November 21, 2017
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The Cetacean Dump

WoW Diary - Intermission

As some of you might have noticed, I have not been online much, and unfortunately it's not because I've been playing WoW 24/7, no matter how much I'd like it. Just as I started to develop two new characters, my female human paladin Melvina and my male gnome mage Knudd, I had to leave my apartment for summer, and the connection I had hoped to get here at my parents still isn't up, so I'm disconnected from WoW and IMG alike for the time being. The problem is likely to be solved soon though, so you should be able to see me online more soon.

By then I will continue my WoW diary at day 11 which the next one will be if I keep counting from my last connection.

I'll be back.

Posted on June 13, 2004 at 4:03 am
WoW Diary - Day 8

I'm back!

And it's not that I haven't had anything to write about... I just haven't had the time to write about it. When I haven't played WoW the last days, I've been busy elsewhere, so there hasn't been much time to write anything on.

So where to start? Well, my troll shaman has now reached level 19, and I'm most probably going to break the big two-O later today. My adventures in The Barrens have been alternated with a tour over to the tauren lands of Mulgore, where the big green fields and low-level quests welcomed me to do some more solo questing. I've been fighting various new beasts, including the Swoop, which looks like something of a mix between the Archaeopteryx and a peacock. I've also been fighting the evil corporation of goblins that seeks to exploit the earth in any ways possible.

When I ran out of quests in Mulgore, my search for solo quests sent me to the silverpine forest, outside the ruins of Lordaeron. This is the home of the undead. And if you haven't played through Warcraft III and it's expansion, things might sound wierd here, but I won't try to explain it too much, since it gives away part of the story in Warcraft III. Anyway, the woods are filled with undead creatures, both friendly and hostile, and you can see variations of classic evil beats, such as zombies and worgs, and several Blizzard unique ones. The whole setting is extremely moody and eerie, and I actually feel happy to get back to The Barrens at the end of my adventures in the Silverpine.

Part of my explorations in these two areas has been to find herbs. My Troll shaman has now developed significant skills in his new bound Herbalism profession. Thanks to the herbalism I can gather reagents that I can use in my no-as-well-developed skills in Enchanting. Thanks to my enchanting I can either temporary boost the stats of my weaponry by imbuing bonus stats to it, like +4 damage on my staff, or absorption (enemies can heal me instead of damage me at times) and similar, or permanently enchant the skills into the equipment. The later demands a mystical powder that has to be purchased, and offers different boosts from the imbuing, so it is possible to combine them both.

Just like everything else in the game, herbalism and enchanting proficiency grows with use. So to get better, I have to actively use it. With weapons and magic, this works similar to the system seen in Dungeon Siege, but here the total level of the character limits the maximum skill points in a school of magic or with a weapon type. With herbalism and enchanting, the maximum skill depends on your education. If you're new to the profession you can gain a maximum of 75 points in the profession, but once you reach 50, you can buy the next step, which increases the maximum to something round 200 if I remember it correctly. You don't buy it with money though, but special skill points you earn at times for honing your different skills. The same skill points are used to increase your characters attributes, such as strength, stamina and spirit. This is a nice feature that limits the number of professions you can take not to money, but on how maxed out you want your character stats.

Well, I think that's enough for now. I want to talk more about questing and party operation, but I'll save that to the next entry.

Posted on June 2, 2004 at 9:22 am
WoW Diary - Day 3

Yesterday was not as eventful as the previous days, but a lot of things still happened. I managed to team up with the same troll rogue as the day before, and together we beat the last quests we had lying in Durothar. After that it was time to leave the red clayed desert to enter the savannah grasslands of The Barrens.The change of environment was much welcome, and feeling very natural, with more trees, grass, and new enemies. And interesting thing that was visible even in Durothar, but got even more clear when entering The Barrens is that Blizzard seems to have a certain love for dinosaur looking enemies. In Durothar there was small raptor looking predators and the huge stegosaur clones we know as thunder lizards. In The Barrens, the raptors has grown a bit, and there's also larger vegetarian dinosaur look-a-likes. This is not a complaint, I love the monsters rather, it's just an interesting detail.

