Archive for July, 2010

What’s a guy gotta do to Beta-Test something around here??

I want in the Cataclysm beta so badly. I’m watching twitter like a hawk for any beta key contest opportunities.

There’s just so much cool stuff going on in there and I want to get a head start in experiencing it.

I want to test out my level 80s to see which one of them is going to be the “main” when the expansion releases. Right now I’m back and forth on mage or warlock. It’s going to depend on who’s the most “fun” to play.

I want to experience the revamped starter areas. The new Troll one looks absolutely amazing, as does the revamped Tauren one. It’s obvious just from these alone that across the board, they’re trying to put together a more cohesive storyline in every zone, rather than just a series of almost random quests.

We’ve seen so many redone zones with absolutely amazing storylines already in Youtube video previews and sites like wow.com and mmo-champion. Stranglethorn Vale by itself looks incredible, and moves the story from the Zul’gurub raid forward as well. Stonetalon Mountains used to be a quiet and sleepy little zone with not much going on. Now it’s an epic warzone. Thousand Needles is underwater with random ships in the middle of the former Shimmering Flats, and it’s not yet finished, so we’ve no idea what’s going on there. I want to explore these places, and watch them evolve as the beta continues on.

I want to play with the new race/class combos, I admit it. I’m something of an altoholic as it is, and the idea of new possibilities for characters is exciting to me, especially since two of my classes at 80, the druid and the warlock, will be opened up to my favorite race, the Trolls.

And yeah, I want to check out the questing in the new 80-85 content and the instances as well. Yes, I’ll see all of this once the game is released. I admit I love the idea of having a “head start” on the vast majority of the playerbase. When Cata comes out, I’ll have an idea of what to do and where to go already. But I’ll also have that knowledge ahead of time that I can use to help my guildies get stuff done.

And really, the purpose of the Beta is to test the game and make sure everything is working. If I can do something to help that out by participating, I’m all for it. I want to help.

So yeah. I want in the Beta, pretty badly. I thought I’d write down exactly why, for my own thoughts if for nothing else. Thanks for indulging.

I liked it, so I put a ring on it.

What? You wanna know about me being engaged?

Okay fine. I’m engaged. There ya go.

*is mobbed by hordes of angry readers*

Okay okay I’ll talk more about it!! Heheh.

My original plan was to propose on July 3rd. I was going to take Karen to our favorite restaraunt in Lubbock (Orlando’s. If you’re ever in Lubbock, find it and eat there. SO GOOD.), and then shock her by picking up a to-go order. Then we would go back to my hotel, and head out to this little lake that’s next to it, have a picnic, complete with her favorite beverage (which just so happens to be Dublin Dr. Pepper), after which, I would get down on one knee and ask the question.

I should mention that when I first asked her out, it was in said hotel. The first thing we did together as a couple was take a walk around that very lake that I had planned to picnic at. Sort of taking it back to where it all started.

The problem was that the weather decided not to cooperate. It was raining. In fact, it had been raining for the past couple of days, nonstop. And Lubbock…does not have anything remotely resembling a drainage system. So there was flooding. Everywhere. Including my hotel’s parking lots (luckily not the hotel itself).

So instead of our lovely picnic, we ate at the restaraunt itself, and I got some cheesecake to go. Because of said flooding and other extenuating circumstances, I had not had the opportunity to go out and acquire the beverages like I had planned, so I kept Karen in suspense while I drove to the nearest grocery store. She had no idea what was going on, and was surprised we ended up at Walmart. I then told her we were going to have some lovely Dublin Dr. Pepper with our cheesecake desert, upon which she informed me that said specialized Dr. Pepper wasn’t sold this far north. We had to settle for regular, which wasn’t so bad, but I really had no idea it had a limited distribution. I can see now why she was so excited to have it last time she visited me (where it IS sold).

So we ended up going to my hotel, and having a little dessert picnic in my room of cheesecake (with strawberries and whipped cream on the side for her, heh) and Dr. Pepper. By this point, I’m crazy nervous, and I can’t wait a second longer. I pull her to her feet and hold her in my arms. I try to properly express just how much I love this woman, but I’m a nervous wreck. The most articulate thing I managed to get out was “I told you once that I had almost given up on finding love like this again, and then you came along and changed all that. I love you and never want to be with anyone else.” At that point I turned around and opened the drawer where I had hidden the ring. “And that’s why I need to ask you something”. She’s giggling like crazy at this point. I get down on one knee, and I open the box. Now I’m looking at her, she’s giggling like crazy. I had this hilariously cheesy line I had come up with, and I really didn’t think I was actually going to say it. But kneeling there, looking in the face of the woman I love, as she’s completely giddy, my mind totally blanked, and I could think of nothing else. So I came straight out and said “I have this completely cheesy line that I wasn’t sure I was going to say, so I’m going to go ahread and say it. JOIN ME, and together, we shall rule the galaxy as husband and wife!” She falls over laughing. Once we both manage to regain our composure, I said to her “Karen Wilson, will you marry me?”

