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Further Adventures in the Emerald Dream October 10, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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Because I am sure you are all dying to know how it is going.  I haven’t mentioned the Emerald Dream server since Monday and it is… what… Wednesday already?

So how am I doing there?

I am level 8 now.

I’ve been to Stormwind on official business.

Still intact, thank you very much

I got my Oil of Olaf.

I also have my bag of marbles.

Those two items are forever linked in my brain.

And I am currently wielding a 3 DPS kobold mining shovel.

Meet my shovel

It is the best weapon I have picked up so far.  It also has to be the best looking, at least it you take comedic value into account.  And that is saying something relative to the comically over sized fairground mallet a paladin gets as his standard issue weapon.  I want to find a shovel for real WoW to use with transmorgification.

So, yeah, I am running around Elwyn Forest beating kobolds and murlocs with a shovel.

Go me!

However, this is also taking some time.  I have clearly forgotten exactly how steep the original exp tables were.  I suddenly recalled that I used to run both the human AND dwarf starter areas back in the old days because the quest levels used to advance much more quickly that you did, so you had to get a bit ahead of the trend if you didn’t want to just take some time out and grind mobs for a while.

And then there is the abject misery of running out of blue bar.  I had forgotten that one.  No message used to be as sad as, “you feel normal.”

I am beginning to seriously consider that this might not be something I want to go off and do by myself.  At least not all the way to level 60, which appears to be a long way away.

Darraxus is, at this point, free to feel smug and perhaps offer a minor “I told you so.”

At least that is my thought on making the climb to 60 solo.

As a group though, I think process would be both more interesting and more viable.  And we would be able to see some key bits of the past, like the Deadmines.

Grouping up for an MMO? I know, crazy talk!

The potential of the server has to be brought to the instance group council as a possible future option, especially since the word from Brother Potshot is that Guild Wars 2 might not be the stuff for us.

Back in the game, I have started running into a few bugs.  Nothing major.  The quest tracker misbehaves now and again.  And I have seen a couple of EverQuest-like pathing issues, with NPCs walking OVER tall objects like trees.  That gives an oddly mixed sense of nostalgia.

And, of course, nostalgia is the factor that keeps us going on such thing.  How can you say no to this sort of dialog?

Oh, I take candle alrighty!

One of the most memorable lines from the starting areas around Stormwind.

But I began to have doubts as to whether I was actually into areas that were legitimately nostalgic of their own accord.  While a lot of zones got complete make-overs that changed them completely… Redridge and Westfall come to mind… and the Deadmines, always that… I seemed to recall that Elwyn Forest wasn’t changed as dramatically.

There might still be kobolds shouting, “You no take candle!” in WoW.  Is nostalgia for something that still exists really nostalgia?

Deep questions for a clearly disturbed mind might be your first thought.

Anyway, with a few days left on my real WoW account before I reach the small window of time where I am allowed to cancel it without being charged again, I decided to go check on the state of Elwyn Forest in the age of pandas.

More things had changed that I remembered.  The original mine where you slay your first kobold?

Go on, say the line guys!

Well, that has been closed.

I hear it is now a Super Fund site as well

And the vineyard across the river, previously overrun with closely packed Defias?  Well, it is now a flaming wreck and overrun by well spaced Blackrock orcs.

But other things still remain.  Fargodeep mine is still there.  And the game even has a map for it.

Fargodeep Mine – Upper Section

A two level map!  Because… screw getting lost in that mine I guess.

I would have taken a larger screen shot, but when I expanded the map UI to be full screen, it redrew with the window 75% off of the upper left side of my monitor, removing, among other things, the ability to scale the window back down, from my ability to access.  So bugs are all over I suppose.

However, after spending 15 minutes running around Fargodeep and Jasperlode mines, I completely failed to get any kobolds to say, “You no take candle!”  I would round up a bunch of them, let them beat on me for a while, kill them off one by one, and they stubbornly refused to say the line like Robin Williams responding to a request to “Do that Mork thing.”

In fact, they seemed disinclined to say anything at all.  Was speech removed from kobolds in Cataclysm or Pandaria?  Or do kobolds simply not speak to high level characters?

So maybe that line is truly in the realm of nostalgia now.

Anyway, I am still hanging around with NPCs from a bygone age.

Hey, remember that time…

Anyway, time will tell when it comes to the Emerald Dream server.

Comments»

1. Tesh - October 10, 2012

I still think Blizzard should offer an official retro server like this, so it doesn’t have to operate in the private server arena.

2. SynCaine - October 10, 2012

Keep these going, I’m enjoying them.

It’s funny that you call the original leveling speed in WoW slow, because at the time it was called incredibly fast compared to DAoC or EQ1. Funny how perception of certain things change over time, while others remain (EVE SP gain is the same today as it was back then).

