Cataclysm has finally passed us by. The long months of farming Dragon Soul are finally over, making way for the shiny new expansion. Mists of Pandaria doesn’t bother with revamping old zones or streamlining leveling, instead focusing (like a good expansion should) on the higher level/end-game stuff. We’re now just over a week in, and I thought I’d make a new blog post to comment on the state of things before we dive into raiding, give some recognition to awesome guild achievements, and generally update this dusty blog.
So, aptly, we’ll start with day one achievements. Let me start by saying that a group of us would have reached Realm First 90 at the same time, if it weren’t for Blizzard managing to screw up Alterac Valley, allowing players to earn ridiculous amounts of experience per hour (even by losing battles). Once again, we found ourselves able to start levelling at around 02:00 server time, a good 45 minutes behind the front end of the curve. Still, our merry band of intrepid realm-first-seekers pushed on, getting ahead of the curve as we entered the 2nd leveling zone (the Nagrand-esque Valley of the Four Winds).
However, it was Zohryn (now Zogh, resto/DPS druid) who snagged our very first guild achievement, bagging Realm First! Zen Master Skinner in almost no time at all!
With a metric fuckton of preparation and two miners/peons collecting materials for him, Neimi took a short break from leveling to earn Realm First! Zen Master Engineer!
90 seconds after priest Ebrill hit Realm First! Level 90 in GGBlizzard Valley, Stoke snagged Realm First! Level 90 Death Knight, now having 3 expansions worth of class Realm Firsts.
Minutes after that, I myself hit Level 90, getting Realm First! Level 90 Rogue.
Neimi followed shortly with Realm First! Level 90 Paladin, having out-leveled the Alliance competition in the last stretch.
Others came close, with Onida losing out on realm first shaman to another Alterac Valley farmer – consolations to him! Yukela’s attempt to be the first monk at 90 was also thwarted by some buggy level granting from the RAF account, and his competition having some pretty dedicated boosters. Annoying to say the least. Iltharen/Julia’s fishing attempt was close, but no cigar – someone else was lucky enough to grab that achievement. Anyway, on to other things.
It’s apparent that Mists of Pandaria is a completely different beast to Cataclysm. Along with the new lighting engine which makes everything look nicer, the aesthetics of the zones and the attention to detail mean that Pandaria’s locales are the best WoW has ever seen. The levelling is also certainly more challenging – by the time you hit the Dread Wastes, you’ll probably want to team up with a buddy if you’re not a particularly strong self-healer. The zones feel more alive than ever before, and with a huge amount of rare monsters/items to find, exploration has never been better rewarded (there’s even a faction that gives you a mount for exploring special lore items).
While not everyone agrees with the INSANE amount of dailies that one can do, the content is certainly more engaging than Cataclysm’s incredibly linear, often shallow dailies and quest lines. While I find the majority of the dailies more entertaining than Cataclysm’s, a large number of professions rely on these reputations to earn any money. While it lends gravitas to an individual’s achievements in their crafting, it’s a questionable design philosophy. If Blizzard intends alts to farm the same dailies for months on end, I can see people being discouraged from fully experiencing content on different classes. Time will tell.
Until that time, we now have heroic dungeons, scenarios and the incredibly daunting challenge modes to keep us busy outside of raids. The heroics vary in quality – if you ask me, some of the bosses are a bit lacklustre, and Shado-Pan Monastery needs to be cut in half to make two instances. Still, the overall quality of design is far superior to Cataclysm’s mostly uninspired dungeons. Again, the design and attention to detail is better than ever. No question.
The scenarios are somewhere between heroics and group quests, and are relatively fun for what they are. If Blizzard keep adding them, they’ll be a nice filler – although well-geared players will munch through them incredibly quickly. They’re harmless bites of gameplay for when you have absolutely nothing else to do, but still want to play WoW.
