Postcards From WoW, Part 4

By Shamus
on Aug 9, 2010
Filed under:
Pictures

A bit about my character‘s outfit:

wow_stripper.jpg

Through some miracle of chance, my outfit basically matches. Orange and black. I did not design this. I’m just wearing what I’ve found that seems to be the “best”, according to my understanding of what I should be looking for in armor. It’s unusual to have a matching outfit like this. Any minute now I’ll find a bright green and red breastplate that will ruin the whole thing.

For most of the game you’re gong to look like my level 14 warrior:

wow_panzerkrieg.jpg

Red shirt. Orange vest. Cyan pants. Brown cape with yellow trim. Then a few splashes of green & beige for good measure. Maybe in a couple of levels he’ll score some nice blue shoulderpads and a yellow hat to complete the angry fruit salad look.

Having said that, I’m very unhappy with the outfit I have for Shadowless. Plus ten points for having matching colors, but minus a hundred for looking like a stripper. On another character this might work, but a chain link tank top with chain link garters? That doesn’t really say “hunter” to me. In fact, if I had a rogue this would be pretty cool gear to have. But if I ever level a rogue I’d probably aim for something stripperific but end up with a green hooded cloak and body-covering armor.

I’ve had this outfit for a couple of levels now. I’m sure I could replace it. But I hate spending money on gear because new gear usually comes along so quickly. I’m sure as soon as I plonked down money for gear I’d get my hands on a bunch of replacements. (For a while I had a full helm, which made Shadowless look like a stripper with a trashcan on her head.) I am not the first person to notice that characters usually look like they got dressed in the dark.

I really, really miss the cosmetic outfit feature of LOTRO. Throughout the Lulzy series, she was always getting new gear. But the cosmetic system lets you control how you look independently of how your gear performs, so I was able to take the gear she acquired early in the adventure and make that her established look regardless of what items came along. With a system like this you don’t have to choose between looking ridiculous or going into battle with sub-optimal gear. I’ve always said that good games offer lots of choice, but choosing between looking like an idiot and being an idiot isn’t much fun.

But it’s probably too late to fix this now. WoW’s customization options are actually pretty good compared to the games of six years ago, so this is more an issue with WoW’s age than the design.

Still, it’d be nice.

wow_lost_village.jpg

Here’s an interesting location. It’s a Tauren-styled village way on the southern tip of Kalimdor. Because most of the world is walled in with mountains you actually have to enter the water on the other side of the continent and swim all the way around. I used a water-walking potion so I could use my mount, but even mounted it was a long trip with nothing but a sheer cliff face on one side and open seas on the other.

wow_lost_village2.jpg

The village is deserted. No NPC’s. Nothing. Just empty buildings. There’s a cave network nearby that contains no monsters or loot or anything else. I expected the cave to lead back into the gameworld, but it didn’t. It’s a dead end. I wonder if this location was just never finished, or if it was active and accessible in years past and has since been retired for whatever reason?

And speaking of strange places, here’s one shown to me by a player named Emza:

wow_fallout1.jpg

This is in the city of Stormwind, near the arch that goes from the bank to the Mage Quarter. Jump from the boxes onto the torch. (A tricky jump.) Then hop up onto the ledge where my character is. Then carefully edge around to where Emza is. Then run away from the arch along the edge. There’s no collision check on that part of the ledge, and you fall right through…

wow_fallout2.jpg

You’ll land on this plane beneath the city. It’s interesting to see behind the scenes like this. The game seems to use the same culling logic that it would if you were up inside the city. So, if you’re standing right under the auction house it won’t bother drawing the Mage Quarter, because under normal circumstances there would be walls in the way. This means that as you run around down here, buildings will pop in and out of view in strange ways.

In fact, if you’ve ever been to Stormwind you’ve probably been annoyed by the layout that’s always making you zig zag and weave around just to move through the city. If you want to get from the front gate to the forge in the Dwarven District, you’re going to have to make many, many turns:

wow_stormwind.jpg

I suspect those baffles are there for no other reason than to break line-of-sight, so that your computer never has to draw more than one district of the city at a time. It might seem a bit daft now, but back in 2004 I’m sure it was crucial for making the game playable. They didn’t do this for the expansion cities (Shattrath, Dalaran) and so those cities are a lot easier to navigate. And quite a bit slower. My framerate is always capped in Stormwind, but it chugs a bit when I enter Dalaran.

Note that when Cataclysm goes live, it will go live for everyone. You need the expansion to play the new races and locations, but either way you’ll get the new Azeroth. And the new Azeroth is undoubtedly going to need slightly more GPU oomph. It will still be tame by today’s standards, but I wonder how this will go over for people who are using old computers that already struggle. Kind of odd to think of a company raising the system specs of a game you already own. Might make for some rough days for the tech support people. Although, I’ve called them three times and the recording has always told me they’re too busy to take any calls, so maybe they won’t even notice.

Poor guys. It is so hard to fund a proper tech support staff when you only have ten million monthly subscribers.

Wait. Where was I? Oh right. Stormwind…

wow_fallout3.jpg

Anyway, neat things to see underground. It’s interesting that the server doesn’t at least perform periodic sanity checks. Emza said you could walk all the way to (underneath) Searing Gorge from here.

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A Hundred!2017There are 137 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Yerushalmi says:

    How do you get out, though?

    • pnf says:

      Hearthstone if nothing else.

      Been several years since I played. At the time, there was a “/stuck” command which…triggered your hearthstone, assuming it wasn’t on cooldown. Does it still work like that?

      • Ace Calhoon says:

        It also flags your location for tech support.

      • kmc says:

        One thing we did way back when was destroy your hearthstone (since the next time you talked to an innkeeper you automatically got a new one in your bag–also, it helped to be a mage or druid or someone with a port of some kind). You could actually glitch your way into Hyjal, so I ended up there with my main, who was 56 at the time. The whole place was designed but there were no mobs–just a couple of “under construction” roadblocks. But to get in, you had to jump down and you’d get stuck behind an invisible wall, so you typed /stuck. If you had destroyed your hearthstone, it’d simply jump you forward a couple of feet, which was enough to be in the new area and run around. Fun!

