Sigh… Guess how many hours I was able to commit to my WoW experiment over the weekend? Zero. This is what happens when you sleep till 3pm and then waste most of the day on stupid real life stuff. Sigh… Yes, RL stuff is really cutting into my gaming and blogging time lately. WTF?
Of course I did stay up extra late on Friday to check out how Thunderbluff looks in sunlight. I had to – I was so sick and tired of the darkness in the game I had to do something. So I logged into the game super late… Or maybe super-early, depending how you look at it. Anyway, it was dawning – and it was beautiful! I almost cried – sweet, sweet sunlight! I didn’t even know the town had so many nice colors! Of course in all this excitement I forgot to take good screen shots so I only got this one:
I decided to run around killing shit for a while envying the beautiful day… Er… Night… Actually, no – I was right the first time. It was already a day – but for me, 4am on Saturday still counts as Friday if I haven’t slept yet so whatever. I decided to grind up get some more xp so that I don’t feel as such a n00b when I’m exploring the far away places. I reached level 12 and went to bed when it was starting to dawn outside in real world. It’s not like I was making this sacrifice for the game though. I would probably go to bed around the same time WoW or no WoW. :P
Next day I decided to finally try out the flying service. Different games offer various fast travel options but most of them are either map movement or “poof, you are there” kind of thing. In fact, I already experienced map travel on my trip to Booty Bay. The fly-by-monster transport is a little different – you actually get to stay with your character as the beast carries you to your destination:
I like this for two reasons – one is that it is immersive. There is no sudden transition, no fading to black – you don’t magically teleport from one spot to another. You get on a beast and fly. To bad you can’t steer a little bit, but oh well. What can you do… The other reason is of course the sights – flying gives you a chance to see things from a high vintage point. Sometimes you see a cave or interesting piece of terrain you haven’t seen from the ground when you are up in the air and you make a mental note to go back and check it out at some point.
Speaking of mental notes, let me complain about mapping in RPG games in general. My little dream is to one day find an RPG game in which I could add custom annotation to my map. Let’s face it – in every single RPG you wander around some wilderness or monster infested swamp or wasteland. You find caves, enemy camps, loot and interesting NPC’s. And usually only half or even a quarter of these things gets marked on your auto map. Why can’t anyone create mapping system where I could click on some map spot and type in “come back for loot” or “cool quest for higher level people” or “really strong monsters” – you catch my drift. I want to scribble all over my map, just like a real adventurer would. But no game I have played so far has this feature. Who is with me on this? Haven’t you ever wished for something like that?
I’m not blaming WoW for doing this – after all no one is. But if any developpers working on an RPG game are reading this, think about it. It’s a cool feature. Players will love you for it! :)
I took another sightseeing trip – this time to Durstwallow Marshes. It’s yet another very interesting looking place:
I love how the neighboring areas have their own unique look, and color palette. It really does make exploration fun an rewarding. I really only saw 3 adjacent areas, and they already had very unique distinctive styles. But there are 2 continents and many small islands you can explore in this game. Not even counting the crazy stuff from the expansions. To be fair, Guild Wars also had a gradual climate and terrain change so this is not something unique to WoW. The difference here is that many of these areas are starting zones for some race so you see different kinds of players in each one of them.
Speaking of race – I see Blood Elves everywhere. There were bunch of them running around Thunderbluff, they were in the Barrens, I saw them in Ratchet and now they were passing me on the road to Durstwallow Marshes. What gives? Did Blizzard have a discount on the expansion set or something?
Deep in the marshes I found an Ogre village. I don’t know if this was a glitch or intended feature, but none of the inhabitants would say anything to me. Usually NPC’s sound off when you left-click them, but these guys did not. Bug?
I’m pretty sure this dude was their leader:
I also think he must be a quest giver or something. But he wouldn’t talk to me. I’m guessing it’s because my puny level 12 warrior shouldn’t even be there. How do I know? I met more invincible animals on the road. As Steve explained the little skull in the level box means that the mob out-levels you by a factor of 10 or more and that it will aggro on sight. I found it out the hard way when bunch of marsh lizards (aligators?) decided to gang rape me the instant I stepped out of the cemetery. I didn’t take that screenshot but it was pretty hilarious. I took 3 steps and there were 6 of them swarming around me. That was pretty much the end of that trip. I had to use the hearthstone to go back home because these damn monsters wouldn’t leave me alone.
Sad part about all of this is that WoW seems to have the same linear progression thing as GW. The mobs in neighboring territories gradually increase in difficulty, and some areas are off limits to low level players. You just can’t roam freely and travel from place to place like in for example Morrowind. Most quests seem to be local in scope and you work your way across the map very slowly. For example, no one will send you to the other end of the continent on a low level mission. Compare this to Morrowind which would make you run all over the map, and forced no progression structure on you. Quests would increase in difficulty as you ranked higher in a given faction but there was no restriction on which missions you were supposed to take. But I guess MMO has to be more structured to keep things orderly.
I wanted to explore some more but there seems to be no point in that now. Besides pretty visuals there is just not much to do in these far away areas, other than getting killed by high level monsters. I guess once you reach certain level the game becomes much more free form, but I probably won’t get there before my trial expires. It’s a little disheartening.
[tags]wow, world of warcraft, mmo, massive multiplayer online, games, gaming[/tags]