And she said yes, as you all know by now.

So now you know the real story of our engagement. We’re going to be married! We’re going to build a life together! We’re going to be a family! And I couldn’t be happier.

As far as the wedding goes, we have a tenative date of April 30th, but the details beyond that aren’t really decided yet. We’re not sure where it’s going to be, even. But I’ll let you all know as soon as we do. 😀

9×3

Twenty-Seven years old.

Character speculations. I has them.

EDIT: Wow. I love it when I write a blogpost, then move it into saved drafts with the intent of finishing it later, completely forgetting about it, and only rediscovering it when it seems really strange to post it. Yes, I have actually done this several times before.

Okay, I know. You want me to talk about my lovely fiance. I will, soon. I promise. But I DO want to post this little bit of WoW discussion. So enjoy it in the meantime.

The next World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm, has moved out of alpha testing and into closed beta testing.

For those not sure what that means, bascially, it’s a step in testing the game as it develops before release. Alpha testing is generally restricted to company employees, and specific friends and family. During closed beta testing, the product is further along in development, and more people are invited in to test to get a wider array of feedback.

During alpha testing, participants typically sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) stating they will not disclose any information about the game whatsoever to outside sources, with severe legal penalties if this is violated. Once a game moves to beta, those NDAs are typically lifted.

So, as you can expect, we’ve gotten a vertiable FLOOD of information out now that Cataclysm is in beta, and the NDA is no more. New info comes at us multiple times a day. For a WoW fan, this is a really exciting time. There’s tons of news, shocking storyline developments, plenty to discover, and the like.

I’ve never been invited to beta-test either of the previous expansions or the original game, but I’m hoping that for this one, I can get in on it. Cataclysm represents a massive new direction for WoW. The entire world is getting changed and rebuilt, nearly every quest in the original game being changed. What’s more, for the first time, the storyline is progressing in a whole new direction. Both the storylines for the previous 2 expansions built on the foundation of what was laid out at the end of Warcraft 3. Cataclysm represents WoW’s first real push in a new direction on it’s own, and it’s starting with a massive world-altering disaster. There’s far more potential for the unexpected. Like I said, really exciting!!

There’s plenty of news I could pass on to you, stuff I could link, but if you want to know, you can read my twitter feed or just head over to sites like http://www.wow.com or http://www.mmo-champion.com and get the news directly from my sources yourself. I’m sure there’s loads of stuff I’ll be talking about in the coming days. But right now, I’d like to share some thoughts I’ve been having on the new race and class features in Cataclysm and how they could relate to my own characters.

I’m just going to say it now. Massive amounts of WoW Nerdery incoming. If that doesn’t interest you, thanks for reading up to this point. But there’ll be some discussion of story writing to go with it. You’ve been warned.

Let me set the baseline of how my own characters look right now.

Dahkar is my Troll mage. He’s always been my “main” character. It’s very likely he will continue to be.
Grothi is my Tauren Druid. Given that he was my second character, and for a host of other reasons, I felt obligated to level him to 80 when Wrath came out. However, after playing him, I came to the realization that I really just absolutely did not like the druid class. I don’t like that they never see their armor, I don’t like how Balance druids play, and I prefer the more specialized classes to the druid’s jack-of-all-trades design. So now I use him as a bank alt character. In terms of his personal story, Grothi has retired from active adventuring to be a teacher to young upcoming druids in Thunder Bluff.

Shadothi is my Tauren Death Knight. His personal story is that he is Grothi’s older brother, and hated him, but after a horrible series of events happened to him, he’s trying to atone for his misdeeds. You can read the whole story here if you like. Right now, not doing much with him, and I don’t anticipate that changing in Cataclysm initially

Durnnit is my troll Shaman. He’s also Dahkar’s brother. I’m not doing a whole lot with him at the moment either, something I don’t anticipate will change in Cataclysm as well.

Oldmanfranks is my undead warlock. You can read his story here, it’s one of my favorite craftings. Recently I was allowed to bring him to an Icecrown raid instead of Dahkar, and I have to admit he was a LOT of fun to play. And I got him a pretty good amount of new gear. Looking around at the Cataclysm class changes, I’ve been tempted to change OMF to my new main. I’m not sure yet, but a recent announcement has caused me to lean more in that direction. More on that in a bit.

That pretty much covers my level 80s, but I do have a few alternate characters that I’ve been leveling as well, thanks to both a lull in Wrath of the Lich King activity and the fact that my lovely ladyfriend Karen has started playing as well.

The first in this list in my troll rogue, Beskar. I’ve been leveling him with Karen’s paladin. I’ve always wanted to give Rogue a real try, and now I wonder what took me so long. He’s a blast.