    • Christine says:

      There’s a spot you go where you fall “down” and end up in the water of the moat. Or you run to the docks and come out there. My kid showed me. He is in guilds that go there to hold dance parties. They were going to do an experiment with fireworks from one of the festivals to see if they shot them up in the air, if they were visible from street level to players who didn’t fall through, but I don’t know if it ever worked.

  2. Aldowyn says:

    Bugs are pretty much inevitable in a game as big as WoW. Or any MMO, for that matter.

    On the clothing, the cosmetic look is a good fix, but not too realistic. How about if there just wasn’t ORANGE armor, or it always came in sets, that were say given out in your quests, or in shops. (Latter not likely in WoW, considering how broke you are at the beginning, but whatever.) I’ve seen FTP games that do this all the time. (With the unfortunate side-effect that everyone gets the same armor. EVERYONE.)

    • Nathon says:

      The end game is like that. All the warlocks in our high end raiding guild have exactly the same gear on.

    • acronix says:

      Aion does that. All gear for a level range (let´s say, 20-30) looks the same, except for color. Then they are divided by drop or vendor. So, if you buy all the gear in the vendors, you´ll end with an outfit that fits together nicely. If you get all your gear by drops, then it will still fit together. If you do both, then you´ll most likely end up with a lot of clipping issues in your clothing. And the dropped stuff is better than the vendor stuff so…
      It also has a “remodel” system in which you destroy an armor of the same kind or less to make other look like it.

    • Blackbird71 says:

      I kind of like the way Guild Wars handles this. Each class has a few different armor skins, and a few different sets of stat boosts that can be applied to each skin, so you get to choose the armor appearance you want and combine it with the bonus you want. It definitely could be improved upon and expanded, but it works.

  3. Sagretti says:

    You can probably blame PVP for why WOW doesn’t have a cosmetic armor feature. In LOTR, player versus player is restricted to the monster play areas, so it’s not a vital issue. In Warcraft, PVP is a large chunk of the game for a lot of people. If you allowed people to wear cosmetic armor, all the hardcore pvp players would just use it to hide their uber gear by looking like they’re wearing level 10 greys (starting gear for those who don’t know).

    They are adding something called an overcloak with the expansion, which just changes the look of your cloak to something different with no stat changes. So who knows, maybe we’ll get complete cosmetic items eventually, probably with some kind of “disappears the moment you mark yourself for pvp” restriction.

  4. Ming says:

    This is the second time you’ve linked to your character on WoWArmory. I don’t want to start a discussion on your gear, because you’re obviously enjoying yourself and you’re doing pretty good on the gear choices besides, but are you aware that Hunters can dual-wield one-handed weapons, so you don’t actually need to use an offhand?

    • Shamus says:

      Yeah. But I never saw the point of dual-wield. I mean, the only time I swing my sword is when I’ve screwed up and pulled aggro. And in those cases I want as little aggro as possible. “Here! All I got is these pillows for weapons! Don’t worry about me! Go bother someone else!”

      Although, that off-hand thingy is way old and I could probably get a better stat boost from something closer to my level, weapon or not.

      • OEP says:

        The point is that offhands generally have caster stats. Another weapon would give you more hunter stats such as Agility.

      • Ian says:

        Yeah, I’d probably try to ditch that off-hand ASAP. It’s not really doing you any favors as a hunter.

        The stats that you want to focus are as a hunter are attack power and agility. One point of agility equals one point of attack power and adds some crit chance, so if you have two pieces of gear that provide equal points of AP and agility, pick the latter.

        You are definitely correct in your thinking. Get the biggest stat stick you can find. The only weapon that’s going to be meaningful is your bow, since your melee weapon is going to be your last resort. That said — and this is going to sound odd — it might not be a bad idea to raise the weapon skill on your melee weapons. Wing clip’s success is directly linked to your weapon skill. If you use it at all (granted, you really don’t need to unless you’re specifically trying to do crowd control without traps), you need to have your weapon skill reasonably close to topped off.

        • rofltehcat says:

          Also while leveling the melee damage of hunters can save your hide many times. When that giant un’goro tyrannosaur is running for you with 3% life left your melee skills can make a giant difference.
          Also you need at least some melee skills if you should ever venture into pvp.

  5. Moriarty says:

    oh man, I can see the healer biting into his keyboard when you rolled need on that neck item.

    • Shamus says:

      I could actually use some advice here. I’m now allowed to wear mail. But most mail is something like Str/Stam. I need (as far as I can tell) agility. But that’s on leather. Of all the classes to get mail, why hunters? Rogues get hit more often than we do. I’ll play for hours without taking a hit. Why am I in this (Victoria’s Secret) tin can? Agility stacking mail is rare, which is another reason I’m still wearing this armor. Stuff with better armor value has come along, but I don’t see why I’d give up DPS I used constantly for protection I never need.

      If anyone has any advice?

      • OEP says:

        Most random greens are going to be random in term of stats, so go for stuff with agility and AP.

        As for non-random mail/leather, it depends on the level of the item.

        Sublevel 40 mail is geared towards warrior/paladins with str.

        Over level 40 mail is geared towards hunters/enh shamans with agility since at level 40 warriors and paladins change to wearing plate.

        Sub 58 itemization is a bit wonky because the system has been revamped a few times and some of it was never changed for the old stuff.

        Once you hit outland it all gets clearer.

        • Shamus says:

          Thanks. ‘nother question for the crowd: But which is better: AP or Agility? I cannot figure out how this break down without trying the item on and looking at my damage, which is a pain in the ass when you’re talking about auction house items or BoE.

          Oh yeah. Right now half the chest mail on the AH is +INT. Nice.

          • OEP says:

            Agility is almost always better for the same stat budget. Every item has a budget that depends on the level of the item. In general the as far as the game is concerned, the budget is 2AP = 1 Agility.

            In practice Agility is slightly better than 2 AP because it provides 1 AP and a certain amount of crit depending on your level.

            A rule of thumb is that 1Agi is slightly better than 2AP.

