standing at the back in my sissy robe

June 18, 2009

you can go your own way

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,D'oh,Vainglory — Tamarind @ 12:25 pm

M’pocket tank and I are still a bit disillusioned with Northrend.  We hit the Wrathgate at the weekend and, yes, the cutscene was impressive but the quest that followed it – Battle for the Undercity – left me so completely cold (that is not a Northrend pun) it’s actually stalled my progress.  I know it was meant to be  Epic and so on and so forth but all it really involved was walking around a big empty phased Undercity devoid of all the player characters who give it life and energy, watching Thrall be awesome.  Don’t get me wrong, I like watching Thrall be awesome but I also like to be able to meaningfully interact with it.

All WoW quests involve a degree of self-deluding double-think.  You know everything will respawn, you know the world is ultimately static, and you know there are 11million other people doing exactly the same thing as you, but the best quests are those that either make you care anyway or ensure it’s irrelevant.  I know it’s traditional to roll one’s eyes about the “Collect 12 Pristine Monkey Testicles From Testicle-Devoid Monkeys” quests but the huge advantage of them is that you don’t feel shaken out of the game world by meta-game knowledge.  It doesn’t matter if 6 other guys are also collecting monkey testicles as well because you don’t expect to change the world one monkey testicle at a time.  I think part of the reason everyone really enjoys the Nesingwary quests is that they boil this down to its essentials.  Go forth, slay innocent creatures, make like a Victorian imperialist for the win!

And then at the none testicular end of the spectrum, there are things like The Battle of Hillsbrad which is one of my favourite quest lines in the game.  It’s really good for making you feel like you’ve made a difference and been part of something big and important – when, of course, you haven’t really. The Battle of Hillsbrad will go on in perpetuity.

Not long after I’d done the Battle for the UC, I got into a conversation about it with the mage from Magister’s HELP I HAVE NO ACRONYM Terrace.  He was so full of enthusiasm for the whole business that I felt quite guilty for dissing it.  He said that if only he could he’d happily take down Varimathras all day every day.  The problem with it, for me, was that I couldn’t even maintain the illusion that I had any part to play in it.  Unlike the mage, I didn’t feel like I took down Varimathras.  I felt that Thrall did, and I felt that there was no meaningful way I could help him.  Truthfully, Tam sat on the steps of the UC, trying not to dangle his sandal-clad feet in the sewer, and I finished off a book (Living With Ghosts by Keri Sperring, I recommend it).  Possibly I just wasn’t getting into the spirit of the thing but it wasn’t like Thrall needed healing and my DPS – even when I am Sooper Buffed – is still piddlingly trivial.

I shall tickle you, Varimathras, with my mighty smite.  Oh yes.

Also, random lore question to which I’m sure there is an answer, why the hell wasn’t Cairn Bloodhoof there at this supposedly seminal moment of WoW history?  What, was he washing his hair?  Appointment at the dentist?  Polishing his log back on Thunder Bluff?  Seriously, Cairn, what’s the deal?  I gave you my Valentine’s vote and this is how you repay me?  You stand me up at the UC.

And now that I think about it, one question gives rise to another.  Something else I want to know about Northrend is why, God, why is there some dribbling bastard with a set of bagpipes following you around everywhere you go.  Why isn’t there a quest to kill him.  I’d do that all day and every day.  It’s a shame because I usually really like the WoW music.

In order to try and combat our Northrend Woes, M’pocket Tank and I have gone back to Outland, and are currently 2-manning the instances we haven’t done.  Again, it’s one of those sad things that you can get 10633 DKS and their dog ghoul if you want to do Ramps but trying to muster up a party for Crypts or The Steamvault is like trying to host a bqq in an abattoir.  We did Crypts and CoT: Escape from Durnholde, the former with slightly more problems than the latter because having Thall along for the ride provided a much needed boost to our sorely lacking DPS.  Even if the noob wouldn’t follow kill order.

We navigated the trickiest bits of the CoT through crazy mind control tactics, which was really satisfying because I can’t remember the last time I got to use MC in an instance.

And Crypts was just hilarious because occasionally we wouldn’t be able to take out the Phantasmal Possessor in time and I’d be horribly cut down by my own tank.  The 2 bosses we blundered our way through, surviving by the skin of our teeth each time.  Truthfully I have no idea how I healed through Shirrak the Dead Watcher (I  like to think he got the name because he spends a lot of time watching your dead party), while strafing back and forth like a crazy, and with that horrible debuff as well.  Still, I suppose if you’ve only got 2 people to keep alive, and one of them is you, it rather focuses the attention.

