Shamus Plays World of Warcraft, Part 1

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Oct 27, 2010

Filed under: Column 124 comments

My new let’s play has begun over at the Escapist.

This should be interesting. Lord of the Rings Online is something like 1/40th the size of World of Warcraft. A far larger portion of the audience has likely played the area of the game I’m describing. I wonder how that will impact reader’s perceptions of the story.

Ah well. This was a long time in the making. Hope you like it.


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124 thoughts on “Shamus Plays World of Warcraft, Part 1

  1. Daimbert says:

    What’ll really be impressive is if it makes me want to play World of Warcraft like the previous one did of LotRO. I tried WoW once and found it bored me, especially compared to CoH.

    (Aside: And did you get my E-mail?)

  2. Sheer_Falacy says:

    I like how you worked in one of the imp’s ingame quotes (“this was not in my contract”).

    Was “dethbringer” taken, too, or did you just think that the extra r was more amusing (which it is)?

    1. Shamus says:

      Honestly, I can’t remember now.

      1. I remember– it was funnier that way. You (Shamus) spent a whole afternoon brainstorming silly names.

        1. Shamus says:

          Ah yes. It’s coming back to me now. My memory sometimes fails at my age.

          Wait a second… who are YOU?

  3. Meredith says:

    I love when the quest text is all about how the area is being overrun with [bad thing] and the people are so frightened, then asks you to go kill some small number of them and praises you for saving them. Bwuh? There’s still a load of them out there, crazy man. (Yes, yes, I understand why this is necessary from a gameplay standpoint, but it’s still incredibly silly.)

  4. jdaubenb says:

    And that, dear reader, is why there is no such thing as a WoW RP Server.

    1. Hitch says:

      Oh, but there are RP servers. And trust me, the most infamous of these are places you do not want to see. Or maybe you do, but the common reaction is a strong sense of “ick” and a desire to set fire to the internet for facilitating such things.

      1. Amnestic says:

        The Lion’s Pride Inn in Goldshire for instance? Here’s hoping Shamus makes a mention of it in an upcoming episode. A dozen nude night elves dancing on tables with another few upstairs making overt cybersex with one another? Yeah, I think it’s worth a mention.

        /Stay away from the Deeprun Tram.

        1. jdaubenb says:

          Or as I’d like to call it: There is no such thing as a WoW RP server.

        2. Valaqil says:

          I played on a medium population server (maybe a little towards low), but I never saw many people on the Deeprun Tram. Of course, I was playing Horde, so I had to sneak in just to see it. (It’s hilarious to be a cat-Druid and let people get glimpses of you before you dash away.)

        3. krellen says:

          The RP server I played on (way back when I played WoW) was the server the infamous Deeprun Tram incident happened on. I actually knew one of the involved parties.

          It was a pretty private location. Who the hell runs through the tram, instead of taking the cart?

          1. Amnestic says:

            People who decide to try to jump around and accidentally fall off like the idiots that I…uh…’they’ are.

          2. Dovius says:

            What, actually, was the incident?

            1. krellen says:

              Someone walked in on a couple having cybersex, tried to get involved, recorded the whole incident and posted it online.

              Oh, and tried to pass it off as “this is what all roleplayers do when they ‘roleplay'”.

            2. Amnestic says:

              Possibly Not Safe For Work. Dirty roleplayers. Dirty dirty roleplayers.

              It was pretty famous.

              1. rofltehcat says:

                Haha, thanks for linking this. It is ridiculous.

                Back when I was playing on a roleplaying server we didn’t have that many cyber sex people, or at least I never saw too many of them. But we also didn’t have many role players.
                Most people picked a role playing server because what they wanted was a quieter and more mature normal server.

                1. Dovius says:

                  We didnt have many cyber sex folks on my RP server either, and the few that were there usually hung out in goldshire spamming it over general chat or yelling it around the entire zone.

              2. Irridium says:

                Thanks for that, I laughed.

                Now I have a strong urge to go on RP servers and crash these sex things.

        4. Groboclown says:

          Deeprun Tram?!? You mean like, don’t be dwarf overlooking…

          Okay, you know what? I already know too much. If there’s anything else about it, I really don’t want to know.

  5. Kdansky says:

    Your other WoW-related posts sometimes made me cringe because I’ve played far more of that game and could immediately spot the mistakes you made (such as *obviously* bad talent / gear / pet / class / haircolour choices). Still amusing though. And still impressive how the WoW starting area makes more sense than Champions or LotR, despite being very simple and 6 years old.

    1. Sumanai says:

      Have you actually played those, or just based them on Shamus’ Let’s Plays? Because I recall him specifically mentioning that he chose the least sane/sensible quests, which to me implies that he has also choosen the worst starting areas and classes in LotRO. I can’t comment on the elven or dwarven areas, since it’s been well over a year since I played that game.

      And “stupid” is pretty much in-character for a superhero setting*. At least in Champions you get a bloody travel power right at the start (you only have to play the tutorial area once and it’s pretty short, so I don’t count it) instead of having to run around for exceedingly long distances before you can suddenly learn how to ride.

