Verigan's Fist

With my nostalgia for WoW as it used to be rekindled by BlizzCon, I decided to log onto my paladin on Kronos for the first time in several months. Her quest log was a hot mess with leftover quests in half a dozen different zones, and I was bumping up against the limit of only being able to hold twenty quests at a time. Argh! As I really wanted to move on to Stranglethorn Vale, land of numerous, glorious kill quests, I made an effort to clear things out a bit. Those leftover group quests from Redridge? Not gonna go back for those... abandon! A quest for Gnomeregan? Bah, whatever... abandon!

But there was one quest I definitely wasn't going to let go: The Test of Righteousness! After all I had already braved the Deadmines for that Whitestone Oak Lumber, fought elite ogres in Loch Modan for Refined Ore and descended to the Blackfathom Deeps for a Purified Kor Gem. All I needed was that darned hammer from Shadowfang Keep!

I figured that since I was past level thirty now, I was probably going to be OK soloing this last step, even though my gear was atrociously bad for my level. Fortunately I already had all the flight points up to Southshore from when I travelled north in search of the Expert First Aid book. I took it slowly, cleaning up a couple more quests on the way, but eventually I stood at the border to Silverpine, faced with giant red text warning me that I was entering Horde territory. I did not encounter any Horde however. Kronos' not particularly high population is definitely an advantage when it comes to avoiding PvP on a PvP server.

I killed the first couple of trash packs inside the instance with no issues but died once to the boss, since I didn't realise that he came with no less than three adds, which was a bit much for me in my gear, even at my level. Fortunately I managed to kill at least one of them before I died, and when I came back for more I was able to handle the remaining two adds before tackling the boss himself. I wouldn't have been able to tell you his name before I came in; I have to confess that Shadowfang Keep is one of those dungeons that I didn't run many times back in its Vanilla incarnation.

After successfully dispatching of Rethilgore, I found the captured Dalaran mage in his cell and talked to him so he would open the door to the courtyard for me. Surprise! The cell door closed behind me as I walked in to chat with him and I ended up trapped! I can't tell whether this was a bug or an actual Vanilla mechanic (after all you were supposed to come in with a group, so someone else would have been able to pull the lever from outside to let you back out), but it sure was annoying! Since there was no way to kill myself, it looked like my only way of escaping might be using my hearthstone... which was set to Darkshire. Ugh! However, then I had one last idea, which fortunately worked out - by casting Consecration close to the wall, I managed to pull Deathstalker Adamant from the adjacent cell, and as he was not held back by trifling matters such as walls or gates, he came over and helpfully agreed to kill me to save me from having to hearth out. Dodged that bullet!

I was kind of baffled by just how packed the courtyard was with mobs and patrols, but once again I managed to fight my way towards the stables with no further issues. At last, there was Jordan's Hammer!

I decided to pull the "horse boss" as a last hurrah, since I wasn't sure anymore whether the other horses would aggro as well. They did, and they stomped me. But I had got my quest item, so it was all good!

It didn't matter that I was prot/holy and had no real use for a two-handed mace. In Vanilla, there were just some things that you had to do because your pride demanded it, and owning your own Verigan's Fist was definitely one of them. Not to mention that getting it felt like completing one hell of a quest, in the truest sense of the word.


BlizzCon, the Warcraft Movie and Ironmen

BlizzCon has come and gone and WoW was once again all over the (MMO) news. There was also that little announcement about further subscription drops and that they'll never report subscriber numbers again, but oh well. I liked the way Wilhelm put it: "In the end, even World of Warcraft in reality cannot compete with World of Warcraft of legend."

The Legion announcement left me completely cold. I say this not to pooh-pooh on anyone who was excited by it, but because it's an interesting contrast to Warlords of Draenor. WoD at least still sounded somewhat tempting to me. This stuff? Nope. I guess I really am over that. I didn't even like the Legion trailer, mainly because it was focused on Varian.

I've been told that he's gradually been turned into a decent character, and maybe that's true, but if it is it definitely came too late for me. To me he'll always be that douche with the stupid hair. The only time I liked him (sorta) was when he was still the missing diplomat.

I was sort of intrigued by the Warcraft movie trailer:

I don't think it will blow anyone away in terms of story, but it does capture the Warcraft aesthetic pretty well and it's interesting to see a more "realistic" rendition of Azeroth for once. It focuses on a time period from classic Warcraft, which will appeal to a lot of people who may not like or care about the current game anymore. And it will be interesting to see how they change up the lore to make it more suitable for the big screen. For example the orcs come across as a lot more sympathetic in that trailer than I would have expected them to be at that point in Warcraft history, plus there's that whole "green Moses" scene...

I've also been watching people play WoW on YouTube, specifically the Ironman Challenge. I seem to remember hearing about the basic idea of levelling a character with as many self-imposed handicaps as possible as far back as Wrath of the Lich King, but it seems to have increased in appeal the more boring the base levelling game has become.

My favourite has been TheLazyPeon's series about it, because he gets so genuinely enthused about exploring the game in a new manner and so freaked out by his near-deaths. (Dying instantly causes you to "lose" the challenge.) You definitely feel a bit of Vanilla WoW flair in the air whenever his little mage sheeps things and runs for his life.

The other YouTuber I've been watching play through this challenge is Asmongold:

He projects more of a "bro" personality on screen, and if you see the weird sort of "fan mail" he gets, you wonder if he ever regrets it. It's interesting to see how completely different his approach is though. He couldn't get what the challenge was about initially, constantly deriding it as too easy (and to be fair, he did roll a hunter). But then he made a stupid pull in Duskwood and pretty much only survived it because he happened to level up at just the right time and it really seemed to sink in that the game could still be challenging if you do gimp yourself enough. He also has pretty much zero interest in quests and lore and frequently seems to forget that Cataclysm happened (as in, he'll keep talking about what sort of quest he thinks is coming up in the next area, but it's almost always the Vanilla version he describes). Still entertaining in its own way.