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Archive for August, 2008

For the Horde!

This spot reserved until I can get the damned Blood Elf past the DK starting area.  Then I’ll tell you stuff.

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Okay, I have to admit, if Blizzard was going for realism as they did the art for Borean Tundra (the other starting zone in Northrend) they probably hit the mark right on.  It’s flat, it’s grey of varying shades, and it’s boring.  I admit I haven’t explored it as thoroughly as I have Howling Fjord yet, but I’m already hoping its a smaller zone geography wise.  Riding through 2 levels worth of content in that zone would make me fall asleep!

It does have it’s interesting effects though.  For example, if you go to the Ripfang Strand, just west of Valiance Keep on the southern coast, you’ll be surrounded by a mist effect.  Your vision will narrow and you’ll only be able to see players and mobs that are within the mist.  Vice versa, if you’re not in the mist, you won’t be able to see players or mobs in the mist (even though from that perspective you can’t see the mist).

I won’t say that it doesn’t have its share of interesting quests, but I haven’t found them yet, and I’m past the initial quest hub.  Howling Fjord had the slightly different type quests at the first quest hub, so there’s another point to Howling Fjord.  Of course… Borean Tundra doesn’t have such steep slopes to fall off of at every odd turn.  Hmm…

Next time:  We’ll see if I have enough time to check out the Horde side of life!

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Pining for the Fjords

As I said yesterday, if you take the new steamboat from Menethil Harbor on the Alliance side (still working on Horde info!) you’ll wind up in Howling Fjord.  The boat ride will take you through the fjord, around the harbor and under a dam wall that’s actually part of Utguarde Keep – the local multi-wing instance.  It’s absolutely beautiful, stunning, majestic and entirely too long by the third or fourth time you make the trip.  Luckily there’s a point early on where you can just jump off near town.

Blizzard has a history of including in-jokes and pop culture references in WoW, and Howling Fjord is no exception.  At the entrance to the fjord are many, many tundra penguins – a thrill for Linux and early Blizzard fans alike.  In the Alliance town of Valguarde, there is a small gnome working away at making a very rickety looking airplane.  His name is McGoyver, and as Haris Pilton’s designation is Socialite, McGoyver’s is Pro.  We also have a pair of dwarves named Labronski, who as a particular fondness for his rug, and Walt.  (This is of course a reference to the movie “The Big Lebowski”, a movie you should not watch with children, people who have an aversion to swearing, or an aversion to the word vagina.  They like that word in that movie.)

The quests in the area are pretty standard faire for the most part;  kill 10 of these, bring me 5 of these, go talk to this guy.  There are some that take an interesting way to get there though.  One quest has you manning a gigantic cannon on a moving ghost pirate ship to take down an elite giant (level skull at 70) and “loot his booty”.

All in all, I’m about to hit level 71, and I’m not quite halfway through the zone yet, judging by the map.  The experience is coming pretty slow right now (100+ quests completed hasn’t leveled me) but it’s been intentionally slowed down for the beta. They want people looking at those “low” levels.  I’m happy to oblige since I am loving this zone.

Oh, one tip though – don’t fall off the side of the Fjord.

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Okay, so we have Northrend now, how do we get there?  There’s no portal in the middle of BFE nowhere this time (Thank God!), so that leaves the boats.  “But there isn’t anywhere for new boats to go!” you say?  Think again.

One of the neatest additions to the old world on Alliance side for me is Stormwind Harbor.  That’s right, they made Stormwind bigger. 😀  Stormwind Harbor will have two boats to it, one from Valliance Keep in Borean Tundra (go Northrend!) and it will also be the new location of the boat to Auberdine.

So what did they do with the spot the Auberdine boat used to take up at Menethil?  Well stuck a boat to Howling Fjord there!  And these boats are brand new.  Dwarven Steamships! But don’t think the new boats are the only ones to be all spiffy!  All the old boats – Auberdine to Stormwind Harbor, Auberdine to Darnassus, Menethil Harbor to Theramore… they all have NPCs on them.  Some are just for fun, others are vendors.  Each boat has a vendor that is a Trade Goods/General Goods/Reagent Supplier/Repair.  The other vendor is a food and drink vendor.  Makes it a lot easier when your Priest messages you and tells you she forgot to buy drink for the raid, could you please buy her some? (Yes, I’m thinking of you Mr Morvy – me being the priest.)  Another little detail is that all the boats now tilt as they turn, making the possibilities for in-game sea sickness real (and out of game too!)

Oh, and speaking of transportation, check this out:

http://www.massively.com/2008/08/19/wotlk-mount-the-hog-confirmed/

I can’t wait to put a Tauren in Tribal Leathers on that thing.

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So I’ve been playing a Death Knight a little bit.  It didn’t take me anywhere near 6 hours to get through the starting area, and that was even with taking my time and reading everything – including some of the hilarious trash drop scrolls.  I was quite sad as well, since it was so enjoyable, I wished it could last longer.  But more on that in another post.

What I’ve come to talk to you all about today is the Death Knight, and her maternal instincts.  Clearly Blizzard believes they are there!  The Death Knight Mother is an interesting creature, slaying innocents one moment, and cooing over blood stained ghouls the next.  Here’s a prime example!

In the Death Knight quest, “The Gift That Keeps On Giving” you are tasked by Gothrik the Harvester (a former Naxx boss!) to use a special device to turn the local Scarlet miners into Ghouls!  5 of them to be exact. Not only is this a good example of the new quest types Blizzard is offering (the ghouls become combat pets that follow you around!) but it’s amazingly humorous.

When you create one of the ghouls, it will pop up out of the ground and say any number of random things.  Two among these caught my attention though.  One said “Mommy?” and another one, upon seeing me happily exclaimed “Mama!!” with it’s arms outstretched to me. As someone who has played an undead female for a -long- time, I couldn’t help my excitement at my new fortune! In mere instants I was reduced to cooing happily at my computer screen.

“Oh hello my little baby darlings! Oh with your cute little blood-soaked pigtails on the top of your head and your crooked biting grins! C’mon now! Follow me! Follow Mama! – KILL! KILL THE SCARLET! Oh, such good babies! Follow Mama!”

(If you can’t picture this in your head, ask Mr Morvy and he will tell you how disturbing that was.)

And there you have it, proof that even Death Knights have a strong maternal instinct!  Next time on disturbing tales from Northrend – a Gnome trying to piece together a plane from nothing, and The Dude who is way too concerned about his rug.

(Oh, and a side note for Madhog – the new hairstyles and dances don’t seem to be implemented yet.  When they are I will be sure to have photos and descriptions, just for you! 😀 )

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Here I was thinking that I needed to write about something when I check my email this morning and find that I’ve been invited to the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King beta!  So, like, awsome!!!

So what does that mean for you guys?  It means I get to weigh in with my thoughts about the expansion, and have something to write about regularly.  YAY!

Now, of to play with a Death Knight while I wait for my 70 to copy over.

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