I’ve been slowly working away at the Loremaster achievement for my main, Millya. This is something I’ve spent time doing off-and-on since the beginning of Wrath. She’s actually not doing badly! Because she’s a tailor – I was one of the first folks back on my old server to have the Deathchill Cloak recipe – she already has Loremaster of Northrend.
Now I’m done with Kalimdor, and I have about 520/700 done for Eastern Kingdoms. Duskwood was a real find – I’ve gone through on other characters but Millya hadn’t touched it at all. I’m hoping it will be as easy. The problem with Kalimdor was that Millya leveled there and has done various other things – mostly what was left was odds and ends. There was little in the way of “Oh, I haven’t even been to this zone.”
I actually completed the Noggenfogger achievement for the first time on any character. I don’t know why – I think I’ve always dropped the chain at “The Thirsty Goblin” stage because I could never find that dew gland thing. So now I have finished it, and I can be a skeleton should I so desire. I add this to Millya’s repertoire of other shape-changing abilities. She does make a rather fetching blood elf, I think!
I took a break from Eastern Kingdoms to go and clear some quests out in Blade’s Edge Mountains last night and I’ve been struck by some differences between “old” Azeroth, Outland, and Northrend. Now, I haven’t conducted any comprehensive study in this regard so please feel free to add your own examples in the comments. Since I’m far from being perfect, I’m sure there’s things I have missed. However, in terms of immersion, it’s striking just how different Outland feels to me compared to Northrend and old Azeroth.
For example, I was at Toshley’s Station picking up some quests, when I noticed a disturbance at the other end of the little town. These Gore-Scythe Ravagers were just pouring up the hill. All of the gnomes in the area started pitching in to help as these monsters swarmed in and began to attack. I took a screenshot because it seemed like something exciting and memorable was happening.
Since the quest chains in the area deal with some related things (Gnomish ingenuity, launching me into the stratosphere, encroaching dangerous monsters) – it really made the area feel alive to me. These crazy gnomes really need my help. I don’t know how often the ravagers attack Toshley’s Station, but that’s part of the beauty of it.
Earlier in the evening, Vosskah and I were working on Ogri’la reputation. I had been checking wowwiki and had read something about an assault on Bash’ir Landing. He said, “Hey, this guy is saying something about an assault on Bash’ir Landing?”
“Let’s goooo,” I replied, “It must be happening right now!” We high-tailed it up to Bash’ir Landing to find swarms of various ethereal elites and other things moving in. A few Sha’tari Skyguard NPCs are conducting experiments there. As far as I can tell (obviously I didn’t do Ogri’la during Burning Crusade) the purpose of the NPCs is to purchase flasks and have other items made. Obviously, we don’t need any of those things, but I had a blast taking part in the event anyway!
The assault happens in three phases; initially there are just a few misty mobs meandering around. Some are elite, and some aren’t. Once you destroy towers that are there, it triggers the second phase. The two of us were able to handle the first phase pretty easily, but during the second it began to get hairy. More and more elite ethereals were spawning, Voss was zooming all over the place to pick them up, and I was trying to DPS them down. Once you’ve killed enough of them the Grand Poobah of Etherals spawns. I ended up dying in the fray, as did the NPCs, but Voss managed to finish that guy off.
From what I understand according to Wowwiki, the first phase was considered do-able by five people. The second phase “requires a Kara-sized raid group,” and the third phase “takes a raid group of 25.” Obviously that’s not true any more, and I doubt anyone would bother. The only tangible rewards from the event were an Apexis Crystal that dropped. But it was still exciting because something was happening! It had nothing to do with me as a “player” in the game, it was going to happen regardless, but I could and did influence the outcome. Obviously, it’s not something permanently world-changing. But it made the world feel more real.
Later, I was doing a quest in Blade’s Edge where one of the Ancients asks you to plant seeds. To my surprise and delight, planting the seed actually changes the landscape (with an accompanying creaking and cracking sound of sudden and abrupt tree-growth). I’m sure it resets after a time, but while I was around it was still evident.
I love this stuff. I was thinking back, and off the top of my head I can remember a few other places in Burning Crusade where there are “unusual” or notable things happening. Every once in awhile, Honor Hold is assaulted by Legion forces. I remember the first time it happened, I really didn’t know what was going on! Were we going to be killed? This was back on an RP server and someone shouted, “Run for cover!”
You better believe I did! I ended up attacking some of the invaders after a few moments, but it was accompanied by a genuine rush of adrenaline. To a lesser degree, a similar thing is happening in Shadowmoon Valley. It’s less random and believable though because the NPCs are constantly engaged in combat with attacking forces… But in a way, that is believable. After all, it is one of the major strongholds of Legion influence. I’m eager to re-visit Shadowmoon Valley and see if there is anything else I’m overlooking there.
I can’t help but think – Wrath of the Lich King had many big, grand events. They used phasing technology for things like The Wrath Gate event and building the new Argent stronghold and other things. But those tended to be large, grand things that changed the world irrevocably – not small, random occurrences that added flavour. Maybe it’s just me, but I love those little things – if you are a Night Elf and have never done so, listen to the conversation between the Night Elf guards at Star’s Rest sometime. If you aren’t a night elf or can’t be bothered, I’ll just tell you about it. They are making fun of the Draenei there, Modoru, because of the robe he’s wearing! The first part of the conversation happens in Common, but they carry it on in Darnassian afterwards.
Sentinel Sweetspring says: [Darnassian] “Psst. Naohain. Why does Morodu still wear those ridiculous robes? He looks like some interdimensional bumpkin who stumbled out of Ammen Vale not six hours past.”
Naohain says: [Darnassian] “I… I do not know.”
What makes it even better is that you can purchase the exact Draenic Silk Robes from Hakmud of Argus with some fun flavour text. (All my draenei own and wear them with pride). Incidentally, interdimensional bumpkin? I resent that remark. This little interchange is one of the few times that Draenei are actually directly mentioned in this expansion – a story for another time.
Even though it’s nothing attacking, it is a small way of adding extra “dimensions” to the world we’re all running around killing things in. I think some parts of Wrath were great for it, but I sincerely hope that Cataclysm has as many immersive elements as The Burning Crusade did. I can’t wait for the pre-expansion events! What things have increased your immersion on the game? I haven’t touched on “old” Azeroth as much, but I’m sure there are plenty I haven’t seen or haven’t thought of!
P.S. – I am diligently avoiding spoilers for the pre-expansion events and any other quest/lore occurrences in Cataclysm as best I can. I ask you to respect that in the comments – it’s been hard avoiding so many blog posts lately, and I know other people are excited (I am also excited!) But I like surprises. Thanks, I appreciate it!