Post #19: A troll goes north

September 22, 2009 at 12:14 am | Posted in Battlegrounds, Characters, Ezza (Xenzzarn), PVP | Leave a comment

Xenzzarn is my faction-changed shaman. She began life and ran up through Burning Crusade as a restoration-specced draenei, healing for a first-rate raiding guild. She got to see most of Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep. Then my schedule shifted and life complications piled on, and kept piling on. I wasn’t able to play her much after Lich King came out and she just never seemed to click right. So I indulged myself in the new faction change service, converting her into a troll, moving her to a different server, and re-speccing as enhancement for magical melee action.

It’s been fantastic fun.

I’ve also been taking advantage of another new feature of 3.2, getting experience points for battlegrounds. Sure enough, the rewards are pretty comparable in terms of xp for time spent to questing, particularly if here are BGs your faction wins a lot in the level bracket your character is in. But even losses can be rewarding, most notably for the sprawling epic rush that is Alterac Valley. Xenzzarn hit 77 today, and most of that was earned in BGs.

Now comes my next new things.

Northrend is set up so that there’s way more to do in terms of quests than you can actually do with any one character before the level cap. If you set in and do all or most of the quests in Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord (or both), and then do the same in Dragonblight, and then do it again in Grizzly Hills and/or Zul’Drak…you’ll have your character at 80 well before Icecrown is even on their radar. And indeed that’s how it’s gone for each of my characters to get there so far. But not this time!

The mailed invitation to check out a character’s faction forces in Icecrown comes at 77. And this time I took them up on it, letting Xenzzarn whisk off to the Horde airship and pick up some quests and start doing them. In short order she’d gone to help Tirion Fordring and the beleaguered forces of the Southern Vanguard, and by golly, she’s gotten something like a third of the way to 78 in one fell swoop and earned a lot of reputation to boot.

These early fights are tough at 77, but tough in a fun way. Enhancement shamans are excellent meleers, and it’s a chance to develop my skills with Xen’s talent pool before I get into heroic dungeons and raiding with her. Also, I’m right in the sweet spot where many quest reward are real upgrades and matter a lot right now, rather than being as like as not inferior to what a character had already gotten via instancing. It’s a different window on a familiar experience, and I’m loving it.

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Post #17: First experiences with battlegrounds

September 18, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Posted in Battlegrounds, PVP | Leave a comment

Tonight I saw not one but two of the battlegrounds for the  first time. Neither is brand-new, they’ve both been out for months, but a whole variety of things just got in the way until now. This afternoon, some guildmates were grumbling about their flaws and I went in cautiously…and ended up having a great time in both.

The Strand of the Ancients is a compact affair, for 15 on a side. One side invades, making their way south from the titular strand uphill through layers of fortification in hopes of seizing a valuable Titan relic, while the other side defends. Then they reverse roles, and the side that captured the relic most quickly wins. I was familiar with driving siege engines and smashing through walls and such from my experiences in Winterspring, but I liked the small scale of this. The siege engines aren’t too much of a fight for a few coordinating enemies to take down, and the defensive guns do a fair amount of damage but don’t make many one-shot kills.

The Isle of Conquest is another biggie, for up to 40 on a side, and it’s significantly more complex. As usual for these things, there are several strongpoints to take control of, but where they’re just places in Arathi Basin—landmarks that don’t do anything except have distinctive looks—in the Isle, each one counts. The refinery produces oil, the hangar and workshop manufacture vehicles, and so on. I don’t have a really clear sense of how the pieces fit together yet, but I expect I will.

The scenery is great in each case. The Strand of the Ancients has the bright vigor and warmth of Sholazar Basin, while the Isle of Conquest is Icecrown-style bleak and cold. Lots to look at and a fair amount to do.

I look forward to coming up with screenshots and video clips.

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