      * Anyone who claims that most superhero comicbooks have a sensible setting is either lying or suffering from a poor memory. I’d rather not have it make a claim to being a serious world, ignore the quest dialogue and go punch some dudes. Without having to first jog for five minutes either constantly steering my character or having to fight some wandering creature that yields barely any XP but sure as hell can stun me.

      1. krellen says:

        Personally, I didn’t find the gameplay of Champions to be enjoyable at all. The story was … well, as silly as Shamus claimed, but I’m okay with silly. But the gameplay just sucked.

        I don’t think PCs do “action” very well. Especially not since we got away from joysticks.

        1. Sumanai says:

          There’s not much “action” in Champions’ combat in my opinion, but enough not to make it nearly as tedious as WoW’s. At least in the beginning. The biggest problem is using powers you need to hold (the button that is) and you have a need to move around at the same time.

          Also: travel power the second you get out of/pass the tutorial. Running around till level 20, especially with the distances you need to run back and forth, gets tiresome the first time around.

          Comparing the beginning of WoW with any race and the Crisis of either area, I’d much rather go with the latter. The human area specifically is a land of annoyance and crap.

          “Oh let’s give a pie to the little thief who stole something and then wandered near a kobold mine that everyone knows about in order to stare at it and then drop it when he got surprised by the buggers. That’ll teach him.”

          I wanted to gut the fucker and then string up his intestines around the forest for being a cocky little bastard.

          Of course, it’s all a matter of taste, but it really grinds me how WoW is constantly being hailed as “The Best MMORPG”, when it has clear shortcomings. And when you point out any of those out there’ll be at least five fanboys claiming that “it’s not that bad, just look at [MOG that did it the worst]” as if not being the worst is something to be proud of.

          And how some like to point out how “greedy” some other companies are when they ask separate payment for certain things right before returning to WoW. Which is one of the few that has a monthly fee, non-free expansions (and pretty expensive too, while not giving all that much) and various items (vanity pets etc.) on sale. Nothing wrong with this, the buyers aren’t forced to buy any extra, but does make the commenters huge hypocrites.

          On to another topic, I’ve been planning on adding a subtitle for my name.
          “Sumanai – a grouchy ball of hatred and bile”
          A bit long, but kinda catchy. However I fear that has already been used somewhere.

          1. krellen says:

            I dunno, that sounds like it could describe most Finns I’ve known. ;)

            1. Sumanai says:

              True. A friend actually mentioned that Finnish men of old usually just silently grimaced at each other with no hostile intent. Well, necessarily. The biggest problem is that a lot of us aren’t genuinely cynical. Just grouchy. And full of hatred. With a heart of bile. Which leads to these very perplexing moments where someone is incredibly enthusiastic about something for no apparent justification. Often with signs that point that they’re going to be disappointed.

              But I’m wrong on the latter most of the time. They’re rarely disappointed because to go into denial.

              1. Sumanai says:

                “…because they go into denial.”

                Me writ good engles.

          2. Ben says:

            “…it has clear shortcomings. And when you point out any of those out there'll be at least five fanboys claiming that “it's not that bad…”

            Obviously Blizzard agrees with you. They are blowing up the whole world in order to redo it.

            I think if you want to be more fair, you’d have to compare the newer wow content from the expansions to what you see in more modern mmos, as the content in Elwynn Forest is 6 years old. The death knight starting zone is pretty amazing.

            EDIT: btw “non-free expansions (and pretty expensive too, while not giving all that much) ” seriously? i assume you’ve played a demo, since you talked about the starting zone, but obviously you haven’t played at endgame as this is demonstrably false.

            1. Good point, there has been a steady stream of expanded end-game content added without additional charge.

              1. Sumanai says:

                As has been to any MOG that has stayed up for more than a few months, or has hopes to staying up long. I understand some add quite a bit of content over the course of the game without demanding payment for it, because nothing is worse for a MOG than stagnation. Avoiding this is the reason for the Cataclysm, not that Blizzard agrees with me. Game design wise they seem completely opposed to my tastes.

                Also: Can you get to, say, draenei starting area without Burning Crusade? It didn’t seem to be mentioned in the WoWwiki, and no-one has answered that.

                1. Veloxyll says:

                  Nope, you need TBC to get to Drainy lands.

                2. Sumanai says:

                  So I’d just have to pay around 10 euros to play the free trial so that I might actually have a positive experience during it? Who’s the dumbass at Blizzard responsible for this?

            2. Sumanai says:

              Let’s update my mental image on the expansion prices:
              (all prices from
              WoW itself – EUR 8.49 -only mentioning incase someone’s curious
              Burning Crusade – EUR 9.49
              Wrath of the Lich King – EUR 25.49
              Cataclysm – EUR 34.99

              Assuming Trial accounts only need to pay the monthly fee (which I’m omitting) to turn into full accounts I can ignore the base package. Current full experience (so you’ll have all the races and skills to choose from the beginning) would cost 34.98 euros. Just to have more endgame you’d have to pay that much right from the beginning? Oh, you’ll get the races and skills, but those feel more like black mail than anything else. Not that it matters, because that wasn’t really the point.

              Again, I note that I’m fine with that. There’s a saying in Finland: “ei se ole tyhmä joka pyytää, vaan se joka maksaa”, but puns aside, I’ll paraphrase in English: “the one who asks isn’t dumb, but the one who pays”. Meaning that if something is overpriced in your opinion, then don’t buy.

