The Death of Lossy the Mage

I was going to sit on this post for a few more days but then I figured: It's Halloween, what better time to entertain people with a tale of death? Which is basically my way of saying that my hardcore character died. I'll tell you how it happened, because as I said previously, how people die in hardcore is easily the most interesting thing about it.

The main thing that came to mind after the death was that it's true that it gets you when you least expect it. Here I had been worried about Defias in Westfall and pugs in the Deadmines, but I certainly didn't expect to be killed by some random naga on Zoram Strand.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have played on a day when I was feeling a bit under the weather and quite fuzzy-brained (I spent most of the afternoon sleeping after shutting down WoW) - I'd like to think that I would have made fewer bad decisions if I'd been entirely with it, but it is what it is.

So what happened was that I decided to make my way to the Wetlands and from there to Kalimdor to unlock some flight paths. I reached Astranaar in Ashenvale without incident and decided to do a few easy quests while I was there. One of them was to collect twenty naga heads on Zoram Strand, which was easy enough as they were three to four levels below me.

When I got there I also "found" another quest I'd completely forgotten about, the one to retrieve an ancient statuette. I decided to pick it up since it was on the way. The follow-up asked me to get a key from a named non-elite naga, and I figured I might do that as well. So I went to the little island where she resided, where most of the mobs were yellow to me instead of green, but I still didn't think too much of it. I noticed that the named naga was patrolling with two guards attached to her, but I was confident that I could take them on with clever use of sheep and frost nova. You can probably guess where this is going.

I still don't think that this was a terrible thing to do in principle, but I should have taken more care. I sheeped the named naga and started nuking the melee guard, but there was also a caster that kept blasting me. When I tried to freeze the melee guy in place I also didn't immediately step far enough away and he still got several hits in. I noticed that I was taking a lot of damage and chugged a health potion, but I thought I still had it under control - this is where things really started to go wrong as I waited too long to start running.

I also hadn't considered that being on a small island meant that my only escape vector was by swimming, which made me very slow. When I eventually tried to make a run for it, using blink etc., I noticed that my health was still going down even with nothing hitting me, because the warrior-type had put a bleed on me. Can't even bandage like that! I thought I was almost sure to die but the bleed ended with me having 17 hitpoints left, which is when I took the below screenshot. I actually thought I'd made it for a moment as I thought I'd lost my pursuers, but then the melee guy caught up with me and one final swing finished me off.

In hindsight I can see on the pre-death screenshot that I still had a lot of mana left, so mana shield might have saved me if I'd thought to use it, but oh well, when you're running scared you don't always think of all your options. Plus I honestly thought that I'd shaken them off (it's a bit hard to see while swimming) or I might have tried to frost nova one more time.

Thus ends the story of Lossy the Mage, and probably also of me trying hardcore for now, as I have no particular urge to immediately start over. I was, after all, just checking the mode out for the novelty. We'll see what news BlizzCon brings on the weekend.


Suffusion Camp

I briefly mentioned Fyrrak assaults as something that was added in 10.1 in my first impressions post about that patch back in May. I didn't really have much more to say on the subject at the time, but they've come back to the forefront of my attention multiple times again since then.

It's a bit of a meme now how all the Dragonflight open world events are very similar at this point... except this one I guess. The main thing that makes it different is that it's convoluted, confusing and ridiculously deadly - which is not a good thing, but has nonetheless served to keep me interested somehow.

I don't know why that is - most of the time when a new piece of content annoys me, I have the sensible response of going "well, that was annoying, probably not gonna do that again", but every now and then I'll feel weirdly challenged instead, thinking to myself "well, that was annoying and stupid, but I bet it I can do it in a way that is less aggravating next time". And then I keep coming back to inflict more pain on myself like a happy little masochist.

Fyrrak assaults - or to be more precise, the Suffusion Camps where they take place - are one such piece of content. The whole structure with the three different kinds of keys you need to collect is unnecessarily convoluted, but I do have that figured out by now. The problem is that I have yet to find a way around the camps' deadliness.