Before entering The Barrens, we went into Ogrimmar a couple of times more, and this time I realized that my first impression wasn't completely correct... the place was even bigger than I though! We managed to find several new areas, and get lost a couple of times more. I'm starting to finding my way in and out of it now though, but it still takes ages to find what you're looking for, but I can find my way back out now at least.

Out in the barrens I've stopped at a small fortification known as The Crossroads, and since the Barrens is located right between Durothar and Mulgore, this place is a mix of trolls, orcs and taurens. The architecture mirrors this, with tauren touches everywhere. The place is slightly bigger than Razor Hill, where I spent the previous two days, but it's not by that much. One difference towards Razor Hill is that The Crossroads has an aerial service. You can take the... well, I can't put a name on it right now... but it has wings at least... to Ogrimmar and back, for a modest fee. It saves a lot of walking and if you have any errands in the capital, and it looks very nice. You have no direct control over the beast and it flies a rather straight path to the destination, but the view on the way is great. It makes me regret that I have do decrease the draw distance, because it becomes a bit obvious from up the air, but it's still gorgeous.

After settling in at The Crossroads, I felt I had enough of the red soil that still is at the base under the savannah grasslands, so I logged out and took a break.

Before going to bed, I dod log on once more, just to test something. I created what I realized should be my first "real" character in the full game (I don't want to risk losing it at a server reset), when that finally gets out. I created a small gnomish male mage with pink hair and a small pink beard. His name? Knudd. I realized after only 5 minutes blasting wolves with fireballs that this character is something to develop. While I really like my level 12 troll shaman, he doesn't have half the attitude of a gnome mage that barely can reach high enough to bite the kneecaps of a dwarf.

I did only create him to see where the gnomes and dwarves start though. It's a nice winter clad forest hill-land. And I have to say that whatever the area is in WoW, it's always stunningly beautiful. All characters leaves footprints in the snow, and the stay time of these seemed rather long. Thus you could play tracker if you'd like to, but that was nothing for Knudd. All his life resolves round is explosive magics.

I also created a human paladin, to see another change of environment, and the green forest they start in is nothing like the purple stained one of the night elves, but instead of the magical mood of the night elf forest, this one has a more realistic, almost eerie feeling. After looking at all these settings, it feels like the orcs and trolls got the worst out of the deal. Not that I despise the red clay or anything. Both the desert and savannah areas are very beautiful, but not just quite at the level of anything else. I won't give up on my shaman for this, since I'm getting out in the world now. And the savannah is a lot better than the desert.

I will return with more on my adventures and impressions once I feel I have enough material for a new entry, I don't expect to keep it up daily from now on.

Posted on May 28, 2004 at 6:28 am
WoW Diary - Day 2

Yesterday was an eventful day for me in the World of Warcraft. I managed to die for the first time, and second, and third, and fourth... and a few times more. Once you've passed into the other realm the first time, it doesn't get as scary. Death is really neatly implemented in WoW, so that it becomes something that you would like to avoid, but it doesn't make you throw your computer out of the window if you manage to lose you last drop of health. What happens is that your spirit is released from its body and returns to your home town. There you have the option to resurrect on the spot for a loss of XP, or to search out for your body and resurrect without any cost. All you need to do to find your body is to follow the little marker on the mini-map. While you're a ghost, your movement speed is increased, so while you lose some time, it's not altogether that bad. One interesting thing is that your body still lies there in plain view for everybody to see, and from the look of it, a lot of people ignore their dead characters and just let them lie, some areas of Durothar looks like they've recently been a huge battlefield. There's dead bodies lying everywhere.

