What a nice new Runeblade!

Something fun from the salvage yard is the class specific gear drops which emulate the starting character gear. For Death Knights the gear-set is easily obtainable, except that a new two handed rune-sword model was added in WoD. It is a really nice looking weapon, and I’ve luckily found one in a crate. The weapon goes by many names depending on what the source is (quests, crates, etc) – Heart Lesion Greatsword.

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WoW subscriptions and resubscription

After a day of chatting about WoW to the nefarious gamer who first recruited me to World of Warcraft; I’ve resubscribed. It took a day to break my will, which means one of my favourite sayings by Oscar Wilde applies totally, “I can resist everything except temptation”.

Last night I ran Karazhan’s first boss five times to try to get the mount, UP once, and solved the archaeology Horn which makes your character bigger. It was great.

Related old news says WoW subs have increased again too as players return for Warlords (MMO Champ 14 Oct). We’ve seen this increase occur once before with the pre-Mists subscribers. It isn’t news in itself, but I think we will see a slightly different result from the Mists pre-sub drop off. My hunch (based upon only my gut feel) is that this time the subs will take significantly longer to drop away. They will drop away, but I’d not be surprised to see them climb upward again before doing so, and certainly expect the initial downward drop to take longer than it did in MoP.

Why? Part of my hunch is that the simplification from the item changed and the squish will remove a gearing attitude, and thus make it easier to maintain multiple sets, and therefore grant flexibility. There is also the appeal of WoD as something new, which is also a return to something that was popular back in the day. The Burning Crusade really built the WoW player-base, and many of us look fondly on Draenor.

Lastly I think they know how to make reasonable content, and many players and companies know that this formula works well. Yes, it is grindy, and a themepark, and often unbalanced, and also affected by a vocal minority … but everything is, especially in computer games. If Blizzard deliver quality the players will play. So far it looks promising.

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A great garrison overview by AskMrRobot

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AskMrRobot’s blog has a great guide for Garrisons (thank you Ask Mr Robot). I knew almost nothing about them, but after skimming through the basics I think it will be a major feature I’ll use in Warlords. Truthfully I can see garrisons being played on many alts and mains from day one, to acquire what they have to offer. It appears that Garrisons will have a straight up advantage to using them (very much like the Farm in Mists) and a wide breadth of game-play too. The fact that you could have a main with a raiding garrison, then alts also generating gold and materials is excellent.

Impressed, especially the chat sheet at the end which shows which garrison feature selections are better for raiding, farming, alts, or pets. The guide indicates that a full garrison will cost around 39,000 gold. Holy snap!

garrison pic from MMO Champion

Thoughts on the pre-WoD events

An hour in the Blasted Lands of questing to kill a few generals, gather some (un)important items, and harassing the new (old) baddies didn’t feel especially profound. I kept wanting to understand why what we were doing would actually help in the long term. Sure, a strike at a few generals and supply lines will hurt the Iron Horde in the short term, but not stem the flow of the attack; or will it? Did it?

Were the quests enough to push them back through the portal, and then take the fight to them on the other (new?) Draenor? I know that is what we are doing, but the landscape didn’t change after the quests were done. A switch might happen when the expansion is released, but it would have been great to see a phased approach to the area akin to the Death Knight starting area which used phases to change over time as the quests were completed.

If we can shove them back through the portal, or control at least this side of the portal, then why not just destroy the damn portal? Or bury it, or nuke it with a manna bomb. I’m sure more will come from the release to help answer these questions.

So effort wise the quests were a little short. Great for people with multiple alts though.

The rewards were good – a boost for new level 90s, but nothing to make the current end gear redundant, which is good. In a few days there will be “green” gear to replace most of the high level items anyway so its really zero impact in the long term. I’m doubly thankful to have an heirloom weapon to carry through the expansion leveling. I just need to decide when to buy Warlords. At the moment I’m looking forward to it, but not in a mad rush kind of way. I know its (soon to be) there to be experienced, and I get to pick when I eat the cake.

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WoD’s great cinematic

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The WoD cinematic is really good. As a semi-retired lore nerd I love seeing this stuff, just as much as I love seeing the Mage cast a Sheep spell in the first trailer, or Arthas summon an undead dragon. The MoP trailer did what it had to do (show us the Pandaren) and did it in a way which was fun. It certainly makes me think this is Orcs vs Humans … of Warcraft.

Non-serious aside – It does feel like a story set to make us like killing Orcs, and as an Alliance player I don’t really care if that is the wrong view. Orcs have proven themselves weak willed, power hungry, and generally the bad guys in the lore. Guldan gets his historic plans thrown asunder, but we’re still facing Orcs as the foes. These Warlords just reenforce the point. Thrall was the exception, and only that because some silly human made an effort to civilize him instead of kill him.

Now wonder he liked Jana. I’m happy to kill orcs, wargs, goblins, any sort of green or brown skinned filth.

(edit: truthfully that trailer makes the idea of playing an orc seem very appealing)

Is it as good as the others in terms of placing the players “in the world” and throwing down a challenge? Probably not, but then the excitement from an expansion is only partly attributed to the pretty non-gameplay video. There is not much that would top “you are not prepared“. As a video to continue the hype and announce a release date it was fine; great in fact.

Bring on more cinematic media for players, add more online comics, give us preview pages, lore updates, stat blocks to drool over. Complete the character models (I know, I know) and a few decent armor sets and it’s finished isn’t it? All of it. Build the hype with many strings of your bow Blizzard.

New Toy for WoD – Haunting Memento

Discussing WoW and other MMOs a few friends were pondering what our favorite items were and how much the might be worth. I love my Legendary items and also love the Haunted Memento.

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The Memento dropped as part of the Scourge Invasion many expansions ago, and allows a strange shadow to follow your player as long as you have it in your inventory. An item of years go which is special within the world.

WoD (listed as patch 6.0.1) will add a new Haunting Momento to the game as a toy, obtainable through the Darkmoon Fair. I like the fact they are adding the toy for those who were not around for the previous expansion, but also hope they make it different somehow, both in the cosmetic effect and also the application. It appears that it can be used on another target, which is already nice – and perhaps the haunting will have a different animation?

The Sha default model would be very suitable as an alternative to the typical specter model used in the original. An odd thought, and odd too that a similar item is being added to the game in WoD.

hmm, really. A little interested now.

Staying away from news and distractions tends to mean that when I do see something from Beta news, or an upcoming game I can get a raw impression. I’ve not over invested or drained my enthusiasm. But I saw some loading screen art for Warlords today which I really liked. It reminded me of many years ago while playing Burning Crusade. I’m a little interested now.

So much so that I’m going to crawl back under my rock and not read much more till a lot more of the details are resolved. I don’t want to be part of the whine fest, and also do not want to fan the flames of fan-dom. Oh, and the T17 armor for the Death Knight looks darn interesting too (have to block MMO Champion’s updates in my rss reader).