It’s the little things that really bring a smile to my face.
To follow up from my post on Friday, to me it doesn’t matter how long a game has been out, or how much has been written about it in the past.
What matters to me is playing a game my own way, of finding my own path, without worry that I’m ‘doing it wrong’ or something. I want to have enough options that I can make the game experience my own. I want to step back from the screen for a second, look upon what I have wrought, and think, “Yeah, that’s pretty f’ed up. Sweet!”
Take my new Paladin alt, for example.
I’ve been playing on Azuremyst-US, and I really like it there. The climate on the server is just friendlier than I’m used to seeing elsewhere.
It’s got a kinder, gentler Trade Chat troll. Why, I can’t hardly recall ever seeing [anal] jokes at all! Instead, they go off on [pet type] memes. Hardly any filth at all!
Frankly, it’s a little unnerving. Trade chat on Alliance side without constant foul BS feels like you’re playing on a server of pod people.
I’ve been playing a lot on Azuremyst, the Band of Misfits is just a great group of people, lots of humor, very active, and a bunch of characters. Characters as in kooks, clowns, cavorting karoake carousers, college kids and couples. They are pretty active, too, doing old raids for the Achievements and such. I just took part in downing heroic mode Yogg-Saron last week, and had a blast. We’ve got heroic 25 Lich King tonight, and I’m really looking forward to it.
No matter how great things may be in the guild, though, they don’t have a horde side experience. I’ve wanted to play through all the new Cataclysm zone quests and changes on the horde side ever since they came out, but every time I made a horde alt, they leveled too fast to see everything.
Enter the Paladin.
A Tauren, because they’re awesome. Protection specced, since I want to see how Pally tanking really stacks up against the worst the PUG lifestyle has to offer.
And fully decked out in all the plate tanking and associated Heirlooms, because I’ve done the leveling thing the hard way, and I have no problem being ridiculously OP. Especially as the tank.
I almost made a critical error in playing the Paladin.
I leveled to 13 in Mulgore, did the whole zone for the second time, and it was quite fun. Things flow very well, and Paladins get lots of good tools for smacking things upside the head.
From Mulgore, I went directly to Silverpine Forest. I have heard a lot from Cassie about how awesome the questlines are in Silverpine, how cool it is to see the Banshee Queen in the aftermath of the fall of Arthas.
She was right, of course. With the Banshee Queen free of Arthas and the breaching of Greymane’s Wall giving access to Gilneas, Silverpine is transformed and has a great story to it.
Early on questing, everything was great. Then I dinged 15, and queued for randoms as a tank.
Stupid, stupid bear.
The random PUGs were fine, I dominated with Spear, er I mean Shield and Magic Helllllllllmut, but after just a handful of runs, I went back to Silverpine disgruntled to find I’d leveled past the damn zone already.
All the mobs were gray to me, and I could walk past everything without aggroing. That is SO irritating when you want to feel immersed. Whack, dead. Whack, dead. What, can’t you see me slaughtering your entire Gilnean Resistance Front? Whack, dead. C’mon, notice me, damn your eyes! I’m a skinner! I’m skinning wolves, and I’m /emoting skinning YOU! Did I just skin your cousin? I bet I did! After all, I got your whole village piled up back there in the cart, I bet he’s there somewhere!
So I had to swear off pugs and focus on questing through the gray zone. I dinged 25 last night, but at least I made it to the end of Silverpine without outleveling it TOO bad… and I logged out with a certain quest in my log.
A quest that promises to make me a quest giver, if only for a little while. Sitting on a horse, golden exclamation point overhead, the whole bit.
I’ve heard a lot about that quest, I intend to savor it slowly.
It’s the little things about the game, making it your own. Like having a huge, looming badass Tauren Paladin, rocking the spiky shoulders and helm. A Tauren whose very name proclaims his passion for the most valuable treasure in existance, a treasure that entire generations have gone to war for.
Baconburgler the Paladin. No bacon is safe.
(Yes, I know burglar is spelled with an ‘a’. I spelled it in the name with an ‘e’. It’s a riff on both bacon thieves and bacon burgers, get it? Yeah, I know. What can I say, I’m me.)