              My problem is with people who, for example, railed on Cryptic for having both monthly fees and purchasable content, yet didn’t seem to care that Blizzard did the same thing.

              Also: I’ll just have to play with one character to level 55 and I can play in the happy lands (at least before the Cataclysm)? Oh joy!
              Arguing that “it gets better later” when trying to establish that something is good doesn’t make sense to me. Why isn’t it enjoyable right after starting stiffness (learning controls and basic gameplay)?

              1. Veloxyll says:

                Well, to play the first bits of the game, you only really need WoW (+ TBC if you want to play Belf [that’ll become WoW + TBC + Wrath + Cata if you want to play Worgen/Goblin.]) Blizz have found that people who survive the first 10 levels tend to stick with the game.

                Probably the biggest thing I hope they change in Cata is the starting rewards. I’ve recently started a Tauren on a new server and OMG SO BROKE D:! (I eventually rolled a DK and stole all his gold to give me a few gp to get by with)

                The real thing is, in WoW, there are 4 games or so – there’s levelling, gearing at max level, raiding at max level, and PVP (both max level and while levelling). While you may not be a fan of Elwynn 1-10, you might love PVP or instancing or w/e. With WoW, the other content can be what people mean when they say it gets better later. That said low level PVP could use a balancing pass at the moment, being 1-shot by filthy rogues is not fun >:(

                1. Sumanai says:

                  TBC if you want Jewelcrafting, Blood Elves, Draenei and access to their starting areas, which according to several posters here are better than the rest.
                  Wrath if you want Inscription.
                  The problem is that choosing professions as soon as possible is beneficial, so not getting those can be detrimental to your experience. Bad design if you ask me.
                  And I didn’t even take into consideration Cataclysm in the price. Which would’ve jumped it to 69.97 euros. Nice.

                  I actually played back when Burning Crusade had just come out with a full version (that account has old e-mail, and I’ve forgotten the password so I made a trial account to test what has changed) and I played it for the free month. When I reached about level 8-9, I whined that WoW wasn’t fun, my friends said that the game gets fun only at level 10. So played until I reached level 12, and mentioned how it still wasn’t fun, my friends said it gets better once you hit level 15-16. So I played till my main dinged to level 20. Lazy playing lead to running out of the free month soon after, so I stopped to ponder if I should pay for a month and see how it goes.

                  The answer was simply no. Like I predicted, when my friends heard of my level they claimed that WoW would’ve gotten fun at just that point. Bullshit. I’m not crazy enough to believe that repeatably doing something I never enjoyed that it’ll suddenly turn good. And I’m not stupid enough to believe my friends are actually objective or honest to me when they’ve already changed the goal line once and this time seems absolutely no different.

                  So: Levelling – droll, even while grouping; Max lvl gearing – sounds incredibly frustrating, and pointless “biggest bling” collecting; Raiding – at any level it sounded like downright aggravating, unless with a proper raid group, but how common is that really? And I played as a Priest. Which is basically a highway to getting blamed for most of the tanks’/dps’ fuck ups.; PvP – Not interested in the least.

                  The problem to me with WoW is that while it has a lot it does nothing really well. Just mediocre to good-ish.

                  Also, I didn’t just hate the human starting area, but the dwarven and night elven as well. Same thing on the Horde side. Which do you prefer: The bloody large area of brownish red color, the even larger area that’s a pain in the ass to move about or the “City of the Fucking Lost, Because The Designer Was Hopping On Pills”?
                  And it felt like it wasn’t getting any better. The human areas for the next levels suck balls and would’ve been noticably improved if you could get a mount at that point. Talking of which, what the fuck is up with random enemies, of any level, being able to put daze on you thus unsummoning your mount and making you walk slowly? Or has that one been fixed?

      2. Varil says:

        That’s a pretty flimsy argument, I think. By your reasoning, basically no video game has a “sensible” setting, and therefor by default has a stupid setting. You can do “serious” without having to wrap your game world in hyper-realistic drudgery.

        1. Sumanai says:

          I think you misunderstood. First of all I need to emphasize that I used the word most, because most comicbook worlds (or at least most popular and known, like the Marvel and DC Universe) only make sense when read about in short pieces and possibly ignoring all other comics that have events that should be happening at the same time.
          There’s an unbelievable amount of inconsistency in how things behave in-world (Green Lantern Ring, anyone?), people change personalities according to writer(s) and these aren’t just minor “likes chocolate a bit more” but can be very contrasting (Beast of the X-men team in the very first comic vs. any after including the #2 issue, Emma Frost, Wolverine, oh dear god Wolverine) including power fluctuations (any character who has ever been written by a fan/hater, but I feel to make a special mention of Wolverine. That guy has absolutely no consistency).

          There are sensible comic worlds, but they’re often, if not always, limited runs.

          I really oppose your “everything is either fun or hyper-realistic drudgery” -attitude. Just because you’ve had to tolerate dumbasses that insist that every flight game should be simulator doesn’t mean you should project that stuff on me. I don’t see myself claiming that more realism would be the solution. “More sensible” isn’t my way of avoiding the word “realism”, it’s my way of saying “it actually makes more sense within the setting”.

