standing at the back in my sissy robe

July 7, 2009

Blowin cold in Northrend

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Real Men Wear Purple,Sweets for the Sweet — Tamarind @ 11:39 am

M’Pocket Tank and I are losing focus again.  We’re running out of ways to level that don’t involve, err, doing the content in Northrend

I’ve read quite a few blog posts lately about burnout, passion for WoW and maintaining enthusiasm for the game.  My relationship with WoW, well, it’s fucked up.  I don’t mean for it to be, but it is.

I blow hot, I blow cold, I’m crazy about her, I’m bored of her, I love her cute li’ll flaws, her flaws drive me up the wall.  I don’t think she’s interested in pleasing me any more, I think we’re growing apart, I don’t like her new look, I preferred the way she was back in 2007, I think she’s seeing other players behind my back, I suspect she wants to be more hardcore. I want to break up, I want to get back together, I think we should get married, she’s ruining my life.

I’m a damn tyrant.  No wonder her log-in servers are always on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

I also think there’s real love underneath it all, but surely that’s what all abusers tell themselves in order to justify their behaviour.

God, I’m sorry WoW.  I’m really really sorry.  Maybe we should see a relationship counsellor, help us work through some stuff?

But, anyway, Northrend is driving me into one of my enthusiasm troughs.   And I think we’ve reached the limit of instances we can 2-man as well.  They’re either too easy, which is boring, or basically impossible, which is sad.  I should quickly add: by “too easy”, I don’t mean the problem is with the instances themselves, I mean the problem lies with us.  We tried to compensate for there only being 2 of us by being over-level but I think we went too far and, although the mobs aren’t grey yet, instancing has fallen off the delicate knife-edge of challenging in the ballpit of undemanding.  Sorry, that’s a horrendously mixed metaphor.  Why there would a knife balanced on the edge of a ballpit, I have no idea.

As you might expect from healer and tank ruling the universe together, our survivability is incredible but our DPS is piffling.

We attempted The Shadow Labyrinth because, well, err, because Salvànus told us not to (*blush* that was a red flag there, I’m afraid) and we were fine until we hit Grandmaster Vorpil.  First of all it took us a while to notice the voidwalkers were healing him (d’oh) and then we simply didn’t have enough DPS to take out them out.  I have since concluded it would probably be possible for us to kite him since the voidies are so slow, and concentrate on taking them out only when he teleports us back the centre of the room.

But if we really want to rule the world, we need a DPS.  Someone as frivolous as us.  Preferably with onboard sheeping, for the lulz.


I feel a bit of an arse saying I don’t like levelling in Northrend.  I’m not, as such, complaining about it but I find a lot of the quests really rather irritating.  The thing is, WoW quests – well, they have a bad reputation, and it’s semi-deserved.  In the Old World, they’re all of the “go here, do that” variety and if you’re really lucky “go here” is a direction you have some hope of following instead of “go to the cave to the east” (riiiight, to the east you say?).   There is usually an attempt to contexualise the quests and give them at least a façade of meaning.  Kill the terrible plainstriding chickens that are threatening our village.   I would like to make gorilla entrail soup.  Whatever.

Some of them are better done than others.  I think we all have our favourite questlines, perhaps because they have, in spite of the limitations of the medium, a great story attached (Hillsbrad, for example) or because you get to kill things that are particularly satisfying to kill (pirates, the Scarlet Crude, or dinosaurs!).  But the point is you either like, or at least accept, that style of quest or you don’t.  And, if you don’t, you’re probably not playing WoW.  What are you doing reading this blog?

Maybe it’s just Nostalgia Glasses but I’m pretty fond of Outland.  I think they did a good job of mixing it up a bit.  Most of the quests seem really nicely contexualised and I genuinely felt like I’d joined a war effort, in which my involvement was important.  The handful of vehicle-quests, disguise-yourself-as-a-whatever-quests and dig-around-in-some-poo-for-cheap-laughs quests provide just enough variety to keep things novel and interesting.

