It came from the PUG: Northrend eats healers alive!

There’s something about moving on to Northrend that has broken the spell with my paladin. I still think that Retribution is a very fun spec at the moment but I am rapidly going off paladin healing. I will (not very) secretly be glad to get back to Spinks.

What happened, you say? Northrend instances happened.

I’m not sure why it is that so many level 70ish tanks feel the need to screw up the first pull in Utgarde Keep by pulling the entire corridor at once, but it’s happened to me three times now. And in none of those cases was it a mispull, they all deliberately grabbed every mob in the vicinity. In one case, a druid tank almost fooled me by pulling three of the mobs; just as I was thinking, “Oh good, a sensible pull” he charged in and got the rest too.

In case anyone was wondering, this is not a kind thing to do to a level 70 healer in green gear. At least, not if you plan to actually survive.

I’m feeling this as a blow to my morale. After all, I made a point of healing through Azeroth and Outland instances just so I could get some practice (I figured I didn’t need any practice as melee dps but paladin healing is a bit different from druiding) and I did fine, absolutely fine. So to keep having groups that wipe on the first pull of UK just makes me uninclined to bother in the Wrath dungeons. It just seems to make more sense to queue as dps, suck up the extra 10 mins queuing time (probably by doing some questing) and leave healing until I hit max level and both me and the tanks have better gear.

There is an alternative of course. One could always just ask the tanks to pull more slowly and explain that undergeared healers have limits and that I’m not as good as their best mate who heals their level 80 all the time in arenas. But I think I stopped feeling that it was my responsibility to teach random people how to play awhile back … in comparison, that extra 10 minutes wait is sounding like pretty good value.

Best ever lead-in to an instance quest

I’m planning to write some more later this week about my favourite zone in Wrath and why I think it’s such a masterpiece of design. So I was getting some screenshots (for ‘research’ purposes, naturally) on an alt and was reminded of one of my favourite cut-piece scenes in any game ever.

This one is … well Horde should recognise where this is coming from. And it leads into one of the bosses in Utgarde Keep. Bear in mind that your character has recently arrived in Northrend. You are probably asking yourself: Why am I here? Who am I fighting? Why is this my fight? And … dammit, where’s the NPC with the quest symbol?

hfjord1Ah, there he is! It’s the leader of the forsaken settlement, you can tell he’s the leader because he’s the one on the horse. (This has been a theme in Warcraft ever since level 1 – leaders get mounts.)

So this is quite likely the first piece of text that you read from an NPC in Northrend if you come in on the zeppelin to Howling Fjord.

But later on, after you’ve done some quests and smacked the local alliance around a  bit (note: some things never change), he gets some visitors.

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In case anyone hadn’t figured this one out yet, the forsaken as a faction were killed and then turned undead by Arthas. They were enslaved. And then they followed Sylvanas to freedom. Now they’ve come to Northrend for payback and it’s just a bit more personal than ‘Yeah, he’s this evil guy’.

And just to prove it, the local scourge ambassador has come to remind Anselm and the forsaken that he considers them no more than escaped slaves. Well, maybe just a bit more since he’s trying to lure the leader to his side.

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He’s introducing some thuggish allies too. Don’t worry, you’ll get to slaughter lots of these guys soon enough, but at least now you know why.

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Horde has a strong theme of opposing slavery – orcs also were enslaved (by humans) in the backstory before regaining their freedom. This doesn’t stop some of the forsaken from keeping ‘mind slaves’ in the Undercity.

In any case, say what you like about the forsaken, but they’ve always been a faction who didn’t mess around.

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So they’re not going to be friends. Piss off, evil zombies! Err, present company  excepted.

hfjord10The forsaken, in addition to their other qualities, are also decent shots.

All that remains is for the evil elf dude to make sure we know where he’s staying.

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And then after he’s magically vanished to go and sulk or plot, Anselm locates some expendable local adventurers to make sure that The Lich King really does get the message.

What I love is that you can totally understand the motivation. What you are being asked to do makes sense.

It also directly impacts on the Big Bad of the entire expansion. And it begins right there in the starting settlement. You were there.