          With an interactive medium “sensible” has some problems. If I remember right, back when the Burning Crusade came out there were something like three guards at the church/whatever, so it made sense that they wouldn’t leave their posts. You don’t want monsters running inside or harassing the shopkeepers. But now it seemed there were so many that it felt strange that I had to kill anything, since there were clearly some to spare. They were of course added because of Horde raids, but it makes the quests feel like nonsense.

          This sort of things happen in games because you need to balance gameplay, but gets stupid (or non-sensible, but I like rotating words to avoid repetition) once game mechanics lose consistency with the world/fluff. And WoW never gave me a feeling of consistency between those two, which is made worse by it trying to be taken seriously. All the while having you run as an errand boy for some brat, efficiently tag teaming with “unrewarding feeling”. Quest rewards be damned, why can’t just I sock that kid? And that wasn’t the only quest that did that particular tag teaming back in the Burning Crusade times.
          And then the warlocks. And I don’t want to start about paladin’s, although that’s mostly unrelated to WoW anyway.

          There are however games that have managed to feel sensible, they’re just very, very few. And this is because game designers consider game world/mechanics consistency completely unnecessary, along with proper narrative. Although the latter seems to be getting better. And this isn’t helped by the fact that a lot of players scoff at complaints about inconsistencies, presumably because they think that in order to have balanced gameplay you can’t have proper consistency. Which I, obviously, think is bullshit. A properly designed world with consistent behaviour for magic, technology and possibly rudimentary physics should translate well into a balanced gameplay.

          The only problem is that established game mechanics have a tendency of being based into the DOS or 8-bit era, making no sense when observed for a few minutes. Fine in itself though, assuming that the game doesn’t demand to be taken very seriously (claims to a “believable alternate universe” or other BS), going “see the grey and brown? REALISM! See the greyed green leaves, as if made by someone with saturation maxed? COLORS!” although that’s bad by itself or other insanity.

          Although, sanity is for the weak.

          1. krellen says:

            English has a word for what you’re looking for (big surprise, with English’s massive vocabulary): verisimilitude. Basically, it means something that is internally consistent, even if completely fake and made-up.

            1. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

              Good to know. I’ve probably ran into that word about three or four times. And I think that in two of those situations it was used in a wrong context.

              Had to check however, and it says:
              1. the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability: The play lacked verisimilitude.
              2. something, as an assertion, having merely the appearance of truth.

              So is it part of a lingo when it’s used as a word for internal consistency? Because I would interprete the explanation at dict. more as a “makes sense at least within the context of the story’s world”. Although I don’t know if that’s any real difference, and does still apply to my above rants.

              So yeah. Champions doesn’t to me suffer from worse verisimilitude than most other, or at least most publicly recognized, superhero comics. Which makes the silliness easier to palate. Not that it’s really justified, just because others are raving lunatics and hacks doesn’t mean that you should be. I mean, while you have to go pretty low on The Ladder of Bad Story Telling to limbo below, say, “One More Day”, that doesn’t really mean you should try.

              Oh, krellen: If you ever happen to try Champions again for whatever reason (possibilities: amnesia, temporary mental disorder, madness etc.) you might want to give other classes a try. Somehow they have different feeling even when it feels like they shouldn’t. Although the free trial is designed by a dumbass in it as well as WoW.
              1. Let’s cripple the free trial (Champions: it ends at the end of tutorial, right before the Crisis which actually represents the game itself better and is still enclosed from post-crisis players;
              WoW: starting areas left to rot for 6 years before getting the idea of trying to fix them and not providing access to the better, more up to date, starting areas)
              2. I really don’t know. Has to be some kind of deal with a cosmic horror.
              3. By some miracle, profit, apparently. I really don’t get it. By all reason new players should be running into the night screaming. Maybe it works because Champions costs like 12 euros and Burning Crusade costs 10e?

  6. Amnestic says:

    I’ve had a Warlock (Female, Human) and I have to say, Dethbringerr is the antithesis of my character. Sure it was more than a little clicéd, but when there was the opportunity to roleplay somewhat, I threw myself into full on Warlock mode. Rains of Fire, cackling maniacally, Curses of Agony, cackling maniacally, Curses of Doom, cackling maniacally…My free time when I wasn’t grinding for raids, doing quests or raiding was running around enemy towns murdering guards and NPCs.

    Was a lot of fun. A lot more enjoyable class to level than a Paladin :P

    1. Sumanai says:

      Interestingly, I made a human priest some time ago in a trial account and I had an opposite to cliche. Except maybe for a shadow priest, but I don’t remember where I was speccing it. There was more than one time that I felt like shoving the staff into someones skull through an eye. Usually a quest giver/continuer.

  7. Yashas says:

    Very funny. In my head, the imp sounds like the dog from the movie, “Little Nicky”.

  8. tremor3258 says:

    Darn it Shamus, I’ve been clean for almost nine months now, and a let’s play on top of Cataclysm may push me back into it…

    Warlocks were pretty fun to go mess around in, all the damage over time gives them a different flavor.

    Which tree did Nor – er, Deathbring-err head down, out of curiosity?