Exarch Maladaar was, err, an experience.  We’d blundered along sans strategy and, as we were eyeing him up, M’pocket Tank said: “Maybe I’d better go read a guide.”  At which I pointed I snorted.  “Yeah, right, because they’re all going to say ideally you should have two people for this fight.”  So we didn’t.  And therefore the fight basically consisted me running around shrieking “My soul, he’s stolen my soul, fuck fuck, it’s attacking, get it off me, get if off me.”

I do enjoy those moments of wtf.  Especially if you survive them.

Then our luck ran out as we foolishly attempted CoT: Opening The Dark Portal.  Because doing a static defence with two people is really sensible.  Yeah.

But I’m feeling about ready to go back to Grizzly Hills now.  And, although obviously all the loot we acquired was tragically irrelevant, we did get a decent amount of XP (thank you, WoW, for validating our play choices) which was an expected bonus, a couple of useful patterns and a metric tonne of netherweave which is most assuredly not to be sneezed at.  Unless you’re trying to use it as a hankie.



  1. i lol’d so loud at the office the ppl looking at me funny… Dude love the writing style you and Deathtard gotta let the world know on what server all this snarkiness is going down on… i’d roll a hordie alt to do some outland mayhem with the two of yas. keep up the good work!

    Comment by Salvà — June 18, 2009 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

    • Thank you kindly, I’m delighted that my bitching, moaning, whinging, ranting and snarking has entertained you, especially if you’re currently office-bound and, therefore, need all the distraction you can get 🙂

      Snarkiness takes place on a semi-regular basis on Emerald Dream (EU, obviously).

      We would very much welcome companions in craziness, unless you’re a dorf in which case we point and mock your beard.

      Comment by Tamarind — June 18, 2009 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

  2. One of my most disappointing WoW moments happened in the Hinterlands while trying to get half of the mallet to summon the boss in ZF. You go through what was basically an outdoor dungeon full of elites (not like that anymore) and get to the top. There’s also a quest where you have to set a gryphon free, and after you do he flies off with his mother and father. Touching moment.

    Anyway, I did the quests and we had another guildie we were going to help get there, too, so I waited by the poor gryphon’s cage while travel logistics were being discussed. After battling my way to the top of this Troll stronghold and heroically reuniting the creature with his parents I saw him respawn back in the cage.

    So much for heroism.

    Comment by Misneach — June 18, 2009 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

    • Alas! Alas! That must have been particularly galling, although in a slightly comic way. I always find King Bangalash rather amusing for that, not because he re-spawns quickly but because there is very often literally a queue of people down the hill either wanting to kill him and take his head or enslave him as a pet. Blizzard should put up those rope barriers they have at rock concerts.

      Actually Northrend is *really* bad for super-quick respawns. Usually by the time we’ve finished killing a boss, he’s popped back and is wailing on us vindicitively again. So the conversation tends to go something like:


      Comment by Tamarind — June 18, 2009 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  3. I do not like the Nessingwary Quests. Partly because it gives me guilt every time I slay an innocent fluffy animal without even knowing that they are (I am) sacrificing essential bits of their innards for The Greater Good. Partly also because, have you ever read the Green Hills? I mean, have you actually ever read it?! Nessingwary makes The Eye of Argon sound like fucking Hemmingway.

    Comment by Claire — June 18, 2009 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

    • I LOVE the Green Hills of Stranglethorn. It’s like Kipling on crack 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — June 18, 2009 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  4. I have to confess that one reason I loved that Undercity fight and quest line is because it *changed* things! You go back into Undercity, and Varimathras is never there again! Look! I saved the maiden and, unlike every other thing I do in WoW, she didn’t spawn back into a cage as soon as I left! omg omg!

    I came to WoW from PC/console games, so this whole save/kill-the-kitties, and then they’re back where they started later thing irked me for a long time.

    “But…but… I KILLED them! Got the quest reward! And now they’re all back?! Bah! I simply don’t make any real difference in this world!” /sob

    Except with Varimathras : ) Dead dead dead FOREVER.


    Comment by lantanasham — June 18, 2009 @ 4:29 pm | Reply

    • Actually the permanent effect of Varimathras being *dead* and *gone* wasn’t something I’d considered. I suppose it’s all connected to how much you feel you were involved in the process of rendering that permanent effect – in my case, *not at all* but had I actually engaged with it then maybe I’ve experienced the glee.