But in Northrend all the quests seem to be like that and the game is so desperate to involve you in epic content that it feels as though you might as well have stayed at home polishing your glowing brightwood staff.  One of the most egregious example of this that  I can think of at short notice is the bloody Ruby Dragonshrine.  On one level, it’s really exciting, with dying dragons falling out of the sky and everything, but the quests are not so much “Save the Ruby Dragonshrine” (by killing x numbers of y) as “Save the Ruby Dragonshrine” (by watching the NPCs kill x numbers of y).

I know it seems like a silly distinction but I think it falls into the uncanny valley of verisimilitude.  When you’re questing in WoW, you suspend on your disbelief.  You know everything will respawn the second your back is turned and you know that killing x numbers of y won’t really save the Ruby Dragonshrine.  But it’s easy enough to convince yourself it’s All About You because you did, after all, kill x numbers of y.  Go you.  Never mind that 11 million other people are doing exactly the same thing. But if you have to join a random mob of NPCs, it diminishes your impact and it’s harder to pretend you made a difference.

It seems like every other quest in Northrend either involves a vehicle, an annoying NPC, an annoying group of NPCS, or a pointless doohickey.  I appreciate variety, I really do, but it’s getting to the point where the the actual player is getting less and less important.  I want it to be about me and my awesomeness, not the vehicle, or the NPC, or the doohickey.

But, to give its due, Northrend does occasionally pull it out the bag.  All the messed up quests from the Royal Apothecary (extract dorf brains!) are a huge heap of fun.  Killing Vikings never gets old. And because Tam is a filthy cow fetishist I’ve been insisting on helping out the Taunka at every possible opportunity.

Also we’ve just completed the murloc questline which is a little piece of genius.  I’m not mad keen on disguise quests because they’re always basically “replace your cool customised character with a generic dodgy man in a moustache.”   It’s less problematic for M’Pocket Tank because she’s always a hot chick but every male disguise in WoW appears to be constructed from a do-it-yourself 1970s porn star kit.  Thanks Blizzard.

But run around in an obviously hand-sewn murloc costume?  With a zip up the back and button eyes.  And a white flag.  ANY DAY OF THE FUCKING WEEK! Gimme, gimme, gimme.

By the way, did anybody else dance in their murloc suit?  Best thing ever.

And as for rescuing baby murlocs.  Getting twenty of them to follow you around, gurling and hopping.  I squealed like a girl.  I didn’t want to give them back.  Not my baby murlocs ! They are my baby murlocs now.

But, y’know, one can hardly take an army of tadpoles into battle against the Lich king.

Although if anything would recall him to his lost humanity it would be a platoon of gurgling baby murlocs.


Ahem.  Red meat.  Beer.  Black and Decker.



  1. I got mentioned!!!!!! WOOT cause you know “I want it to be about me and my awesomeness, not the vehicle, or the NPC, or the doohickey.”
    Tam, I am seriously considering rolling a DK on your Server lvling the Orc warrior is a chore, but unfortunately I won’t be the dps with “onboard sheeping, for the lulz.” I rly rly suck at the clothies.
    I was plate born and I’ll BY GOD die wearing plate!

    I would really hate for you and M’Pocket Tank ™ to go the way a number of my blogging reads have gone lately….
    I know WoW is a temperamentful mistress but when She Rewards… She Really Rewards! No more staying “at home polishing your glowing brightwood staff.” My Goodness, You can swing an innuendo!

    BTW did I mention my name is up in lights? I got MENTIONED FOR GOD’S SAKE! GO ME!! 😀

    Comment by Salvà — July 7, 2009 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

    • Hehe, I’m the other way round. I’m a natural born clothie. I’ll die – and I do die – in my sissy robe 🙂

      Yeah, I’m really sad Jong is going. I only discovered the blog about a week ago as well. But I guess that’s the nature the blogsphere. People come and go, and it doesn’t mean it’s The End of All Things (as I worried when I first started blogging), just a natural part of the process.