The second here is my Draenei priest, Arandil. Waitaminute, you say. A Draenei?? Yeah. I made him both because I wanted to try out a priest, and to see the Alliance side of everything before the Cataclysm changed everything. Now I haven’t been too successful in that regard, because I’ve ultimately found out that for the most part, leveling Alliance isn’t all that different from leveling Horde. Just different bases to retreat back and forth to.

Finally, there’s Ithilien, my Blood Elf paladin. Yeah, I know, it’s a Blood Elf. I don’t much like the idea either, but it was the only real way to play a Paladin over here. Karen playing hers inspired me to finally give the class a real shot. That and watching my raid team’s excellent paladins do their thing.

Okay, we’ve gotten the baseline for how my current character array looks. Let’s go over what’s changing in Cataclysm terms of class availability to certain races.

Like I’ve mentioned before here, Cataclysm is introducing new race/class combinations that previously weren’t available, because certain races did not have the prediliction towards certain classes for a wide variety of reasons. Let’s list these additions again, limiting ourselves to the Horde ones only, and talk about what is changing in terms of game lore to allow these new additions.

Orcs will now be able to be mages. The storyline of why, however, is still a big mystery. Orcs have traditionally been limited in their magical studies to Warlocks, owing to their history of being former pawns of demons. I’m excited to see what comes of this.

Undead will be able to be hunters. The belief is that Undead Hunters will be students of Sylvanas and her Dark Rangers as well as the well known questgiver Nathanos Blightcaller. Not a huge stretch.

Blood Elves will be able to be Warriors. This isn’t a huge stretch, as every race in the world was able to be a warrior. The exclusion of Blood Elf warriors was due more to a game design limitation rather than any real lore one. It will be interesting to see if Warrior class trainers simply just show up in Silvermoon or if there will actually been some sort of storyline or organization that will explain the sudden availability.

Trolls are getting druids, and just recently revealed by Blizzard, warlocks as well. The setup for Troll Druids has been revealed as part of the whole “retaking their home of Echo Isles” quest chain that will be added to the game before Cataclysm comes, but the reasoning for Warlocks? Also still a big mystery. I’m also excited about this, because Troll Warlock has always been one of those race/class combos that I simply thought would look awesome.

Finally, there’s the Taurens, who are getting Priests and Paladins. Now these are truly interesting choices. Formerly, these two classes had been primarily linked with the worship of the concept of “the Light”, a deity or “force” well known by most of the Alliance races, especially humans, Dwarves, and Draenei, as well as the Blood Elves of the Horde (former Alliance members as well). Trolls and Night Elves had priests as well, but they were more linked to worship of their own respective deities, and Paladins of those races are undeard of. The Taurens are of a more earthly spiritual bent, hence their druids and shamans. So what changed for them? For the answer, we must turn to the character of Aponi Brightmane, and the small quest surrounding her. You can read all about it here, but essentially, some among the tauren are wondering if they’ve been favoring the moon goddess they believe in (the same one the Night Elves believe in, which is the basis for their shared druid traditions) too much, and should also look to their sun god/dess as well. It is believed that this revivied worship will lead to the founding of an order of paladins and priests among taurens, explaining their availability in Cataclsysm. It’s fascinating stuff.

Okay, so we know what’s coming for Cataclysm. And mostly, we know why. So what am I thinking of doing with this information?

Well, I’m still undecided at this point as to who I’ll level 80-85 and raid with initially: the mage or the warlock. I like them both, but I’ve been playing the mage primarily for years now. There’s both a sense of inertia making me feel like I should continue to stay with him, and a sense of wanting to change, do something different. I’m not sure which will win, and that’s one of the reasons I want to get in the Beta so badly.

But this whole new Troll Warlock thing….I have to admit, I’m extremely tempted to change my warlock to a troll and go into Cataclysm with him. It would be amazingly cool. I even thought about making him the new Dahkar, crafting a story of the proud troll archmage falling into darkness and embracing the magic of the Legion. I’m not sure I’ll do that though, because I kinda like having Oldmanfranks as a character in WoW. It’s a lot to think about and/or process.

The Paladin/Priest thing also has me very excited. My plan when I made those characters was always to save up and pay to change them both to Tauren when it became available. But now that I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that I won’t be playing the Druid or the Death Knight much, at least initially, in Cataclysm, perhaps I can use them to further the stories of my current Tauren brothers?

What if, for example, Grothi spoke with Tahu and came to agree with him about the Tauren neglecting the sun? What if he embraced this new path, and became a priest in his own right??

And what if, upon hearing about this strange new path from his brother, Shadothi became intruiged? What if the light of the sun not only brought him guidance (something that, with the Lich King dead, he would need), but also finally restored his dead form to life? What if the Tauren who had spent so much of his life in darkess, could finally fully embrace the light?

It’s an intruiging concept. We shall see what happens as the release gets ever closer.