This is Spinks in the Molten Front. It feels as though she should be waving a sign saying “Hi, mum!”
Finding myself with some spare time (due to end of college for the year), a newly landed patch on WoW, and 7 free days for my account which I could take at any time, I felt the time was ripe to go back and say Hi to my friends and see what’s changed in the past few months.
If you have an inactive WoW account that isn’t a trial, you will also likely have an option to take 7 free days. To do this, log into your battle.net account and where your game accounts are listed, there will be an option to claim the free days.
Catching up with the talent changes and questlines
First off, visit your trainer just in case and check your talents haven’t been accidentally reset or anything like this. I scored a shiny new raid version of Last Stand (why is this a Fury ability?) which is nice, I suppose.
Sadly failed to notice that my interrupt had vanished from my quickbar in Prot Stance until I was actually in the middle of tanking something that needed interrupts, but c’est la vie. (Pummel now can be used in any stance and has become the default warrior interrupt.)
As far as catching up on quest content goes, this is where the warlord’s quest board really comes into its own. You’ll find one of these in every capital city, and it’ll come up as a questgiver if it has outstanding quests for you. It helpfully pointed me to the new troll/ ZG questline (new as in several months ago) and also to the new quests about Thrall, which lead to Hyjal (new as of last Wednesday).
I figured this would be a good use of my free days so trotted off to do those.
They were both good fun, Blizzard well up to their usual standard on quest content. The ZG questline also rewards you with a pet panther cub, to which I MAY have responded with squeals of ‘it’s so cute!!!’, especially as I got the achievement for having 25 pets at the same time. As an aside, I utterly hate cosmetic pets and never actually use them – I’m a goddamn warrior, I do not have kittens lolling around my heels when I go off to kill dragons. Aside from thematic inappropriateness, it’d be cruel to the kitten — but somehow I always like actually getting a new one.
Thrall has never been my favourite NPC, at least not as much as he is the devs, but his storyline showed some depth and hopefully you can feel a little empathy for the guy who has given up his hopes of finding a partner and raising some orclings in order to lead the Horde towards freedom and away from barbarism. Now that the Horde has decided that barbarism gets a bad rap and we like killing the shit out of stuff, Thrall is free to stick two fingers up at them and waltz off with Aggra into the sunset – at least after we’ve saved him from the elemental lords. The actual quests were quite fun too.
My guild were kind enough to invite me along to an instance run in the recently revamped Zul Gurub, which was also good fun. Blizzard has again done a super job on the revamp; it felt challenging, the bosses and the trash are interesting, the fights still feel mechanically related to the old ones, and it’s always been an appealing zone anyway.
Amusingly, I got an achievement for not standing in stuff on one of the bosses (Venoxis, aka didn’t I kill you three years ago?) and one of the newer guildies who I hadn’t met before asked hopefully if I was planning to stay and join their raid team. To be fair, I can see why people would be nervous of inviting an old guildie to join an instance run that’s known to be hard, sight unseen.
On the bright side, despite having missed most of the raiding in the last tier, my dps is reasonably up to scratch. It won’t be winning awards any time soon but it’s not woefully sub par for instancing.
I’m not really convinced on the new troll lore, so let’s not dwell on that.
One of the clever things Blizzard have done with the layout of the new daily quests is allowed you to open up the molten front after just 2-3 days of questing. This means, for example, that someone on a 7 day return visit can get to actually see the meat and bones of what the new firelands zone is all about, earn some rewards, and come back and write about it!
So far, there are two sets of questgivers. The ones in the screenshot who are outside the firelands portal who will set you to clearing up Hyjal, and another set inside the portal who will send you off to help the war effort there.
I’ll talk first about some of the big wins here. The first is the daily quest which requires you to go kill some elite mobs in Hyjal.
- Changes in the tagging code mean that every player who tags a quest mob while it is being fought gets credit for the kill. So when the quest zone is busy, it will feel like fighting a rift in Rift. Everyone attacks everything, and everyone gets credit for everything too. It’s fairly social.
- Lots of friendly NPCs show up to help out, and if you have been paying attention you may recognise many of them. I’ve seen a different set every day and they have included Mankrik, King Mrrrrgglll, Chromie, Lunk, and some named alliance NPCs I don’t recognise, and they all have been given some new in-character barks which I have found very amusing. It will feel as though you are fighting alongside NPCs that you know.
Chromie the time dragon (in her favourite humanoid form as a little female gnome) makes some time related jokes while she fights.
The second is giving you access to nice gear from a vendor fairly early on. Once the firelands portal opened, I could immediately upgrade a couple of pieces. I’m assuming that as you earn more tokens and open up more of the molten front, new vendors will appear.
Monocles are everywhere!
You can take the player out of EVE but you can’t take EVE out of the player – this screenshot below was taken from trade chat in Orgrimmar.