            Now your spec also affects this. A BM hunter would favor AP a bit more because AP translates into more damage for his pet than Agi. A Survival hunter would favor Agi even more because Survival has a number of agility multipliers in their talents.

            Top end Marks hunters gear for Armor Pen, but you only do that once you know what you are doing.

            All-in-all, you should forget about your gear until level 58.

            At 58, go to outland. There is a complete gear reset at that point and quest greens are about as good if not better than first tier raid purples from the old world.

            • Ian says:

              You’re thinking of the melee classes (warriors, pallies, DKs) where 1 strength = 2 AP. Hunters aren’t that fortunate. Each point of agility for hunters only translates to one point of attack power.

              • Duffy says:

                He’s talking about stat budget assigned to items, not the literal 1 Agi = 2 AP from Vanilla days. If you look at comparable level gear for hunters Agility is more “expensive” a stat on items as it gives you AP and Crit, so there will be less Agi on an item then if they replaced it with AP. The rough exchange value for min/maxing is 1 Agi ~= 2 AP

                • MrWhales says:

                  This is why WoW is not played by me. I miss the old days of RPGs where there were about half the stats there are now. There were still plenty of them, but this sounds like an accountant’s meeting.

                  And I might be talking out of my arse, but you know i have a point. A point that is more beat than the dead horse lying next to it.

              • OEP says:

                If you had read my whole post, I explicitly state 1 Agi gives 1 AP and some crit.

            • Moriarty says:

              be aware that, most of these formulas are for highend raids, so they assume you’ve got blessing of kings, which raises your agility by 10%:

              As long as you aren’t at the level cap and try to raid anything, 1agi=2ap. there are some other stats like crit rating, stamina or armor penetration, but those aren’t important until you start raiding.

              and if we’re going to post all kinds of theories about hunters, let’s overwhelm shamous with this:

              http://elitistjerks.com/f74/

              more than you ever wanted to know about hunter itemisation!

          • Ace Calhoon says:

            If you’re an add-on kind of guy, RatingBuster breaks an items stats down to a pretty low level, and provides comparisons with your current gear.

            • Duffy says:

              That is actually part of the default interface now, I do not recall if it’s one of those things you need to enable but it is there.

              • Ace Calhoon says:

                I’ll have to take a look for it next time I’m online. Which part is in the UI… Comparison to existing gear, or breakdown of stats (Agility->AP, crit, dodge; Stamina->Hitpoints; etc.)?

                • Duffy says:

                  It does the direct stat difference between the two compared pieces. It does not show you the conversions. In that case, Rating Buster would still be helpful if you don’t know them.

          • Duffy says:

            During the leveling process, it’s more or less irrelevant, go with whichever is higher at the moment. (This will usually be AP)

            Your preferred stats for leveling should be (in order): Agility, AP, and Crit. At max level you start to care about Hit, Armor Pen, and Haste too. Int is kind of important, but usually is on the mail gear you will be choosing.

            You won’t see much in terms of Hit, Armor Pen, and Haste until much later into Outland and Wrath, and you can ignore them while leveling for the most part, just think of them as nice bonuses. They play a bigger role in min/maxing at the raiding level.

            • Trix says:

              I recommend picking up a bit of hit if you can. Not having misses reaaaally helps a lot of situations and can easily be worth more than a little bit more damage. You won’t start getting significant amounts until outland, unfortunately, but then outland is several steps up from the old world in terms of itemization.

          • Steve C says:

            Right now half the chest mail on the AH is +INT. Nice.

            I assume that was sarcastic but really INT is a hunter stat. Hunters have a talent that turns INT into AP. It’s expected that hunters have that talent so most hunter gear has INT on it. At high gear levels INT can beat out Agility.

            So you know the relative stat weights for a leveling hunter:
            Hit (until cap) > Agil >= Int >= Armor Pen > Crit rating >> haste rating >> AP

            Yes those are greater than operators. And it’s not absolutely true, just a good huristic to follow.

            • Trix says:

              For a leveling hunter, Int should only be taken if better gear happens to have it. Not all hunters will have that talent, and the AP boost from it is not something to gear for. Not to say that avoiding Int is a good thing…

              Int will pretty much never beat out agility for damage (1 AP per point of Int vs. 1 AP and crit per point of Agi). However, extra Int on an item can make it an upgrade nonetheless.

            • Shamus says:

              I’m a survival hunter. Don’t think I have that talent.

              You know, I wrote my column about the complexity of WoW, and about a half dozen people said, “Ah, WoW isn’t all that complex.”

              Those people are defective. They must be culled.

              • Adeon says:

                It’s Careful Aim in the Marksmanship tree. It’s well worth picking up some talents from the Marksmanship tree for Survival Hunters. In particular Lethal Shots increases your critical chance (which is useful for several Survival Talents), Careful Aim increases your attack power and Aimed Shot is useful as an extra attack. At higher levels the designers basically assume that all Hunters have Careful Aim and Hunter gear includes decent amounts of Intelligence. They did this because it means Enhancement Shamens and Hunters can use the same armor which decreases the total number of items needed for each tier (and presumably increases the chance of someone present needing the gear)

                • RobertB says:

                  Don’t forget also that hunters are mana users, and INT increases the size of your mana pool. This isn’t really a big deal when leveling, but on boss fights you want to stay out of viper as much as possible. In fact, the hunter’s favorite damage tweaking site, Femaledwarf, seems to overvalue INT somewhat.

                  This doesn’t mean you want to gem or enchant for INT, but it does mean you probably don’t want to go whole-hog with leather rogue gear.

      • Muspel says:

        At lower levels, itemization is really weird. When classic was designed, Blizzard really didn’t have any clue what they were doing, so they made a lot of odd items, such as two-handed weapons with defense rating.

        And actually, you CAN use mail. Hunters get the ability to wear it at level 40. Up until level 40, the mail you come across will be designed for paladins and warriors, as they’re the only ones that can use it. Past that point (in theory), they begin to use plate, and hunters and shamans can use mail.

        Once you get to Outland at level 58 or so, the stats on items start to make a lot more sense. Until then, just use whatever has agility or attack power on it.

