Thursday, 24 March 2011

Cataclysm Journal 18!

Time to take a short stop..

While departing from Dragonblight and heading to Zul'Drak, I took some time to head to the city of Dalaran! This allowed Feignheart and myself to get some well needed rest at the Inn, to regain our strength for the journey ahead. This included a trip to the Auction House and the Hunter Trainer, which were most needed. The break also allowed us to finally pick up Artisan Flying! The saving really paid off, or should I say paid out! Worth every penny I should mention. Every last piece of copper we had earned. All 4750 gold of it! However to my surprise, a new mount wasn't needed to accompany the skill. Seems that your current mount becomes 'upgraded' to fit. So watch out Azeroth! For Feignheart now has a 280!

Violet Hold
The actual city itself floats above the forests of Crystalsong. Although the forest is as mystically enchanting as can be, it seems to have no relevance whatsoever (in terms of quests). Though Dalaran does indeed hold some magnificent sites, kind of like the Las Vegas of WoW. If I am honest, it seems like somewhere that should have been in 'The Wizard of Oz'. Within the city also exists a dungeon instance. This happens to be Violet Hold,which is pretty much a prison for all the terrible creatures which have been locked away for their crimes. This lead me to getting my hands on some new weaponry - Prison Wardens Shotgun.

With all due haste, we set out once again. This time for the mysteries of  Zul'Drak! The once mighty empire of the Drakarri Trolls, until the invasion of the scourge. The Trolls had lived in isolation in this pre-historic land alongside smaller tribes of Furblolgs and other inhabitants for decades, before the scourge showed up and began spreading their infestation across the land. Those who became infected by the deadly plagues that the scourge had let loose, later became the Drakuru (servants of the Lich King). This Tribal race of Trolls began performing rituals, which involved sacrificing their own Animal Gods. All to gain unmeasurable amounts of power, to combat the scourge. It was to be their own demise.

Here come the scourge...
The land itself is laid out in levels. Working it's way up to the heart of the Drakarri settlements. Within the vast wilderness exist grand stone temples and monuments, which are camouflaged in the surrounding mist and treacherous looking wildlife. When travelling, you come across a number of shrines which accept particular 'Drakkari Offerings'. These of course give you a Zone-Wide buff to assist you in battle. For example one gives you a huge Attack Power increase. Overall, with the looping drums in the background, the lurking snakes, hidden traps and the whole atmosphere of the area. I get one idea... INDIANA JONES!

The Arena!
Another great concept in this zone, or repeat of Gadgetzan, is The Arena. Which is of course run by a goblin, just typical. Anyway, the Arena is a lot grander than the Tanaris original (As you can see pictured to the right). Also, this one requires a full group of allies, suggested 5. However, due to a lack of players in the vicinity, I was lucky enough to receive the help from a level 85 TG buddy. Though this proved way less challenging, it was fun none the less. This was emphasized by the interesting bosses we fought, including a Tuskarr who had an evil army of... Penguins? Before moving on. A real word of warning! Make sure, especially when wandering along the main path running through the zone, to keep your eyes peeled, although the danger is hard to miss. As this is the route of which Thrym 'The Hope Ender' takes! Pretty much an oversized version of Frankenstein, he still has a habit of sneaking up on you despite the sheer size of him.. or it. Eventually you do come to an inevitable clash with this monstrosity, but more on that to come later...

The Hope Ender..
This zone, compared to Dragonblight, is fairly short. Though nothing far from the excitement that it set. Mean, who doesn't take privilege in investigating wild animals, to see what gender they are? Different I guess. At the start of your quest, you discover that the scourge want you! They have been trying to trap you into becoming one of them. This is where it gets interesting. With this information, you are instructed to give them a taste of their own medicine. Your going undercover! 007 style. Mission Impossible. You get the drift... So you grab your disguise and pretend that you've undergone the transformation, and begin to work your way up the ranks. Mingling with the scourge, who could ever have imagined. You even go to the extent of buying goods from them and completing their quests. All for the good of Azeroth though right?  No doubt that this was an excellent quest-line that really hooked me in, especially with the end resulting in another meeting with the Lich King!