      Awww, a Deathtard? For me? It’s just what I’ve always wanted. I hope it comes giftwrapped. You’re really very very welcome to join us in our absurd jaunts (you do realise it’ll make you M’Pocket Tard, right?) but starting afresh on a new server is a total pain. We’ve got characters clustered in the mid 70s, the 60s and I’d really like to give my poor girlcow some love (not like that) so if you’ve grown attached to your greeny tusky self I’d be really happy to level with you, although I should probably warn you I’m really dithery.

      The thing is, I do enjoy the levelling game on its own terms but I start to dislike it very quickly if it feels like I’m trying to rush through it to get somewhere else. And I’d hate to think of you toiling miserably through the XP grind.

      And, yes, my innuendos are epic, I tell you, epic. 😛

      Comment by Tamarind — July 7, 2009 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

      • M’Pocket Tard(tm) now white and tusky cause you know….

        if an Orc does it right a (un)dead Orc does it better!

        mmh girl cow loving… ahem what’s that you say? NOT reverse cow girl?
        I seem to have misunderstood the statement *blush*

        Well enough with the silliness, keep up the fight for your loverly words are forsoothe a balsam for my soul!

        Comment by Salvà — July 7, 2009 @ 2:03 pm

  2. Ahahaha excellent save there at the end

    Comment by Twonationarmy — July 7, 2009 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

    • I am very manly indeed in my purple robe with my baby murlocs. Ug.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 7, 2009 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  3. As a noob in the bloggosphere I just started reading yours, and just have to say: Well done! Lots of bloggers write about what they are currently doing in game, about instanceruns, their guild etc, but you actually make it entertaining.

    For the record: Perhaps you and WoW should have a baby? A little twink for shits and giggles? When I think its time to break up, my twinks are the ones that keep me going. They help me remember why we got together in the first place, and eventually get us back into bed.

    Comment by Kristine — July 7, 2009 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

    • Zomg, your blog has a murloc on it, he cries gleefully, showing where his priorities are. As you can tell I’m cresting a wave of murloc love at the moment.

      Thank you so much for the kind words about the blog. I think my gameplay, such as it is, goes along the lines of: “Well, if you can’t be terribly insightful and intelligent, like most of the blogs I read regularly, you might as well try to be amusing.” So I’m gratified to have entertained.

      Hmmm, a twink you say. Interesting. But they’re such a lot of hard work and responsibility; and they’re expensive… Well, I’ll talk it over with my game and see what she says.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 7, 2009 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

  4. “every male disguise in WoW appears to be constructed from a do-it-yourself 1970s porn star kit”…fanbloodytastic.

    Yes, I danced in the Murloc costume. It’s a personal policy of mine that whenever I’m doing a costume quest I dance. Not all of them have their own dance, but when they do, it’s usually at least 3 and a half minutes of pure joy.

    Comment by Misneach — July 7, 2009 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

    • Well, you should know about the 1970s porno vibe – you are, after all, Male Human Warrior. I tried to make one, once, but the facial hair, the facial hair! (although, actually, Tam has no right to comment considering his “I will fix your computer now but in a sinsister fashion” goatee).

      The murloc dance was particularly rewarding. So cute. Aaaand there go my man points again.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 7, 2009 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  5. Interesting problem.
    As you know I’m just starting the couples WoW thing and I hadn’t thought about difficulties introducing a third.
    (the double entendres are coming thick and fast tonight) (oops there it goes again)

    I can imagine for us there will be quite a problem co-ordinating with others especially when it’s convenient to just hop to it together.

    Comment by MomentEye — July 7, 2009 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

    • I’m so sorry, the innuendo thing, it seems to intensify around my blog… it’s a downward spiral straight into the gutter 🙂

      M’Pocket Tank and I PUG quite a bit. The only reason we took to do 2-manning late-Outland instances was because we got bored of questing in Northrend and interest in instancing seems to have hit an all time low on our server.

