being a dick*.)
When this fracas first started, the chorus of twits defending the “world PvP” compared notes and came up with one solution, which they now parrot like politicians at a press conference: “don’t play on a PvP server!” I don’t. My Horde toons are on Garrosh and my Alliance toons are on Azuremyst, both PvE servers. And yet, four times while completing Shieldwall dailies I’ve had dipshits literally go out and sit on top of the mobs I’m trying to kill, in the hopes that I’ll be stupid enough to cast an AoE spell and accidentally hit them, thus flagging myself and subjecting myself to “world PvP.” To them I say, a) I don’t think it’s physically possible to do what you’re trying to get me to do, and b) if you want to “world PvP,” go to a PvP server.
Then the legendary quest line came out. I’ve never had a legendary before, and I think they’re cool, and I think Wrathion is an interesting character, so I jumped into it with both feet. Then it was announced that in order to complete the legendary quest line you must win each of the new MoP battlegrounds. The chorus of “YOU WILL PvP AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.” grows ever louder.
But…trinkets! Pretty trinkets! K-kaw! k-kaw! I want my pretty trinkets, so I suffer through a half hour or so of Shieldwall dailies every day. Again, I do these things because as a raider I *have* to do them, not because I want to. I had made peace with it because the reward at the end is something I need. And then today it was announced that the new IQD/Tourney/MF analog in 5.2 will be a no-fly zone specifically for the purpose of encouraging “world PvP”. YOU WILL PvP AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.
No. I won’t. I will not PvP and you absolutely cannot, will not make me.
World of Warcraft should be a game, not a homework assignment.
Mini Pic Post: Loti Attack. December 10, 2012Posted by Ben in Pandaria, Zones.
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I promise it’s not a hack…
Daily Quests: The Good and The PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME! December 7, 2012Posted by Ben in General Whinging, Pandaria.
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The WoW Blogosphere has been endlessly debating the idea of daily quests since we landed on the shores of Pandaria. Whether they’re required, how many are required, blah blah blah. But I think the biggest problem, is that not all of the daily quests provided to us are “good” daily quests. Or put another way, they aren’t quests that are enjoyable.
But what makes an enjoyable daily quest? Ignoring the people who don’t like questing at all (sorry guys and gals, but you’re already a lost cause) what works and what doesn’t?
For me, a daily quest loses its fun-ness when:
- NPCs are stacked so closely together that I’m forced to either always fight multiples or respawn so quickly that you always fight a long chain.
- NPCs needed for the quest are sparse
- Drop rate of quest item is low
- Quest mechanic is difficult in a way that skill doesn’t help with
Examples of these quests are:
- Unleashed Spirits in Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Has anyone ever killed only 12?
- The Spirit Trap in Krasarang Wilds. If there are more than three other players in this cave, good luck.
- Specimen Request in The Dread Wastes. And I already mentioned Fatty Goatsteak.
- Stunning Display in Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Objective is right at the water line, and has a limited time before it swims away, some dev was feeling spiteful.
I’ve thought a fair bit about this since 5.1 dropped and introduced four new sets of dailies with the arrival of the Horde/Alliance on the shores of Pandaria, because I think this might overall be the most successful reputation grind they’ve ever put together. But of the clusters, only two of them are truly successful in my mind. From the Horde perspective, the clusters that takes place directly around Domination Point and Lion’s Landing are well-crafted. They strongly highlight the war aspect of the story without forcing any actual PvP on players. The NPCs to be killed are plentiful but loosely spaced, and the quest objectives/mechanics are interesting but not overly difficult. The cluster centered around the Goblin oil drilling/deforestation is a mixed bag. The story of the patch is lost in collecting crab meat for a goblin princess we’ve never seen before. The questing area is too loosely packed and some of the quest objectives are too sparse, but it’s not a bad overall experience.
And then The Ruins of Ogudei is just a mess. I’m a huge fan of questing in caves in WoW. Part of it goes back to when I played on a lesser computer and caves were less taxing on the system, allowing me to play more easily, but this cluster of dailies almost ruins all the goodwill towards caves I’d built up. I already mentioned the Spirit Trap quest, but this cluster also includes clusters of mobs that are tightly packed together, resulting in larger than intended pulls. A pool of water in one cavern that seems to serve no purpose other than to cause grief. And except for killing 12 Alliance soldiers, there is little connection to the greater story of the patch.
