[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.