Then there’s Challenge modes. Oh, boy, Challenge modes. Imagine BC heroics amped up a few notches and then some. Then add a timer to it, so to get the highest achievement for it, you need to pull fast, CC efficiently and put out a HELL of a lot of DPS. We worked on what’s said to be the easiest one for the last few days, finally getting Gold after what must be 40-50 tries at least. They are utterly bonkers, and the last few seconds of the instance today were incredibly tense. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gold awards for challenge modes turn out to be the hardest content Blizzard have ever released.
When you’re done with crafting, dailies, heroics, Challenge modes, scenarios, and there’s no raid on… PET BATTLES. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d get into these, however Blizzard haven’t half-arsedly inserted Pokemon into their engine. There’s a proper questline spanning across all the continents, an insane amount of achievements and rare pets to obtain, and the actual system itself is as addictive as the game it so shamelessly knocks off. I smell a lawsuit, Blizzard.
THC is about to step into our first raid, so we’ll see what that content is like. After all, for most people in The Hungering Cold, raids are the most important part. But I take solace in the fact that there is no way, just NO WAY that it can get any worse than Dragon Soul, can it? Here’s hoping.
Introduction by Meryam:
The Cataclysmic craziness has begun…
And the world will never be the same. Deathwing’s burning rage has settled upon Azeroth, replacing Arthas’ bitter cold wrath.
As Azeroth trembles and transforms, the heroes of The Hungering Cold are seen preparing. They gather resources, polish their gear and sharpen their weapons, to ready themselves against a challenge they have never faced before.
Champions, the road ahead of us will be difficult. The path will be long and arduous, and our journey has only just started.
But we will march together, like we always have. We will face everything, and anything, that gets thrown our way. We will shatter any wall, any creature. Immortal or human, it matters not.
We will not give up, that is not for us, not in our world, for the harder it gets, the more determined we will be, the more hopeless it will feel, the more dedicated we will become, and if we get lost, we will find our way. That is the spirit of The Hungering Cold.
In the end, we will stand tall and proud. We will stand victorious, together.
Deathwing, all your glory are belong to us!
At the beginning of the last expansion, THC was a small guild with big goals, and we definitely met those goals (and then some). Now, we’ve started Cataclysm with a full roster of keen, like-minded players who enjoy raiding together and overcoming all challenges presented to us. I think most of us have been playing insane amounts over the last week or two, but I’ll take a breather to recap the start of the new progression and the impression I get.
After nearly an hour waiting to get onto the server, a lot of us were keen to level as fast as humanly possible, going for those Realm First achievements. Many of those who really went for this had tried beta, so we’d already seen the amazing quest content that Blizzard had prepared for us. The new zones and their mostly linear progression seem to divide people’s opinions – while some enjoy the storyline-based content, others feel the exploration and the freedom in questing has been lost. What we can all agree on, however, is that Gnomebliteration is awesome.
So, our team of mad levellers tried their hardest to go for Realm Firsts, however unfortunately a few of us were thwarted by a handful of Alliance who had managed to get onto the server 30-40 minutes before us. In a timeframe of 14 hours, that really counted, so we lost Realm First Hunter, Paladin and Warrior by a few painful minutes. However THC managed to snag a few of those unique Feats of Strength, Stoke reclaiming his Realm First Death Knight achievement, with myself nabbing first Rogue a few minutes later. On the profession front, our moving paladin Lythena managed to become the first Enchanter on the realm to reach the 525 cap, with help from guildies that were willing to send him greens. Awesome work guys, and bad luck to those who missed out by a tiny margin.
Not all of us were ‘that’ bothered with being so fast, most wanting to enjoy the content at a leisurely pace, but as a whole we were ready for heroics and raiding in stupendous time. Heroics were going on by the evening of the 7th, and a good 3 heroic groups were going the night after. One thing that can be said about early Cataclysm progression is that it is definitely more involved and challenging. The difficulty curve already seems far steeper than Wrath’s heroics, especially for healers. But that didn’t stop us, and by Friday, we’d assembled enough level 85s to go 2-shot Brutall- I MEAN Argaloth in Baradin Hold. We followed this up with a great raid on Sunday, taking down 3 bosses in Blackwing Descent, only to disenchant 2 of our first 15 loots. Typical!
