Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Byte: Attack of the Zombies

I've been playing rather a lot of WoW of late, given the impending arrival of Wrath of the Lich King, and I've also been enjoying the Hallow's End content and the attack of the plague zombies, which herald the resurgence of Arthas's power.

Firstly, Hallow's End - I got Sharéth (I had to add an accent to her name when I moved her to Steamwheedle Cartel a couple of weeks ago - I've invested far too much time in the character over the last four years to even contemplate renaming her to something totally different) to party up for a trip to the Scarlet Monastery in order to really sort out the Headless Horseman, and came out of the deal with three epic rings, one of which is good for tanking in Dire Bear form, the other two being nice little caster rings for when I'm acting as a healer in an instance. So, definitely worth the trip, even if no-one got one of the Harry Potter-style flying broomstick mounts. I've got a couple of the normal "slow and steady" (read "crappy") broomsticks, but sadly they're pretty useless for anything other than screenshot opportunities. The dailies putting out the fires in Goldshire have been quite fun, not to mention an easy source of cash, and the Trick or Treat achievements where you have to visit the inns around the game world is literally money for old rope. I've earned well over 100 gold just from sightseeing for an hour or two. Sharéth is doing pretty well for money right now, actually, despite the fact that I blew 1000 gold on the (totally superfluous) Shattered Sun courtesy title a few days ago, as I've been making hay with the Sunwell Isle dailies now that I don't have to worry about being ganked, and I will probably try and do a bit of rep grinding in Auchindoun over the next couple of weeks so I can finally knock off the final stage of my Epic Flight Form quest chain. Though what I'm really looking forward to is the opening night of Northrend when the new expansion goes live. The opening of the Dark Portal was epic, so I'm expecting a similar kind of party atmosphere to be going on when the boats finally dock in Stormwind Harbour.

I'm trying to get my Hunter, Yonn, up as close to level 70 as I can before Lich King goes live, and last night I got him up to level 64, meaning that he can realistically quest in most of Outland now, especially since being on an RP server means that you only have the NPC mobs to worry about. I've pretty much abandoned Zenedar now and will be forsaking it entirely once Lich King comes out. PvP servers were fun when everyone was just starting out and the playing field was rather more level. Now they're just playgrounds for the small-minded sadists who seem to have nothing better to do than try to spoil other people's fun. I don't have a couple of hundred hours to spend in PvP battlegrounds getting all the top tier PvP armour, and I'm even less inclined to play Capture the Flag in an RPG when there are perfectly good games like Team Fortress 2 or Unreal Tournament which are far better cut out for that kind of thing. Getting all my characters off of PvP servers has undoubtedly been one of the best decisions I've made all year. A costly decision, at £15 a pop, but worth every copper.

I've even made decent progress with my Mage, who I had to rename, post-server jump. The newly-dubbed Kaeleigh is now up to level 44 and is rather enjoying the free re-spec to Frost she got with the latest patch. At level 44, I don't think that a Frost Mage quite packs the same punch as a Fire spec in single combat, but Frost Magi certainly do better in terms of crowd control.

One of the new additions this patch is the Inscription profession, which allows you to create scrolls and glyphs, the latter of which enhance abilities of your spells. Most of them are ludicrously overpriced, meaning that I'm probably going to swap over one of my characters over from Alchemy to Inscription instead (since Herbalism is the feeder profession for both) and create my own glyphs rather than buy the top tier stuff from the auction house. Though I almost did buy the Glyph of the Penguin for my Mage. It makes the Polymorph spell turn things into penguins rather than sheep, so is only really there for the funnies, as far as I can tell, but I was still tempted to get it just for the screenshot opportunities. Even if they were selling for over 10 gold in the auction house...

Some of the glyphs are a lot more useful, though. I got a couple of good ones for my Druid - the Glyph of Rake (which stops people from running off when their health gets low - something that was really missing from a Cat form practitioner's arsenal), the Glyph of the Wild (which halves the mana cost of the main Druid buff) and the Glyph of Thorns (which increases the buff length of the Thorns spell from 10 minutes to 60 minutes). I also got a nice Glyph for my Hunter, which makes the Freezing Trap slow down the movement speed of the trapped mob after it expires. I bought most of them on the cheap (a gold or so each) so I think I'm doing quite well - though obviously not as well as if I'd made them for myself.

Speaking of hunters, I think I may have missed a trick on the respec, because even though the top talent on the Marksmanship spec is awesome (the Chimera shot), I think I may have to respec to Beast Master instead, because there are people tromping around with Devilsaurs from Un'Goro Crater and Core Hounds, for fuck's sake. Barney, my Screecher Owl pet might be pretty cool, BUT IT'S NOT A FECKING DINOSAUR. And I think I mucked up my DPS with the new armour I got at level 64 last night, so I might as well switch over and go Devilsaur hunting.

There's one big addition in the patch that's not playable yet: Death Knights - though you can see the symbol for the class on the character creation screens. I'm not quite sure whether I will jump straight into trying out the class or not, or whether I will be taking Sharéth and Yonn up the level treadmill to 80. I suspect, knowing my lack of concentration skills, that I will undoubtedly do a little of both. So, lots to look forward to, though I am a little concerned that the release of Lich King is right in the middle of NaNoWriMo. This doesn't bode well for my word count...
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