WoWing Around Again: Gnomes

| Friday, September 23, 2011
This post is a bit of a play by play reaction. It is not short. You have been warned.

I started with gnomes. I'm not sure why. But we can't erase the mistakes of the past.

Majalah the gnome priest. I don't remember the server. It put me somewhere and I don't really care. Maybe it's a special server for people they hate for not paying them.

It's a new account because I couldn't figure out a way to use my old account. Maybe I can't. I don't care. I figure if I create a character and get really attached to it, I can remake it. If I find it too horrible to redo a mere 20 levels, that is not a good sign.

It's not off to a good start.

I'm supposedly in the middle of a very dangerous battle in Gnomeregionanon but it doesn't feel very dangerous. Anything hostile is busy fighting an NPC and the NPC doesn't seem to have much trouble. I don't think I should truly be in danger, since this is a starting area after all, but maybe at the very least, I should get attacked. Of course with all the crazed gnomes milling about (I was going to say running, but it's really more of a milling) it would be a bit too dangerous if they were all hostile. So why not make them hostile but have fewer of them? That way I get attacked without being likely to die. There we go, some illusion of danger without enough danger to quite scare anyone away, though if a tiny bit of danger is enough to scare them away, I doubt that person is going to be a contribution to the raiding game, or anything else.

Then I did a dangerous retreat to safer place, which looks equally unsafe, by which I mean not at all unsafe, just like where I started, so I don't see the need for me to have run over here, through the mulling hordes of neutral mobs.

I couldn't find the decontamination bot. I think it should have been an automatic process: run into decontamination room and the bot grabs the gnome, possibly while shouting at it for attempting to bypass decontamination protocols. After that I was told to talk to some guy for a teleport to the surface. I figured the important part was the "get to the surface", but the elevator did not complete the quest. Simple place for a minor choice and somehow Blizzard avoids it. Maybe a new new player would follow the rules and just talk to the teleporter gnome.

I seem to be a hero already. I'm not quite sure why. The S.A.F.E. Guide ran off before I could finish reading the quest.

I did like that the priest trainer told me that memory loss is a common problem after time in Gnomeland. It's just a line or two of quest text, but that's the sort of thing that can efficiently hand-wave away so many problems, such as why I have a backstory and don't know it.

The history of the Gnomerland invasion operation on the holotablepad was pretty funny. Or I'm a sucker for Star Wars references and excessively calm computers announcing doom.

I just noticed that the minimap has a marker for the current target. That's a nice touch. Maybe it's "dumbing it down", but I can't say I ever had a much fun trying to find something that I could target, but not quite see in the crowd.

Rare spawn! Gibblewilt had a bag. And a mean fireball... the guy took off almost half my health! The help feature told me that if I run out of health I'll die. The quests around the pools make a bit more sense, though I wish the living contamination was hostile. Bags auto-equip. I liked the fun of equipping bags. I don't know why, but I preferred that.

"You need to see a medic!"
"Make that a rocket scientist!"
Well done, Blizzard. This is what you do well: silliness.

The troggs are hostile. I got attacked by two at once. I wasn't likely to die, but it was still better than single-pulling neutral mobs. Someone whined in general about everyone else fucking up the daily for them.

Great Father Artcius killed me. AWESOME! Guy hits hard, easily half my health per swing. Second time around I was more careful with my health. He died. I got a bag. Woo! The respawn time on the NPCs seems a bit fast, since I think I'm the only person around.

The Paintinator has too short of a range. How does it make any sense to disable the sentry if I've already gotten close enough to aggro it and even get hit?

The battle with evil gnome wasn't all that impressive. It got worse when I saw that all the sentry bots were back. The celebration seemed lame. The music felt out of place.

Then it was off to Dun Morogh proper for the final disappointment. There are three gnomes pushing carts of rockets. Somehow, against all odds and all sense, they made it all the way to the gate without anyone exploding. Then they despawned. So much lost potential.

The first few quests were absolute garbage. Then they got better and turned into a good bit of fun, with a bit of gnomish silliness here and there, as is appropriate and expected. The big event of the area was a stunning disappointment.

So there's the gnome-specific content. It took a bit under two hours and got me about halfway to level 7. It doesn't actually take that long, but I kept tabbing out to write this and at some point, make lunch. I will use that as my measurement. I ate lunch late. So there we go, the gnome campaign was good enough to keep me playing through a bit of hunger. Not a ton, but a bit. I think that qualifies it for a thumbs-up.

Maybe this weekend I will get him up to level 20 and can tell a bit what the very early game priest experience is like. But that is for later.


Dwism said...

I think any new player would get that feeling of grandeur and 'something bigger than me' and "oh noes a huge war" feeling out of the gnome-start. Beside the fact that Gnomes are filthy creatures, I must admit that stepping into the persona of a brand new player, their starting experience is -imo- pretty much perfect

Kring said...

