Howling Fjord from the other side

| Sunday, July 26, 2009
My highest characters are all Horde. The closest Alliance is now a 73 warlock and was unplayed for months at a time. This meant that I'd mostly done only Horde content in WotLK.

Borean Tundra looks okay, but it's not beautiful or thematically catching. There's nothing wrong with it, just nothing special. However the quests on Horde side were a lot of fun.

On the other side is Howling Fjord. It looks absolutely amazing. Unfortunately the Horde quests were uninspiring. The only parts I really liked were in that Vrykul fort to the northwest. Somehow most of the quests just didn't catch me.

The Alliance seems reversed. The Tundra quests aren't especially great, though I did like the fight with the Scourge in that town near the starting point. I'm not a fan of needing crafted items for quests (I'll put more on this at the end, a muse has struck me). However the Fjord quests were awesome. Riding a harpoon? Venturing into the crypts? That part was especially fun since I'd somehow never even found them before. Training the falcon was fun and the final quest was neat. And then there's the quest to use that awful imitation of an iron dwarf construct: it had flying, it had humor, it had lore.

I'm only about half done with the zone, maybe a little more, but so far I really like it. Oh, and throwing bombs on pirates from a stolen zeppelin, that is awesome. I did feel a bit of a traitor though: as Horde I felt bad for being part of the crime while as Alliance I had too much sympathy for that goblin. Poor guy was just trying to make a mostly honest bit of gold and maybe save the world in the process.

And now to go totally off topic.

Quests and Crafting
I don't like the way WoW mixes crafting and quests. It's too halfway. Some crafted items end up very valuable, if there are enough people leveling at the time. Others stay as useless as usual. For the quester they mean a trip from the Badlands back to a main city (not so bad for Alliance, but nevertheless) or the immersion-killing act of switching to an alt to buy and send it. Sometimes the quest item is expensive for the level.

The act of getting the crafted item is annoying as well. If you're lucky you can find it on the AH for a reasonable price. If not, you will have to find a crafter willing to make it for you. This could mean trying to get an 80 to leave the sanctuary of Dalaran to port to UC and hearth back, so you'd better have a decent tip lined up. Oh and he's not likely to have mithril bars laying around, so you'll have to get those too. My point is that the item just ends up being impersonal (AH) or inconvenient (face to face interaction).

Expanding crafting and quests might help. Imagine if instead of a couple dozen quests in the entire game, imagine if every zone had a handful of such quests; spread across professions and covering a wide variety of items and crafting skill. The quests would be part of an economy rather than just a random annoyance. Crafting would be buffed without needing to add more stats to their BoPs, more BoEs to be crafted in a rush and then dumped with the first raid drop, or BoEs which are comparable (or better) than raid drops but which are so expensive and rare that crafting ends up with a few really, really rich crafters and a thousand hoping be the first to catch the next 79->80 ret paladin and maybe, maybe get a few gold tip for a titansteel destroyer.

When I logged in for my first time in a few months I figured I'd jump into LFG and burn off some rested XP. Hm, no spec, that could be a problem. I threw together a demo spec, probably messing up horribly. Then I proceeded to be a noob: falling off the edge and trying to finish a cast with a spike under me. I've not done Nexus in a while. Oh, and I had little clue what I was doing.

Eventually I sort of figured things out, maybe. I'd get immolate up and then spam incinerate. Sometimes I'd remember a curse. Eventually while soloing I learned to get in a late incinerate so I could then kill the next mob with soulfire->incinerate (I seemed to crit often enough that this made for a dead mob and a new shardless soulfire).

Well what fun is it knowing what I'm doing? I don't play alts to know what I'm doing. If I wanted to have to know what I'm doing I'd still be raiding. So I went destruction, tried it out, and then regretted it. But aha, was the spec bad or was it just that I had no clue what I was doing?

Again, learning process, possibly learning incorrectly. Now I use shadowbolt just for the crit debuff (seems like a long fall from when all three specs used it as their primary (only) nuke). I wasn't using chaos bolt for a while because I didn't get it. It's a fire nuke with a cooldown, why not just keep using incinerate? Then I tried it and realized that it's ridiculously cheap and might be my highest damage ability (cheapest too?). Now I have that as a priority. Conflag was also bumped up to a part of my 'cycle', I use it every 10 seconds unless it overlaps with chaos bolt, which probably wouldn't happen if I used a rotation instead of a sort of priority/debuff maintenance system.

My spec is likely still not quite right. I can't decide on some talents. Empowered imp and demonic power seem good for mobs that won't die in 5 seconds anyway. Pryoclasm seems like it could be up about every other cast with some gear. Do I want Demonic Aegis once I'm higher? Or maybe it's worth it now? The mystery of it all can be fun, or frustrating.

I wasn't a slacker
Someone was in general chat trying to find where to do Saragosa's End. That struck me as stupid since it's all the way in Dragonblight. I told him it's there and it's too far for me to directly show him. Then I read the quest he linked. Oh. I asked if he'd talked to Keristrasza. Hadn't talked to... him? He clearly didn't realize the quest giver was in the little prison in his bags or the norms of dragon names. I eventually conveyed that he needed to use the prison (which I'd forgotten what it was) and problem solved. Lacking a non-insulting way to say it, I refrained from saying that he should pay more attention when talking with red-robed women from prison. I suppose that wasn't insulting, but it also makes no sense.

Final thoughts
I wish Decimation was on cast rather than on hit. It's annoying to cast the incinerate which should trigger it and automatically switching to soulfire for the next cast, only to realize that you started too soon and have to cancel and recast (you'll still save the shard, but it's faster to start over again).
I feel very expendable as a DPS (so used to tanking or sometimes healing). Yea, yea "good DPS are hard to find" but when you're in LFG there's no box to mark Good. We're all just DPS.
In a little more defense of Alliance quests in Borean Tundra: I found the gnome captive near Fizzcrank a little funny and sad, especially after the rescue.


Anonymous said...

you know, I actually preferred alliance chains in Borean tundra to the horde ones. horde quests didn't touch me much - I just went through them on pretty much autopilot. but with alliance quests? between finding that girls brother, realizing that he's a deathknight and then helping him save her from his fate? I found their reunion pretty heartbreaking.

and helping gnomes at fitzcrank. the quests are fairly similar to the horde version, and yet I felt like they were more of a part of a story. and then there was dragonblight and watching Arthas's slide further into darkness.

Even though I'm a hordie at heart and only have one high level alliance alt (mostly leveled past 68 because of the argent pets O_O ), I enjoyed leveling her through northrend a lot more then my horde characters. it felt like I was actually following the story with alliance quests, while with horde chain I got to see mere disconnected glimpses.

that was my experience anyway :)

Fish said...

I have a paladin who's 74 on alliance, and I really enjoyed playing him. Of course most of that was because it was PvE and I didn't have to worry about being randomly killed.

Garth said...

When I first hit Northrend I went straight to Borean, not knowing at first how to even get to the Fjord. I ran through a bunch of quests, I happened to enjoy being a virtual P.E.T.A. supporter. There was something weird that made me just want to kill all the wildlife and run back to the DEHTA camp with blood all over me. And how can you not love rescuing all those cute little murlocs making those adorable sounds

Eventually I made it over to Howling Fjord, and I was glad. That opening set of quests were a lot of fun. Riding the harpoon was just a blast.

I think the quests in both areas were different enough for me to be able to enjoy both areas, but for completely different reasons.

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