So what makes daily quests work for you? What makes you turn away?
Class, Lore and Killing Peasants November 29, 2012Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
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When I leveled my paladin through Pandaria, I felt an emotional reaction to the destruction of the serpent statue in the Jade Forest and was troubled by the enlistment of the Pandaren into our small army after the disaster we caused with the Forest Hozen. While my character tried to clean up messes caused by our arrival on these long-hidden shores, it seemed that my Horde (NPC) compatriots were determined to cause as much trouble as possible. I don’t set out to actively role-play my characters, but a little bit of the class lore tends to bleed into my feelings as I play.
However, in recent weeks my Forsaken hunter has been my primary character, and I’ll admit that the shift from noble knight to ruthless killing machine has shifted my view of the in-game events surrounding me. From an objective view, I watch the invading Horde and Alliance armies and think what devastation we are about to unleash on these lands. But when my hunter was sent to cause trouble at Lion’s Landing today and thin their numbers, I noticed something in my emotions.
I was enjoying it.
Before me was a beach filled with Alliance footmen and cannoneers waiting to be felled by my bow and arrow. I killed more than my fair share of soldiers as I made my way on foot into the town to place the spy wards, and I found myself taking particular joy in the mass slaughter of the defenseless peasants.
I don’t know if these feelings will be the same if/when I work through the story with a different, more noble character. But I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and see what new trouble I can cause for that damned Alliance.
Quick Pic Post: Why is this here? October 31, 2012Posted by Ben in Uncategorized.
This room underneath Kor’Vess in the Dread Wastes baffles me. There’s all of one quest, discovering the fate of a Stormstout, and involves navigating around these rather pointless beams of yellow stuff. They cause heavy damage and a significant knockback. The room is also a bit packed with stationary and patrolling NPCs that are more than a little sensitive to your presence. All to rescue a damned panda who’s already dead.
This room is the WoW equivalent of those strange underbelly of the ship passageways in sci-fi movies. Tons of hazards that seem to serve no practical purpose.
Why, Blizz? Why?
Ch-ch-ch-changes October 24, 2012Posted by Stormy in Guild Stuff, Raiding.
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I’ll admit that I’m kind of odd: I love reading “what I’m doing in WoW” posts from other bloggers, but I never write them. I just assume other people don’t really give a rip what I’m doing in-game. Writing one of these once in a while never hurt anybody, right?
Toward the end of Wrath, Ben, Suzanne, and I packed up our things (along with some other disaffected guildies) and started our own guild, Sane Asylum of Garrosh. I love my guild beyond all reason. I love our founding principles, I love our open and welcoming atmosphere and our commitment to diversity, I love our commitment to helping each other out, I even love our tabard. We left our old guild in August 2010, and shortly thereafter a bunch of folks from our old guild followed. We built a raid team, and on the night we killed the Lich King I really felt like we’d accomplished something. Like all good things in life, it didn’t last.
The remnants are still there. I still have seven toons in Sane Asylum, and I’m still GM. A couple weeks ago I convinced a coworker to come back to WoW, and he needed help getting back up to speed gear-wise. Ben reached into his own bags and magically pulled out a bunch of Ghost Iron and made a complete gear set. My friend offered to pay for it or to exchange goods of similar value, and Ben declined. That’s just…how we roll, and it’s how we’ve always rolled. It’s irreplaceable, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else in the world.
However, the reality of the situation is that I am terrible at managing and growing a guild. I tried it for a long time, and failed miserably. At this point, every single person that I’ve recruited to join our guild has either left or quit the game. Sure, a lot of that is my fault, but a lot of it is that we’re simply too small to consistently offer the kinds of things that keep people around–organized events, PvP, a raid team, etc. Scenarios are going to be perfect for our guild because the three of us can do them together, but we’re unlikely to do much more than that.
As guilty as I feel about it, and as much as I feel like I’m completely abandoning the guild that I helped build, I need more, too. If I relegated myself to the things that I can do in a three-person guild it’s pretty much scenarios, occasional dungeon runs and leveling alts, and I’ve done all that. I did it all through Cataclysm, to the point where I had six 85s. But in the new Mists of Grindaria world, the thought of maintaining six max-level characters is mind-numbing, if not nigh-on impossible. I need more fulfillment from my WoW than that.
