14 November 2008

Quests to catch in Howling Fjord

Yesterday, I got up and collected Eric at about 6:30 to head to Fry's. I wanted to get the Collector's Edition of Wrath, so I wanted to line up early. It turned out that there were about 25 or 30 people there, but almost 100 copies of the Collector's Edition, so we were safe. Still, it was fun to participate.

I had to work, but after I got home I quickly logged in and got cranking. Alamein had logged out in Menethil, so I headed to Howling Fjord and got busy.

I'll give a more detailed look at my thoughts eventually. But for now, it sums up as wow. My jaw hit the floor again and again as I came across new elements. I want to talk about the art and design in some detail eventually, because it absolutely kicked me in the teeth. It far surpasses my hopes.

The quest design too is amazingly cool, though there are a few rough spots and ho-hum "collect 4 pieces of meat" quests. (The latter are actually important in order to make the special quests stand out, but still: boring quests are boring.) But I'll highlight a few of the don't-miss quest lines that I came across so far.

Harpoon operation

This chain begins in Valgarde with The Path to Payback. The first parts look pretty standard, but at the end you get to take control of a couple harpoon guns and rain destruction on both buildings and attacking drake-riders. At one level this is simple training in operating siege machinery... and that's important. (Hint: look for the folded arrow icon on the right when you want to 'exit' the harpoon.) But it's also fun and cool. And there's an amusing coda at the end; as Eric described it, it's a real Dr. Strangelove moment.

The spirit world

This one begins in Valgarde with Into the World of Spirits. The first quest has you go diving for a bag found on a sunken ship, and I know that those quests can be annoying and skippable. Don't. The next two steps have some very cool stuff involved.

In the second step, The Echo of Ymiron, you enter the spirit world and observe a conversation. This is cool for a couple reasons. It gives you background on what's happening with the Vrykul, but it also just looks incredibly cool. But, there's more! I don't want to give spoilers, but while in the spirit world, you should wander around until you find an... important figure. It starts a cool scripted event that's well worth the price of admission.

The third and final step is similarly cool and informative. Well worth the time.

Falcon quests

This starts in the Explorers' League Outpost with the Trust is Earned quest. The first couple steps are pretty easy and harmless. The third step, Falcon Versus Hawk, is pretty annoying, because there aren't enough hawks around, so it takes forever. I almost skipped it, but the last phase is a lot of fun, and teaches you more about the new vehicle/minion control mechanism.

Iron Rune Constructs

This is a long chain, starting all the way back in Valgarde with The Human League. After a lot of work in Wyrmskull Village, you end up heading to the Explorers' League Outpost, where you'll eventually get Tools to Get the Job Done from Walt.

Walt will send you all over the place to get materials. (This includes the amusingly named We Can Rebuild It and We Have the Technology.) After that though, Walt will build you a small siege vehicle to finish the quests with. It takes a little work to learn how to control it, and it's pretty slow. But the quest is otherwise easy, and gives you a very cool experience at learning more of the new vehicle interface. Have some fun with this one.

So those are just a few questlines to look for. But I haven't found anything yet that I'd say you should skip anyway, so just do it all!

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