  9. Sagretti says:

    I like that you went from the perspective of the demon, as it allows you to put something of a new spin on the now-ancient WOW jokes. It also helps target one of my pet peeves, that warlocks make little sense in the whole scheme of the story. No matter what weird justifications they keep coming up with for them, most of what they do is still the developers (admittedly) sacrificing story for gameplay. I’ve never been able to get into the mindset of “I’m a guy trying to save the world and do good deeds by indiscriminately sucking the souls out of people and worshipping demons that may or may not be the same ones trying to destroy said world.”

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Using demonic energies is not the same as worshiping them. See: Illidan Stormrage.

      1. Sumanai says:

        Using demonic energies however puts you in a high risk of going under demonic influence. And possibly feeds the demons’ powers anyway. Tit for tat and all that.

        1. krellen says:

          You could have just said “Using demonic energies however puts you in a high risk of going under demonic influence: see Illidan Stormrage.”

          1. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            Goddamnit. No wonder that reply felt slightly wrong, I had missed a chance of a snarky comment!

    2. Mark says:

      King Solomon, in legend, was said to have constructed the Temple using the labor of enslaved demons.

  10. krellen says:

    I really hope one of the themes in this Let’s Play is how stupid it is to have Warlocks as a playable class on the two sides afforded us.

  11. yd says:

    What amazes me most about World of Warcraft is how, after so long away from it, and after quitting out of utter boredom, and despite the fact I have absolutely no time to devote to such a game, it continues to entice me to play again.

    It’s a weird drug, and I’m not sure this Shamus Plays is going to be healthy for me.

  12. NotYetMeasured says:

    Good to see a new LP, Shamus. I’m looking forward to it!

  13. Matt K says:

    I love the image of what appears to be the Hershey Park Ferris Wheel. Awesome.

  14. Brendan Byron says:

    Shamus, you may want to Google “The Bartimaeus Trilogy,” or “The Amulet of Samarkand”. It was a series of fantasy books aimed at children featuring a nervous, well-meaning but ambitious warlock and his snarky demon servant.

    I know it wasn’t intentional – it’s a fairly simple premise, but these books weren’t obscure. I thought you’d want to know.

    1. quicksilver_502 says:

      its been ages since i read them but i wouldn’t say nathaniel (was that his name?) was quite like dethbringerr. he was more calculating and certainly not trying to help people, at least at first. still, it has been many years since i read them.

  15. toasty says:

    Now I want to play WoW. I’ve been wanting to play WoW for a while, but I don’t want to pay for the subscription. :(

    Actually, once Cataclysm comes out (that way, maybe I can make myself wait till Christmas break!) how much will it cost to buy WoW… just Cataclysm, or do I need to buy something else?

    1. Amnestic says:

      If you want to play all of WoW, I would assume you will need all four ‘editions’ – Vanilla, Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. I’m not entirely sure how they’re going to deal with implimenting the new stuff for those without Cataclysm. I would assume that you get all of the changes to the ‘vanilla’ areas even if you don’t buy it.

      Regardless, you’ll probably want all of them activated and installed since Burning Crusade and Cataclysm both give you new race options, and I would guess that you need Wrath of the Lich King to use Cataclysm.

      I couldn’t hazard a guess at how much it’d cost though. Probably somewhere between £50-£80 in total? I dunno, you might be able to get a lot better if you find a deal/pack on offer or something.

      1. Trix says:

        All the changes to the world and quests will be available to all come Cata. Burning Crusade allows up to level 70 and access to outland/draenei/blood elves. Wrath of the Lich King allows up to 80 and death knights/Northrend. There are a few other little things that the expansions unlock (couple professions I think), but content sub-60 is available w/o any expansions.

        That’s not to say that one shouldn’t consider purchasing the xpacs anyways, as 1-60 is only a portion of the entire game (albeit a gigantic portion…the game is HUGE). But they can be safely put off for a bit.

        Trial account’s a good idea too before you buy, if you haven’t already.

    2. Nentuaby says:

      The least you’ll need to buy is the WoW core game, which costs $20 and comes with a month of playtime (which is $15 a month afterward, so essentially you’re paying five for the client itself). That’ll let you access the bulk of the game world and the original races. You need to buy expansions to get access to several of the races, Outland and Northrend, and levels above 60. Hard to say what that’d cost at this point- it’s a fair guess they’ll be changing the pricing of the first two expansions, or making some sort of package deal, when Cataclysm comes out.

      1. The point that each expansion comes with a month of play time means that the net price of the expansion is fifteen dollars less than the “face” price.

    3. ngthagg says:

      If you just want to try the game to see if you like it, wait until Cataclysm is out and just buy vanilla WoW. With new starting areas for trolls and gnomes, you should have lots to try out without needing to drop the money on all three expansions.

      1. Trix says:

        As I mentioned before, trial account :)

        1. Sumanai says:

          Going to have to support this one.

          Also, it’s interesting how no-one remembers to mention that gemsetting (crafting skill, might be named different) isn’t available without an expansion (don’t remember which one).

          1. Amnestic says:

            Jewelcrafting, and it needs Burning Crusade. I would assume that Inscription requires Wrath of the Lich King as well.

            1. Sumanai says:

              Indeed you’re right. I only really remembered Jewelcrafting because when I bought WoW Burning Crusade was just out and a friend mentioned about sending gems to him if I don’t need them. Problem was, apparently back then they didn’t drop in vanilla at all.

