Northrend – First Impressions

… I LOVE it!

I love the scenery. I have explored both starting areas – Borean Tundra and the Howling Fjord. I love how different they both feel. I love the way Blizzard have adapted things that were problems in the Burning Crusade – giving two starter areas with lots of quest hubs means that on the whole people are pretty spread out, and everything is playable, even though some competition for some content can be a challenge at times.

I’ve run through Utgarde Keep a couple of times, and I hope this is a sign of things to come – a nice, short dungeon, not too much trash, we completed it in an hour or less. Some interesting boss fights. It seemed pretty easy for well-geared level 70s.

I recommend everyone make a Death Knight and play through their initial quest line. It’s great. The phasing of the world is smooth and seamless, and there are glimpses of the new siege weapon interface (taking over a cannon to shoot hundreds of soldiers on the beach for example). The storytelling is great, and I think they do a really good job of introducing the class. I have yet to suss out how best to play my Death Knight – at the moment I’m still just frantically mashing buttons for each fight, but it seems to make stuff dead šŸ™‚

I’m loving the fact that new content has rejuvenated my husband’s enjoyment of the game – he now can’t wait for us to log in in the evening and quest together. I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way for a Resto druid to level is duoing with a Warlock. Although I don’t feel quite as fragile as I did when levelling 60-70 – the changes to spell power have helped with that I think.

On the whole the launch was very smooth from my point of view. The EU servers did not experience the extended downtime that the US servers suffered from. Game delivered my Collector’s Edition the day before the release, and when I installed it I was delighted to see that it used the same patch files that I had already downloaded for the standard game – another learning point from TBC perhaps? I was all installed and ready to go when I got home from work on the evening of the 12th, and so when whisperings went around the server that Northrend content was opening up early (about 8pm UK time), I was poised and ready to go. I got my Frosty, created my Death Knight, and got a couple of hours questing in with my husband before bedtime.

As far as downsides go, there have been queues on my server – the longest being 30 minutes or so – which I have never seen before. I’m sure this is a sign of the popularity of the expansion, and Blizzard have another huge success on their hands. By last night the queue was down to 10 minutes or so – it’s inconvenient but I can live with it.

The only other downside I’ve seen is that there seems to be the same trend with quest rewards as in TBC – there’s no caster leather! All the quests seem to reward with caster cloth or melee leather. Where’s the Resto/Moonkin love? In TBC I didn’t replace any of my pre-TBC resto gear until about level 68 I think – I was hoping for something a little earlier in Wrath. It’s not that much of a big deal at the moment, as I’m in Tier 4/Badge gear, which should last me very well.

But those are two very minor niggles, and on the whole I’m an extremely happy Druid (with slight Death Knight tendancies!)

Recruit a Friend Thoughts

When Blizzard announced the Recruit a Friend deal, I really wanted my own Zhevra mount. Sadly, all my friends who are interested in playing already have their own accounts. So I recruited myself!

I created a gnome Mage and Warlock pair to level together. I am lucky enough to have 2 computers on my desk, so I two-boxed them. I used Synergy to be able to control both PCs from one keyboard and mouse, and I set up my Logitech G15 keyboard so that both characters’ key spells were on easily accessible hotkeys. The G15Buttons UI mod made that really easy.

The triple xp is only available for the first three months, so my plan was to use that time to level the pair up to 60. I also had a level 22 rogue at the time of starting, and planned to use my “grant a level” levels to bring her up to 52.

Well, my three months ran out on Saturday. And whilst I knew Saturday was the day, I didn’t realise it would be quite early on Saturday. I had just managed to collect all the Green Hills of Stranglethorn pages to do all the hand ins for the Mage and Warlock, and suddenly realised that the “summon friend” option had disappeared from my right click menu. Boo!

So I didn’t quite hit my target, but I didn’t do too badly. The Mage and Warlock are now each level 44, and my Rogue is 43. With the Wrath release imminent I dount I’ll be doing much with my alts over the next months or so at least, but they’re there when I’m ready to come back to them. I realised whilst levelling that I really don’t like two-boxing. It’s fine when you’re just running around, but when you get that unexpected add, and have to react quickly, I just can’t do it. So I’m looking forward to soloing each class up to the higher levels. It’ll also help me to learn more about playing each class.

