[WoW] Thoughts on levelling an alt, and poor Tyrande never had a chance

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Silithus was always empty, even back in the day …

I decided to resub to Warcraft for a couple of months after the last patch, I had some time due to the Summer, was curious to see the Firelands, and it’s nice to hang out with my guildies. I don’t expect to stay when the sub is up – it’s been fun but I don’t have the urge to do endgame any more. It may be that WoW will always be the game now for me that I go back to briefly when there is new content.

So one of the things I decided to do was level an alt. There were several low level revamped zones I hadn’t seen, and I was curious to see how the game played these days at lower levels.

So here’s a few notes on my findings, in list form:

  1. Some of the lower level zones are brilliantly well imagined. At least on par with the Cataclysm zones and probably with more engaging storylines and NPCs. You can tell a lot of effort was expended here, I hope people find time to go check it out. My favourite low level zones so far (as horde) are: Darkshore, Southern Barrens, Stonetalon, Thousand Needles, Silverpine + Hillsbrad, Badlands, and the Plaguelands. The higher level Azeroth zones, not so much.
  2. The levelling curve is off in strange and interesting ways, you can outlevel some zones by questing even without any heirloom gear or guild perks. Don’t expect to be able to keep up with crafting easily either, you’ll need to either spend extra time farming or buy materials from the auction house because the streamlined crafting that applies post-Cataclysm hasn’t been retroactively fitted to lower level crafting. ie. If you’re new, stick with gathering skills and expect to do a few extra circuits of some zones to keep them roughly up to where you are.
  3. The Goblin starting area is far better executed than the Worgen one (which is very on rails, even for WoW). Plus Worgen actually lose their starter zone to the enemy at the end so you’ll never see it again. Goblins lose theirs too, but get a shiny new capital city to explore and a whole level 12-20 zone with fun new goblinish quests.  Worgen get told to go help the night elves, “… and by the way you are now living in a tree.”
  4. Instance groups are much the same as ever, most are fine. The trend is for players to communicate less and less though. It seems far more likely for dps to go nuts pulling extra packs or for tanks not to wait for healers to drink. My suspicion is that the recent threat changes will eventually mean that there are more tanks and fewer healers – larger pulls without any extra survivability means more healing. The big problem with dps pulling unexpectedly is not the size of the pulls but that people often aren’t aware of any trash special abilities (eg. silence or fear) or reasons why you might not want to just grab everything in sight.
  5. Priests are fun, and Discipline is great. It’s a nice mix of situational buffs, heals, instants, group heals, and powerful single target heals.
  6. As a healer, you can pretty much get instant queues in Outland. I did a couple of quests to upgrade gear but other than that I’ve been sitting in Shattrath. Maybe this is the way of the future – sitting in a city and waiting for your instance/ PvP queue to come up – but I loved the world areas, it’s just that I have already spent years wandering around them.
  7. I’m glad I was resubbed for a few weeks before our guild meet. It’s great to meet people in real life who you know online and it gave me a chance to meet some of the guys who had been more active after I left.

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I had forgotten how cool the sky was in Outland …

We forget that Night Elves are supposed to be matriarchal

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Blizzard have been posting a series of short stories about the WoW faction leaders on their website. They’ve been fun.  (For my money, the Goblin one has been the best so far.) The latest in the series is about Tyrande, the Night Elf priestess who is also her faction leader, technically at least.

It has been controversial because the focus of the story is equally on Malfurion (her husband) who has also been taking a major role in game in the Firelands story and dailies. You might be excused for thinking that he was the important one and she was just arm candy. The writing is fine, but it would have been nice to have read about the badass female character as she was portrayed pre-WoW (or at least about why she changed and possibly even grew as a character).

I thought it was amusing then when seeing Tyrande and Malfurion together in game, as per the screenie, to see how much larger he is in person. He’s almost twice her size, which is a trick used in WoW to indicate that an NPC is a) more important and b) likely to be the target of a raid.