        And once you get to northrend, every item of at least blue quality will be designed for specific specs. Mail will either have healing stats (for resto shamans, although there isn’t much of this stuff lying around, so they tend to use cloth), caster dps stats (for elemental shamans), or physical dps stats (for hunters and enhancement shamans). Cloth will be split into caster dps and healing gear, plate will be broken down by physical dps, tank, and healing gear, and leather will be mostly dps. Weapons will be itemized according to who is supposed to use them.

        This kind of thing is one of the main reasons they’re re-designing the old world for Cataclysm. There’s just a lot of really weird stuff lying around that’s very confusing for new players.

        Also, regarding dual-wielding… In general, you don’t do it for the off-hand attacks, you do it for the stats on the weapons. The general term for hunter melee weapons is “stat-stick”, since that’s really all you use them for.

        Two-handed agility weapons are also an options (at higher levels, these are generally polearms). It may be that this is your only (smart) option later on, but I’m not an expert on hunters.

      • RobertB says:

        Get anything green ‘of the Falcon’ that you can find in the AH. Leather or mail would be fine. Sell the oddball pieces you find to pay for the good ones you need.

        The best advice I can give you, though, is to push those last three levels so you can get to the BC content. The gear in BC is much more powerful, the quests are better, etc. Levels 50-58 kind of suck, zone-wise.

        Plus you’d probably be better off with a 2-handed stat stick. A good 2-hander usually has better stats than two 1-handers.

      • LafinJack says:

        If rogues were given mail, they’d be too powerful… but as you noticed, your stats overlap with theirs. They had to give someone mail to keep fights from happening (as it is, many hunters roll on whatever they like, which starts fights…), and it was less overpowering to give it to hunters.

      • Ian says:

        Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about jumping over to mail gear too quickly. I would only worry about what kind of stats you’re going to get out of it. A piece of leather that gives you +24 attack power is going to be better than a piece of mail that gives you 6.

        Of course, the changes to the need before greed system make this a pain in the neck in random dungeons. When I was trying to gear my hunter I ran into a few instances, as late as the WotLK content, where I’d find leather drops that beat my mail gear but was unable to roll on them. You pretty much have to either preempt people hitting “disenchant” or try to encourage the friendly rogue or druid in your party to roll need and give it to you (or reroll for it at least).

        I’ve found that this became less of an issue as I drew closer to 80. Thank goodness.

      • Steve C says:

        Of all the classes to get mail, why hunters? I’ll play for hours without taking a hit.

        Hunters sleep with a bear, a cougar and various other animals. Wouldn’t you wear mail if constantly around bitey-clawy animals?

        Agility stacking mail is rare only because mail intended for a lvl 40 or below char is designed for paladins/warriors. 40 is when they can wear plate. Mail becomes agility based almost entirely by the time you hit 50. By 50, you aren’t running any content that was designed for a lvl 39. I notice Shadowless is now 55 and mostly wearing mail so I think you already see what I mean.

        BTW: When you hit level 57, go shopping. Level 57 (not 58) is the first level you can wear gear from Outlands. Outlands gear has a much higher ilvl and is very cheap. 57-60 stuff made by leatherworkers and blacksmiths are particularly good. Better than most epics before Outlands.

        • Trix says:

          I recommend waiting, not shopping. Almost all your gear pieces will get replaced by quests in outland, and there is little to no reason to buy anything when you can replace gear for free anyways.

          • Steve C says:

            I disagree. I plan out my upgrades in advance. The crafted stuff was far better for my hunter than quest rewards. The Fel Scale (LW) and Fel Iron mail (BS) sets were very good. So good I kept 2 pieces until finally replacing them with Northrend gear. When you keep gear for the duration of an entire expansion it’s high quality stuff. Also when you know you are going to keep something for 8+ levels (equaling n number of hours of play) then you can safely put good enchants onto it without thinking you’ve wasted your time and money doing so.

            • Trix says:

              Very true, although I think it depends on playstyle. For instance, many will like picking those up to keep and enchant to last a while. For me, after leveling so many characters, I don’t really tend to put much thought into pursuing upgrades other than what comes naturally from questing…but I believe thats more because I don’t really see the need much anymore (better gear is nice, but often I do well enough leveling even with old greens).

              I guess it all comes down to how willing you are to spend time/money on extra upgrades, which I will admit to doing plenty of times in the past just to see the little numbers go higher :)

      • Bryan says:

        If you need more agility in your armor, I have an enchanter who is about your level. I can always make you some agility enchant scrolls for some of your armor. Mail me if you want some.

  6. Oldmicah says:

    I think the color fix could be easy. Give leather workers/ armorers the ability to dye armor or if that complicates the UI (b/c you have to hand over your armor and/or protect it from malicious coloring) sell coloring ‘potions’. You could even have some dyes more expensive than others to give a kind of char level color coding. May play with some of the optimizations in play , but as you can customize your char appearance….

    And what great quest ops. The mayor of the town is about to give a speech on how secure the town is. Thieves guild is not amused. Break in the night before and dye his clothes pink and red…..

    • Tacoman says:

      The issue with dyeing your gear so it all matches is the same issue as with PVP stated earlier. As higher tiers of PVP gear come out, they are *mostly* recolorings of the previous tier, usually a little more ornate. The color is a bigger tip off for how good that guy’s gear is, and the ornateness is really only so he thinks he looks cool.

      At the same time, I really hate that we all have to look the same because of PVP. If someone wanted to see what gear I’m wearing if I’ve got it obscured by cosmetic changes, they could simply /inspect my character. And that’s what most people do anyway, so really, this argument is just inane. If that’s really Blizzard’s stand, then I think they’re just being lazy.

    • Ace Calhoon says:

      The other big issue is that the game simply wasn’t built this way. The armor textures are all static images… There’s no way to tell it “the green color should go along this strip.”

      Of course, with Cataclysm they’ve demonstrated that they’re somewhat willing to go back and redo a lot of content, so… It could happen in some future expansion.