      Ideally what you need for the perfect WoW experience is a group of friends. Or, y’know, a polyamorous free for all 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — July 7, 2009 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  6. Did you happen to notice that your murloc is wearing heart underwear? 😉

    It’s true! Right below the slightly unzipped zipper you can see a peak =)

    Comment by Beruthiel — July 7, 2009 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

    • I know I have something of a bad reputation but I assure you most emphatically I was not lifting the tail of my murloc in order to peer at his underwear! 😉

      (alas, should clearly have looked more closely at my murloc, I didn’t see the hearts)

      Comment by Tamarind — July 8, 2009 @ 9:24 am | Reply

  7. Oh…and I almost forgot to mention! If you jump abunch, you fall on your face. It’s is frigging hilarious!


    Yea…I kinda like the murloc costume =P (I have one in my inventory from blizzcon two years ago…I get an insane about of joy out of that thing).

    Comment by Beruthiel — July 7, 2009 @ 5:10 pm | Reply

    • Oh noes! Not only did not I not check what underwear I was sporting, but I didn’t jump enough when I was in my murloc suit. I did jump a lot, just to see my gangly feet go flying up in the air, but it was clearly insufficient.

      You know, words cannot express how much I would like a murloc of my very own. For Tam, I mean. Not for me. Although…no, wait, I’m stopping that thought. Right now.

      I’d stop playing the game entirely, I’d just stand in the middle of Dalaran, dancing in my murloc suit.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 8, 2009 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  8. The murloc questchains are just a thinly veiled attempt to make you want to pay unimaginable sums of money to remove the remaining Blizzcon goodie bag items from eBay.

    First they let you try out the murloc costume and make you think “hey, wouldn’t you want to pay $400 to be able to change into this thing whenever you want to? in the middle of a raid dungeon, perhaps?” and then they let you play with the baby murlocs and then they’re so cute and adorable and you want to hug them and never let them go…

    Comment by Kiryn — July 7, 2009 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

    • Yep yep, baby murlocs turn us all into Elvira from Loony Tunes.

      A friend I used to play with a lot was randomly given a murloc pet by Blizzard when they screwed up his account. He used to get out a little top hat and cane and make like Fred Astair e when … well … I don’t know what inspired him to do, boss fights when nobody was paying attention to him, I think. So you’d be running around like a crazy, trying to stay alive, while this little murloc would be tapdancing away without a care in the world.

      I’m sorry, I have to stop and go EEEEEEEEE again.

      I really. Really. Want a murloc suit. Don’t point me at Ebay. Just don’t.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 8, 2009 @ 10:18 am | Reply

  9. Alright Tam, a few things…

    First, you took my post on WoW-relationships ( and went right up to the edge of the cliff… took 5 steps back, then took a running leap as far as you could off the edge. Well done. 🙂

    Second… verisimilitude? You’re going to make the average WoW player’s head explode if you keep using words with more than two syllables. Please don’t stop.

    Third, if digging in pooh is your thing, have you come across the Grizzly Hills quest yet that has you use the outhouse? Make sure you have sound effects enabled and at full volume for that one. Turn on the reverb effects too, and crank the subwoofer if you have it.

    In all seriousness, I actually like the Northrend quests because many of them just seem so, well, silly. Old world is all seriousness, and it’s like the designers lightened up quite a bit in the WotLK expansion. There are lots of subtle (and not-so-subtle) little jokes if you just keep an eye out for them.

    In fact the DK starting zone is full of them. Maybe that’s why I fell in love with my DK as soon as I started, and abandoned my previous “main”. Nothing better than walking into a building and having all the NPC’s screaming at the top of their lungs while running around and jumping out the windows to get away from you.

    Comment by Zaphind — July 7, 2009 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

    • Does the Horde even have an equivalent quest to the Alliance Grizzly Hills outhouse quest? I’m looking forward to finding out when I get there on my new Horde characters =P

      Comment by Kiryn — July 7, 2009 @ 8:46 pm | Reply

    • Yes, I think maybe throwing myself off cliffs is becoming something of a specialityyyyyyyyy…..

      And the prolixity is an clearly an attempt to compensate for the length of my mana bar.

      I wouldn’t say digging through poo was a hobby really, I just notice that Blizzard seems to have at least one, err, poo-themed diversion per expansion. And although, of course, M’Pocket Tank and I are terribly grown-up, sophisticated and erudite people, there does a come a point when party chat degenerates into exclamations of “poo!” until we both succumb to the giggles. So much for the British education system :P.

