Musings, Sapph

What’s old is new again

sapphAs I mentioned I’ve been playing my new baby Panda shaman, Sapph. The starting zone was interesting, though I agree with Rohan over at Blessing of Kings, if I had to choose a faction based on the actions of Ji vs the actions of Aysa.. let’s just say Aysa needs to get off her butt and -do- something more impressive than meditating on posts. For the most part I found the quests pleasant and easy to do. The only exceptions were the boss fights and the final “heal the turtle” quest.

For the boss fights I thought they ran exceptionally long. My poor baby shaman is plinking away at the boss and it’s taking for-ever.. and I KNOW the boss isn’t going to kill me.. and I KNOW that my warlock could kill this puny little boss in like one dot.. but instead I spent 5-8 minutes plinking away at the big badie. I suppose if I’d done this with 101 other people in the zone that the fight would have gone much more quickly.. but as a singleton.. yeah.. that was kind of long and boring. I didnt’ even have any cool buttons to push. IN FACT!!! In one of the boss fights I ran out of mana.. and was just hitting the boss for white damage for 80% of the fight. THAT TOTALLY SUCKED! (and coincidentally made me -REALLY- miss lifetap)

For the final “heal the turtle” quest I found it very difficult to do with only a single person. In the quest you have to free healers so they can run over an heal the gaping hole in the turtle. Then you need to protect them so they can get the turtle healed. So I’d run out in the field, find a healer who was fighting off a lizard dude. Help to kill of the lizard dude. Then talk to the healer to send him over to heal the turtle.. only.. as soon as I’d start talking to the healer another lizard dude would leap through the air and attack my healer.. so I spent a VERY long time killing lizards to “relieve” a healer only to immediatly find the healer jumped by even more lizard dudes. THEN, when I finally DID get a healer freed up they’d run over to the gaping wound and they’d get jumped by four lizard dudes. Four. I’m level freaking 12 and I’m fighting a non-stop fight to kill off four lizard dudes.. and THEY JUST KEEP COMING. In fact coming so fast no only can I not keep up, they keep killing off the one healer I have finally managed to free up.

Finally, after a VERY long time I figured out that there are also healers trapped under armor bits (which as an aside.. seriously? how did healers get trapped under armor bits? I was just questing in this area and they weren’t trapped under armor bits then.) So I freed about 3 healers who immediately got jumped by four lizard dudes. I tapped all four of the lizard dudes and dragged them away from the healers and FINALLY all of the damned NPCs who are just lolly-gagging around, not doing a damn thing, notice the bad lizard dudes and beat the tar out of them.

Again.. if I’d been doing this with 101 other newbies I’m sure it wouldn’t have been an issue.. but as a singleton it was not easy.. and even then I don’t get to have that warm glow of accomplishment.. because I didn’t really manage to protect them the whole time.. instead I just made creative use of the lazy NPC loitering about.

So anyway. Regardless I choose Alliance, not because of Aysa, but because that’s where most of my toons are already located. I popped up in Stormwind, did some running around there and then they routed me over to Westfall.

I haven’t done Westfall since probably BC. For the most part I tend to level Draenei who end up on the other continent and.. well frankly I haven’t leveled a new toon in a long time. This is the first time I’ve been through Westfall since the Cataclysm.

Um.. Wow. I suppose if you haven’t gone through it the next bit would be considered spoilers.. (and if you have it’s kind of “well duh” but whatever, it’s my blog I’ll write about it anyway).

So I’m a little bit vague about the details (I have a feeling they were spelled out in Elwyn Forest which I skipped) but for some reason there are a lot of people who have fled from Stormwind to Westfall. A lot of homeless, hungry people. And it seems that Westfall, the breadbasket of the Alliance, is suffering a bit of a drought. So the hungry homeless people are just well hungry and angry.. and very much heading towards “Occupy Westfall”.

Long long ago I ran regular Deadmines. I know the end boss was Edwin VanCleef who I believe was the head of the Defias Brotherhood. I’m sure I killed him a lot on several of my toons.

In Cataclysm I ran Heroic Deadmines.. but I didn’t know the lore behind it. I didn’t get why the new end boss was Vanessa VanCleef. I mean, yes, I get that she’s probably related to Edwin.. but the connection was just kind of a guess.

In playing through the new Westfall I have an improved appreciation for the story line and the connections. I think the “incense flashback” was inspired. You’re given a quest to burn incense inside the entrance to the Deadmines instance. The quest giver is the same Draenei who gave a similar quest in Northrend. AND!! there is a breadcrumb trail of neutral NPCs leading to the entrance of the mines. No more getting lost in the tunnels. When you burn the incense you see a cutscene showing you a party of 5 alliance characters killing Edwin VanCleef. After he dies the party celebrates, gets the loot and then runs off. A few seconds later a very young girl, Vanessa VanCleef, Edwin’s daughter, comes out of the ships cabin and /mourns the death of her father.

Suddenly, right there, we can see her motivation for being the “Shadowy figure” in Westfall inciting rebellion. It totally makes sense. I am a little bit sad that low-leveled characters who complete Deadmines don’t face Vanessa. I think those characters would have a greater understanding of the story line they’re witnessing. Instead Vanessa only shows up in the Heroic.. and only to toons who leveled through Westfall LONG before Vanessa existed as a storyline.

So yeah.. I’m pleased to be playing through the new-and-improved World. I look forward to seeing other areas to experience even more of the world’s lore.

1 thought on “What’s old is new again

  1. I levelled 2 pandas through the beginner zone; with the first one I had similar issues to you with the tedium of the turtle-saving part of the story. Second-time around, there was another player there by chance, and the healing-up and killing lizards bit went by very fast, and was a lot more fun.

    What I really did not like was the ‘choose a faction’ part of the story. There was no real incentive to choose either faction in storyline terms bar the somewhat dubious ‘friendship’ for the npcs I teamed up with.

    Blizzard no doubt thought that you would already have decided what faction you intended to play at this point, so yes, writing an involved story could have been a waste of time, but hey, as we were supposedly making an in-game decision based on almost no knowledge of who the Horde or Alliance were, it would have been nice to have something a bit more in-depth lore-wise to go on.

    Having chosen Alliance on my first panda, I was horrified by Varian’s order that I was now ‘of the Alliance’ and I must slaughter all Horde I came across, even my own friends if they had chosen to join the Horde. Hmmm, like I’m going to slaughter my friends because of a random decision I made whan asked to choose sides – no thank you, Mr!
    Joining the Alliance was the wrong move after all, and yet those Horde guys seemed no better. But, I didn’t have a ‘remain Neutral’ option!

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