  7. Clint Olson says:

    A word to the wise: Don’t ever discuss glitching Stormwind in-game, as scuttlebutt suggests that it’s a bannable offense, should you get reported. Blizzard would like nothing better than for all players to be good little peons, never trying to break their world.

    • Burton Choinski says:

      Not completely true, they do appreciate explorers who are responsible. A while back I was playing my Dwarf hunter and was exploring the barrens to fill in the map. Got to Mulgor and got to walking around the outside of the Tauren start area, to the far end, and found that with some climbing and jumping I could get inside. I fired off a note to the devs after I got my map filled in, and a GM wired back with a note of thanks.

      Another time I found a jump route to some flat territory above the mountains. Again, I wired it in and they thanked me.

  8. Jeremy says:

    I really want to know the story behind that tauren village now.

    • Greg says:

      It was probably a bored world builder messing around when WoW was originally built. There are a couple of similar locations around the world, like a human farm on the east coast of Arathi Highlands.

      • Daf says:

        Probably. I found it my own self back in the day (mid-2005) while I was swimming from Feralas alll the way around to Tanaris (I had incorrectly assumed I could land somewhere on the coast of Silithus or Un’Goro).
        It was empty and desolate back then, too, sadly; I always wondered what happened to them poor cows. :(

  9. Kalil says:

    There are some other easter-eggish hidden areas. Old IronForge is /probably/ no longer accessible, but it used to be accessible using some death-walking trips. It was the beta version of Ironforge, and is a pretty cool city. Also, Mount Hyjal was accessible well before recent event via some very clever jumping. I’m no longer playing, so I can’t check whether it still is accessible that way – but I remember there was a rather tongue-in-cheek ‘under construction’ sign at the end of the road to the Great Tree.
    There’s also the Ironforge Airport, which you can see from a few gryphon flights (IF->Menethil, iirc). It can also be reached by clever jumping and wall-walking. There’s a perpetual war there between some ridiculously low-level trolls and some rather high-level guards. You can also get onto the Ironforge gate from there, and jump to your rather amusing demise right in the middle of the dueling grounds.

    http://thestoppableforce.net/2009/11/01/touring-old-ironforge/ – Old IF
    http://www.wowwiki.com/Dun_Morogh_airfield – IF Airport
    http://www.wowwiki.com/Mount_Hyjal – Mount Hyjal (“However, after Patch 2.1.2, Blizzard implemented a “No Man’s Land” teleport that removes you from the zone.” Unfortunate.)

  10. Specter says:

    Dear Shamus,

    I hate you. Not only do you fill your own posts with links, you also link to tvtropes. Repeatedly these last days, I might add. You alone owe me ~15 hours by now and there are more to come, since at this point I already have nine trope-tabs open.
    Please don’t do this to me anymore…

    • Low-Level DM says:

      There, there. Join the crowd of woe-begotten, trope-ridden, illaqueated Shamus followers, and stop complaining.

      Though, you know, you may have a point…

      Nah. Just my imagination. Onwards!

      • Michael says:

        Am I the ONLY person who can open a single Tropes page, read it, close it, and continue doing what I was doing before?

      • Specter says:

        Don’t get me wrong:
        I’m still a faithfull follower of Shamus’ adventures. But this has become such a time-sink my relationship is suffering: “honey are you coming to bed?” “yeah, I just read this blog, gimme 5 minutes” 6 hours later I’m being yelled at for staying up all night, being tired all day because of it and not spending enough time with the missus!

        • Shamus says:

          The same thing happens in the process of producing this stuff.

          It’s a beautiful symbiosis. Er. Symbiosis… that’s when two creatures work together for mutual self-destruction, right?

          • Haxot says:

            Silly women, thinking we want to sleep with them…
            My fiancee has noticed I have the same habit.
            She’s forgiving of it tho.
            Cause she’ll facebook till 3am when I’ve promised she’ll have my full attention that evening. :)

          • Specter says:

            it’s not mutual self-destruction, at least in my case… more of a destruction-by-spouse…

            maybe we should get them together, so they can entertain themselves while I devour the content you pump out… on second thought that might be a bit difficult, me being on a different continent and all that ~.~

        • Ross Bearman says:

          Finally, somebody to share my pain.

          That said, my girlfriend also reads Twenty Sided, she just seems to be able to subvert the craving to read the latest article the moment it’s posted. But she’s weird like that.

          Always awkward when I’m cooking dinner.

          “Oooh, new postcard from WoW!”
          “Uh, love, the kitchen is on fire.”

  11. Zukhramm says:

    Blizzard “solved” the cosmetic armor problem in WotLK by making all armor look the same. Which is even worse.

    • Ian says:

      That’s the case with tier 9 and 9.5 gear (imagine my surprise when I found out that my pure, goody-two-shoes(-with-the-occasional-cannibalistic-tendency troll holy priest looked the same as my friend’s warlock). Blizzard learned their lesson and provided each class with a unique set with the Tier 10 gear, and it actually looks quite nice.

      The only real issue is that the different spec sets still look the same (i.e. a priest with the T10 set favoring healing specs will look the same as a priest with the set favoring DPS). Not a huge deal. At least you can tell the difference between priests and freaking warlocks now.

  12. Tacoman says:

    The only secret place I know how to get into is beneath Karazhan. I know it’s still viable to get there, as I did it just yesterday with a guildie. If you’re interested to see it, Shamus, just send me a note. You got me into the game on Kirin Tor over 2 years ago now anyway. :)

  13. DancePuppets says:

    You think the outfit that your warrior is wearing is bad, my priest spent about 3 levels, wearing a fancy shirt, a good pair of boots, a cloak and a fur loincloth. He looked absolutely ridiculous, now the shirt has been replaced by a robe, so, although he is still wearing the loincloth, at least you can’t see it!

    • lazlo says:

      I recall when I was leveling my priest, there was one set that I got that looked absolutely awesome. I think it was mostly drops from SM. Very stylish. Then I got this other head drop that had much better stats… but looked absolutely retarded. A board with a face painted on it that strapped to your head. I hated it so much that I’d only put it on in instances (the lower-stat head was plenty sufficient for questing, but I felt I’d be letting a dungeon group down if I didn’t have on my best gear. I was quite happy when I finally found a better head piece. It still looked pretty bad, but in more of a pimpalicious way than the plain ugly way the previous piece had looked.