              Now that I tried trial (and got annoyed and bored after 3-4 days) I had several gems drop, implying that it has been changed. But not the bloody human starting area. God I hate that place.

              1. Amnestic says:

                One of the pluses in recent years has been how Blizzard have increase interconnectivity between all the Capital cities. It’s now far, far easier for people to get to different starting areas at a low level than it used to be. Don’t like the human area? Not a problem. Getting to the Night Elf/Draenei areas are now just a few boat rides away. No more running through the Wetlands at level 4 dodging crocolisks.

                In fact, since the Draenei/Blood Elf areas are generally much better in terms of both quests and rewards, I would generally advise players on their second character to just go there instead of their actual racial one.

                Edit: And just because I was curious.


                There are more than a few “Dethbringerr”‘s around (though I’m glad to see that the EU has drastically fewer than the U.S. :P). I would guess that Norman probably won’t show up for a while if he’s not crested level 10 yet.

                1. Sumanai says:

                  Haven’t tried Draenei/Blood Elf areas, but are those even accessible without the expansion? Not that it really matters to me since my trial time is over, and I won’t be making a new trial account just because one starting area per faction might actually be enjoyable. Also I find the combat tedious and less rewarding than scraping food scraps from my teeth.

                  And I also hate the Night Elf and Dwarven starting areas, just not as much.
                  Night Elf area is visually irritating and boring. Also there’s something really annoying about the quests.
                  Dwarven area has long distances coupled with a disturbing effect on the snow. Which seriously bugs me for some reason.

                2. Hitch says:

                  That’s supposed to be one of the benefits of Cataclysm. In the process of updating the world, they’re trying to bring the starting area experience for older races up to the standards of the Blood Elf and Draenei starting areas. (Which were designed after they had a couple more years of experience with the game — in case non-WoW players wondered why those are better.)

  16. Jarenth says:

    New reading! Good stuff.

    I wonder how long Norman Dethbringrr’s cheery disposition will last.

    Also I’m kind of curious to see Nameless Imp’s True Form. I’m fairly certain it won’t be world-shattering, or anything like that.

    1. Dazdya says:

      I thought it was simply a nice bluff from the imp. Just one of the silly tricks you come up with when discussing mortals in the bars of Demonia.

      1. Sumanai says:

        If you’re capable of playing ping-pong with a head of a gnome, you’re going to have to be a bit bigger than that.

        1. wtrmute says:

          I agree, although the implication from the dialogue was that he was sixty-five feet tall or so in his real form, which would make gnome skulls a bit small to play ping-pong with — about the relative size of a large pinhead, in fact.

          1. Robyrt says:

            A human skull is actually only 5 ping-pong balls wide, and gnome skulls are rather smaller. (They do have large heads for their size, though.) So a 6-meter demon should be able to play table tennis with gnome skulls comfortably. Looks like our imp is exaggerating, but is still rather large.

            1. wtrmute says:

              The two-foot Imp looks at a six-foot human and thinks he’s 200 feet tall. That means he must be originally about a third of 200 feet (roughly 60 m), or 66’8″ (which I rounded down to 65′, corresponding roughly to 20 m).

              You’re going to tell me that I’m taking the 200 ft measurement too literally — perhaps; but it’s the most precise information we have short of having an average Gnome skull diametre measurement. Regardless, he’s a Demon; he’s probably lying under whatever conditions.

              1. Sumanai says:

                Also, what didn’t occur to me at the time, he might have mentiond Gnome Skull ping-pong as a random example. Not necessarily something he does himself, or any demon for that matter. He could’ve after all come up with it on the spot, not taking into consideration that gnome skulls are too small for it.

  17. Jack V. says:

    Shamus, that was awesome. I’m afraid I didn’t like the LOTR editions as much as the Champions Online one — while it was quite funny, it seemed the references were a little forced sometimes. Whereas here, I empathised entirely with the demon, and really felt the complete incredulity he had about the situation; it completely nailed the absurdity of the situation without falling into the trap of dwelling on it, and I really, really liked it!

    1. Daimbert says:

      I actually like the LotR version better, mostly because Lulzy seemed to have more personality of her own while Star on Chest was more a sounding board for how weird the game world was. This one should be interesting because we have two characters that have personalities, so it’ll be neat to see how they interact.

  18. Nasikabatrachus says:

    Interesting start. I look forward to reading the rest of it, though I think I liked the start of Lulzy’s adventures better. Maybe it’s the way the screenshots are taken: the ones in LOTRO only had to focus on one character, and so lent themselves strongly to what was described in the text, while the screenshots in this feel somewhat detached, like they are only loosely affiliated with the narrative. LIke I said, I’m sure I’ll warm up to it in the future.

    Also, what was the deal with the human guard in the final two screenshots? It looked like that NPC was shrinking. Am I the only one who sees this?

  19. Rune says:

    Best one yet – this one actually made med laugh out loud. Keep up the good work.

  20. toasty_mow says:

    Ahh so one more thing. I don’t want to pay with a Credit card, because, primarily, I don’t really want to keep the subscription running all the time. I’d rather use time-cards. How does that work out? I know how a time card works, but is that generally a good idea, or what?

