Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"It burns! It burns!!!" or "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Burning Crusade"

Yesterday, The Burning Crusade (TBC), an expansion pack for World of Warcraft (WoW), was released. As it happened, I left work early to meet up with a repairman at home (for our garbage disposal) so I had time to install and play TBC.

Unlike many others, I had no problems with the install. No CD issues. No patching issues (I had a 159 MB patch already downloaded so all I needed to do was download the 2.5 MB one that followed... which took about 10-15 min. with the Blizzard Downloader.) Also, since I was doing all this in early afternoon, I was even able to sign on and poke around the new zones. (*GASP!*) I include this last bit because later on, my server was down for a long time (at least from 8-9 PM).

TBC comes with two new races (one each for Horde and Alliance), new crafting recipes and new zones (6-7) and dungeons (all oriented for levels 60-70, though). This means that the new content, at first, is primarily going to be about leveling. Figuring things would be overcrowded on the first day/night (if not for the first month+), I decided to ride around the new zones exploring and getting flight paths. I rode around/through 4 of the new zones.

The first thing I noticed was that the new zones are gorgeous. It's clear that Blizzard had a lot of fun with them. They look very different and just generally cool. One is rocky (reminiscent of The Blasted Lands), one is laden with weird plant growths and critters, one is grassy with huge gorges and ravines and the fourth is very dark and chaotic. There are 2-3 other zones I didn't hit, primarily because they would be near-instant death for me at this level (60). Even so, one of the ones I did hit had some level 67-68 monsters kill me once.

One interesting observation is that I need tons more gold. It cost 10g each to raise my cap for two professions (Tailoring and Enchanting). I didn't even bother buying recipes as I couldn't rightly afford them. I did get the First Aid books but that cost another 5-8g. I'm really strapped for coin and I need a lot of it. Chances are I'll make some good coin once I start leveling, grinding, questing and finding things.

My initial impression is that the expansion looks like fun. There's a lot to explore, do, see and learn. For me, since I have two level 60's and a burgeoning 33 Warrior, I have some options. I can level one or both 60's to 70, work on their tradeskills, go for instances, work on my Warrior or take on new tradeskills with my Warrior. Considering I'm broke, I can probably only afford (right now) to work on leveling one of my 60's. Unfortunately, my Warlock is the only one with a fast mount and her gear is rather good (meaning it will be quite a few levels before she gets many upgrades). I'd probably rather work on my Paladin but he could really use a mount and that's not happening any time soon.

So I'll probably work on my Warlock if/when I can. Maybe work on my Warrior when the new zones are so crowded you can't throw a stone without hitting 10 other people. Really, the key is to be patient and relaxed. If it's too busy right now, back off and wait a bit. Of course, I don't want to wait so we'll have to see what happens. Initially I was thinking of ignoring the new zones for a month and working on my Warrior but now, I don't know. They look like fun!

ADDENDUM: At 9:30 PM last night, when it became apparent that I would not be getting on one of my preexisting characters on Argent Dawn, I opted to make a Blood Elf Paladin on the recommended RP server (Moon-something). Needless to say, the BElf youngling area was positively thriving with freshly-made BElves.

A few quick comments on that. One, just as NElfs (Night Elves) have a fun spin animation (head-over-heels) that randomly "procs" on a jump, BElfs have this funky whirlwind-spin animation that, similarly, randomly procs on a jump. Two, the Mana Tap racial ability gives Paladins (well, all BElfs, to be fair) a once-every-30-sec. ranged pulling option for enemies that have a mana bar. Three, I must be masochistic to make another Paladin.

Not that I actually intend to level up a BElf Pally to 60. Well, not yet at least. I am sorely tempted, however, because I haven't played the Horde side yet and BElfs, especially female ones, look very cool. I think a female BElf Pally could be fun, maybe one on a fresh, relatively low-population server. Maybe I am very masochistic. (3:13 PM)