We forge our spirits in the traditions of our ancestors! We are building a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude!
–A Fist Full of Yen
For the first time since June, the entire instance group was online together and in the same game.
Our summer vacation in Middle-earth was over.
The sundering had occurred, Cataclysm had shipped, and it was time for us to return to Azeroth.
The final composition of the new instance group, determined to work our way through the 1-60 part of WoW, was set. The cast-iron rules of group content were bowed to, leaving room for that second healer, which apparently is the secret to certain Cataclysm instances at the moment. (Not that we’ll roll this group that far, but having the druid in there allows for tactical flexibility.)
And so the new WoW instance group rolled up on Saturday night, consisting of:
- Xula – Gnome warrior (tank) (Formerly Ula)
- Earlthedog – Worgen warrior (dps) (Formerly Earlthecat)
- Maloney – Worgen mage (dps) (me, Formerly Vikund)
- Ethelred (the Unready) – Worgen druid (dps) [catdog!] (Formerly Skronk)
- Nancyboy – Worgen priest (healing) (Formerly Bungholio)
As you can see, Worgen was the flavor of the month for us.
Only Ula declined, finding the Worgen females not cute enough and the Worgen female dance not her style.
I am probably going to have to create a post I can refer to which will clarify who is playing which character under which name in any given game. Some of us, like Earl, stick with the same name or close variations when we change games. Others, like myself, tend to vary name choices.
While we were all planning to roll up and roll through together, except Ula, impatience and a change in start times ended up with each of the four Worgen starting off on their own through the Worgen starting experience.
Not that we needed to go through together. It is clearly a single player experience, though a bit more dangerous than I recall any Blizzard starting area. There were aggro mobs attacking when Maloney was level one, and he came close to dying at level one, which might very well have been a guild record.
Of course, being a cloth wearing mage, he did die a couple of times when he got in over his head.
You may have heard elsewhere, the starting area and its quests are very linear.
It is not.
It is more of a spiral experience really. You start in Gilneas, head out, then slowly work your way counter-clockwise around the town. During that time, which judging from the how far all of us advanced in our time circling Gilneas, you will likely go from level 1 to level 13. You will see phasing as the environment changes.
(You can see the scarecrow from the first picture out there in the water.)
You get to ride on various things including a glaive thrower, a giant bat ( bringing back the best thing from Burning Crusade; bomb runs), and a stage coach.
You even get to rappel down ropes at one point as part of a Worgen commando raid on the foresaken.
And if you are grouped with anybody, you run the risk of never seeing them if you don’t keep yourselves in sync.
But, as I said above, this is really a single player experience, as they are telling a story, and if you’re mucking about with your mates, you’re likely to miss something. You get the whole political background and infighting layout of the place, which is occupied by people with really, really bad cockney accents. No, really. You hear better at your average Ren Fair. If I were from the East End I’d be making up some unflattering rhyming slang about some people in Anaheim. If I were in Anaheim, I’d have found some better voice talent.
And all the men wear top hats. Even the ones that go Worgen… and they almost all go Worgen, if you know what I mean.
With my white robes and the top hat I looked a bit Clockwork Orange, don’t you think?
It was fun. It was interesting. It was effective in introducing any new player to the mechanics of the game. It told the story of Gilneas.
And then it dumped us in Darnassus and was done with us. I hope all that lore will come up again at some point, though I’m not sorry to leave the accents behind.
Ah well, we all wanted to do Westfall next anyway, and we were now free to travel where we would.
So we made our way to… um… Ironforge. I’m not sure why, except that Xula was there and we all got together for our first group picture. We will have to see how pictures work out going forward, since Worgen can appear in human form.
That is Earl on the left without a hat. In a moment of amnesia, he sold his hat to a vendor, completely forgetting that this is World of Warcraft and that he might not get another hat with any stats whatsoever until level 26 or so. Plus who sells off their top hat? Ula logged on and made us each four 16-slot bags, so it wasn’t like we were short on space.
Well, he’ll have to get by sans chapeau for a while.
And then there is the picture with most of us in werewolf form.
I’m just surprised that the same clothes fit us in both forms.
By the way, biggest Worgen disappointment so far: When you are in human for, you do the human dance, not the Worgen. Damn.
After some pictures in the snow, we made our way (back in the case of the Worgen) to Stormwind to get ourselves in position for Westfall. What will Westfall… and more importantly the Deadmines… be like without the Defias?
And poor Xula. What will it be like when we hit instances like Sunken Temple? The smell of wet dog will be overwhelming.
Ah well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.