    1. Amnestic says:

      It depends on how cheaply you can get them. You’re looking at most £9/month if you buy directly from Blizzard. Time card prices will differ depending on retailers. Both and give you cards which work out at £8/month. If you get a 6 month subscription from Blizzard directly though, it works out at £7.69/month, which is obviously cheaper.

      Individual retailers have different prices for game cards and if you’re looking for the best deal you can probably find them on offer or something. Anything better than £7.69/month is good, anything over than £9/month is awful.

    2. Richard says:

      Also, you can do what I do: pay for the subscription one month (or three, or six) at a time. You set it up to pay recurring, then immediately cancel after the payment has gone through. When you need to renew it, do the same thing.

  21. Volatar says:

    I think the non-player perspective is a really great idea. It breaks away from the classic Lets Play format and allows there to be dialog, something lacking in most LP’s.

  22. Mina says:

    Hey Shamus, are you going to play Fable 3 at all? My brother got it yesterday and so far it’s looking to be as terrible as the second game.

    I of course will be playing it (or watching him player it anyway) just so I can dissect it, but I wouldn’t bother otherwise.

    1. krellen says:

      Such a resounding endorsement!

      1. Nidokoenig says:

        “Get this game! You can piss and moan about it for months!”

        Mind you, Shamus did buy New Vegas at launch when he really does know better, so he’s obviously in the market for that kind of thing.

        1. Sumanai says:

          “Limited Edition comes with it’s own bag of bile!”

          Now all we need is Molyneux to see this and it might end up true for Fable 4 or something.

          Luckily I don’t need it (couldn’t afford it anyway) because my headache gives me all the source of bitching, moaning and motivation to write rants.

  23. Saint_007 says:

    Why do I keep imagining the imp talking like either Joe Pesci or Danny DeVito, while ‘Norman’ the Warlock talks like Ross Gellar of “Friends”?

    1. Jarenth says:

      Because your imagination has well and truly been corrupted by television?

  24. Vegedus says:

    I really like the angle you’re going for, in a literal sense, with the demon perspective and all. Ought to be interesting.

    Also, I figure the real thing those guards are guarding against is horde raids. They don’t happen often, but it sure would suck if the horde got through to the newbie areas.
    … Not that one of them couldn’t slip out to kill some kobolds, but what you gotta do?

    1. Sumanai says:

      When I originally played I think there were less guards there. If true, more were added precisely for Horde raids. Doesn’t make much sense in-world though.

  25. Rosseloh says:

    That was totally unexpected, and top-notch.

    Nice work Shamus.

  26. Factoid says:

    Is that 1/40th the size in terms of player population or actual game world size? I haven’t had any interest in playing either game.

    I’ve never played an MMO that really stuck for me, so I stopped trying. The last one I even attempted was EVE Online, when it was still in Beta. I lasted about a week into launch and decided that while I loved the setting, the ships, the art and the possibilities it represented…I hated the grinding…which is what has stopped me from playing every MMO I’ve ever tried.

    If someone ever invents a no-grind MMO I might be screwed.

    1. Will says:

      Blizzard have spent a lot of time reducing the grind in WoW, one of the main purposes of the Cataclysm expansion rewriting all the old content is to make it all less grindy and more fun.

      Wait for Cataclysm, then give a trial account a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

      1. acronix says:

        Will they continue with the hideous armor design they have been using since the start? Because if they keep that, then no ammount of area rework will make me play it.

        1. Sumanai says:

          What hideous armor in particular?

          1. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            Oh, great reading comprehension skills there, Sum. Why not ask “what does the Hideous Armor look like?”

    2. Teldurn says:

      I believe Shamus, Josh, Mumbles, and Rutskarn posted (together) a video some time back about one of the games at… one of the conventions (E3 maybe?).

      Point being, there was a game coming out that was specifically being advertised as a no-grind MMO. Can’t remember the name though. Aion, maybe?

      1. Florin-Vlad says:

        There is no such thing as a no-grind MMO, just ask Yahtzee

      2. krellen says:

        Definitely not Aion. a) Aion’s already out. b) Aion’s a Korean MMO, only slightly Westernised.

        You’re probably talking about TERA.

  27. Nidokoenig says:

    Am I the only one wondering why this is posted under Random Thoughts? Ah, well, at least it’s not set to private.

  28. “43 comments? This post wasn’t even all that interesting.”

    Now your blog is just boasting :)

  29. Dante says:

    Shamus, you play Alliance? I are disappoint.

    1. Ming says:

      We are all disappoint. Disappoint at Shamus.

      1. Amnestic says:

        Alliance are awesome. We’ve got foxy blue alien tail.

        1. Sumanai says:

          Yeah, but… hooves.

  30. Epopisces says:

    Oh my, I look forward to this ‘season’ of Let’s Play.

    I also need a hobby. After I read this my first thought was ‘Gosh, does Shamus realize just how often this vantage point will require him to use quotes?’

    And then I proceeded to count how many quotation marks were on each page. For no particular reason.
    16 on page 1
    54 on page 2
    76 on page 3
    76 on page 4 (+1 extra that slipped in there at the end of a normal sentence—no doubt purely reflexively by that point)
    28 on page 5

  31. Mark says:

    Shamus, once the expansion hits, are you going to have a Very Special Episode focusing on the changes to the starting area?