      (and yes, I know that you can toggle whether or not your helm and/or cloak are visible in the UI settings. But I still felt like that was somehow cheating…)

      • lazlo says:

        OK, I had to look it up… My priest looked pretty sweet in his Robe of Doan and his Whitemane’s Chapeau… Then I went to Zul’Farrak, a Bad Mojo Mask dropped and I suddenly found myself torn between my desire for good stats and my desire not to look like an idiot.

        Eventually, I got some circlet that didn’t do much for my appearance, but had good stats and wasn’t incredibly ugly.

        • Trix says:

          A lot of forest trolls might debate your sense of fashion :P

          To be honest, when I got that on my mage the first thing I did was toggle helm off. I can’t think of any reason why someone might actually like wearing it.

  14. Ian says:

    Heh. I used to refer to my hunter as the “Technicolor Tauren” when I was leveling him because my gear clashed so badly. Gotta love leveling in WoW.

  15. Dev Null says:

    No Shamus; your hypothetical future-rogue is “safe”. Pretty much ALL female armour in the game makes you look like a stripper unless you’re wearing plate, and a significant amount of that does as well.

    • Ming says:

      Actually, this isn’t really true. I’m fairly certain that once you hit Outland and Northrend, the female stripperiffic gear goes down a lot.

      In any case, I just realized, this issue could be quickly solved by getting a tabard, and Shamus, shouldn’t you have access to the Tabard of the Hand, since you’re a draenei?

      • rofltehcat says:

        Plain grey guild tabard is also great when you aren’t in a guild (and having a butt-ugly guild tabard is actually a good reason to leave scrub guilds). Or get a nice shirt at the auction house.

        • Yes, tabards and shirts make a huge difference. I started wearing them for that very reason ;)

          Now that my daughter has her own account and doesn’t mind, I’m playing male characters (and Orcs and …) so it isn’t as significant an issue.

          Some of the outland gear is really stripperific though. Though once you get into T9/T10 it is mature adult stuff ;) (as in what a grown up would wear, not as moving from PG13 to R).

  16. Gilmoriël says:

    It’s actually pretty rare these days to find glitches like the one you describe in stormwind. All manner of locations in WoW had walls you could learn to scale by remembering or figuring out the precise locations where invisible walls clipped through the visible architecture. Finding and climbing these locations was a favourite past-time of a large number of players and was generally referred to as “wallhaxing”. It’s true that in one notable location it could be used to avoid being killed by a raid boss (you could climb high up the wall in Netherspite’s room in Karazhan), but apart from that it was just something of a hobby for people idling around with nothing to do. I can’t quite remember which patch it was that fixed all of this, but I can tell you that I and many others were quite disgruntled when Blizzard decided to “fix” this.

  17. X2-Eliah says:

    I’m more concerned about Solomon being naked. Couldn’t you give him some fur pants, at least?

  18. Exenz says:

    As far as gear matching goes : 1-60 is bad, 60-70 was worse for me, 70-80 was much better. (at least they have a theme going on)

    And just in case you don’t know : You can hide your helm/cloak if you want. In the Interface->Display menu you’ll have Show Cloak/Helm that you can disable. (Considering how ugly many helms are at low levels, it can be quite useful)

  19. Danel says:

    As people have said, choosing armour becomes easier once you reach Outland… though at that point you may start to look back with fondness at the colour-matched beauty of the old armour you have – Outland armour is famously ugly.

    They tried to fix this constant complaint for WotLK, only for people to complain that the armours now all looked too similar.

    Really, all people want is hundreds of unique and beautiful armours which can all fit together wonderfully. Is that so hard?

    • Dys says:

      Actually, probably not. Modular design and all.
      It’d likely be an interesting problem, properly approached.
      But I imagine there’re a lot of other things above a complete revamp of the equipment graphics, in the priority list.

  20. Solid Jake says:

    “For a while I had a full helm, which made Shadowless look like a stripper with a trashcan on her head.”

    Actually, there’s an option (under “interface options” I believe) to hide your helmet on your character model. There’s another one for cloaks. They’re pretty much mandatory on most of my characters.

    It does suck when you finally get a decent look going and have to change it though. For the longest time (pretty much until Wrath came out) I had a Draneieyiie Paladin stuck in some mix of beginner-70 armor that gave her this rad-as-hell purple/silver theme. She was that way for so long that it’s still the mental image I have of that character.

    Meanwhile, my rogue (who is a dude) got stuck wearing this for 15 levels:

    http://www.wowhead.com/item=14652

  21. Eric Irwin says:

    I’ve been playing this FTP mmo called Earth Eternal and one of my favorite things about the game is how they handle armor. You see you still get random armor from quests, loot drops, and shops but in this game if you find a set you like that go’s well together you can take it to a shop in town and transfer you old armors stats to your new armors look. this also works for better armor you pick up just go to the armor re fashioner and bam your new gear has the look of your old gear. so in essence after you find a look you like you can make that your characters signature look for the whole game.

  22. Hal says:

    The funny thing about gear matching: Blizzard apparently tried to solve this in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion by keeping the weapons and armor (pre-raid, at least) to a few given color/design templates. This dramatically cut back on the “clown adventurer” look, but a lot of players apparently complained about the homogenization, with everyone of a given armor type looking the same.

    I suspect there’s no solution that will make everyone happy.

  23. John says:

    Hellgate London did the armor thing quite well. You could change your outfit to match in terms of colors, it was great. Best implementation I’ve seen in and RPG before.

  24. ngthagg says:

    I sympathize with the clothing issue. My warrior looked similar, except he was Tauren, which meant he got Horde quest rewards, which meant he wore this: http://www.wowhead.com/item=6502#screenshots.

    My favourite character to play for quite a while was my mage, because mages wear robes, which cover the whole body and therefore only need to match with themselves. For a long time, I didn’t even know what my pants looked like. Then came that fateful day when the best caster item I could find was a vest, and this is what I saw: http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Sentinels&cn=Alliannis Now I feel dirty whenever I play.