So what did I do to die that many times? Well, I went ahead in the order of the quests, so I got to an area which was better balanced for players with a level or two over me. As long as I managed to single out the enemies, I could deal with it, but as soon as two or three enemies attacked me at once, I died. One way to get round this would be to group up with somebody else, but I liked my solitary adventure up to that part, and I didn't do that bad.

But in the end I gave up on my solitary life, I found a very nice troll rogue that was at the exact same spot in the same quest, so we teamed up, and four or so hours later, we had beaten about ten quests together and seen familiar places, such as the Echo Islands (where the trolls originate from), Thunder Ridge and the orcish capital of Ogrimmar.

Ogrimmar actually deserves a column of its own. The capital was so impressive that I had to go and pick up my jaw from the floor. The size of a largish real world village, Ogrimmar completely overdid what I had expected. Me and my fellow rogue managed to get completely lost in the street and alleys of this large town, and only after splitting up and walking randomly across the town were we able to find what we were looking for.

I had another first time experience as well yesterday, I went swimming. It took a great deal of playing around to get the hang of it, since I had to change the key bindings to fit my PowerBook keyboard to even be able to dive. Once I found two keys that weren't bound to anything else and still in a useable arrangement, which is a lot harder than it sounds, since WoW uses almost the full keyboard, I was able to get the hang of it. I believe the World of Warcraft is at least as beautiful under the surface as over it, though it didn't really compete with the Night Elf forest. I swam among some sunken human ships in search of treasures, and the scenery was beautiful. Even though the visibility was so good I have to doubt there are any marine microbiological life forms at all in WoW (hey, I'm am the marine ecologist after all), the underwater wildlife mainly consists of crustaceans and schools of fish. The whole light under the water has a nice mood to it, and the shipwrecks were very nice.

Well, I think that's enough for now. I'll get back tomorrow if today's adventures give me anything to write about.

Posted on May 27, 2004 at 5:48 am
WoW Diary - Day 1

Well, I finally made it into the World of Warcraft beta, and on request, I've promised to make a journal of my adventures.

I pretty much expected the beta to be large, I wasn't prepared as to huge the download was though. It was calculated to take 22 hours on my home connection, so after 5-6 hours I got enough, took my powerbook and went to work. The download was completed in less than 2 hours. After that I launched the game, installed two small patches, created a test character, saw that everything was alright, shut it down and went home.

Once home I took some more time to create a character, and out of it sprang Grimlon, my Troll Shaman. He's a real bad-ass character that can master the elements and look good while doing so.

So far I've been running errands like crazy. While the most quests are simple "kill this and that", it gives some purpose to the early leveling, and you just don't stand in the same spot with a group killing the same high level monsters over and over again like in ShadowBane. Instead it sends you to explore new areas, and keeps you at a good level compared to the monsters you meet. While the trolls start out in Durothar, which is one large red soiled desert, the surroundings are still stunning. The game plays really well on my PowerBook G4 1.33GHz, even if I have to lower the cutoff distance when on open areas. Animations and character looks great, even if I think the customization of teh characters is limited. Clothing will add to the variation, but everybody starts out with standard clothes, so at firs there's not much variation.

Oh and yes, for those who might wonder: Grimlon does have pink hair.

To see some other scenery, I decided to create a Nigh Elf rogue. Her name is Dorinya, and while I only brought her to level 2, I'm going to use her to adventure with a friend later. Anyway, the forest the night-elves start out in is absolutely stunning. The word Magical, is probably the best way to describe it. This game has some really great graphics in all its cartoonish simplicity.

Controls in the game are rather different from any RPG i've played before. You control the character with the keyboard and uses the mouse to select targets. The whole system works really good, and it doesn't take long at all getting used to. After several hours online now, I've realized that I would like the same control in more games. It has some minor shortcomings right now, but it is just a beta after all. I'm going to send some suggestions through the built-in system and see if it changes later on.

Anyway, that is enough for today (or yesterday, I took some sleep before writing this), I'll get back later on as I sink deeper into the World of Warcraft.

Posted on May 26, 2004 at 4:59 am
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