3. Kevin Brill (@kevinbrill) - October 10, 2012

I jumped on last night and recreated my old troll priest. Holy leveling FTW! It was definitely nostalgic and is pretty interesting just how same-but-different the stock UI looks. I immediately began trying to figure out how I would heal instances without mouseover macros, overhealing addons, and fancy unit frames. But…those addons are in source control somewhere right? I would think I could checkout a commit from 2005 and get a 1.12 version of the addon…?

Also, just an FYI from Monday’s post, you can hold down SHIFT key when clicking on a mob to auto-loot.

4. Wilhelm Arcturus - October 10, 2012

@Kevin Brill – Excellent! Thanks!

@SynCaine – Heh, yeah, writing about “slow” experience in reference to WoW feels like Bizzaro world. Back in the day, spending more than three hours of gameplay time to get to level 8 would have seemed quite fast relative to EQ.

These days though, I think at three hours of game play in WoW you have already out leveled the Deadmines.

I also had my first deaths as well. I got the quest to go to the Jasperlode mine, which was flagged orange. I got multiple mobs on me. Huge aggro radius plus a lack of ranged attack.

Those deaths are what sparked the memory of taking the tram to Ironforge and doing some of the dwarf/gnome quests as well. I will have to do that again.

Anyway, we will see if the group decides to move that way and if it gets hooked. There are all sorts of questions around the private server idea. Is it just a trojan horse for malware? Will it play well enough? If not, will things ever get fixed? Will it stick around long enough to be worthwhile? Can we get in trouble for playing on it? And is it really ethical to play on such a server?

Personally, I feel I need to stick with it until I at least find some oats for Old Blanchy.

5. Garon - October 10, 2012

Reading your first post on Emerald Dream spurred me to fire it up myself. I had tried their previous private servers with quick leveling and gear rewards, but was turned off by the extreme economy. ED hits the sweet spot though, and I’m sporting a level 11 Druid and loving it. Though, like you said, having a group would make a world of difference. I’ll have to ramp up the pressure on my friends to come play again.

I understand most people’s reasons to never want to return to vanilla, the “why’s” of their arguments make perfect sense, the game is dated when compared to present day in a number of ways. And yet, most those problems are the exact reasons why I’m drawn to Vanilla/Old content, and would certainly pay for an official server. They all contribute to a sense of “world” that is all but lost in today’s WoW. Today’s casual-focused MMO’s are games (which is totally fine). Vanilla WoW was a place.

6. Matt - October 10, 2012

The time commitment is the thing. I wouldn’t mind experiencing classic WoW again, just for fun, but I doubt I’m going to spend 20 hours leveling a character to 60. I’d probably have the most fun playing the old Barrens, Stonetalon, Desolace (yeah), and plaguelands. I remember when the plaguelands were a bit scary in a ‘it’s getting real’ sense to my newbie self.

7. Darraxus - October 10, 2012

For me, Nostalgia is good, but not when so much of it was painful. I loved Vanilla WoW for the first 20 or so levels. It was a new world and I was making new friends!

Then it become a slog. A very difficult one at that. I didnt really recapture that awesome feeling until I joined a new guild, made several friends, and started the Scholo and Strat runs.

On the bright side, at least Paladins can self heal. Warriors were pure hell to level.

8. NoAstronomer - October 10, 2012

Since my WoW career started halfway through the Burning Crusade I actually might have to try this on for size just to try out the ‘classic’ version.

Hmm … what character to create? An old one such as my tauren shaman raider or the first character I ever made (an orc warrior who I never fully leveled)? Doing the Barrens run again sounds fun.

Mike

9. Gripper - October 10, 2012

I have thought quite a bit on this since you had written about ED in your previous post, and am torn. In a couple of ways, the ethical one first as I am not sure that these private servers are safe and or legal. But you have to make that your choice, but also I am torn as I remember my days in vanilla and remember I spent an awful lot of time grinding my druid until I was able to heal strat and then thats all I did to level up. People needed healers and I think you could get in at level 52? Of course my friend who started at the same time was a warrior and was slogging it out trying to hit 60. So I am torn as to what to think on these servers.

Not sure if Blizz should open up a classic or not – I think in my current frame of mind, I am happy with where Wow is at, and having a good easy casual time leveling up right now. Not sure if spending so much time on a classic server, would bring me any joy or “good” feeling. :-)

10. bhagpuss - October 10, 2012

You know that if you keep writing about this server you’re going to get it closed down, right? I mean, devs read this blog from all over – you even see them posting here off and on (Hi Scott – looking forward to the expansion!).

More to the point, the more you write about it the more I want to try it and I do not have time!

I spent almost two weeks getting a Dwarf Cleric to level 8 in Everquest back in 1999, Three days is fast-forward! Come to that, how long did it take to get to Level 8 on Fippy?

11. Wilhelm Arcturus - October 10, 2012

@Bhagpuss – On Fippy Darkpaw I got levels 8 and 9 on the same day in a group in West Karana, roughly 7 days after the server went live. That was with my first character. But I also played a lot more on that server because Potshot and I were both playing and you could actually get into groups in the various WK camps.