So we’re already on track to steady raiding again, and I hope we can ultimately have as good a time in Cataclysm as we did through Wrath of the Lich King.
You guys rock!
So I thought I’d write a song, and I came up with most of this in the shower. I present to you a song to the tune of ‘Still Alive’ from Portal. Original song is at the bottom for reference!
(The Lich King is) Still Alive
- a spoof song by Jinjiro
This was a wipe night,
I’m making a note here, SLIGHT PROGRESS,
It’s hard to say I’m feeling satisfaction.
We do what we must, because we can.
For the good of all of us,
Except the ones who are dead!
But there’s no sense crying over every mistake,
You just keep on wiping till you run out of… fish?
And the raiding gets done,
And you move to Yogg-Saron,
While the Lich King, he is still alive!
I’m not even angry,
I’m being so sincere right now.
Even though you stood in traps, and killed me,
And blew me to pieces,
It threw me outside the frozen spire.
And as I fell, it hurt because, I knew that you were dead too.
Now the val’kyrs fly out in a beautiful line,
But you’re out of melee, you can’t kill them in time,
So it’s bad you got dropped,
Now the Lich King can’t be stopped,
By the people who are still alive!
Go ahead and leave me,
I think I prefer to stay outside,
Maybe you’ll find someone else to stun them,
Maybe a feral!
That was a joke, HA HA, fat chance!
This is why we rogues are great,
We’re so damn good at these stuns,
Look at me still talking when there’s raiding to do,
Now your disc priest’s grabbed, so I’m glad I’m not you,
Off the platform you must run,
With your rocket boots for fun,
That’s assuming you are still alive!
And the Lich King, he is still alive!
He’s laughing at us and he’s still alive!
He feels fantastic and he’s still alive!
And when we’re wiping he’ll be still alive,
And when we’ve wiped he will be still alive!
Still alive… Still alive!
The path to the Frozen Throne was arduous indeed, and yet now that we can scale the icy summit in less than 3 hours, we face the greatest challenge of all. The battle against the Lich King is a hard one, certainly the toughest challenge since the days of 40-man raiding and the insanity that was C’thun. The fight mechanics create a setting in which one individual mistake can set off a chain reaction that ends almost inevitably in a wipe, since this is a battle where the classic RPG trinity of tank, healer and damage-dealer needs near perfect co-ordination. The Lich King heroic encounter pushes everyone into individual tasks that are, in their own way, vital to the success of the raid. Brilliant in design, brutal in execution.
So slowly but surely we have pushed on, perservering through wipe after wipe, steadily improving and realising that victory is within our sights. It felt good to get to Phase 3, didn’t it? I certainly felt a sense of approaching a finishing line as we battled that second round of Raging Spirits. It justified all those other wipes, the discouraging nights where no progress seemed to be made. Suddenly we were ‘here’, looking at the last hurdle with grim determination and a spring in our step.
Old enemies are seeming to pose no problem recently, one benefit of doing battle with the cold-hearted monarch of the damned and his minions. Yogg-Saron keeps rearing his ugly toad-face, and we keep stamping on it, providing several of the luckier members of the guild with shiny new flying mounts, tokens of their increasing prowess. Yet our greatest enemy remains alive, and in the coming weeks we must find the will and the determination to keep thrashing at Arthas, hounding him until we taste the victory that we will have earned.
So the last time we spoke you were battling ghouls,
In a darkened dungeon, next to plagued pools,
And now after the lich, bit the dust like a bitch,
You’re fighting an Old God, you fools.
Part 1 – Dancing Amongst Clouds and… Squid Things.
Who the hell is Sara, and what’s she doing here?
You were certain after all the trials, an Old God would appear,
You beat some giant robots, and some Iron Dwarven twats,
A giant angry dragon, and a lady with some cats.
