We’re still early days into the expansion, and I’ve learned a very valuable lesson.
I was lucky enough to be in the beta, and I spent most of my time on the Horde side, because I didn’t want to spoil the Alliance storyline.
This morning was hilarious. And frustrating!
On the Alliance side, I’ve been taking the completist approach. I’m poking my nose in all the nooks and crannies, looking for quests, rares, ore and timber for my Lumber Mill, neat caves, whatever I might find.
I know I need to get to max level so I can begin preparing for the first raid to be on track with my team. At the same time, this is my main, and I want to get ALL the things in the world. So many quest chains result in Followers that I really do have the perfect incentive to do everything there is to do. If there will be a mount, toy, pet or Follower at the end of it, I will be there, and grateful for the experience.
What is it about the Pets, Followers and Mounts that are so much different from normal quest rewards? Is it that those items are good and fun forever, regardless of your level or zone? Cloth shoulders may come and weapon upgrades may go, but having a cute whelpling follow you around can last a lifetime.
This weekend my family is celebrating Thanksgiving a few weeks earlier than usual, so today was going to be a short start. I had enough time to do what will certainly become our new game routine; log in, collect Work Order Shipments, set new work orders in action, collect missions and send my Followers out, collect ore from the mine, find those damn buried slippers, gather up the accumulated Garrison Resources from the crates, and then check my stock on materials. A little low on Timber? Time to head out on a mining, timber and rare run!
I wandered out of the Garrison and started riding around some of the areas I’ve found small Timber to be growing in the past, getting Timber stockpiled so I’m not always worried about it while questing in the world. You can have up to 250 so might as well stock up, right?
My travels running around enjoying the morning took me eventually to a place just to the southeast of the Burial Fields, over near the river.
There, I spotted a skull on my minimap meaning there was a rare I hadn’t yet killed.
Sounds like fun!
Now, this was within minutes of the servers coming back up, and they came up hours before the stated time, so gamer populations were scarce. Comparatively, anyway.
I had this guy all to myself.
Yggdrel, a big ass ancient tree dude.
Looked pretty cool, had him all to myself, and it’s a lovely morning. Let’s get some Timber!
I ran in, and a few seconds later I was dead.
Wait, what the bloody heck was that what?
Okay, that was surprising. Oh, right, I bet I had no food, no buffs, no pet, I bet I even let the Grimoire of Sacrifice buff fall off, tooling around like I was invincible and stuff.
Well, see, that’s because I’ve felt just that. Throughout Shadowmoon Valley questing and rares, I’ve felt invincible. Unstoppable. What’s that? A wanted poster in the Draakorium, go kill some cute beastie, recommended three people or you get your ass stomped?
Lolright. I got this. No sweat.
I’m fully raid geared. This is my main, I’m iLevel 586 and I’m used to smoking those poor mounties that get in my way. Rawr Bear! Sure, ALL of my alts are gonna be having a challenging time of it when it’s their turn to come this way, but this is MY MAIN.
When you see me coming, just fall down and show your belly, boy. The Alpha is in town.
All right. So I died. It was just a fluke.
Summon my pet, kill him to enhance my calm (and boost those numbers, right?), eat some food, cast a buff. All right, let’s do this.
Wham, wham, there he wait, entangling what? WHAT? The FARM TENTACLES?!?! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Okay, that’s just embarrassing.
Shit just got really real. Monstre hears about this, I’ll never live it down. Fucking tree takes my ass out? Like hell.
Resurrect, buff, tank pet OUT and upgraded, flasks, food, um… right.
Okay, let’s kick this pig.
Okay, pets in, looking good, tentacle cast and grabs me, send the pet at it and burn it down, good, taking a lot of damage but I can do this, I can do this, pop DPS cooldowns, pop 10 minute demonspawn, get in there and WTF HE CHAIN CASTS THE TENTACLE WTF OVER.
I fought my way through 3 tentacles before dying again.
Okay, this is getting silly. I’m better than this. Right? Hmmm.
I better be better than this, or I’m in trouble.
Hmm… Soulstones are a thing, right? Yeah. I coulda done soulstones.
Okay, this time I’m awake. All those other times I wasn’t really freaking AWAKE, you know? But this shit, this is going down. I am not just wandering off with a branch shoved up my ass crying that the big bad tree did mean things to me. Oh, HELL no.
We’re going all in.
Buff, food, flasks, the goddamn Soulstone, and you know what?
YOU KNOW WHAT?
I’m calling in close fire support. I’m breaking out the Alliance Garrison peeps that are supposed to give me a hand.
I haven’t ever used them before, but I made a Barracks and they gave me this nifty Alliance banner button and told me, when you get in a pinch, who you gonna call? GARRISON BUSTERS.
Fine, I’m gonna pop mah peeps on him, too. Who knows, maybe they will do that extra 5% damage I needed to kill this sucker.
That’s it, all out, going in, pet take that aggro and you hold it, you hear me you best be holding that aggro or I’m gonna summon you and kill you over and over until you think this is Edge of Tomorrow level shit.
All righty. Got it good and stuck in? Entangling Vine cast going out?
UNLEASH THE PUPPIES OF WAR!
And do you know, damned if that tentacle didn’t go after one of the Alliance guys instead of me?
Isn’t that just amazing? Using the Alliance garrison puppies in battle meant there were other targets to get grabbed.
Well, that felt like cheesing the damn fight. Tree fall down go boom.
I’ll tell you something, THAT kind of fight will sure enough wake you up in the morning, just holy crap.
Damn, was that fun! Was it?
HELL YES it was fun, that was just what I needed to cap my enjoyment of the entire zone before moving my thoughts on to taking on the new challenges of Gorgrond.
And as with all rares, there was a reward.
This one was extra cute, because it gave me a new Toy.
The Ancient’s Bloom!
Rawr look at me I’m a tree!
Now I can be a tree whenever I like… as long as I don’t want to walk around anywhere.
Whatever else anyone may have to say about the expansion or the release, it really all comes down to, will it be fun to play.
For me, the answer is a yes, it’s everything I could have wanted in an expansion.
Shadowmoon Valley is my kind of beautiful fantasy zone, and I’m delighted that my long term vacation home is right there in the middle of it.
I know the Vale was supposed to be the pretty ‘look at this place’ thing, but I’m not a creature of sun-drenched fields and sun-dappled hills.
I’m all about the purples and the greens, the shadows and the calm of twilight settling through the clouds. Shadowmoon is the place I want to be.
I know things with the game launch have been very difficult and frustrating for a lot of people, and that sucks. It’s the opposite of what a new game should be, a celebration of all that we love in WoW.
But please, remember, this too shall pass, and in less time than it would take to farm a new mount with 100 Champion’s Seals in the Argent Tournament, all this crazy will be behind us and fading from our memory as we dig deeper into a great new expansion.
Doesn’t help any when you’re the one pissed off, but it WILL get better. And once the technical issues fall away, the prize is well worth the effort.
I think you’re going to like it here.
Just… watch out for those fucking trees.