Return to WoW, pt. 2

Over the few days since we last talked, I’ve been spending most of my game time in World of Warcraft. It’s a funny thing and I liken it to going out on a date with an old ex-girlfriend. It’s a little awkward and a little familiar and you’re not quite sure about what important things may be different about the other. So, I’m walking lightly.

There’s a few things that I really like. First, is the new approach to gearing up. When I left, to prepare for raiding, you would run heroics to earn emblems of heroism. These badges could be traded for gear under that of the first real raid but would get you where you needed to be to fulfill your role and start up the progression ladder. Now, those emblems have been removed and replaced with emblems of conquest that can be exchanged for tiered armor. Not just any tiered armor either, some of the best tiered armor.

Effectively, you can now gear yourself up in some of the best gear in the game without ever stepping foot in a raid. It’s a change that’s definitely in keeping with the “open door” approach of WotLK and, I think, puts more emphasis on enjoying the experience of raiding rather than doing it solely for the loot. Still, raiding remains the quickest way to gear up, as it will take a while to accrue all of the emblems you’d need for a full set.

Second, and maybe I’m imagining this, honor seems to come in a lot quicker than it used to. When I was playing my warrior (about 18ish months ago) I remember feeling lucky to get 500+ honor from the Arathi Basin battleground. When I ran it last night, I managed to get 1200 honor points without ever capping a flag.



Finally, and maybe this is the masochist in me, I’m enjoying relearning the different heroic encounters. I remember some well, others not so well, and a sparse few not at all. I had these things pretty well down pat before, so this is introducing a new layer of challenge I hadn’t expected to be there. It’s not new but it’s not the same, either, and that’s the most important for re-igniting that old flame.

Now, what bothers me more than anything, however, is something a lot of people would consider small. They took away my darn LFG channel! I HATE that. I would sit in that channel for hours, last time, keeping an eye out for a group doing whatever dungeon I needed. Now, you’re stuck sitting in capital cities while you wait, as players use /1 and /2 (trade) to recruit members. I get that they thought having global LFG was hectic but pinning players down to “spam trade chat” or “trust our LFG tool” isn’t a good solution.

Thankfully, I’m in an active guild, so I don’t see this as being a big issue. I’ll be honest though, until I back up to snuff, I’m a little embarrassed to run with these guys. They’re a top tier raiding guild and I don’t want to be the guy that can’t pull his weight a week after joining. I’m feeling alright now, actually, but I’d like to get a couple more upgrades and boost my DPS up to competitive levels. When I left 1400 spell power was decent for starting Naxx. Now, most mages I see are pushing 2000, so I have some catching up to do.

There’s also another stopping block, but it’s really nothing to do with the game. I’m hitting latency issues again. Just like last time, it’s pretty much restricted to instances. As a mage, it’s important that I’m firing off skills as soon as I’m able to keep my DPS up. Lag spikes make it a lot harder to get into that “flow” that means good, consistent damage. I’ve tried everything except the TCPackFrequency fix in my latency guide with only mild improvement. The truth is, you can change everything you want on your computer but if AT&T (Comcast) is in between, you’re probably going to get these spikes. Unfortunately for me, I hope through three AT&T nodes on the way to most instance servers. If I find a fix, I’ll post it here.

For now, my plan going forward is this: run whatever heroic I can, whenever I can, do dailies and finish our Icecrown, so I can earn the gold I need for the crafted gear (thank you to Maxivik for the help there!), and maybe roll a DK for a change of pace every now and again.

On the whole, I’m enjoying my time back with WoW quite a bit. It’s like learning how to ride a bike again, you never forget but it takes a little practice to get back in the swing of things. The change in approach is great and really takes the pressure off of the playerbase to “raid now, raid often.” In short, WoW is becoming more of a social game than the raiding MMO it was back in the Burning Crusade days.


Side notes, not worthy of their own post:

Nazi zombies. Just because.

Nazi zombies. Just because.

LotRO: Three quests from finishing out the solo content in ND. I can’t wait to get out to Evendim. Seriously, this will make the first time in months and months I’ve had the promise of a real zone change. After all the work it took to get here, I’m ready. After all this time, too, I’m moving somewhere and Moria is in reach. Perhaps that’s why a lot of people burn out at this stage of the game; progression damn near stops and, with it, a lot of people’s motivation.

Dragon Age: I haven’t played it much this week due to my MMO time but last I left it I was in the dwarf city. I’ve decided to help the noble my sister married, even though I have my doubts about his character. There’s a definite moral and emotional pull at this stage in the game that I really like. Do I do the right thing and see my sister’s newfound good life turned to dust, or do I stick by family, right, wrong, or otherwise? I’m supporting my sister. As a dwarf commoner, she supported me when I was manhandling for a living, so now I feel like it has to swing both ways.

Call of Duty: I’ll admit it, Keen has me tempted. A lot of people are loving MW2 and, being the compulsive player that I am, I’m considering biting the bullet and checking it out – Xbox 360 version, of course. I’ve already decided to try out World at War but only because I love the setting and weaponry. The demo level from the Xbox Live Marketplace was suspenseful and awesome, so I might even try the single player campaign this time around too. I’m just thankful I have too many 360 games I don’t play and have a lot to trade in. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to afford either of these games.

Okay, rambling over.

Until next time, folks!

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