It's not just the mobs in them - though there are some that have pretty aggravating abilities, such as those that do a stacking DoT on you... just what are you supposed to do about that if you don't have a cleanse? But no, there are also all these random environmental effects that do damage to you, such as those thingamabobs that shoot fire everywhere and the elite protodrakes constantly flying "bombing runs" across the camp. Even if you take care when fighting the mobs, it's not unusual that you'll get smacked and killed by one of these flybys just as you get out of combat and before you've had a chance to heal up.

Which is to say that I'm doing okay on characters that can heal themselves if needed, but not on those without any self-healing or only of the type that relies on using long cooldowns. And I know that it's not just me, because every time I die I can see plenty of other ghosts around me making their way back to their bodies.

This past week completing a Suffusion Camp was part of the weekly reputation quest which I still enjoy doing on my alts, and while my priest had an easy enough time tagging things with her DoTs that other people were fighting while also spamming AoE heals everywhere, both my hunter and my rogue were basically just zerging, dying after every other mob and reviving again until a res timer forced them to wait a bit. My rogue is still levelling too, which makes it all the funnier to me that Blizzard suggests this content as something to do - yes, technically everything is scaled, but it's very noticeable how much more quickly a leveller will be obliterated by any damaging ability in the area compared to a geared max-level character.

It's just such a weird thing to me that I simultaneously find the whole event very annoying yet also kind of enjoy coming back to it, always in hopes of doing better this time. Sometimes it has been good for memorable moments, such as when I was there on my healer and a rogue actually expressed gratitude for the healing in general chat, because it obviously made such a huge difference to everyone's survivability.


Top Ten Causes of Death in Hardcore

I quite liked it when Blizzard released statistics about deaths on hardcore shortly after launch, so two months later I was kind of wondering when/if they were going to post some sort of update... so I was most pleased when one appeared in my video recommendations yesterday:

It's less than five minutes long and well worth a watch, but to provide a written summary anyway:

At this point, nearly 3 million characters have died on the hardcore servers, and the top ten causes of death at the time of the video were as follows:

  1. Falling
  2. Kobold Miner
  3. Voidwalker Minion
  4. Defias Trapper
  5. Wendigo
  6. Defias Pillager
  7. Other players
  8. Drowning
  9. Porcine Entourage
  10. Kobold Tunneler 

The thing that immediately stands out is that seven of these are low-level mobs, while the other three causes of death are level-neutral and can theoretically affect a character at any level. So a lot of people died early on - which is unsurprising - though I think percentage-wise this will go down over time as fewer inexperienced people try out hardcore for a laugh.

The next thing you'll probably notice is that six of the seven mobs are from Alliance starting areas, and only one from Horde. Judging by the comments, people read this in a variety of ways, from "nobody plays Horde on hardcore" to "Alliance players are bad" to "Horde starting zones are just easier". My favourite take was that Hordies are too busy falling to their deaths in Undercity and Thunder Bluff to have time to engage with mobs. There's probably at least a grain of truth in all of these.

Still, I also find myself agreeing with the comments that state that it would be interesting to see more videos like this, but filtered by faction or level for example. Since they do provide the actual death count for each source in the video, we know that the top ten are "only" responsible for about 14% of all deaths, which leaves a lot of room for other ways to die.

To talk about the items on the list in specific, well... I'm still surprised by how high falling and drowning rank, despite of being level-agnostic. It's not that I don't "get" how you can die to these things and I've certainly had my fair share of deaths from these way back when I was noob (e.g. by accidentally walking off one of the bridges in Thunder Bluff), but once you get the general idea of which heights are dangerous and how quickly you run out of air underwater, it's not that hard to take a bit of care in my opinion. It's not like you'll ever find yourself at the edge of a cliff or underwater unexpectedly.

Most of the mobs are not a surprise, as many of them are located in caves and can gang up on you due to fast respawns. I guess it's a little surprising that murlocs aren't on there, and that Defias Trappers rank above Defias Pillagers. I guess the trappers can net you when you try to run away (which isn't even mentioned in the video, which is quite an oversight in my opinion)... plus pillagers and murlocs are well known for being deadly at this point, so maybe their numbers are somewhat suppressed by people actually taking greater care around them now than they did twenty years ago.