Scourge Transport?

As you go through the zone, you also find yourself taking a Storm Giant for a ride. This, with its clever use of phasing, was by far one of the best quests yet to date. Literally trampling any scourge that come within your reach - or footstep! This is where you finally get to destroy the mighty Thrum and all the other scourge bosses. Now, last but not least, Gundrak. Let me re-emphasize the Indiana Jones feeling in this instance. Anyway, a nice fun run through the instance granted me with yet another weapon replacement for the one I had only just received in Violet Hold - Drakkari Hunting Bow!

During my adventures, I have noticed something. Nothing seriously problematic however. While leveling from 60-80 it seems that their is very little hunter orientated gear. This meaning, since the class change in Cataclysm. As a lot of the Mail gear includes intellect and so on, of which we no longer require. I see that a lot of the Leather equipment is more suited, but with the Mail Specialization, I try to avoid it. Though, I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, as there is still more than enough gear to suit. What do you think? Now, what new abilities has Feignheart picked up now:
So a really great set of skills/utilities to play with! Also, I have found a really neat way of soloing elites. Nothing new I bet, but something I have discovered.The use of Concussive Shot and Distracting Shot. Basically kiting the mob between you and your pet!

One of the Animal Prophets!

Coming to a close on this edition on Cataclysm Journals. Feignheart is now at the grand level of 78 and is now again in a split decision. Storm Peaks or Icecrown?! YOU DECIDE!

Now before I do finish I would like anyone interested, of which you should be, in my latest addon! Head over to my review on Time Wasted Tuesday for all the information:

Until next time,

Thanks for reading!

Keep Posted - Follow/Comment/Subscribe

- Jamin

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Cataclysm Journal 17!

Finally.. It's here..


However, before we set off. I would like to announce the new name of my trustee companion. Introducing SugarDaddy, previously know as 'dog' up until now. The name, which may seem quite unfitting for some, was an inside joke within TG. Initiating the name change required me to pick up a Certificate of Ownership from the Auction House for around 50 gold, which deemed simple enough. Now you may be wondering, 'why so much attention around your pet?'. Well like I have mentioned before, dog.. or should I say SugarDaddy, has been my loyal companion since day one. Even though I can swap him at any time, I've grown to have a sentimental value around him. Not to mention that he has been through all the same adventures that Feighnheart has, and being Beast Mastery of course revolves around your pet. So that I feel is enough to justify giving him some of the spotlight.

Wrymrest Temple
Anyway. Feignheart's Adventure, alongside SugarDaddy, now leads them to the Land of the Dragons. Dragonblight. This vastly covered snow terrain, resonating a very 'arcane' power feeling which is only bolstered by the magical creatures and mythical, yet fully present, dragons which inhibit it, is not one to be overlooked. Another aspect which completely sets the scene, is that of the music. The soothing, yet occasionally intense, piano playing really embarks you into a sense of adventure and emotion. Altogether, I was really sucked into the zone, it's story and everything it and the environment had to offer. Narnia especially comes to mind. This zone also features the raid instance, Naxxramus.

The Tuskarr
The people and creatures of the blight. Along my adventure through this expansive area, I encountered many new and reappearing factions. Firstly there are the Tuskarr, of whom struck me as a very inquisitive race and faction. They seem to share very similar traits, such as a wish for peace and tranquillity, as the Tauren. Locked in a war with the Wolvar, I feel their race holds room for much expansion. Across the land exists other factions, such as the arachnid Nerubians, the mighty Argent Crusade and the merciless Scarlet Onslaught. However, much of the focus is based around the 'Dragonflights'..