  32. nobody says:

    This has pure win written all over it. The demon lets you make the jokes you’d usually have to break character for. This is going to be the best Plays yet!

  33. toasty_mow says:

    I just tried WoW… meh. Dwarf hunter. Spam your spells, attack next monster, explore mountains. I love the setting, I really do, but I’m not the type to read all the generic quest stuff and after getting my dwarf to level 7 I couldn’t see any reason to continue except to grind.

    I’m download EVE online now, I’ll see how that works.

    1. Sumanai says:

      Oh you poor bastard. You poor, poor bastard.

      Edit: thought to clarify, when my friend was testing EVE it was one of the very few games that felt like it was pushing me away from it. Like a repulsor from Hexen. And it seemed grindtastic.

      1. Jarenth says:

        Thing is, in EVE, you can’t do anything really awesome unless you have the requisite skills trained. And those skills train in real time, regardless of whether or not you’re online. Starter skills train fairly quickly (like, half an hour or so), but the more advanced skills can literally take days, weeks or even months to train.

        The gameplay itself is… adequate, I guess, and if you’re in the proper mindset you can have a lot of fun mining or hunting pirates or killing other players or whatever; just don’t expect to get anywhere awesome any time soon.

        EDIT: As, apparently, I’m not the first to point out.

  34. Danel says:

    Yeah, you probably should have waited a month or so until all of that annoying six-years old content is totally replaced.

    In particular, I’ve heard that the Dwarf starting zone has been altered so that the quest hubs are chained better, rather than sending you right the way to the other side repeatedly.

    Or if it’s just the combat you don’t like… try a different class. They tend to play fairly differently.

    Of course, they have just recently patched it to change the early combat. In particular, the Hunter class is drastically different now from when it was when I first started the game, and much better.

  35. thebigJ_A says:

    Am I alone in having played Lotro (for a few months, anyway) but never having played WoW (beyond a couple hours of a free trial)??

    1. toasty says:

      Yea, i noticed I start with a pet now, which I think makes the game a lot easier than it was like 2 years ago when I played for an hour on a friend’s accout. I never need to stop for a rest, and when me and my bro played as a mage and warrior, we were resting often enough.

      I guess I should try another class before I gave up. I mean, the game is addicting, I can tell right away (I’ve played enough stupid Facebook games to notice, heh) so there is that element, but I can also tell it really requires you to have a good guild to enjoy yourself. I’ll try another class before I give up. But I also am gonna try some other games, I’ve always liked the sound of EVE Online.

      1. Epopisces says:

        EVE is a great game, but even more than WoW requires a good corp (their version of a guild) to make the game truly worth it. The game has a tremendous number of options and depth, which unfortunately translates into one of the steepest learning curves in any MMO. The first two week experience (the ‘tutorial’ phase) has much improved, but still drops you off the deep end afterwards without the support of a corp.

        Even three-day-old players can be a useful wingmate in a corp. Find a good corp willing to teach you, have fun and experiment in the game and don’t get disheartened early on and EVE can be a worthwhile MMO.

  36. poiumty says:

    Needs more cowbell. Hope the next episodes will have more lotro-ish humor, i liked that.

    I remember my blood elf warlock (that i quit a year ago) and how proud i was when i got my first imp. Well, not proud, maybe just amazed that it remained for like, forever, and could kill things almost by himself.

    My first experience with wow was as a human mage though. Picked a random US server (trial account), levelled till Northshire and then… observed a naked dwarf and female human pretending like they were having sex on the second floor of Northshire Inn. Crazy times.

  37. Jason says:

    Shamus, this has the potential to be the best “Let’s Play” you’ve ever done. Lulzy and LOTRO is tops for me right now, but Norman “Deathbringerer” the Warlock is going to surpass her if you keep it up.

  38. Guile says:

    I like the concept. I can see The Imp will be the sort of guy who sits back, takes a look at all the crazy stuff about the MMO, and goes… “WHAT?”

    Should be fun.

  39. Nathan says:

    This Let’s Play is going to be very, very amusing for me, since I started playing WoW a little more than two months ago, with a human warlock. I can’t imagine what kind of agony I must have put my first imp through, since I have spent the entire time I have been playing WoW teamed up with my brother’s Paladin. An imp constantly being blessed and surrounded in holy auras as we pursue divine quests. Good times…

    I miss my first imp. It’s kind of depressing that he got swapped out for a different one when the 4.0 patch hit. Goodbye, Jubimir…

    I really hope this Let’s Play someone manages to reach the point where Dethbringrr and his “friend” encounter Impsy and Niby the Almighty. I know hilarity would ensue.

    1. Jarenth says:

      I think they reset that involuntary pet-swap again. It got reset with me, anyway.

      I guess little Rultog just can’t bear to be away from me for extended periods.

  40. Andy says:

    If you’re thinking about starting, i’d strongly recommend using the “refer-a-friend” system. The triple xp you get from quests and kills is really nice. Although you still have to run around doing stupid tasks for morons, you have to do a lot less of it.

  41. MisteR says:

    I liked it a lot. The angle is brilliant and your ideas are both original and funny. A step up from the previous let’s plays and it might just equal the legendary DM of the rings.

    I’m very excited.

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