Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ten Days In Sunny Azeroth, Pt. 2: Shovels For The Shovel God!

I’ve noticed a few things in my WoW experience. Aside from the WALKING EVERYWHERE part, there’s also a crafting system that I’m not anal retentive enough to explore right now. The biggest difference from CoH I’ve noticed is that I haven’t seen any teams. Nobody’s invited me to a team yet. I just see random solo character running around hunting down the things I’m also hunting down. Occasionally we’ll buff or heal each other, but that’s about the extent of player interaction. Contrast: in CoH, its certainly possible to solo, but you also get invited to random pick-up-groups, even at the lowest levels. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a tell asking you “hey, want to go break some faces in the sewers?” but often its just “Captain So-and-so has invited you to a team” out of the blue. Hasn’t happened yet to me in WoW.

The other thing that kind of rankles me is that in WoW, at low level I feel like a mook. I can handle, at best, 2 or 3 enemies at a time (if I’m lucky). And the missions don’t have the weight of importance either. There’s a lot of “hey, can you take this mundane shipping manifest over to Stormwind for me?” or “I’m hungry, kill some boars and take the meat to this lady at the other farm to bake into a pie and bring it back to me.” Brightmace isn’t sure about being a courier boy (especially with no bicycle to speed things up). Contrast: in CoH, even at low level the missions include stuff like “Kill ten Hellions to help clear the streets of gangs” that can segue into “Rescue this doctor from the Lost in the sewers before they mutate him into a murderous freak.” Of course it doesn’t have any actual effect on the game world, but it feels more…heroic.

The other thing that’s tough to adjust to is the chat/whisper/tell/shout system. I just found the emotes last night and had the game since Saturday morning. Its no fault of the game, I just don’t know the shortcuts to all that stuff yet.

So we return to our budding young paladin, Brightmace and his Blessed Kobold Shovel of Smiting (and Shoveling). He delivered a letter to Stormwind, got a dramatic intro to the Human capital and realized the city was friggin’ huge. After delivering the letter, he stopped off at the cathedral to level up and, unable to find any missions for him in the city, walked all the way back to the forest and accepted a quest to hunt down some murlocs.

Murlocs are a primitive, amphibious species that make amusing gurgling sounds when they “talk.” Should be no problem to a warrior of virtue, right? I head over to a logging camp (and notice that the trees in the game are all comically gigantic beyond the realm of normal earth trees), kill some wolves and bears for the locals and turn my attention to the puny murlocs. Apparently they killed an Alliance Patrol and I have to find out what happened to them. Shouldn’t be too hard.

Individually, a murloc is easy to take down. They were of roughly equal difficulty level, so no worries, right? I get to their village and see a lot of them shuffling around. Okay, if I can manage to isolate and contain them, I should be able to--oh shit, two of them just spawned right behind me. I manage to take down one and fall to the second. Ghostwalk time. I rush back to my corpse, rez and am immediately beset by three of the bastards. I try to run away because I’m not at full health when I rez, aggro a wolf and am killed again. The red mist begins to cover my vision as scrapperlock starts to kick in.

Scrapperlock is a phenomenon in City of Heroes where a character (usually the melee damage oriented Scrappers who already have a daredevil attitude toward combat) encounter a situation that is proving difficult, such as repeatedly being defeated by a superior enemy. The scrapperlock solution is “KILL IT TO DEATH” regardless of how many times you get defeated and sent to the hospital. You will always rush back to the scene as fast as possible to keep at it until the specific targets you have marked for death are in fact, dead. Its reckless, foolhardy, and potentially glorious to charge headlong into the enemy against terrible odds because there’s a chance it might work. This, in a way, sums up the Scrapper class in CoH in general. Reckless, Foolhardy, yet capable of pulling off impossible feats of heroics.

Brightmace’s scrapperlock was considerably less glorious, but the stubbornness to not let those damn frogmen beat him won out eventually (and when I say eventually, I mean like forty minutes into it).

By now, I had out leveled my Shovel of Smiting and upgraded to a more powerful hammer, but I didn’t sell off the Shovel like all my other junk. No, no. The Shovel had served Brightmace well, and he continued to carry it as a reminder of his blessed favor.

Eventually, I dinged level ten and was told to send some messages to a place called Westfall. More walking occurred and I crossed a bridge that opened up into a rather arid looking plain. I see some people in a farmstead who have missions for me. They complain about the hard times that have fallen on them. Ah, good. A chance for me to bring some justice. Brightmace eagerly looked forward to fending off bandits, curing the sick and rescuing slaves.

Get some oats from the monster infested field for their horse. Deliver a RECIPE to the next farmhouse??? Look lady, do I look like a Rogue to you?? I’m a PALADIN!

Alright, fine, since there’s nothing else to do and I can definitely use another bag to store stuff in, I’ll do it.

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