      WoW is my first MMORPG – like you my background is in single player games, and the games I favour tend to be very much about The Story and so on and so forth. I suppose I play WoW for different reasons, and I find the attempts to make a world that is very self-evidently *not* about you feel as though it might be generally rather clumsy.

      Comment by Tamarind — June 18, 2009 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

    • Actually the permanent effects of phased quests are often what ruin them for me.

      Once you watch the Wrath Gate cutscene, Fordragon Hold gets nuked into the ground, and becomes filled with panicked, screaming people. I’ve occasionally had to take an FP back there to get into Dragonblight, and *months* after I did the Wrath Gate event there are *still* people running around and screaming like it happened two minutes ago.

      I’ve not been back to the UC since doing the Wrath Gate, so I’m not sure how much changes, but I think if I went back and Varmithras was gone, but – say – the Royal Apothecary Society were still there I’d be genuinely confused. I think the problem is that all the *small* changes you get from phased quests remind you of all the *big* changes you aren’t getting. Fordragon Hold gets destroyed, but then the refugees don’t *go* anywhere.

      Comment by Temitope — June 18, 2009 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  5. lol well as i just wrote in that other comment, you get to MC the tender keeper thingies in the nexus to heal your group with 😛

    And I myself didn’t like the battle for undercity, for me it was just a bit like ‘meh can we get this over with already, bored now..’ but then i’ve never been one for patience 😀 A funny story about that quest is that one of my friends started it but then got bored of it and decided to hearth out, abandoning it forever…

    …or so she thought. Unfortunately for her, Undercity and Orgrimmar stayed in the phased form they take during the quest and since she had no idea where to pick the quest back up again, she was literally quarantined from those cities for MONTHS! 😛 It wasnt until she was 80 and halfway through Ulduar that she managed to go back and finish it, and we laugh at her whenever someone mentions the quest line 😀

    And weirdly, I seem to literally just have no memory whatsoever of doing Auchenai Crypts… Which is a little unsettling. I can only guess that this is the result of long-repressed, horrific memories. *shudder*

    Before I forget, I also have to thank you for writing about Magister’s Terrace 😀 since my curiosity about the place was aroused so much by your post, I just had to bring my pocket tank to do the heroic version on our 80 characters. And after a short and sweet run through the instance (which involved being reminded of just how large those groups of mobs are… and that group before the last boss? that was just insane) we got that narcissistic bastard down and he dropped his mount!! which i won!! 😀 so I was all happyface gliding along on my pristine, white chicken-bird-thing. Yeah, baby!!

    Anyway, I’d also like to congratulate you on what looks like increased publicity and comments which have shot up for these last few posts 😀 looks like you’re getting some of the recognition you deserve 😛

    Oooh, and, I was listening to the latest Twisted Nether episode and it mentioned your blog!!! I was like ‘Hell yeah i know that blog!’ and then i realised i must be some kind of psycho for shouting out random things to myself in the middle of the night.. But yeah, it got me excited, even if it was just a comment in passing about some new blogs 😀

    Comment by uke — June 19, 2009 @ 2:32 am | Reply

    • There’s something stupidly satisfying in MCing healers. Talk about adding insult to injury. When M’Pocket Tank kept getting possessed in the Crypts, she was always outraged that when she came back to herself the bastards had changed all her seals. Talk about violation.

      Ahaha – I’m glad hsing out of the UC didn’t occur to me at the time becuase it’s just the sort of stupid thing I’m liable to in extremis of boredom. I remember a particularly frustrating escort quest when I got so profoundly, sock-chompingly pissed off with the escortee (“Help! They’re attacking!” – yeah, well, they wouldn’t be if you hadn’t aggro-ed them) I pulled a huge crowd of enemies, then stood there smirking and watched him die.

      I really glad to hear you ran Magister’s HELP I HAVE NO ACROYNM Terrace, and that, not only did you kill Kael’Thas, but you stole his chicken. Now *that* is truly heroic!

      And thank you, yet again, for kinds words about the blog. I don’t know what I’m doing to deserve increased comments but I’m certainly grateful 🙂 On the other hand, they are all lacking the requisite number of smileys 😉

      Comment by Tamarind — June 19, 2009 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

  6. oh whoops, i guess i really over killed the smileys in that last comment..

    Comment by uke — June 19, 2009 @ 2:33 am | Reply

    • Hmmm…maybe they got together and bred when your back was turned. You can’t trust them, you know, once you let them back into the wild 🙂 See! Where did that one come from? I wasn’t smiling. I’m deadly serious. 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — June 19, 2009 @ 12:30 pm | Reply

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