Monday, August 8, 2011

Halfway there!

I managed to get Talaesin to level 70 over the weekend. In my mind, that's halfway to level 85 - I've made it through the Old Wolrd and Outland content, which leaves two expansions (Wrath and Cataclysm) to wade through to level 85. Time-wise, I think the split is more like 60-40 or maybe even 70-30, but those early levels come fast, so we'll just say it's halfway and be done with it.

Spent a chunk of change on cold weather flying, which left Tal with about 4,600 gold... not quite enough for artisan riding, but very close. Given the overall usefulness of a 280% speed flying mount for leveling, I'm going to be plunking down the cash for this as soon as I can justify it (that is, as soon as I can ensure I'll have ~1k cash on hand after the purchase). He's currently revered with Orgrimmar, so that should mean having to get to 5500 gold or thereabouts.

I've actually slowed down a bit now that I've hit the Borean Tundra. Leveling through Outland was a "Meh" experience - I've been there, done that, many times over, and there really wasn't anything new for me to see. Getting into the Wrath zones, though, I'm starting to see different story lines. Oh, there's still some overlap - the Tuskarr quests, for example - but there's more than enough that's different as a Horde player that I want to get a feel for the story line.

And I'm enjoying the story line.

The atmosphere and events around Warsong Hold are excellent. The overall feeling is one of having stepped into the midst of a gothic horror story. The Scourge are literally on the doorstep, and they're not just interested in killing the defenders, but converting them. There are fields of wriggling pupae that used to be Tauren and Orcs, strange mists off of the sea hiding the threat of the Kvaldir, and even the local farm animals have been poisoned or converted into scourge minions.

Overall, it's a pretty eerie setting. As a player, you get dumped into the midst of it all, and contribute to... well, not so much winning, but holding back the Scourge. There's a feeling that everything you've accomplished isn't really a victory. You may have managed to stem the tide for now, but off in the distance, you can definitely see that there's a storm brewing.

I ended up the evening at Taunka'le, getting to know my Northrend cow-brethren. Again, while there's some overlap in the quest lines, there are instances where it's interesting to see the story and how it accounts for "Well, yeah, we're going to have the Alliance and the Horde do the same thing here... but the motivations are different."

I'll admit to a little bit of annoyance at this, though not for the reason you'd expect. Game-wise, I see the value in being able to re-use quests and other game assets. Lore-wise... well, you'd think that sooner or later, the Horde and Alliance leaders would realize that there's actually quite a few points of agreement between the two factions. Something like, "Nine out of ten Horde and Alliance heroes agree: undead elemental death cultists are bad for children and other living things." Start a public awareness campaign, or something. Maybe get Abesik Kampfire to do a PR tour. He'd probably go for it; I hear he's campaigning for War Chief anyways. Given what I've seen of Garrosh, he's got my vote already.

Then again, that "we're not so different, really" realization just doesn't seem to happen in Real Life (TM), either. So, hey - kudos to Blizzard for managing to make a world full of wizards, dragons and heroes that's still as messed up as we are. I guess.

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