Friday, November 14, 2008

I am sick! Really!

I got the flu at perhaps the worst moment for my credibility in years. Wednesday November 12th I gave up, settled on the couch with cough medicines and paper hankies, and spent the day salvaging what I could for the students I would not be able to lecture the day after. At midnight the 13th Wrath of the Lich King was released.

When I logged on Thursday afternoon, I had already been asked several times how the expansion to World of Warcraft, the game I have been playing and writing about for several years, was. I had to respond to all that "I don't know, really, I know I am here with my laptop and the expansion uploaded and account upgraded but I still don't know! I am sick! It's true!" Even guild mates ruthlessly teased me when I finally came online. Nobody would believe my characters were not all level 71.

So, what have I found out in the now 36 hours since then?
My characters are all still below 71, and they have a long way to go. I did however get three of them 1/3 each to 71, so levelling is not going to be such an impossible grind once I no longer have a fever and headache.

I tried out a deathknight, and I was absolutely delighted! I'll blog more about that elsewhere and in Norwegian, here I just want to say that the interface and the storyline felt fresh and different. Already the story potential is grinding away in my head, and my deathknight is getting a life of her own. Yeah, I'll reveal that she's female. No surprise there. I get a kick out of having female characters with tragic backgrounds and not too easy futures. Too much Marion Zimmer Bradley early in my career as a fantasy reader, I guess.

Getting new skills in crafting and new areas in which to use them is a thrill. I haven't tried out inscription though, although I can definitely see the use for it. But getting to practice the skills is not that easy. As everybody else are out gathering, everything but skinning and, oddly, fishing is really hard. It's also tough to get the quests done in starting areas, as I have to fight other players for them, not just the mobs. I am very happy it's a pve server, as the fights are not literal. It's more a question about tagging fast, something a warrior isn't the best character for. By the time my shot goes off, a mage, a priest, a warlock and a hunter have tagged the next four mobs I need for the quest. And with my luck a druid has taken the fifth.

Do I like the expansion? So far I am exstatic. The "feel" of Northrend, where it all happens, is very different from Outland. I haven't been able to explore more than the very basic starting areas, but I have seen two of those. They are very different both from each other and from other areas, even if they are established by respectively the forsaken and the orcs - two well established factions with the Horde. I don't know about the Alliance side, we'll have to look for some of "the others" for reports from the other side... but I have no reason to believe they don't have the same experience. After all, a lot of the quest areas are common for Horde and Alliance.

I have only finished one instance. The other attempt was stopped by a paladin tanking in dps gear. While that can work out if the pally knows how to tank, this was one in gear which had clearly not been found in instances. Despite its epicness it was not made for the very specialised task which tanking is, and we kept wiping for 20 gold worth on my healer character. Which means the tank got to pay more than enough for the wipes, plate is a lot more expensive to repair than mail.

Both Utgard and Nexus are interesting instances. Utgard I did with an extremely experienced tank, so it felt easy. It still held some great upgrades for my dps character. Nexus was where we wiped, so I took a quick dislike to it. Where Utgard felt like the Hellfire Instances, Nexus felt like the Tempest Keep instances. Both instances had more in common with the Outland instances from The Burning Crusade expansion than those had in common with the classic instances.

And that's all so far. I am still not able to focus on playing for too long at the time, so I don't think I'll be raiding in Northrend this weekend, but I will try to use the rested bonus on the characters, and look at the quests. It's a lot more fun than to dwell on my lack of a voice and the fact that I would be mistaken for Rudolf if I went out right now, what with the glowing red and sore nose and all.

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