I’m sure this was a great marketing ploy to get people buying more accounts. As I don’t want to get suckered into paying for another account on an ongoing basis, I have transferred the Mage back onto my main account and cancelled the RAF one. And I still have a free character slot for my Death Knight.

Who cares if it’s easy mode?

Prior to the 3.0.2 patch my guild had been pregressing well, but slowly. Probably the hardest thing we’d managed was the first boss of Mount Hyjal.

Last night, Officers arranged a trip into Black Temple. An opportunity to suss out the old content before people start getting their teeth into all the lovely new content that’s coming with Wrath. It was planned a couple of weeks in advance, the strats for the first boss were researched and posted on our forums, people got excited.

We got a great turnout – 23 guildies I think, plus a couple from our raiding alliance guild. And we trounced the place! The first boss went down without a problem. The second boss went down without a problem. We had one wipe on the Shade of Whatsit, but regrouped and took him down second time. And we rounded off the night taking down Teron Gorefiend.

It was fun, and it was new. I love the nerfs. I love that I can see this content. Thank you Blizzard šŸ™‚

So Sick of the Zombies

OK OK. I’m sure it sounded like a great idea at the time. Let loose the plague, turn the players into zombies, let them create havoc.

But I’ve had enough now. I don’t like PvP. I don’t DO PvP. I play on a PvE server for a reason. And I am SICK of being turned into a zombie and killed. And if I manage to avoid getting turned into a zombie the game is unplayable because the dratted zombies keep killing the quest mobs and flight masters.

This is non-consentual PvP. And it’s not what I signed up for. And I’m sick of it. I just want to play the game.

Server Stability Hell

Well, last Tuesday the 3.0.2 patch hit. And on the whole I love it. I love the new talents, I love the new Inscription profession, Stormwind Harbour is great.

But the server stability has been awful!

On Saturday night my guild assembled a full 25-man raid, all ready to kick some booty in Mount Hyjal. And we couldn’t zone in. “Transfer Aborted: Instance not found”. So we dispatched scouts all over Azeroth, to see if we could get in to any instance. No luck. Eventually someone zoned into BRS, and 10 of us headed off to get our “Leeeeeerrooooyy” title.

Sunday I put the baby down for her nap, and decided to reward myself with a little WoW time. Got a group together for the Headless Horseman, and headed over to SM. Zoned in and….. nothing….. I was stuck in limbo. 30 minutes of that, and then the server came down. And remained down all night šŸ™

Last night the server was back, but instances were still unreliable. I didn’t try for the HH, but a guild group did, and although they got there eventually, there was 30 minutes of characters getting stuck trying to zone in beforehand.

Hope everything goes well for our SSC raid tonight. Crossing my branches!

My Pre-Expansion Goals

Now that we have a date for the release of the next expansion (November 13th – it’s marked in my diary already!), I want to take a moment to think about, and document, the things I want to achieve before this date.

  • Stockpile enough herbs to level inscription to 375 when the 3.0.2 patch hits
  • Level my Recruit-A-Friend Mage and Warlock pair to 60 (they’re currently 37)
  • Clear out and sort my bank
  • Clear out and sort my AH mule
  • Switch back to Auctioneer and start regular AH scans
  • Finish leveling my fishing to 375 (currently 366)
  • Gain my “Champion of the Naaru” title (just need Magtheridon)

My husband has started playing Warhammer recently, and is really enjoying it. I have never enjoyed PvP and so Warhammer has never appealed to me, but the part of me that enjoys running around virtual worlds with him keeps popping up and suggesting I give it a quick try. So when I next get that feeling I am going to return here and remind myself of the list of things I still want to achieve in WoW over the next month.

Why Am I Permanently Lost?

Given the title of my blog, I felt I should explain why I refer to myself as “permanently lost”.