So, yes, slow is a very relative term.

As for Blizzard people, yes a couple actually visit this blog now and again and have dropped me a note on occasion about various topics. And that is part of my discomfiture with the ED server. I work in software as well and would not be at all happy with somebody advocating a pirate version of the products on which I work.

On the flip side, I have worked on a number of products which are no longer supported and have helped individuals on occasion with information that allowed them to continue using said products in the absence of such support or license to use them.

So we have a product/service that I want but which Blizz does not offer. I am not throwing an existing Blizz product/service over to change to this one. I have been trying to cancel my WoW account for a while now. I want this one independent of what Blizz is offering. Am I okay, morally, playing it independent of my relationship with Blizz? If not, would I be okay playing it is I kept my WoW subscription up, thus paying Blizz to play WoW, but then playing on ED?

From my end, money is independent of the situation. I would happily pay Blizz to play on such a retro server, as I was happy to pay SOE to play on Fippy Darkpaw. I would happily just keep my WoW subscription up if Blizz said, “Sure, go play on ED so long as you stay subscribed.” But the situation is gray rather than black and white.

I was actually a bit surprised that nobody brought this up in the comments on Monday’s post.

12. Ardwulf - October 10, 2012

I dismiss nostalgia; I think it’s as simple as WoW being a better game in 2006 than it is now, all the little conveniences aside… or, perhaps, partly because of them.

13. Wilhelm Arcturus - October 10, 2012

@Ardwulf – You can certainly make a technical argument based on game mechanics and such that the game, as presented in 2006 represents a better game than what is available today.

But I am not trying to kid myself. (Not that you are.) My interest is solidly based on it seeming, in memory, to be a better time overall. There are a lot of associations that go with that which are entirely outside of the mechanics of the game.

My grandfather was of the opinion that Ford should have just stopped engine development once they reached the perfection of their flathead V-8. He had some technical reasons, which I could barely accept given the existence of the small block Chevy V-8 in my own time-space continuum. But I think much of his argument was hedged on an emotion sense that things simpler/better back in the day.

14. Actonicus - October 10, 2012

I have very fond memories of the original WoW. It was my first MMO and got me hooked on the genre. I never thought I would be paying a monthly fee to play a game but WoW changed that.

But a sense of nostalgia won’t make me play it again. Time and technology moves on and after playing modern MMO’s like GW2 it makes it hard to go back.

15. Ahtchu - October 11, 2012

somebody advocating a pirate version of the products on which I work

Hint: review the 1.12.1 ToS. You may find ‘pirate’ doesn’t belong in that sentence.

16. Wilhelm Arcturus - October 11, 2012

@Ahtchu – Well, they certainly mention a lot of things in the ToS. Creating, or modifying the software to connect to any form of server emulation is expressly prohibited. Of course, so is anything considered contrary to the “essence” of World of Warcraft.

Oh, and you cannot create derivative works without obtaining the express written consent of Blizzard in advance. So I’m sure they’ll be all over YouTube as well.

Anyway, they reserve the right to permanently remove my access to WoW should I violate any item in the terms of service.

Oh, and I cannot export the software to Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, etc. Yet Blizz recently announced they were revoking support for Iranian users. So this is clearly out of date on that front!

17. NetherLands - October 12, 2012

The Kobold Mining Shovel being the best weapon brings back memories of how every time my ‘home” server was designated as ‘New Players’ Realm the AH would see an insurge of Mining Shovels and Gnoll (Bashers? cant remember the name) right till the horrid and completely unnecessary Shattering that in short devoured the ‘soul’ from Azeroth (for lack of a better concise word).

The Transmog shovels are afaik limited to a One-hander for Horde (Quest in Hillsbrad) and two grandfathered 2hander BoE’s, one a lvl 35 Blue Drop from the Rare Goblin that used to spawn in the world part of Uldaman, and a Green lvl 10 from the rare Kobold that still spawns in the first mine in Westfall but, like the White Kobold shovels from Elwynn, doesn’t seem to drop anymore since The Shattering.

One could argue that considering Blizzard likes to say how they wiped the pre-Shattering game from their files (which I personally doubt, else you e.g. wouldn’t be able to Complete any Obsolete Quests anymore, yet my friends and I have done so several times) whenever people ask for Legacy servers, a purely 1-60 Server with said ‘removed’ content would bascially be offering only content the creators discarded and so don’t see as having any worth – and getting upset about other people using something without worth is a tad silly.

That being said, I have too many concerns regarding private servers to try out ED myself, though it is tempting as the one ‘concern’ people quote about Vanilla Legacy servers in general – ‘it will take forever to get to 60 to RAAAAAAID!’ – is of 0% concern to me as the attraction of MMORPG’s to me is the world and the journey, not being cooped up in some Instance to colect buttons or RNG gear from some scripted Boss a hundred times.


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