Tomorrow, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm finally hits the shelves. I’m still trying to decide whether I should sue Blizzard for stealing my life for their own profit!
Want proof? Well, okay. Here goes:
In Cataclysm, the world is ripped asunder by a vengeful dragon. In reality, a conniving harpy tore my world apart.
In Cataclysm, some statues were broken during Deathwing’s rampage. In reality, a couple of my action figures suffered a little damage in transit.
In Cataclysm, talent trees got tweaked. In reality, I had to retool and update my resume.
In Cataclysm, they added new starter zones. In reality, my starter zone is changing from Cary, NC, to Huntsville, AL.
In Cataclysm, they’ve raised the level cap. In reality, I made it to Level 44 in September and now I am proceeding toward the new current max of 45. I’m optimistic the cap will get raised again.
In Cataclysm, you can now fly mounts everywhere! In reality, I’ve been trying to train Huck to fly like that dog in Neverending Story.
So, what do you think? Do I have a case?
Well, it’s back to work at the apocalypse tomorrow. Time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished during the past week or so now that I’m rapidly running out of time to slack about. Here’s what got done during the vacation:
* Visited with the folks, my brother, my adorable nephew, my grandparents, and my second cousin for a few days after Christmas. It was a very concentrated sort of visit – two full days of driving hundreds of miles in a rented Shoebowl on either side of a couple of days of hanging around the homestead and gorging myself on turducken. I also owe a visit to some folks in Fernandina Beach. I’m hoping time will allow in the very near future!
* Added about 100 pages to the new OtherSpace Wiki.
* Tweeted a bunch.
* Picked up a new iTunes FM transmitter for the Juicebox and the second season of Babylon 5 at Best Buy.
* Got No Son of Hekayt, Book I, online for free download at http://www.jointhesaga.com – a move that I made because I’m more interested in drawing newcomers to OtherSpace MUSH and the book’s a more tangible hook than a plain old invitation to explore the abstract concept of an online roleplaying environment. I also tweaked the main website a bit, adding buttons to link to the Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress pages – as well as the new forums, the Wikis, and the old community site. (If you’d be so kind as to become a fan of Jointhesaga on Facebook, that’d be great! And if you want to follow me on Twitter, that’s also cool.)
* Scored the Loremaster of Outland achievement on World of Warcraft. That’s Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, and Outland finished. Now to wrap up Northrend so that I can claim that Loremaster tabard. Also, got Stamp much better geared and statted for the DPS role that I intend him to play, thanks to a lot of pick-up group runs. (Got the Perky Pug pet too. Best virtual pet in the game, if you ask me.)
* Leveled in Fishville and Mafia Wars, but Farmville is slow going. I may be losing patience for the farm. Feels like such a grind.
* Got Huck a full dental workup, grooming, and a blue kerchief. He looks great, but will be on antibiotics for a couple of weeks to clear up some skin issues.
* Saw Sherlock Holmes – twice. Once with my brother in Orlando; second time with Karen at Southpoint in Durham. It didn’t seem as good to me on second viewing, gotta admit.
* Saw Avatar, again, but this time in IMAX 3D. Big pretty is still pretty, although the story’s definitely very formulaic and simplistic.
* Watched Terminator Salvation, finally, on Movies On Demand. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.
* Watched UP again, on Movies on Demand. Sad part is still sad, but the movie’s still very enjoyable. Classic work.
* Wanted to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou? again, but discovered that the DVD is SCRATCHED. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! Must get a new one ASAP.
After a couple more days of playing with the Dungeon Finder on World of Warcraft, I came to the conclusion that my quibble about the renewed capacity for ninja looting really doesn’t amount to much of a complaint at all, because the purpose of dungeons on WoW no longer seems to be getting the gear dropped by bosses – it’s about getting the emblems that can be used to purchase much better gear from vendors in Dalaran.
And I’m absolutely fine with that.
Bring on the PUGs!
Not so long ago, Blizzard introduced a feature with bind-on-pickup loot that allowed players who may have accidentally ninjafied the item to give it to a needier party member within the next couple of hours. That was a great move.
However, it seems to have been largely undone by the new Dungeon Finder tool, which randomly groups you with players who are often from other servers.
Yesterday, I participated in a PUG in Gundrak. It was rough going. We got about halfway through, killed a troll boss, and one of our members – a warrior – need-rolled some cloth boots while the rest of us were greeding. He grabbed them, dropped group, and went happily back to his server. Luckily, none of the rest of the party really needed the item, but it illustrates a minor flaw in the Dungeon Finder system.
Tonight I patched WoW up to 3.3 and headed in for a big adventure in a cross-realm instance pick-up group using the new Dungeon Finder feature.
It basically takes the old Looking for Group tool and amplifies it so that all instances work like Alterac Valley PvP battleground: You don’t have to pray your server has enough people to go, you just wait until enough people queue up from the server battlegroup and off you go. Still: It’s a PUG system.
I spent about 20 minutes waiting for a group for the Halls of Lightning instance – a dungeon I had never run before with my DPS-specced warrior, Stamp. Repeatedly, I’d join a group only to have the system announce that someone had declined the invite and it cancelled the PUG. Finally, though, we got a group together. And once we were in – well, it was pretty smooth sailing, really. We had a couple of deaths, but never a total wipe – and I landed some achievements.
So, first impression of Dungeon Finder? I like it a lot!
Written a few years back as a creative exercise on the World of Warcraft Earthen Ring forums, this is probably one of my enduring favorites among the stories that I’ve done about Stamp – the Tauren warrior I still find occasional time to play.