I hate games that start with me being endangered. I want my games to start in a safe haven. I want to feel cozy and secure. I want to feel welcomed by the world I just entered. And it gives me a reason later in the game to fight against the evil. Because I want that back.

I don't like the redone WoW zones which I've seen (human, worgen), it doesn't feel like a world worth living if the first zone you see is in the middle of some battle or some fight.

Guild Wars is a perfect example of how to do this right (for me!). You start in a beautiful area where it's peaceful and you have time to learn how to play your character and test some things. Sure, there are enemies but it's a peaceful time, more or less. Then you move to the next zone, where the story and war happens.

Vanilla was like that. Elwynn Forest was peaceful, more or less. Then when you moved to Westfall or Redridge you felt that you moved away from the security of Stormwind. And Duskwood was where you got really endangered.

Klepsacovic said...

On a side note, after playing for a bit, I felt really good. I think it was a nostalgia trip, because I just felt good the rest of the day. It didn't actually make me want to play more that day, but today (being tomorrow from yesterday's perspective), I think I will play some more. Though I might have to ditch the priest. Until shadow they aren't a lot of fun to solo with, so it's level 10 to solo and not until 15 to group.

Maybe I'll try a tauren paladin next.

@Dwism: I'm not sure "bigger than me" is possible so early on. Well maybe by the very end. But at the very start, the player is still figuring out basic things like moving and the camera, which in my case, just from my brief time away, I was slightly disoriented. It's just not a good mental state for being in awe.

@Kring: For me it depends on the type of danger. Are we generally threatened? That may be a call to action. If instead the game tries to have an actual raging battle, which of course will be a permanent stalemate, then it isn't likely to work for me. I recall enjoying the new human zone.

Kring said...

The question is less if I'm threatened but more if the world is endangered. I'm fine with some threat for me, if it doesn't produce pressure (move or a dragon will light you up before you even figured out which key to use to move).

But I don't like those Orcs attacking the human start area. Some criminal threatening to rob and kill you would do just fine. We don't need an army threatening to kill you and pillage your town and rape your women and enslave your children. I don't feel like spending the next few years in a world where there is constant threat that my home town will be pillaged and burned down.

Video Game Philosopher said...

The stupid part of Cataclysm is they kept the rare spawns where they were pre-Cata; so you will get that Troll Rare where there are only troggs now (who supposedly killed all the trolls, except this one who they aren't hostile with?) There's some in the Plaugelands that are weird too, but I don't remember who they are.

I do hate that all the starting areas are thin on red mobs. I remember the vanilla starts where anything over lvl 2 was likely to be hostile....ah well, progress I guess.

Good luck, and I think you'll like the troll starting area too.

Klepsacovic said...

@Kring: What if the starting area threat is fixed? So the orcs are threatening, but then you kill them all and the town is safe, so you're free to leave.

@VGP: My theory is that that particular troll is such a badass that no one messes with him.

Kring said...

You mean with phasing or an instance or something? I think that would work for me. The Witcher (1) had a perfect opening/tutorial for me.

There are people invading your "home" (threat), but the enemies have a very small aggro range which gives you time to learn the combat system at your pace. And when you leave the tutorial the invaders are gone and not to come back (they have what they were locking for) but you have to go out to "hunt them down". Something like that would work.

Then again, in an MMORPG, I'm not sure if I really like to be a super hero in the first hour with level 1. I think in today's WoW we're too often the one and only super hero who saves the world (like 11 million other player).

LifeDeathSoul said...

You were probably placed in Caelestrasz. I think that's the server where they dump all the trial account holders. Out of all the new horde starting zones though, only the tauren will make you feel 'Oh we are under attack!'. The Orc starting is exactly like vanilla, down to the quest giver giving that sarcastic quest 'Oh you want to kill dragons huh? GO KILL SOME BOARS NOOB'. The new troll area has completely been redone but I'm not sure whether you will like it. I did though :)

Tesh said...

Oh, yes, Great Father Troll is pretty cool. I made it a point to kill him and Gibblewilt when I came back to the starting area after going to Kharanos and forgetting to reset my hearthstone. (So I wound up back in the Gnomeregan basement.) They both killed me a couple of times in my younger days, so coming back and returning the favor felt good.

Incidentally, I like that they are there, and that Gibblewilt dropped a bag. That seemed cool before level 8. The Troll didn't drop anything but copper, but it was oh-so-satisfying to watch him keel over.

More generically, I like wandering elites. They keep me on my toes. The Troll did annoy me a couple of times while I was trying to finish the quest in the cave, but he wasn't a roadblock, just an incidental challenge. Thumbs up on that.

Shintar said...

I do love that rares below level 10 drop bags now instead of white quality items that have 1 more armour than your greys. Actually makes it worth to kill them, especially if you're genuinely new (to the server at least) and not starting out with any premade bags.

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