Still, the reason Night Elf society was matriarchal was because so many of the male druids were away (for thousands of years) in the Emerald Dream, so now that they have returned, there’s no reason not to switch back. It’s just a shame that this wasn’t reflected in the story, even just a little.

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11 thoughts on “[WoW] Thoughts on levelling an alt, and poor Tyrande never had a chance

  1. I’d be happy with them staying matriarchal. It’s not like they blew up the kingdom while the ‘Dreamers were busy.

    Oh, and yes, crafting tradeskill pacing is atrocious. It was always grindy, but that grind wasn’t alleviated when the leveling pace was altered. Bad, bad, Blizzard.

    • The funny thing with the crafting is that they actually did make the levelling curve a bit easier for the Cataclysm stuff. So they had been thinking about it.

      • Hmm… my mistake, then. You’d know better than I, that’s certain. Still… if they *were* thinking about it, they still didn’t do enough.

      • The crafting curve probably got thrown off by the leveling speed. If we level faster, then we’re spending less time running past ore and herbs, so relative to the level, we need more materials, prompting more pure gathering runs.

      • The crafting curve is not as bad as it was.

        The Vanilla to BC transition used to be utterly soul destroying rather than merely terrible, for example.

      • Ya, gettin’ over the thorium hump done used ta be hella bad, with onlies a few nodes in all Azeroth, and most of thems in caves. Is much smoothers now. Worst thing now be tryin’ ta craft stuff what needs khorium (yes Jeeves, I’s lookin’ at you). By the time ya has the skills fer ta mine it ya’s moved on ta Northrend, so it hardlies ever shows in the AH. Wish they’d add a trade-down vendor fer metal bars, the way they do fer Inscribblyists.

  2. I think the Alliance side got the better end of the leveling stick. I thoroughly dislike the Hordeside low levels; I rolled Horde to be an underdog, not bad guys. They’re not the scrappy underdogs that I remember, they’re led by an angry teenager equivalent whose answer is to hit everything first and ask questions later.

    At least the Alliance’s asshat leadership is more in the background and less ‘in your face’. But I’m having a bit of fun toying on my nelf druid-tanking with him is pretty fun-but as I play week after week and see other stuff on other games-it’s becoming more and more apparent that I think my time may be up when the new year hits. When the time comes, I’ll never delete my characters, give away all my stuff or anything like that-I imagine I might do what you do and pop back in now and again to see stuff.

    Part of me wants to give 4.3 it’s chance at least.

  3. I think the idea was not so much the Night Elves were matriachal as that there were very clearly defined gender roles originally. The ladies were the priestesses and warriors and the gentlemen were the druids and guys who got locked in cages.

    So I’m not actually suprised, though I am a little disappointed, that this didn’t survive into WoW itself.

  4. “I did a couple of quests to upgrade gear but other than that I’ve been sitting in Shattrath. Maybe this is the way of the future – sitting in a city and waiting for your instance/ PvP queue to come up – but I loved the world areas,”

    See this is the part here that makes me sad. If I wanted to play a lobby based coop game/PVP I would load up BF2BC2 or a Diablo clone. I play MMORPGs for the world and sadly the world of Azeroth has shrunk down to the capital cities.

    • I know. I think there really is a market for these large open world games, we see it in single player RPGs, but I wonder if devs will feel that it’s worth the development cost.

      I should clarify that I spent ages playing in outland during TBC so it’s not because I’m trying to avoid the zones, just I don’t feel like repeating them on an alt and instancing in TBC is pretty good xp. (When I get to Cataclysm, I’ll quest again.) Although actually I kind of liked Netherstorm so maybe I’ll venture out there in a couple of levels time.

      • The quirk there is that the bulk of the “multiplayer” bit of modern MMOs really is the dungeoneering, not meandering the world. Maybe the near-forced grouping and open world bosses of Ye Old EQ meant people meandered the world in groups, but the market has moved past that design ethos.

        …how would a designer incentivize playing in groups in a big open world? Not make it necessary, but make it fun? Hmm…

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