Tag Archive for worgen

Sneakin’ Around: The Bling is the Thing

So, being a rogue who doesn’t kill things can be very hard.  Not only because people are constantly asking you to kill things, but even when they don’t want you to kill them they sometimes just want you to beat them up, just a little.  And let me tell you, fighting with a fishing pole is not easy.  Well, unless you get a big fishing pole.

It turns out that in Duskwood there might be a crazy worgen who needs my help, and after they promise me I won’t have to kill him, I agree to go beat him up a little and then shove a potion down his throat.  I mean, I don’t want to kill people, but I’m not against applying a little pressure, for the greater good, of course.  I head down to the farm where this guy is hanging out and he jumps me.  I take a few swipes with my rod and reel, the only weapon I have, and he’s just not having it.  I run off to save my own ass from a beat down.

I make my way back to Stormwind to unwind at the Pig and Whistle, and to do a little cooking and fishing to calm my nerves.  I gather my daily fish catch and go to see what they’ll give me for it and I’m shocked when I get handed this ugly, gaudy, horrendous looking fishing pole.  The thing looks like a goblin made it.  Covered in gems and sparkling like the sun, I can barely stand to look at it, but I can’t look away.  But I pick the thing up, trying not to show the disgust on my face, and I nearly drop it due to the weight.  I break out in a smile that practically outshines this gods forsaken rod.

Ugly Fishing Rod

Yes, those are wings. It has two of them.

I head back to Duskwood and down to the farm, the worgen jumps me again and I brain him with my new fishing pole.  His tongue hangs out the side of his mouth and he is probably seeing stars as I shove the potion down his gullet.  I collect my rewards, I do a few more deeds for the local, and as they increasingly keep asking me to kill things I bid farewell to that dark and musty forest.

Armed with my new (ugly) rod and a 300 fishing skill, I decide to go find Booty Bay and see how I can do in the fishing contest there.  After one attempt, I realize it’ll be a while (and a flying mount) before I can seriously compete for the grand prize, but I spend some time fishing and chatting with the people, and hoping to pull up one of those rare fish the robot is looking for.  I don’t, but there is always next week.  And the week after that.  And the week after… well, you get the idea.

Level 25 and angling…

I’m on a Boat

I'm on a boat.

Everybody look at me 'cause I'm sailing on a boat.

I always hated Thousand Needles because the race track was just so stupid.  Some people think Cataclysm has done a lot wrong with World of Warcraft, but look at me… I’m on a boat.

The last time I wrote about my worgen it was over here, January 14th and I’d just made my way out of the starter zone which left me at level 12 or 13, I forget.  Maybe it was 14.  Doesn’t matter.  What matters is that as of last weekend, just five weeks later, I’m level 47.  Sure, you say, “Five weeks?! Why aren’t you at, like, 70?” but keep in mind, this is 47 without really trying.  I’ve spent much more time on my rogue who doesn’t kill, and so really this is level 47 in a total of 72 hours played.  And at least half of that is standing around chatting with people, role playing and browsing the auction house.  I’ve made it to level 47, heard the DING! of a level gained 46 times and I feel absolutely no sense of accomplishment whatsoever.  Every time the rogue makes a level I feel like I’ve conquered something, like I’ve crested another hill.  With the worgen, it’s more like, “Shit… I leveled again?  Didn’t I just level like twenty minutes ago?  Well, fuck, all my quests are green, and where did all the exclamation points go?  Did I outlevel another quest hub before I finished it?”  I feel like I’m missing the game, like I’m being pushed toward some end game, hurried along so that I don’t have a chance to get bored or to notice whether or not I’m actually enjoying playing.

In a few levels I won’t have anything left worthwhile in Thousand Needles.  The kills will be trivial, and the quests will be all gone, and the only real herb here is Stranglekelp, which gains me no skill and people aren’t even paying much for these days, but I suspect that I’ll return here because it’s the only place my River Boat works.  And ultimately this is where my biggest conflict with WoW comes in… there are some really cool and awesome places in this world, and you don’t get to stay there.  Why can’t I spend my days on the river fighting pirates and monsters?  I mean, I suppose I could, but the game doesn’t support it.  There are daily quests for fishing and cooking and other things, but why doesn’t each quest hub have a couple of dailies to making hanging around even mildly interesting and rewarding?

Not to go off on a tangent, but face it – this entire post is a tangent (a nice Friday sojourn off into rant land), but with the advent of the daily quest, why isn’t this mechanic used everywhere?  We all know that killing monsters is a pointless pursuit in WoW, they’ve hamstrung the exp on them so much, and quests are where the action is, and daily quest exp scales with level, so why not have a handful of quests in every hub where you can get one or two a day and continue to level doing whatever the hell you want?

No.  Instead, I have to make yet another zone useless and leave it to probably never return.  The empty husk of a world that necessitated The Cataclysm in the first place.

Oh well, at least for now… I’m on a boat.

A Tale of Two Cataclysms

The wife and I finally decided to return to Azeroth.  Seeing as how I’d heard such wonderful things about the new starting areas of each of the new races, we rolled up both goblin and worgen pairs and set about experiencing the new world…

Are you from Jersey?

Whadda you lookin' at?

Whadda you lookin' at?