    The best way to ensure a co-ordinated outfit while leveling is to level tailoring, leatherworking, or blacksmithing (as appropriate for your character) at the same time. (Or have a high level character feed items to you as they come up.) The armors you can create tend to come in sets, and are usually good enough to beat random green drops and most quest rewards, so you won’t be tossing away items an hour after you craft them.

    • Trix says:

      Wait till you hit outlands. The gear is amazing in terms of stats….but hilariously bad on the design/matching front. Especially for casters.

      It was the first time my character wasn’t wearing a robe for a long time…and combining that with a ridiculous-looking brimmed hat just seems soooooo wrong.

      …but the spellpower….OH the spellpower.

  25. cadrys says:

    There’s a quest in the badlands in your mid/late 40s that ends up yielding a darn nice plate chestpiece–I remember wearing that for several levels (back when it took a longer time to get through the 50s)

    On a human female…well, I called it the “tank top of doom”. Six colors, two very thin straps, and enough skin showing to get busted at a Spring Break. I was quite happy to wear a tabard to hide it.

  26. Cthulhu says:

    If you run south off the southern tip of Tanaris, you can get to a little empty gnome village/oil rig. There’s a couple mobs floating around. You have to go through fatigue area to get there, but the island is visible from shore and if you use some sort of waterwalking so you can be mounted you’ll get to it before the fatigue meter runs out.

  27. Greg says:

    I climbed an “unclimbable” bit of debris in Fallout3 and fell through to the underside of the world. Sadly it wouldn’t let me “discover” locations from under there. I wish I had a video record of it.

  28. SatansBestBuddy says:

    For Blizzard’s next MMO, they should have an additional character creation option: “First favourite colour” and “Second favourite colour.”

    Bam, now everything you pick up will be a colour scheme you like.

    It’s not a perfect solution, hell, I see the potential to be even sillier than what we have now, but at least this way we have some say in how our characters look.

  29. Jarenth says:

    Shamus: the fact that you, of all people, are now running around in what essentially amounts to a chainmail bikini strikes me as more than a little bit ironic.

    Also, amusing.

  30. Steve C says:

    Shamus now that your hunter is above lvl 50 you should max out your engineering. Since you are an engineer you will have access to the best helm possible for the next 15 levels. All you have to do is craft it.

    Also do a match of the Alterac Valley battleground asap. It’s a pvp zone but even if you are terrible at pvp there is a whole bunch of easy quests that give good rewards. Good enough to ding 2 levels in one match with the quests. In particular the first time your side wins AV, you will get a really great polearm for hunters. Just make sure to pick up the quest for it in Dun Baldur or in the Alterac Mountains outside the zone.

    In particular find the Alterac Valley quartermaster inside the south bunker in Dun Baldur (your base). He sells ammo along with other stuff that is far better than anything else you can get for many levels.

    • Shamus says:

      What’s the name of the helm? All I can make (and all I can see from the trainers) are more and more stupid spirit + stamina goggles.

      • Trix says:

        I believe he is talking about http://www.wowhead.com/spell=41314.

        Not particularly easy to make unless you have a fair amount of cash considering the materials. Also, it has a level requirement of 62, but it’ll last at least until 70-72.

        • Trix says:

          This is probably it, actually…although you have to be a goblin engineer to make/wear it.

          The guy for this is in Gadgetzan, although there is a quest or two involved with doing so I believe (unless it changed).

      • Shiro_ax says:

        Deathkiller Goggles (not really but something like that)

        You can make them at enginering 350 and wear them at lv 62, i got them on my rogue before i left Hellfire and i’m still wearing them at lv 74.

        (Checked, they’re called Surestrike Goggles, was pretty close there. You’ll probably need help to craft them that early)

      • Adeon says:

        You’ll need to go to Outlands to train it (it needs stuff you’ll have to buy also) but I think he was talking about these:
        http://www.wowhead.com/item=23758

        Unfortunatly the suffix is random so you mighty have more luck checking the AH or just waiting until level 62 when you can get:
        http://www.wowhead.com/spell=41314

        Which will last until 72 and these:
        http://www.wowhead.com/spell=56574

        Also, make sure you get one of these for underwater exploration:
        http://www.wowhead.com/item=10506

      • Steve C says:

        A whole bunch of goggles have been linked. All of them are great. Some you can use from now until 62, then a new one from 62-72. By “best possible” I didn’t mean a single helm. I mean that the best possible helms for a hunter are all the engineering ones that you can craft if you raised your skill a bit.

        Also you can not see EVERYTHING you can train at a single trainer. The stuff that was added in Burning Crusade can only be learned if you go to Outlands to learn it. The point being to prevent those people without the expansion from learning it since they can’t get into Outlands. Same goes for Northrend learned skills. You’ve been to Shat’rath so you are able to get to a trainer there. They are on the Aldor tier.

        Engineering is most useful when you have it maxed. It allows you to use gear that is itemized for a much higher level character without the level requirement, or it gets a rebate. For example the goggles with a lvl 62 requirement have the stats on it as though it had a lvl 70 requirement. The lvl 72 Northrend goggles have the budget for a lvl 80 character.

        • Steve C says:

          Someone else (xelepart) explained this well on wowhead:

          Engineering tends to benefit the people who put the money into skilling it up first. At level 20, an advanted target dummy will out-threat you on every mob in the area and live through any number of level 20s attacking it. At 35, a dragonling will kill your enemies one-on-one, without your help. At 40, the mithril one does that, at 50, the arcanite one. By 60, they are all useless. The real advantage of most engineering items comes early. These are decent level 70 items if you don’t raid or do heroics. And they are better than the rest of my equipment combined at level 50. :)

  31. Felblood says:

    So that’s what a subscription MMO is like. You have to work just to experience the bugs that a Runes of Magic player enjoys every time he goes to turn in a quest.

    Frolicking about beneath the city is all well and good, but it gets stale in a hurry if your friends are waiting for you to help them with this instance. I eventually found a way to leave the city from below, but you would fall right back through the floor upon returning, unless you used some kind of long range teleport from inside the city.