In a nutshell, it’s because I have no sense of direction, both in RL and especially in game. In game, even if I’ve been somewhere loads of times before, I still have problems finding the place.

I blame EverQuest. In EQ I was a druid, and druids were a class that could teleport. So I never needed to learn my way to places, I just needed to know where the nearest teleport was. And as I usually group with my husband, who has an excellent sense of direction, I generally just follow him.

And when I’m on my own, I constantly check the in-game map to make sure I’m headed in the right direction. Which doesn’t always save me.

A week or so ago I agreed to run through Shattered Halls with some guildies. I know Shattered Halls is one of the Hellfire instances, but rather embarassingly I managed to zone into both Blood Furnace and Ramparts before finding the correct entrance to SH! I don’t know which was worse – that I got lost like that, or that my guildies were not surprised!

Update on the UK WotLK CE situation

As at Wednesday 1st October:

Game now lists the CE, and is taking pre-orders. This started at about 6.30pm last night. I got my order in about 7pm, so I’m hoping I’ll get a copy. No information as to whether Game know how many copies they are getting, or are just taking all orders and will let people know nearer the time if they can’t fulfil.

Amazon have a listing for the pre-order, with an “email me when this item becomes available” link.

I’m still watching the Play and Gamestation websites, as well as the thread on the official forums. I can’t decide whether I should pre-order from other places too, just to make sure all my bets are covered. At Ā£50 a time, I don’t want to get landed with multiple copies. But then I guess there’s always eBay…

WotLK Collector’s Edition in the UK

I am getting really frustrated with the lack of information about the WotLK collector’s edition in the UK.

I love the World of Warcraft Collector’s Editions. I didn’t get the one for the original game, but did get the one for Burning Crusade. Due to the problems getting hold of US copies of TBC, I actually ended paying through the nose to get an EU CE off eBay after the release. Then when I re-rolled onto the EU servers I thought yay! I can get my CE in-game pets, and I have loved having my Lurky and my Netherwelp running around after me.

So I’m really keen to get the CE for WotLK. But so far it’s not been listed on any online store that ships to the UK, or available for pre-order in any of my high streetstores. Reports from other countries are that when the CE goes on sale, it sells out very quickly. At the moment I am checking amazon.co.uk, play.com and game.co.uk at least twice a day to see if the CE is listed yet.

An official Blizzard source has confirmed that there WILL be a CE in the UK, but we’re dependent on the retailers to get our orders in. There’s a very useful thread on the official forums here, which I am again checking a couple of times a day.

The latest news is that there is now a pre-order code to pre-order in your local Gamestation store. The Gamestation pre-order code is 127383. I, however,Ā  am not impressed with our local Gamestation. I went in armed with that code to pre-order my collector’s edition. They were just writing names and phone numbers in a book, not taking any money. I didn’t get any printed receipt, and the chap who served me said that my pre-order was no guarantee. He recommended that I should try to order online from someone that would take my money at the point of order, as that would be more likely to guarantee me my CE. He also said that their store didn’t know how many copies of the BC CE they were getting until the boxes arrived with them.

I don’t have any confidence in this as a pre-order, and will keep scouring the online retailers in the hope of finding someone I can purchase my CE from there. But with the expansion a month and a half away, I’d really like to know whether I can get a copy or not…

Frustrating Evening

My husband and I settled down last night for a fun time in Tempest Keep: The Eye. With our partner raid guild we’d managed to field a full 25-man raid, and were hoping for a shot at a few bosses.

As the raid faced Solarion, our Internet connection died. Well and truly.

We are so dependent on our Internet that we actually have two phone lines, each with an ADSL connection. We switched the router over to the second line, the performance was just as bad. We therefore deduced it was a problem with our ISP.

It took about an hour for things to return, by which time we were sure the raid would have replaced us or pressed on without us, so my husband took the time to play some XBox, and I caught up with some of my TV viewing.

Things seem OK today, so I hope everything holds out for our raid this evening. The guild is again trying to muster a 25-man force.