Jan 23 2010

Experimental and brief


This is a very brief note as I test the iPhone WordPress client. I’ve been playing a lot the past few weeks and Bern most remiss in writing, a balance I need to adjust.

But for now, two observations made while working on the lower level alts:

1) the low level regions are quite empty, as though people have given up questing and are levelling only with instances. I have noted a good number of people have no idea how to get back to instances from the graveyard, suggesting they aren’t exploring.

2) too many people put up their hand to be tanks when they really are not equipped for it or no what to do. Mostly I see them being carried by good dps, particulary melée dps, but are really only getting through by good fortune. Deathknights seem particularly, but not uniquely, prone to this. Time and again I am seeing lowbie tanks rushing to aggro a lot of mobs, and frequently finding they can’t control them – if the melée dps pick up escaping mobs before they take out the healer all is well. But usually it’s a wipe.

Cataclysm will be good for the game, revitalizing tired old content. Oh. And another thing: man, you spend a lot of time travelling in the original content!

Jan 3 2010

Pugs and Alts


I have been travelling for a few weeks, and have not played much since I returned, until this past week. So I’m late to the party to rave about the new LFG tool and dungeon system. I’ve heard a few people who have been playing since the beginning describe it as the biggest change to the game since launch, and I (almost) agree.

There are a handful of aspects to the system that have surprised and pleased me, and have altered the way I’ve approached the game:

  • Because you are teleported to the instance and returned to where you came from when you exit, and because groups are automatically assembled and summoned, there is no longer any overhead in getting to an instance. This makes it convenient and pleasant to just queue up for as many instances as you want, while still grinding whatever else you are grinding – in my case currently levelling professions and chasing achievements on Belmann;
  • You are well rewarded for your time, and for making the PUG and instance work. Belmann’s gear is rapidly improving as he buys Tier 9 or equivalent gear. I also was very pleasantly surprised to find that good goodies are awarded for lower level characters;
  • It is feasible to level alts almost exclusively by running instances now, as they gain serious experience and goodies much more quickly than endlessly running around the original content. Blizzard have been doing  a lot to make levelling all that distance up to 80 faster and less of a grind, and I am reading this as another way they’ve added to speed level.

Speaking of alts… yes, I probably have too many, given that I’m a distinctly casual player. But like your children, it’s hard to know which to, um, eliminate. Before I went on my road trip, I played Giladris (my original toon, a level 70 rogue) again briefly. And did not like it at all. I’d never really understood what gear he needed, or how to level him, or even how to play him very well. But he was my first character, and I spent rather a lot of time watching him creep around. So my finger hesitated over the delete button… and gave up.

So, Giladris has gone into retirement in Darnassus as a bank alt. He has stripped himself of all his goods and martial accoutrements, and taken up residence near the auction house, to spend the rest of his days buying and selling on the Auction House, and stockpiling in the bank.

Oh, and I almost forgot a great PUG experience. Two days ago I had perhaps 3/4 of an hour to kill, so leaped into a random instance with Belmann. It turned out to be a very competent group that ripped through Culling of Stratholme in great time, enough to attempt the bonus boss and find out if Reins of the Bronze Drake would drop… it did, two of us hit “need”, and much to my delight Belmann now has a dragon to fly around on. A good way to end 2009.