A couple weeks before Cataclysm ended I Twitter-stalked my friend Nymphy and moved my only max-level Alliance toon to Eff the Ineffable of Azuremyst, and they were kind enough to adopt a wayward shadow priest. Heck, ten minutes after I joined the guild they dragged my massively undergeared butt through a full clear of Dragon Soul, a sure sign that yes, they were willing to put up with my shit if I let them. I mostly sit on the sidelines of guild chat since I don’t really know anyone yet, but I’m warming up to a few guildies via Twitter. They’re all kind, respectful individuals who (mostly) behave like adults and treat each other well, and although I feel like an alien in a completely foreign universe, I like what I’ve seen so far. Our first official raid is on Friday evening, and part of me is so psyched I can’t even handle it, and part of me is scared shitless that I’m going to make a fool out of myself. I want to do well, and I want to smash faces in Mogu’shan Vaults. These guys deserve that.
(Side note because I’m a good guildie: We have a reasonably full, well-balanced raid team. As a member of #TeamPriest I’m scared to death of what’s going to happen to our priest healers (both Holy and Disc are getting their collective asses kicked on World of Logs), but we’ll manage. However, if you happen to be a wayward rogue or windwalker monk who wants to be adopted by a close-knit family of good people and help us smash faces, you can go to efftheineffable.com and we’d like to talk to you.)
And so, like sands through the hour glass, the tide marches on, and a whole bunch of other cliches. I did finally get my Horde main to 90 the other day and I’m looking forward to adventures with Suzanne and Ben, but this weekend I have a date with the inhabitants of Mogu’shan Vaults, and they’d better be ready. Eff the Ineffable is coming for them.
Splitting Focus October 20, 2012Posted by Ben in Classes, Leveling, Pandaria.
I told myself that I wasn’t going to send a second character into Pandaria until at least Halloween. I guess the week that Hallow’s End starts is sort of the same thing.
I’ve gotten the Paladin to a good spot where most of his immediate upgrades will come from heroic dungeons. I’ve accepted a casual enough play-style that while I’m making slow progress with The Golden Lotus/Klaxxi, I’m not concerned that I haven’t unlocked the Valor Point rewards yet (I don’t even have enough to buy anything anyway). I’m making good money selling what I grow on my farm and gaining four [Mote of Harmony] a day. I do Tillers dailies when I have the time in the morning after harvesting/replanting (I hate the days when I have to clear out multiple vermin from my farm, such a waste of time), but now I’m using that extra time to take a crack at the Headless Horseman for his helm, mount and ring. This is the first Hallow’s End where I’ve had a plate-wearing class that could use the helm, and thus far the RNG is quite spiteful on all counts.
So last weekend, I made the decision that another character would venture out. My initial plan had been for the Shadow Priest to go next. My Cataclysm main and Enchanter/Jewelcrafter seemed a good choice. Especially since he’s my only high-level Archaeologist. But his crafting professions are already maxed out, and my Hunter and her engineering are pretty much stuck at 575 until she gets some [Spirit of Harmony] or the Darkmoon Faire rolls around a few more times. And after leveling a character that seemed to need to spam Word of Glory just to stay alive at times, I wanted someone with a bit more survival, less down time and more offensive cooldowns. (And I won’t lie, the prospect of having some [Mist-Piercing Goggles] for my stable of characters is quite appealing, even if Ghost Iron does grow like a weed) So Thursday morning, the Hunter left the safety of Orgrimmar for the Jade Forest.
I’ve only gotten as far as routing the Alliance at Strongarm Airstrip (subtle name, Blizz), but already I can tell the difference. Retribution has always been more of a necessary evil to me when playing a Paladin, as I much prefer the Protection skill set, but Prot’s just a bit too slow for leveling. My thunder serpent and I are rolling along taking names. And while I’m not a role-player, I do have a sense of how my different characters would react to situations, and thinking in the back of my mind about the quests from the perspective of a merciless Dark Ranger as opposed to a noble Sunwalker is entertaining. Gotta recruit more soldiers for Sylvanas somehow, right?
Only two disappointments/hiccups so far:
- The Sha-touched tigers outside Honeydew Village don’t keep their cool black and grey striping after being tamed, and instead revert to the standard orange.
- I keep forgetting to transmog the gun I crafted into something a bit less…loud. Good lord that’s an annoying sound. Is there anyone out there that likes it?