I Bet You Forgot I was Playing WoW (so did I)

By Paige Francis Posted Monday Apr 29, 2024

Filed under: Epilogue, Paige Writes 3 comments

By which I mean I actually stopped playing World of Warcraft for the last few months. I got Cinderlynn up to level 60 and all the other characters to 20, or a little higher. I experimented with using Chromie-time to level in Burning Legion, Wrath of the Lich King, and Mists of Pandaria. Basically I had set all my alts to level in a different expansion, including an Alliance-side character in Battle for Azeroth, the current default leveling path. But honestly, once I hit level 60 with Cinderlynn the game starts throwing pop-up ads at you to jump straight to the latest content. Quest givers that start all the different areas of the latest expansion, or other recent expansions; suddenly appear everywhere. You can accidentally take a quest that starts, say; Shadowlands…and you jump into a non-stop starter quest that ends with not only quest givers to continue that story and sidequests, but also prompts to jump you straight back into the expansion you just CAME from. The bottom line is, my brain got overloaded, I stopped having fun, I felt like I was being herded away from the content I wanted to play, and I just went to playing only Star Wars: The Old Republic. WHICH I HAVEN’T STOPPED PLAYING, don’t worry. I have Rix’larril’an and Mikan Sixteen completing a crafting challenge for the current Galactic Season while I type this. But as I mentioned in my very first World of Warcraft post, there is something very…comforting about WoW’s gameplay and design to me. So about a week ago I updated the game and logged back in to see what was going on, and if I could make sense of anything and get going again without much hassle.

I also have to go change out some tires on my spouse’s work car after getting a ruined tire replaced, but I’m gonna save that for when I can hide from the sun. Unfortunately snake season is starting up, so they’re gonna be hiding from the sun, too. As I have actual ophidiophobia…well, that says it all.

As soon as I logged in I saw that one or more updates in the last few months had reset my talents, removed and added skills, and now I had the familiar “click here for a set of current gear and bags” message. Oh great. Hassle. Honestly I was only interested in keeping a handful of characters, so I just deleted everything. You may recall a few of the characters I created months ago (obviously apart from Cinderlynn) were “happy accidents.” I was planning for one particular build, but upon meeting the auto-generated ‘toon (this is one of the few MMORPGs I am comfortable using that appellation with. E.g. Rix’larril’an is NOT a ‘toon. But Cinderlynn is), I was so taken with the appearance that I accepted the default choices. This gave me a couple of great designs, but honestly not builds I was 100% happy with. So I wrote down the appearance options, or at least the best I could figure them out (SWTOR lets you bring up a full character designer at any time to read your settings, or even export them. WoW does not (double note: yes, you can visit a barbershop and see a lot of the settings)) and re-created the characters that I wanted to keep, with the builds I wanted. Mystilatre has been recreated as a Hunter, and Selarashari is now a Paladin instead of a Rogue. I also created Chayarcy, my accidental main from back in the Mists of Pandaria–>Warlords of Draenor era. This was mainly to keep the name, as it was somehow auto-generated…which means someone else could get it if I don’t have it. And THAT reminds me I need to create a Troll with a particular name, but I honestly don’t know what class I want her to be. She was my ORIGINAL Warlock, many years ago; but spent most of her time as a Shadow Priest. I’ve never really enjoyed the play style, though. I just don’t want to lose the name. Oh well. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

This time I decided to abandon the pretense of experiencing the story in any chosen order. You have to make so many exceptions and bring in outside lore, I’m not sure it’s worth it. On the other hand, I think that’s probably more of a mental hang-up for me. I will explain. So, as explained previously, when you create a new character in “modern” World of Warcraft, you are asked whether you want to start in the traditional starting zone for your race faction or in the new universal starting zone of Exile’s Reach. It is recommended, and now that I’ve done both recently I also recommend you just go ahead and do Exile’s Reach. You’ll be in a better, and CONSISTENT, place at the end. I ran Cinderlynn through the starting area which ends with your character being transported to the Horde or Alliance capital city. You get a quest that guides you around the capital city, provides you with a mount (a mount I already owned so I just turned around and sold this new one), has you bind your hearthstone to an inn so you can always transport back to this location (until you change your hearth location), then ends with a prompt to start the Battle for Azeroth campaign.

