Friday, May 21, 2010

Expansion Blues (take 3)

Expansions for WoW are always a double-edged sword. We're dying to get in and get our feet wet with a huge chunk of new content, but we need to essentially kiss our hard earned loots goodbye as we begin the process of swapping out raid and emblem rewards with lowly greens that drop off random boars. Being in an expansion’s beta test only further intensifies the problem; not only are we trudging around in unknown areas, picking up unknown quests, and defeating unknown enemies, but none of it counts in the long run. Beta character progress is wiped out once the game gets ready to be shipped retail, and if you get some once in a million random world drop epic, you need to accept that it will be taken from you soon.

This is the third time I've written this exact article (basically), so déjà vu is expected. This post was actually a submission to some horrible "whore out your writing, and if it's selected for use at wow.com we'll give you ten dollars" website I won't mention by name, because I thought that if I wrote a submission it might net me a Cata Beta Key (the wording at wow.com was ambiguous, perhaps by design). Note that I don't have beta access at this point, but might be in there soon.

I’ve been in the betas for everything from Vanilla to Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King, and my enthusiasm has steadily waned each time. Vanilla’s beta was the most exciting, because here was an entire game to consume, and it was my first real foray into MMOs in general. I played it endlessly with my roommate at the time that was also in, and we devoured it whole. By the Burning Crusade beta, I was already familiar with the game itself, and I found myself riding around on a ground mount to just get a glimpse of the different zones, and the mobs within. In the Wrath Beta, I spent a total of three hours exploring the Borean Tundra and Howling Fjords. I ran Utgarde Keep once, ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the flame jets therein, then happily logged out of beta and got to work on prepping my main (live) account for what was coming.

Wait, prep work?

The big lesson learned back in the Burning Crusade’s beta was that the most important thing to have on your character sheet when passing through the Dark Portal wasn’t a full set of elite Naxx Tier 3 gear, but the numbers “6” and “0”. Great gear might last you a few levels, but you’d eventually be swapping it out for quest rewards. Being level 52 on an alt meant not only would you not be able to pass through the Dark Portal in the first place, but there would be nobody playing alts in that level range to form leveling groups with. As a rule, everyone will be in the fancy new content, and if you fall behind the leveling curve, you’ll consistently find yourself scrounging around for partners to quest or group with.

Cataclysm is unique in that starting a brand new character will be a viable option come retail. Blood Elves and Draeni had new starting areas in BC, but then you hit the empty old world at level 20 or so. The Death Knights of WotLK skipped that old world, and started at 55, but ran into the barren emptiness of the Outlands after their fancy starting area. Everyone was in Northrend, and they had to grind alone to catch up with the rest of us in the new content.

If I get accepted into Cataclysm’s beta, I’ll probably poke around in some of the new zones on horseback for an hour or so, then get back on my live account and work on leveling my mid-sixty Druid and Shaman alts to 80 for the coming of the Cataclysm.

They won’t need any fancy gear, just maxxed tradeskills and those magical numbers “8” and “0”.

6 comments:

Hatch said...

So um if that's all you're going to do in beta you should give your key to me instead!


right?




....where did you go?

Adgamorix said...

"They won’t need any fancy gear, just maxxed tradeskills and those magical numbers “8” and “0”."

QFT - this is my mentality with my alts as well. Glad I'm not the only one.

HP said...

I hate leveling but I didn't mind goign from 70 to 80 in WotLK on my main since my bf leveled with me exclusively. It's different having to level by yourself.

I will still pick and choose old gear to keep though as I still have TBC pieces.

Drilski said...

I'm getting around it by leveling a new alt. Hey, it's something to do, since he was high enough anyway already to not enjoy the revamped old world.

Also...I may be blind and it's kinda late to ask but: did you actually get the job at 38Studios?

Ixobelle said...

not this round of hiring, but i'm still in touch with them.

meh

Drilski said...

:( Sorry to hear, good luck in the future with teh job findingz.