    –and hearthstone charges cost gold or even real money in RoM, which probably explains why the bug wasn’t fixed by the time I quit playing.

  32. MrWhales says:

    Oh Shamus, the things you’ll do for exploration.

    It reminds me of the ghost town in GTA 3… Although, obviously this one has actual, the correct word has escaped me, “plates” to stand on.

  33. krellen says:

    On the subject of WoW’s customisation being “pretty good” compared to six years ago, I’ll simply point out that City of Heroes is also six years old.

    • Shamus says:

      Damn.

      I miss that game, too. They’ve got some new expansion that lets you be… both Hero and Villain? Grabbed my interest. Not that I have time to play.

      And we’ve got DC Universe coming. Which might be nice.

      • ZzzzSleep says:

        I was going to mention City of Heroes, but it looks like krellen saved me the trouble. Going Rogue is the new expansion and more info can be found here.

      • krellen says:

        Maybe at some point in the future, you can do “Shamus Plays Again”, or at least “Shamus Takes Another Look” of some of these games you’ve reviewed in the past (this will pretty much only work with MMOs, obviously) just to go over how they’ve changed and/or remained the same, improved or gotten worse, etc.

        That way having another go at City of Heroes would count as work.

      • Amarsir says:

        If you’re curious (and the question mark implies that you are) the new expansion is mostly a makeover 20-level introduction for new players/characters. Instead of preemptively choosing to be a Hero or Villain, you’re just a super-powered individual in a separate world who makes moral choices and ends up a certain way, departing to the established Hero or Villain realms around level 20.

        And then the whole game is less black-and-white as you can be a not-purely-lawful Vigilante or a selfish-but-not-really-evil Rogue. But the shiny stuff is a set of new zones for new characters. And given your preference to try stuff out and not stick around for the endgame, it seems your thing. (Tempt… tempt…)

  34. Shiro_ax says:

    How did you get the idea to go around Kalimdor like that?

    That location might be for copy pasting tauren villages and cave networks to the world, all the caves are pretty much same, and you probably weren’t supposed to reach it, I heard Morrowind had something like that.

  35. lowlymarine says:

    Might make for some rough days for the tech support people. Although, I’ve called them three times and the recording has always told me they’re too busy to take any calls, so maybe they won’t even notice.

    It’s funny you mention that, because I’ve been trying to get a hold of Blizzard all day and keep getting the “sorry, all of our hold queues are full” message, too.

    I cancelled my account way back in May (I was on the 6 month billing plan). Guess what showed up on my bank statement Saturday, when my game time expired? Fun times.

  36. Mina says:

    Clothing customization still hasn’t caught up to Ultima Online in most games.

  37. Nick says:

    Weren’t medieval villages purpose-built to be maze-like? When enemies invade they get lost and split up, the passages are also built narrow so that they funnel the enemy into kill-zones.

    • HeroOfHyla says:

      I hadn’t heard that, but that seems very interesting. I read somewhere (maybe an RPG mapping guide?) that city design back then just focused on making the building costs as low as possible and using every possible space.

  38. Chris says:

    Hey, I remember that village! It’s never been used for anything as far as I know. I found it back in 2005 and dubbed it Tau-Roanoke.

  39. SnowballinHell says:

    I’ve always suffered in RPGs because of the armor, if I think I look cool I WILL NOT upgrade no matter what the stats are…but then I tend to die alot
    The MMO I’m currently on is Fallen Earth.
    The miss-matched armor at least makes sense in the post-apocalyptic setting
    (ex. Road Warrior : football shoulder pads and ass-less chaps ?!?)
    The game is fun, but oddly the only knock against it is the setting
    It’s pretty bleak and not alot of color changes from brown and gray
    Which is fine for me, but I could see the game getting pretty depressing after a while
    But at least I look awesome in my ass-less chaps :)

  40. evileeyore says:

    “Kind of odd to think of a company raising the system specs of a game you already own. Might make for some rough days for the tech support people.”

    They did that with Burning Crusade and “lied” about it for atleast 3 months. I know, as the game went from “just fine, a bit laggy in Ironforge” to “10 fps in the middle of a barren field with nothing”.

    After 3 months of fighting with tech support and the forums a player stated there were performance increases listed in the EUlA or buried in small print somewhere.

    Where upon I cancelled my sub as I couldn’t afford to upgrade my system. Now that I could run it again I’m just burned out on paying for MMO’s.

    • Fawkes says:

      The same thing has happened to a lot of people in Team Fortress 2. Forums are ripe with people after every new update who have found themselves unable to play anymore or lagging beyond reasonable measure. Whether it’d because of Source changes, Particle additions, or just more budget being used up for all the Hats and New Unlocks.

      Thankfully it hasn’t been an issue for me, but I don’t envy buying a game you can’t play anymore because the Dev’s updated it.

  41. Aldowyn says:

    … Wow, now THAT was a quote pyramid. 30 comments in a discussion about stats.

    Oh, and that wasn’t actually that complicated for an MMO. Or some RPGs, for that matter. Almost reminds me of Dragon Age. Which happens to be probably THE most complicated RPG I’ve ever played…

  42. HeroOfHyla says:

    I suppose having ridiculous looking outfits is just a side effect of trying to make the universe look very fantastic. FFXI manages to make everyone’s outfit match decently, at the expense of making everything look a bit bland:
    http://i35.tinypic.com/2qs6xih.png

    Though you still find things that clash somewhat:
    http://i37.tinypic.com/210g01w.png

  43. Steve C says:

    I found this website devoted to the hidden areas of Warcraft. I’ve been playing for years now and there were a few I had never heard about. For example the hidden crypt under Karazhan is -huge- and I had never even heard about it until today. There’s even a hidden village there. I started searching keywords from that website and found a mass of videos on youtube too.

  44. certainly like your web web site nevertheless you require to take a appear at the spelling on quite a couple of of your posts. Numerous of them are rife with spelling problems and I to uncover it quite bothersome to inform the reality nevertheless I’ll definitely come once again once more.

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