The one that surprised/impressed me the most is the Porcine Entourage, because there are only two of these out in the world and they are neutral, so dying to these is never a pure accident but always overconfidence. Though I do get that people may not realise that they come as a package deal with Princess or just how hard they hit.

Nothing's as interesting about hardcore as hearing about how people die.


Hardcore: I Like Caves

My ultra-casual approach to hardcore, as in, playing for an hour or two maybe once a week, has been pretty beneficial towards my mage's survival, as it means that I'm always rested and it's easy to stay ahead of the levelling curve, so the mobs I fight for various quests remain safely a level or two below me.

I did eventually get up and quest my way through most of Westfall, though I also did another brief stint in Loch Modan. One thing I realised during this (to my great amusement) is that I'm actually kind of starting to like caves, the very things hardcore experts always warn you away from as death traps.

I'm not denying that they're dangerous, but when you're in an extremely busy zone where it's hard to get tags on mobs and you need fifteen of a particular type, the local cave can end up being the only place offering some respite from the constant competition, even if it's dangerous. There's a certain risk vs. reward appeal to that.

I found it most noticeable when I entered the Silver Stream Mine in Loch Modan - I mean, I needed to be there for multiple quests, but even so there was a moment of hesitation when I tripped over about half a dozen player corpses right at the entrance. It was like a big warning sign that the kobolds in there were not messing around, and I noticed it for myself in my very first fight as well, as the fireballs from the caster types hit quite hard, even with Dampen Magic up and my character being two to three levels above them.

Nonetheless, even the entrance area to the cave was still annoyingly busy, so I decided to venture forth to the very back of the cave where seemingly nobody else dared to tread. Admittedly there was one scary moment when I found myself surrounded by respawns, but being a mage with sheep and first aid, I was able to make it through. (I'm starting to think that above anything else, hardcore is about being able to do basic maths on the fly to figure out at which point you're at risk of running out of health and need to take appropriate steps to counter that.) In turn I was rewarded with two ore spawns, two chest spawns, and a rare that dropped a nice green that I managed to sell on the auction house - I mean, that seemed pretty worthwhile! I had a similarly good time inside the Gold Coast Quarry in Westfall, a place that I'd usually rather avoid.

Another cave beckoning me to enter it were the Deadmines. I've noticed that people on hardcore tend to want to over-level their dungeons to some degree before going in (which makes sense), but I figured that my usual plan of going in at level 19 was probably still good enough. I sent most of my cash off to my bank alt and imagined my mage writing a letter to her to say that she was about to embark on an adventure that she might not return from... really puts running dungeons into a whole new light!

I have to admit that I was in fact a little worried about running a dungeon on hardcore. I'm the kind of person who's usually very chill when it comes to pugs and people making mistakes, but I couldn't help but wonder how it would make me feel to suffer perma-death due to someone else's mess-up. Fortunately that's a question I didn't need to answer this time around (yet). To be honest I can't remember the last time I wiped in the Deadmines anyway, and my group was never at risk this time either.

Actually getting a group was more difficult than I expected though. The server is still crazy busy (marked "full" on the server selection screen) and there are always new levellers, but a lot of people have also moved on to endgame. I don't see nearly as many death announcements as I used to, and the server-wide proclamations that yet another character has reached level 60 are coming in quite frequently at this point.

Also, another reason for me usually preferring medium to low population servers is that at high populations, Looking for Group chat is a sea of extremely fast scrolling text that's almost impossible to parse without an addon. I felt like I was going cross-eyed trying to keep an eye out for someone building a Deadmines group and eventually just decided to start my own when I saw a tank looking for a group. I thought that having a tank should make it a breeze to fill out the rest of the party, but it still took me about ten minutes to snatch up three dps from the fast-scrolling LFG chat (nobody ever responded to my own "LFM"), and for the healer I eventually just did a /who priest 20-23 and whispered one that was close-by in Elwynn Forest. I was surprised that they immediately accepted.