The latest affront, at least to me, is the new goblin race.  Back in the original game and into the Burning Crusade (after which I stopped playing), goblins were portrayed as sort of the used car salesmen of Azeroth.  If they were set in the Star Trek universe they’d be the Ferengi.  With the new starter zone, it appears the goblins originate from the shore — The Jersey Shore.  Perhaps I missed it in the various updates since I left, but at some point the goblins of Azeroth have turned into guidos.  And while the actual meat of the story of the volcano on their home island and the escape isn’t bad, the whole thing is laden with bling and silliness to the point of distraction.

To top it off, they committed, what is to me, the ultimate sin in MMOs and that is imposing story on my character.  One of the strongest elements of an MMO is how I pick a race and a class and I get the bare bones of a back story to tell me something of the home town I’ve chosen and how someone of my class becomes a member of my class and from there I can do anything I want with it.  But in Kezan, Blizzard tells me who my friends are and my girlfriend (if you are male you get a girlfriend, if you are female you get a boyfriend, so basically they also give the finger to anyone of anything other than heterosexual leanings) and numerous other details.  Sure, I can choose to ignore it and pretend it never happened, but I suspect that there will be times in the game where I do quests that will call back to my time in the starter zones.

As an added bonus, don’t bother trying to actually play with any other people during your life in Kezan or the escape.  Being grouped with even just one other person makes the whole thing play bizarrely as you take turns phasing in and out on each other, interacting with NPCs the other can’t see, driving around in your individual cars because you can’t ride together… it really is designed to be a single player experience.  The only way to enjoy it is to not fight it and accept the fact that Blizzard is telling you, “Welcome to our MMO! We have millions of people playing! Now… please play by yourself for the next few hours.”

A Cat in a Hat, sure… A Dog in a Hat?

Shropshire Slasher.

Shropshire Slasher.

After both of us being thoroughly annoyed at the lame comedy of the goblins and the incredibly poor multiplayer experience (yeah, we did the whole goblin bit as a duo, which was just stupid) we decided to make some werewolves next, and to go it alone.

The worgen area is not without its puns, but thankfully they are back to the more subtle variety and aren’t beating you with a club screaming “I’m funny! I’m funny! Laugh, dammit! Laugh!!”  It takes a far more serious and somber tone.  It’s a more gripping story, and proof that when Blizzard tries they can write really good stuff… it’s just a shame they don’t try very often and the result of a good solid story like this is that it will stand in stark contrast to the bulk of the game.

Playing alone clearly is how this was designed and it worked very well, even though we were playing the same thing simultaneously the simple act of not being grouped solved all the technical weirdness we experienced on our goblins.  It isn’t without it’s problems, though.  One of the two hiccups we experienced was when the game allowed the wife to phase into the same phase I was in during the town attack, after the attack had started.  She missed most of the action, running through mostly empty streets with no indication of where to go except by me saying things like “I think we turned left there”, only catching up to us as we fought Sylvanas.  The other hiccup was shortly after when a dozen people started the next quest where we were supposed to follow a worgen to the cathedral, but a number of us couldn’t see him and had to abandon and restart the quest to fix it.

The worgen vehicle missions were also a lot easier to do, especially since they didn’t involve you driving cars on elevated roads using horribly jerky controls.  Overall, it just flowed more smoothly, and most importantly to me they didn’t impose anything on my character that didn’t derive directly from the story.  When I transitioned from starter area to the night elf city, I did so with a nice solid history of how my race came to be where it is with no baggage at all, free to continue my character’s story any way I like. I suppose it also helps that the setting is much more appealing to my sensibilities.  There is a very Jekyll & Hyde, old London feel to the story that suits the whole werewolf bit like a glove.  I rather think I would enjoy playing an entire game in that setting.  But I digress.

Is this the end?

Now, having played through both of the new race starter single player campaigns, I’m fairly certain that I’ll never do it again.  The advantage to this design is that it is a newbie area that doesn’t diminish as it ages.  Old design starter areas eventually suffered when players couldn’t complete certain quests due to a lack of people to fight elite mobs.  The disadvantage here is going to be sameness.

Personally, when I play single player games, I play them once.  Then, if there are achievements or something to unlock, I might play through a second time, or replace certain segments.  After that, I’m done, and the game collects dust.  When I play MMOs and create new characters, I always delighted in fighting quests I hadn’t done before.  WoW actually helped with that for a while when they sped up leveling but still had eleventy billion little quests, thus causing you to outlevel an area and be forced to abandon quests to take up new, level appropriate ones.  But now, if I were to make another goblin or worgen, I’m faced with the knowledge that the first few hours of the game will be identical to my previous experience.  There is only one story for each race, and you have to play it.  There are no divergent paths, no quests you didn’t see last time, no event you didn’t experience.  People keep telling me that by making a new player area that doesn’t need other people the game is more “alt friendly”, however from someone who usually makes dozens of alts this new design actually makes me never want to create alts.  I mean, what’s the point?  It’s going to be exactly the same.

On the other hand, by creating a single player experience, I suppose Blizzard has made it so that I can memorize the fastest possible path through the starter zones to get to the real game.  Or perhaps in a future patch they’ll just allow me to skip it and create a level 12 character from the start.

Unfortunately, with the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s reported focus on story, I suspect this sort of shared single player experience is on the upswing.  I’d much have preferred for Warhammer Online to have done better and set the new standard, where people were grouping (open groups) and PvPing fresh out of character creation.  Perhaps Rift and its polish level can turn the tide a little toward open socialization and away from solo play.