The thing is, you don’t actually START at the beginning of the story. Because the BEGINNING of the story was a series of events that took place in the final few updates to the Legion expansion. Cliff’s Notes version:

  1. THE WOUND: Sargerus, the extra-dimensional big bad behind the Legion/Burning Legion; so one of the original VIP enemies of Azeroth, STUCK HIS BIG-ASS SWORD in the planet in an attempt to “kill” it which makes perfect sense in the deep lore. See picture, above.
  2. WAR OF THE THORNS: Horde Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner realizes that some super-important magical substance from deep in the planet that was exposed in this act could shift the balance of power between the Horde and Alliance, so she attacked the Night Elves who control Alliance-side shipping between the continent of Kalimdor, where the Horde is headquartered AND the Sword of Sargerus is now impaled; and the Eastern Kingdoms where the Alliance is headquartered. This culminates in the Horde attacking the World Tree Teldrassil, which is also the race capital of the Night Elves. The tree and home of the Night Elves is destroyed.
  3. BATTLE FOR LORDAERON: In revenge for this action, the Alliance launches an assault on the ancient human capital of Lordaeron, which was captured by the Forsaken during the events of the Warcraft RTS games and serves as the Forsaken race capital of Undercity. The Alliance is largely successful in driving the Forsaken and Horde defenders from the city, but during a climactic showdown with Sylvanas in her throne room, she releases hidden Blight canisters, forcing the Alliance leaders to flee and covering Sylvanas’ escape. At this point Undercity is also considered lost. This event concludes with former Dwarven king and current titan liaison Magni Bronzebeard asking the hero (you) to work outside faction alliances to help heal the damage done to the “heart” of Azeroth. You are given an item, the “Heart of Azeroth,” which factors into certain quests from this storyline.

Here’s the (first) thing: while you can’t replay these three chapters currently, you CAN still do that last bit where you travel to see Magni and start the Heart of Azeroth quests. BUT that is NOT included in the default start. You WILL get an emissary from Magni pop up outside of the central quest hub of whatever expansion you are playing (although I have NOT verified this in EVERY possible situation) to start these quests.

The second thing is: if you are in an expansion OTHER than Battle for Azeroth and switch to Battle for Azeroth, you get an introduction mission that sets up the beginning of the story. On the Horde side, you are given The Stormwind Extraction. You are tasks by Warchief Sylvanas to break two VIP prisoners out of Stormwind Prison. The targets turn out to be Princess Talanji and Zul the Prophet, two Zandalari Trolls who were captured by the Alliance before they could reach Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner. After you free these two and return them to Orgrimmar, you proceed to enter the Horde-side story of Battle for Azeroth.

But if you just follow the default starting path, you don’t get the introduction mission; instead you start at the point where you have just returned to Orgrimmar. As I wrote earlier, when you finish the quest that shows you, the new player, around Orgrimmar; you receive a prompt to start Battle for Azeroth. Of course, it is harmonically disturbing to KNOW the proper start to the story is available, playable content but is left out of the default, recommended beginning. Someday I may find a very precise way to start out with a consistent narrative, but obviously it’s a moving target. The next expansion is launching in one month, and I wonder if the current expansion, Dragonflight, will be added to the standard subscription. If not, I can’t imagine it will be too very much longer until that happens. Not that I’m looking forward to playing that content; I still need to go all the way through Legion, Battle for Azeroth, and Shadowlands BEFORE I reach that point. Right now I am clearing out side quests in the first Zandalar region before moving on to the second available leveling zone. Best I’ve done since starting WoW again.

In Star Wars: The Old Republic, I picked up a new companion when they popped up in the Galactic Seasons previous content vendor:

This is fallen Jedi Master Ranos. “Fallen” in the sense that she rejected the Order’s teachings, not that she became Sith. I’m working on a some background lore that would provide a connection to Rix’larril’an. Honestly, she isn’t a great complement to Rix. Rix is a melee character and I seem to get better results using a ranged companion; just as Mikan Sixteen is a ranged character and seems to get slightly better results with a melee companion. Note this is separate from your companion’s “role.” I almost always have my companion set to the “Heal” role regardless of their fighting style.

I typically theme my companion’s armor with the character I’m playing. You likely have noticed Rix and her companions mostly use a secondary orange dye, or a white and orange dye. Lord Zeele’s group uses some variation of dark blue and black, with grey being substituted for black occasionally. Mikan Sixteen has had several color combinations; the most recent being Red and Grey. However, I recently got a random armor chest piece that I was so taken with I started using it. It is a three-color chest piece using white, orange, and brown. Three-color pieces aren’t extremely rare in SWTOR, but they are certainly less common.