Ruby Dragonshrine
The Dragonflights, hence 'land of the dragons', are a combination of five main different sub-factions of dragons. These are each obvious by their colours. There are the Red, Bronze and Green Dragonflights to begin with. Then there is the Blue Dragonflight, which we encountered previously in the Borean Tundra, who have now gone bad with their leader Malygos turned insane. Last but not least there is the Black Dragonflight, who are the dark and seemingly untrustworthy allies in the Flights. More convincingly when you think that Deathwing himself is part of the same sub-faction. They base their operations in the Wymrest Temple (pictured above), in the centre of the Blight, which is heavily guarded. This is where each of the flight leaders congregate. To note, each leader has their human forms and each flight has its own shrine within the zone. You eventually find yourself meeting the leader of the red Dragonflight, who also happens to be Queen of the Dragonflights, Alexstrasa. Along your journey, you also find that the scourge are trying to resurrect a mighty dragon, who is by far the biggest to have ever existed, who went by the name of Galakrond. By looking at parts of the skeleton, you can only imagine the sheer size him.

Future you
Moving on. A word of warning, especially in this zone. Watch out for flying mobs, including elite ones! I found this out the hard way when I flew into the zone while reading the quest log and ended up being dazed/dismounted and falling to my eventual death. So look out. Anyway, something which caught my attention was the number of group quests in the zone. Although I can normally solo the majority of them, some of these really did require assistance. Not to mention one, The Plume of Alystros, which after completing I still ended up repeating as others in zone required assistance. I like to do my bit to help you see. Another quest which was really cool, was when you assist the Bronze Dragonflight, and find yourself fighting alongside the future you. After the quest you get told by this future version of yourself to 'go get some better gear', which I seemingly found hilarious! Then there was a heroic quest which gets your flying an alliance gryphon into battle to rescue villagers, while saying 'Come with me if you want to live'. Doesn't get any better than that.

Looking down...
Falling down...
And down...

Now, onto Dungeons. First off, Azjol Nerub. Short and sweet. However, as you can see above, includes a unique form of travel. Which is a lengthy hole to fall down into a pit of water. Then, Old Kingdom. What I found really fascinating about this one, was the last boss. He drives you insane, literally. You find yourself turned onto your allies, of whom you have to kill in an alternate reality, before being thrown back onto the boss. Totally unexpected, but what a great mechanic!

Back to quests. However, a line that which was best saved until last. The zone includes a constantly unwinding quest line, which is ongoing as you venture throughout. The quests lead you along the main story/plot of the expansion. At one point you find yourself situated in Frostmourne cave where Arthas first discovers the almighty, but cursed, sword. (As to avoid spoilers) this never ending story, which is just so compelling, leads you all the way to Angrathar, better know as The Wrath Gate. Nothing can describe this absolutely unmissable mini-section. With its AMAZING use of phasing, as you will see in the following pictures, and truly EPIC cinematic, you get sucked right into the game and all its glory.

.. After!
Before the chaos...

Feignheart, alongside his faithful consort, have now battled their way through the blight and all its mysteries, and it is now time to move on in the quest for adventure. Briefly making a quick stop in the city of Dalaran, they plan to set off to either Grizzly Hills OR Zul Drak. Which one? YOU DECIDE. Level 75, and unknowing where the road will take them, we depart.

Before you go. Blogroll! I have finally created a blogroll from around the blogosphere. Check it out - Shattered Beginnings Blogroll ! Think you have content that you feel deserves some recognition? Then get in contact!

Latest at Time Wasted Tuesday

How do you feel the game we all love fits into your real life. I want to hear what you think! Don't miss it!

Thanks for reading!

Keep Posted - Follow/Comment/Subscribe

- Jamin
Worgen Sauna!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Cataclysm Journal 16!

Across the seas, and Feignheart's adventure continues...

The Borean Tundra

After the treacherous venture across the seas of Azeroth, Feigheart finally took his first steps on the continent of Northrend! This happened to be the destination of the Borean Tundra which was in need of help, as stated on the Stormwind 'Hero Board'. So with 'Cold Weather Flying' now under my belt, which allowed me to take to the skies of Northrend, I am set for adventure. My first location was the docking city in the Tundra. Valiance Keep. 

Enlist Here!
Upon arriving at the keep and stepping off the boat, I seemed to get a real refreshing sense. Another change in atmosphere. A new wind. The scene is set in a 'war-effort' mood. With the fortress still being built and people queueing to join the fight ,which as usual, includes you! Quests kick off with helping to defend the keep from ongoing assaults from the Scourge. This includes the infamous - 'Cult of the Damned'. This faction are those who willingly serve to help the scourge and ultimately the Lich King (Mirroring Satanism in a way). Later you also find yourself participating in the torture of one of the members in a feat to gain information. Overall you begin the zone at a nice steady pace.

