01 May 2007


So, a little while since last post. It's been busy and I haven't had a chance to put any commentary online. Much has been happening in the game however.

Most notably, Alamein, Cargarios, and Wyrmm all dinged level 35 in the past few days. There's nothing particularly important about that milestone -- no new spells or cool items. But it's important nonetheless: it means I'm halfway to 70, halfway to the max level.

It'll be interesting to see if the second half takes less or more time than the first half. On the one hand, I know a lot more about what I'm doing and how to be successful at it. On the other, my impression is that there's a lot more content built for levels 60-70. So we'll just have to see what happens.

Most of that leveling has come from running quests, mostly around Darkshire, Wetlands, and Hillsbrad. But we've also tackled a few more instances. We started into Blackfathom Deeps, but we had already outleveled it and it was frankly boring us, with no real sense of challenge or danger. So we hearthed out of the middle of it, and returned to Stormwind to do Stockades instead.

Stockades was interesting enough, and we were close enough to the right level that the mobs were reasonably tough. Its biggest failing though is that there isn't much variety to it. Partly that's because it's fairly small, and the mobs are all about the same. But mostly it's because the layout is essentially identical throughout. That fits with the backstory -- you're invading a prison -- but it makes for repetitive gameplay. Once you've figured out how to handle a battle in a room, you're pretty much set. Anyway, it worked fine and we cleared it in about an hour. No seriously good loot dropped but we still got some useful experience out of it.

Gnomeregan is pretty much the opposite of Stockades. It's long, and complex, and has a wide variety of mobs. It's also got an unusual ambiance and several amusing details. For this instance (and Stockades too), we didn't consult a guide or walkthru before starting -- a change from our Deadmines efforts. We did fairly well through most of it. Handling the standard elites was fairly straightforward, but we did have to watch for troublesome pulls or alarmbots. The bosses didn't present too much trouble, and we had things pretty well figured. The washing machines and grime-encrusted objects were an amusing surprise -- especially because I got four gems out of my first five objects. For the most part, we did well.

We did wipe in the end, though. It was the Arcane Nullifier X-21 that did us in -- and specifically, the fact that we hadn't checked any walkthru guides. We went up against our first one, and it was surprisingly tough... because we didn't know about its spell-reflecting ability. So we were happily burning mana to nuke ourselves. We could have probably survived that... but we went too close to the edge of the ramp, aggroing another X-21... which ran around the ramps to get to us, bringing another three X-21s with it. Five at once was just laughable, and we wiped in short order.

So we'll give it another go, and now that we know about the X-21s, we'll be OK. Plus we have the backdoor key so that will keep it shorter. It was enjoyable enough, much more so than Stockades. But while the technology theme was amusing, it just doesn't appeal to me. So I have to say that Deadmines is still the champ for atmosphere.

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