Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Level 78 Update, For the Horde!
After clearing the entire zone of Zul'Drak including the small dungeon quests, I ended up very close to level 78. Zul'Drak started out kind of boring with a long quest line of zombie killing. As I got deeper into the zone, things turned up a notch and I was able to get help in some key areas and started to like Zul'Drak. By the time I hit Zim Torga, I was very ready to have some fun. So, my overall experience is, yea, it was "fun". I don't really care for the Jamican accent guys, but overall, I was kept interested enough to do all 100 quests and get the achievement for it.
Some of the things I really like about Northrend is the rewards. It just seems like they did a much better job in this expansion to give us some stuff to strive for without having to be a dungeon diver to aquire the items. Many times I have received blue items for simply finishing a short quest line without going through the hassle of getting a large group together. There were also some items, that I felt compelled to group with people 1-4 just because I really wanted it to go with my other blue items. This was not a feeling I had when I was playing levels 60-70. Outland was way more focused on group events, green items, and PvP in every zone.
Bliz is doing many strange, yet exciting things now with shared instances. The terrain will look one way when you get there, and at the end of your questing, there will be a completely different terrain. I think this really enhances gameplay, and makes you feel like you are making some kind of a difference to the game. As a programmer, I am intrigued as to how they coded it, and as a player, I am excited to see my work progress into something better at the end of the questing day.
They have similar quests in Dragonblight, where you see a movie, and then you have to go back to Undercity to retake it with the help of Thrall and some other folks. It is strange, because you see the same old places, but they are totally gutted and stuffed to the brim with baddies. On the Undercity with Thrall quest, you fight hundreds of Elite mobs and you never lose all of your health which is nice. The only downside was the quest took like 30 minutes, and I was starting to lose interest after awhile.
In Zul'Drak there are no movies or quests that put you in battle with huge amounts of Elite mobs, but there were a few where they give you a "leg-up" and help you by having a questgiver or other friendly pc help you kill the bad guy. They also have the quests where if you do the right things, you can effectively make the Elite mob into a normal mob, thus allowing you to kill it. A little bit of puzzle work was also introduced into WoTK, which I have seen before. You really needed to read the quest to figure out where these items may be located and then of course you need to combine all of your pieces into the main piece, or in this case the ritual that allowed me to summon help to get an Elite out of his stronghold and destroy him.
I liked Zul'Drak mostly because it was I could do most of on my own, only leaving a few small parts where I needed some help. The rewards in most cases were worth getting help or continuing a questline. I have moved into Icecrown now, and there we have the same continuing story driven questing where they groom you for what will come down the road for you in the future.
Icecrown has a huge "Lord Of The Rings" look and feel. Even down to the ocular eye that you have to kill because the Lich King uses it to see everything, just like LoTR. Many of the quests in Icecrown require that you know how to fly in cold weather and have a mount. So, if you venture there, please save up 1,900 Gold before you go.
Funny story of the day is that I got my cold weather flying training at 77 like I should. Since I was running my DK, which started at level 55 and mostly skipped over Outland, I never bought the mount since it wouldn't have worked in Northrend anyway. So, I get cold weather flying, then I was going to fly to Shadowmoon to pick up a cheap mount since I didn't have enough for the DK mount yet which is 900 Gold. I saw a question mark pop up on my screen, so I walk over and this guy asks me if I want to go to this ship in Icecrown. I figured I could go check it out just to see what they have going on and then return. I tell the guy to take me to the ship, and they flew me in one of those engineering flying planes, and I get to the ship. I checked out the ship, and even watched it go into battle with the Ally ship while I was looking for the guy to talk to that would send me back home or take me to the next place. Well, there isn't anyone to talk to because you have to fly off the ship with your MOUNT. I realized, this was going to be a problem, so I asked someone if I had to fly off the ship, and he replied that the alternative wasn't pretty. So, here I am standing on this ship, hearth had already been used for Dalaran.
I had an hour to wait before going there again quickly. Someone told me that where the ship was floating, there is a flight path near. I though "oh cool". I can dive off the ship, die, and then find the flight path. Well, I jumped off, right into the middle of the largest cluster of level 78-80 mobs I have ever seen. I didn't live long the three times I tried to escape, so I broke down and used my Death Gate hearth to get out of there.
I flew up to Quel Danas from there to go ahead and get the daily quest where you get a scroll to return to Shatarath. I figured I could go from there to Shadowmoon, get my mount and we will be g2g (Good to go). I get to QD, and I mean that place is a worse ghost town then anywhere I have been in a long time. There were so many mobs there I had a hard time getting to my keyline points. Fortunately, they are all pretty low level for me at this point, so I eventually fought my way where I needed to be. I remember when you almost had to wait in line to kill this stuff just a short time ago, and now it is just the most crazy mob land you can imagine. Once I got done, I went back to Shat, flew to Shadowmoon, and got my mount. End of story.
I really hope Bliz has some plans to bring Shat back to life. I mean, if you think they killed off the old lands when Burning Crusade came out, that is nothing compared to the ghost town that is now Outland. At least with the old lands, you still have to go there for auctions and many of the festival/holiday quests only take place there, but Outland is almost worthless. You only need to go through about 3 zones there just to get up from 58, to 68 and then you are on your way to Northrend. So, while the old lands hold a special place for 1-58, Outland gets 10 levels out of you and you are gone.
Since Bliz kind of reinvented everything again the same but better in Northrend, it really takes its toll on what Outland had to offer. Outland was also very "Green" item heavy, where Northrend is way more about the "Blue" items, which are better, and quite frankly are usually worth getting excited about.
One other thing, I think Bliz should keep in mind is not to make the quest chains extremely long. Now in Zul'Drak, I was given a lot of cool stuff, and everything was fairly easy to get to, so I didn't mind so much. The quest chains in Zul'Drak took me to a different place each time. The ones I am talking about are like the one in Dragonspite that the goulish crazy lady kept sending me back to the same place over, and over, and over, like she just couldn't get enough of jacking with these poor folks. There was also one in Grizzly Hills where a Tauren lady just kept sending me all over the map and wanted this, that and the other to where I couldn't stand her anymore. I really like the quest chains that keep a shorter leash on the questgivers and move us on to another place or a new questgiver. I don't even mind if the questgiver moves, which happens more in Zul'Drak and Icecrown. It is more interesting to me if you can just get away or move on from each area of the map a little faster.
Just another observation here... I have found 3 rare mobs in the last week. Two of them were in Northrend, and the other was in the strangest place near the exit from Blades Edge into Area-52. I had a green quest for me to speak to this guy in Area 52, and while I was running through there, this crazy mob attacks me.. I have never seen that guy before, and I used to visit Blades Edge rather frequently. It is the same way I have found all of the rare mobs. I will be traveling around, and they come out of nowhere with that silver dragon wrapped around their picture. I will always stop immediately and kill those guys. Every blue drop, even the ones in Outland are worth a good amount of money and don't bind when you pick them up. It is exciting when you find a rare monster, because it doesn't happen all the time. My warlock has only ever found one in her lifetime, and she has been around much longer then the DK. So, I just thought I would share that little bit of my questing experience.
Final words for today... I got my DK mount, and I am running around Icecrown making a fool out of myself. I am sure I will have more to say about that zone as I get further into it. Happy hunting ya'll!