You’d think for all your work, this god would show his face,
But it seems this cunning Yogg-Saron is gone without a trace.
Yet something ominous seems near,
The hint of darkness lingers here,
What it is, it isn’t clear,
But something fills your group with fear.
You tiptoe slowly forward, unsure and apprehensive,
Everyone alert, your stances all defensive,
Entering the room, Sara hovers in the air,
Quiet, still and smiling as you come into the lair.
Then you hear a deafening thud, the door behind you slamming shut,
Sara gives an evil glare, the tricky little slut!
Part 2 – The Thieves
Feya looked out over Ratchet, as she stepped off the boat, which had just finished its voyage from Booty Bay. The coastal town, a haven for seafarers located in the savannah known as The Barrens, looked busy. Everywhere in the town, merchants peddled their goods from wooden stalls, the sounds of hammering and tinkering audible over the noise of the crowd, who moved from building to dusty building, going about their daily work. This was a town built on trade, and transport. Cargo was being hauled off the boat, replaced almost instantly by more goods, destined for the Eastern Kingdoms and the jungles of Stranglethorn, where they would be carried via caravan northwards towards Stormwind, the city of humans.
Her nose crinkled slightly in her contempt for the humans. Such a temperamental race, she thought, brushing stray strands of black hair back behind her long, slender ears. These protracted ears and her dark blue skin marked her as a night-elf, however, in such a place as this, race was never an issue, although a few short hours up the road in Orgrimmar, she would be attacked on sight simply for being born to her race.
She sighed at the futility of the world, and continued onwards, departing the dock area. She scanned the town, and saw a large two-storey building, with tables and chairs outside it, various people sipping drinks, playing games of chance and eating. The inn would be her place of rest for a few nights, for however long it took to complete the assignment and be off again. As she neared the inn, a familiar voice piped up behind her.
((This is the first half of my recent entry into Blizzard’s Creative Writing contest. I put only the first part up for now because of the length. Bear in mind I had to rush this a bit, as I only found out about the contest about 3 days before it ended, so some descriptions are a bit underdone, etc etc. More to come soon though, perhaps!))
There are people who believe that whenever we begin a significant journey in our lives, the outcome of that journey is predetermined before you even embark upon it. Some choose to call it fate, or destiny, while to others such results may appear as only a series of coincidences, a myriad of intertwining choices and possibilities, all affecting certain lives in certain ways. Most wise men know that even the gods and goddesses of this realm have little or no control over this chaos, although many of the deities try their hand at changing certain pathways, attempting like so many before them to control, through subtle guidance of a mortal being.
The god-touched, while often becoming prominent amongst their peers, very rarely know who they are, although a few figures stand out in our world’s history. The High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind is one obvious choice at least, whose relationship with the gods surpassed a mere worshipper during the First Great War. Dare I mention Thrall, or even Arthas? Their paths are surely what those people who believe such things would call ‘fate’.
Hey all, this is an RP story from back when Jinjiro was a human (my char on Scarshield Legion). I posted it in the forums but Anub thought it might be good to chuck it on the blog and graciously gave me an account to do so!
Wind whipped at the solitary rider, high above the sweltering canyons and mines of the Searing Gorge, as he tightly gripped the reins of the armoured war gryphon that bore him swiftly away from the scene of the crime. Smoke rose up from the great forges and lava-filled trenches of the huge ravine below him, creating grey tentacles that clutched at the night sky, streaks of darker black against the night sky.
…and smoke curled languidly up from the small bonfire, as the small child sat, poking the lazily glowing ashes with a thin branch, gazing up at the throng of men that moved about him, oblivious. Men who roasted pigs over much larger, roaring flames, and laughed gruffly, pouring greasy-looking liquid down their throats…
As the great winged beast soared higher on a warmer blanket of air, making the aerial ride slightly more comfortable, Jinjiro glanced down at his right hand, blood still staining his skin where it had gushed outwards from the surely fatal wound he had inflicted on the General.