Having a name that makes you giggle when you see it is a solid part of making a character feel like it’s all mine. But there’s more.
Heirloom gear looks the way it looks, but there is one thing you can truly control. Your mount.
I’ve worked hard with humans before to get the Night Elf faction maxed JUST so I could have a kitty mount. Having strange mount/race combinations as early as you can get them, and fun/unusually distinctive mounts at max level are tried and true ways of being yourself.
I’m sure that every single person out there has spent at least SOME effort deciding which of the hundreds of mount/color combinations was the perfect mount for their favorite character.
I think many of us try to have that special mount for every main character, because it really is something that is up to us. Whatever mount you choose for a character says something, even if it’s “Hi, I still have the default mount I bought when I trained because I’m cheap and I don’t give a shit and I have no romance in my soul whatsoever, lols.”
The new Tauren Paladin mounts are pretty cool. The coloring style used resembles earthy clay pigments, and goes very well with the Sunwalker motif.
But that didn’t really give me the badass vibe I was looking for. It didn’t say, “Hi, I’m Baconburgler, and I’ll be taking your order. No, I’m not giving you any food, I’m taking your order. Give it up. Mmm, now that’s a tasty burger! You mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash this down?”
So, let’s do something to give BB a little spiky Jules vibe. Let’s pimp his ride.
(I’d like to add that I wish Blizzards April Fools Gag of Pimp my Mount from 2009 was live. Yes, yes I WOULD like to pimp my mount, thank you very much.)
Band of Misfits (the coolest raiding guild evar, they raid the most from coast to coast with mobs on toast like Emily Post) is level 25. Beartrap the Hunter be exalted yo, so I can buy the Reins of the Golden King, a pretty cool looking lion mount.
How does that help my Paladin? Well, as most of you know, the character that buys the mount from the Guild Vendor has to be exalted with the guild… but the mount itself is Bind to Account. You don’t have to be in the guild to use it, any of your characters can.
Why, just look what happens when that faction-specific item gets mailed cross-faction? It turns into the applicable item of the other faction, of course.
Introducing my level 20 unguilded Tauren Paladin, riding around on a massively badass Kron’kar Annihilator!
As I said, it’s the little things. Sure, most people can do the exact same thing I did, but the point isn’t what other people may or may not choose to do, or whether you think blowing 1400 gold on a mount for a level 20 alt is stupid, what matters to me is what *I* do, and doing something crazy that looks that cool puts a big ol’ smile on my face.
The other thing that has been putting a smile on my face lately has been having the Vial of the Sands on my Druid. Not just because I like having Dragonform, but because I can carry a rider.
Cassie is having a good time leveling yet another Shaman, her favorite class. She’s in Outlands, getting all the quests done in a zone, collecting all the group stuff, and then she whistles for her pet Dragon to come and carry her around from place to place, killing stuff.
You have to be careful how you treat your pets, though.
Last night, I carried her way to the top of the atmosphere in Nagrand before transforming into Swift Flight Form. As Cassie began falling to her death on the hard rocks below, I swooped down to get below and take screenshots.
To my dismay, she lofted a parachute and floated all the way down nice and safe with a full canopy overhead.
The parachute had no time limit, so she floated safely all the way down.
Now, this may seem harsh to you, but in my own defense, I think there was sufficient provocation.
After all, I didn’t fly out over the edge of the abysss before I shifted. I gave her a fair chance at splatting on solid ground. And she’s a Shaman. She could rez. I could even bring her back myself!
Oh, wait, I forgot to tell you the provocation, didn’t I?
Well, I’m tooling along the skies of Nagrand under her guidance as she turns in quests.
As we leave the Ring of Blood, headed for Nesingwarys camp, she says to me, “If I’m going to keep you around, I’m going to have to break out my Carrot on a Stick.”
“Or in your case, I’d better make a Bacon on a Stick.”
It wouldn’t have hurt so bad if it wasn’t so damn true. I finally understand those poor turtles swimming endlessly around Northrend. Put some Bacon on a Stick and hold it in front of me, and I’ll be sure to follow.
Of course, unlike those turtles… eventually, I’ll simply go get some of my own. Eventually. You know, just as soon as that delicious aroma is mine!
Just. Have. To. Fly. A. Little. Faster.