      I do enjoy WoW’s silly sense of humour (I loved the fact the vendors in the Ebon Hold are called Corpulous, Fester and Gangrenus) but I suppose I get a sense of disjuction between frivolous, self-ironic WoW and deeply serious, epic WoW. Ultimately I kind of suspect that when you’re interacting with the latter you’re not allowed to have, y’know, fun.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 8, 2009 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  10. The kite like crazy is indeed the way to go with the Grandmaster. Don’t give up on the two personing though, adopting dps is the road to pain and suffering. They tend to whine, throw their epics out of the pram and start demanding more little friends to play with after one or two wipes because “doing it with 3 is pointless wha wha wha”. Plus doing it the hard way is at least double the fun.

    Comment by Erinys — July 7, 2009 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

    • Yeah, we might have another go at the Shadow Labyrinth. I don’t like being defeated, especially not by a dude with a bunch of voidwalkers for minions 🙂 Besides, a quite significant part of me wants to stand over his corpse and say “Grandmaster, don’t you mean grandloser.” That would be very satsifying. I don’t know when I formed the habit of coming up with a self-consciously lame B-movie quip for bosses but it’s a habit I need to feed. Or get treatment for.

      Ahaha, yes, good point about adopting a DPS. They are high maintenence. Maybe if we got one as a baby, we could train it up into good habits … naaw.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 8, 2009 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  11. not to be missed is the animation for blowing a kiss in your murloc suit. best best best freakin win ever!

    Also, while I absolutely see your point about Northrend quests, I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of the phased quests where not only does the quest log or npc tell you you have changed the world forever…. you have literally changed the world forever.

    Stroking my god complex ftw!

    Comment by Sylly — July 8, 2009 @ 1:50 am | Reply

    • Oh I’m absolutely in favour of stroking the God-complex and I really like to feel that I’ve had an impact on the world but usually I find that phased quests make me more aware of the game than ever. It’s like in Battle for the UC – there was just me and Thrall and a bunch of NPCs. It’s the players that gives the UC life for me, so I felt like I was battling for something that didn’t really exist.

      And I was kind of sorry to depose good ol’ Conquerer Krenna in Grizzly Hills, I might not have agreed with her politics, but I respected her personally a great deal:

      But this is just me being a grumpy old man. You’re right, of course, sometimes the phased quests are extremely satisfying.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 8, 2009 @ 10:43 am | Reply

  12. […] wait, on more thing. Give all the murloc enthusiasm that’s gone one this week in my little neck of the woods, the best macro ever courtesy of I […]

    Pingback by The one with the pointless blog admin, the bunch of cool links and the complete lack of gay night elf porn « standing at the back in my sissy robe — July 10, 2009 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  13. Ugh, sorry for another absence, just got a lot going on in the game at the moment so I don’t have as much time as i’d like to read blogs :<

    But anyway, I feel the same way about questing.. back in the old world it was a lot more fun (especially before the xp nerf) because quests were a lot more difficult and a lot more rewarding. Now it just seems like some sort of painful right of passage that everyone has to endure to get to 80 when the 'real' fun begins. Everything is just so linear these days that I find it increasingly difficult to level those last ten big ones, and after doing it three times already, my mage is just sitting unloved at 70 and I have little to no desire to log him.

    But yes, epic murloc disguise is epic. I'm awfully tempted to go level my mage and get that quest so i can try out all the neat things mentioned in the comments above =^.^=

    Comment by uke — July 18, 2009 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

    • Alas, poor pet! Obviously I love reading your comments but you don’t have to apologise for not leaving them. I am not a tyrannical blogger 🙂

      M’Pocket Tank and I keep flagging in Northrend – we keep getting distracted by diversionary activities like, err, founding silly guilds and 2-manning everything that moves. You’ve done it 3 times, I can’t even seem to manage to do it once. There are some cute quests in Northrend (the murloc one, for example, and I loved DTK) but for the most part, like you, I much prefer the Old World. I guess I’m just a grumpy old man.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 18, 2009 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

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