Unfortunately I didn’t write down the name of the armor. It was a random drop during a Heroic2+, and is subject to a bug I’ve run into a few times: once slotted as gear or an appearance piece, it becomes “Unknown Armor.” My memory says it was “Something Systech Efficient Something.” There is “Systech” armor in the game, but I have not been able to find a match for this armor set. I also checked the newly added “Fitted” random drop armor that was introduced recently and have not identified it there. I found a few that had similar thumbnails, but the applied appearance does not match.

This particular combination of white, orange, and brown is lovely. It also doesn’t 100% match the rest of my cosmetic armor. It’s CLOSE, but you can see the discontinuity. And I suspect the leg part of this armor set is meant to be robes, based on the rumpled fabric nature of the brown parts. So this might be the best I’m going to do, but it’s still bugging me that I can’t find this armor yet.

And finally, a new entry in “Seeing the Sights” around the Star Wars galaxy:

One again, a well-thought-out name and guild. Now I have to find the rest of the Avengers. Just of the top of my head, I know you can do Iron Man and Black Widow pretty readily. Red and Yellow dyes of the proper tones aren’t available, but there are some armors with the proper base colors to make an Iron Man work. And honestly, Black Widow is easy. There are probably HUNDREDS of black catsuits in the game.

See you next week!


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3 thoughts on “I Bet You Forgot I was Playing WoW (so did I)

  1. Leslee says:

    I was enticed to return to WoW after reading your first post about it. I had not played the game in years, so I was quite confused by the starting process.

    I started in the Exile’s Reach starter area, but quickly discovered that the game is not well balanced for a rogue. I died so many times before reaching level 10 that I wondered if Blizzard had turned the game into a Dark Souls clone!

    Like you, I managed to get the rogue to level 60ish, but the game became such a confusing mess for me that I eventually quit playing.

    1. Yuck. I apologize for leading you into a less-than-fulfulling experience. I do have some good news on WoW. Pretty soon I’ll have an update on how to get started in World of Warcraft without breaking your mind. Probably the first of a few parts. To start with I will do much as I talked about this past week: show how you CAN follow the default prompts to a fulfiling story. The big test will come up in a day or two. I’m almost done with the Zandalar story for Horde-side Battle for Azeroth, which should coincide with reaching Level 60. My attempt (as of this minute, anyway) will be to progress to the next part of the story for Battle for Azeroth. You also have the Battle for Azeroth “War Campaign,” which is a massive set of side quests that is basically exploring the opposite faction’s storyline from an outsider’s view. I played with it a bit before leaving WoW for the last few months.

      I very much lay a lot of blame on Blizzard’s doorstep for a lot of current WoW problems. 1) Content that should be included in default storylines that was left out. IT’S ALREADY IN THE GAME. That’s just lazyness and failure of vision. 2) Making the actual STORY of the game the single hardest thing to experience; 3) tied to that, the attempt to get you to transfer to the newest content as early as they can by literally spamming you with quests, mail, and even NPC’s SHOUTING AT YOU to come do the latest content in THEIR zone.

      I used to use a purchased 3rd Party leveling guide with WoW. They removed the “storyline” part of the guide early on, but one thing you COULD do was, just select one particular zone and it would give you every quest in that zone in a recommended order for completion. It boggles my mind that with the number of people who are really in to WoW lore, neither Blizzard nor apparently the part of the fanbase willing to program tools for the game is all that interested in the story. I mean, other than the writers. And maybe the producers; I have been shocked at the extensive use of voice acting in Battle for Azeroth, at least in Zandalar.

  2. UPDATES on the SWTOR “Unknown Armor:” Doing weekly Heroic2+ missions more “Systech” armor dropped, and it all matched the color pattern. So I should be on my way to building a full set with 100% matching colors…it’ll just take a while. I *think* this armor only drops, for me anyway, on Hutta, the Bounty Hunter and Agent starting planet.

    And as I’m sure most of you noticed, it’s NOT three-color…it’s FOUR-color: White, Orange of some tone (the game has several shades of orange), Brown, and BLACK. White is the primary color, Orange is the secondary color; the brown and black bits stay the same no matter white dye pack you apply. Now, wearing brown with Black is normally a major faux pax, but that is one of the few 1970’s aesthetics I have always liked.

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