The actual zone of the Tundra itself is rather strange. At first you think it will be a large icy glacier.  However you then start to see planes of green. Then followed by scourge infected area's and even a Gnome Airstrip, which includes a desert plane!? Here are some shots from the zone: (Click to enlarge)

Gnome Airstrip

The Icy Shores

Scourge City

The Nexus

Talking about the zone and its mixed environments. There also happened to be an entire sub-zone. Only small mind you. Though enough to set it apart from the rest. Coldarra. An area revolved and held by the Blue Dragonflight, who are fearsome foes to contend with. I experienced this first hand when I was taken out of the sky by one of the soaring dragons, which lead me to fall to my eventual death. I say eventual, because this was from some considerable height. Anyway, this whole zone circled around the instances, one of which called The Nexus. I took two dungeon runs in here to complete all the quests I had gathered, and they proved to be quite a blast. However. The most astonishing thing to me was.. Dungeon Maps are back! This was due to the fact that Outland lacked the feature.

Saving (Murloc) Babies is What We Do!
While travelling around the lands, I encountered some other new or unexpected factions. Firstly I came across a small pack of Walrus-like creatures, which gave me a nice handful of quests including one which directed me to Dragonblight. Then.. Then came.. THE MURLOCS! Surprisingly this time your fighting alongside them! I become one of them! One of the tribe. Just epic. This sent me along to go save some Murloc babies and princesses. Which is all just in the day of Feignhearts adventures!

Moving on. Now to a rather compelling piece of the story alongside some interesting quest lines. These primarily revolve around a character named Thassarian. The first mention of Death Knights, of which he happens to be. Sadly this was all very short, but ended with quite a scene which really got the story to grab again. One of which I struggled quite hard to solo (As it was a group quest), though I did get there in the end. This also became Feignhearts first sighting of.. The Lich King!

Time for a Hunter Update

The usual happened as I completed my first few quests in Northrend. My gear was almost all replaced by greens. Nothing I wasn't expecting there. That's nothing though. Two amazing new changes have occurred in the latest patch. Firstly. Darkflight now stacks with other speed enhancements (Which includes Aspect of the Cheetah!). Now if that wasn't amazing enough, you can now Shoot while on the move! Okay. The second isn't a major change, but its big enough for me, as it just gives the hunter such a better feel to it! Now to implement mounted attacks...

Talent Party:
  • Rapid Killing - A very nice ability (Similar to a warriors victory rush) which increases damage with certain abilities after killing anything which yields XP/Honour.
  • Charge (Pet) - Allows your pet to charge enemy's
  • Wild Hunt (Pet) - Allows your pets to deal extra damage when over a specific amount of focus. Really cool for 'burst' damage!
  • Call of the Wild (Pet) - A shout which increases Attack Power.
  • Rabid (Pet) - An attack power increase buff which stacks. Another form of Beastial Wrath for your pet.
All of this has proved to be a huge DPS increase throughout, not to mention faster speed in kill-rate! This includes better, pet, threat generation. Also I have now branched into the Marksman Talent Tree, with the acquirement of Rapid Killing.

Feignhearts latest weapon!

Last but not least, a little thought of how I feel the new continent has been so far. Mainly in comparison to Outlands. To begin, the quest-lines are a lot broader and quite a bit more meaningful which include an option of where to head first. Even though they all come together at some point, there seems to be a nice balance between diversity, and a linear story line. So far, so good.

1000 Quests now completed! Some Murloc Babies saved. Wolf faeces searched (For a quest of course..). All gaining me my first honoured WotLK Faction, which happened to be 'The Valiance Expedition', and leaving Feignheart and myself at the level 72!

Thanks for reading!

Keep Posted - Follow/Comment/Subscribe

- Jamin

(P.S. Check out my latest TimeWastedTuesday post - Topic Shuffle
Cows go Moo!