The run itself was super smooth and everyone was very friendly. For example two of the others were also miners, and we took turns on the tin nodes so that we could all get skill-ups. The tank was a level 23 paladin with engineering, and when I commented on his extremely professional pulling, he shyly responded that he'd watched a guide. Later he expressed concern whether he was pulling too slowly for us, but we all reassured him that he was doing great and that we would all rather be safe than sorry dead. We also all had a good laugh when we found a chest and not one but two people rolled a 1 on the roll-off. Basically, it was the perfect dungeon pug. I also hit level 20 during the run and completed all the Deadmines dungeon quests.

In other news, when I was back in town I spotted a guild name being advertised in chat that vaguely rang a bell. I looked at the name of the poster and it was "Eagle". I whispered him to ask whether he was the same Eagle that was a pretty infamous trade chat personality on Hydraxian Waterlords ca. 2020 and he confirmed that he was. Small world!

As for my mage, she's still in the same random guild and it's still active. Last time I said that its numbers appeared to have dwindled a lot, but since then I've seen what I assume to be the guild master go through several sprees of spam-inviting more people to get us back to the member cap as well as booting those who'd been inactive for over a week. To be honest I'm surprised that I've not fallen victim to one of these inactivity purges myself yet, considering that I log on pretty irregularly.

We'll see how things go from here. To be honest the first twenty levels or so are always the most fun on a new alt (on normal servers too) but as I have to roam further afield to get things done, my interest tends to dwindle. On the other hand, doing a few quests once or twice a week is a pretty low time investment as it is and not that hard to keep up with.


Night Elf Heritage

This is kind of a part two to my post about dusting off my original priest. I actually did the night elf heritage quest chain! Aaand... it was pretty disappointing.

While trying to find out what other players thought about it, I came across this reddit post ranking all the heritage quest lines in game so far, which taught me two things: 1) that there already are a lot more of these than I realised, and 2) that it wasn't just me who found the night elf chain disappointing. The OP in that thread put the human heritage quest line that I liked so much in second place out of ten, and the night elf version in dead last.

It started out alright - there'll be spoilers from here on by the way, but trust me, there isn't really much to spoil - with a reunion with Arko'narin, the night elf prisoner turned Wonder Woman that you rescue from Jaedenar in Vanilla. She remembered my priest rescuing her back in the day too and I was like, yeah, nostalgia! Also, we learn that she has a younger brother called Lysander who's a mage and voiced by Max Mittelman, whom I mainly know as Arn Peralun from SWTOR. I've also heard him in WoW before though, most memorably as Prince Farondis from Azsuna. I can't help but feel that he's really being typecast at this point, always playing troubled young men trying to overcome past trauma.

Anyway, the three of you are off to Felwood together to revisit Jaedenar, which despite the Cataclysm and everything else that has happened since then, is still corrupted (or again). Maiev Shadowsong is also there, and maybe she has something to say to the player if you met her in Legion, but obviously she had no special connection to my never-made-it-past-Cata priest.

And then... basically the entire quest is that you go into Jaedenar again to put out some braziers and slay a dreadlord at the end - just like in the old days, huh? Except that with fewer, less dangerous enemies and no less than three NPCs by your side, it's not at all an exciting experience, just slow.

The only real narrative comes from the NPCs talking to each other. One thread here is that Maiev still hates mages (I mean, they've been available to night elves since Cata, but I guess when you're thousands of years old that's like, yesterday) but kind of overcomes that thanks to Lysander's brave example, and the other is Lysander more generally struggling with past trauma and not wanting to be defined by it, something in which I guess he's supposed to be a stand-in for the night elf race as a whole.

Those could be interesting enough themes I suppose, but the problem is that having NPCs monologue at you while you do a slow and boring escort quest is far from the most engaging way of telling a story. And Maiev's change of heart is just way too predictable and fast. At the end she even whips a tattoo set out of nowhere to grant Lysander a cool face tattoo for his services. That's... quite a turnaround from actively hating mages twenty minutes ago. (In fact, based on what I've read, saying that Maiev "hated" mages is downplaying it - apparently she actively murdered them in the Wolfheart novel and that's being retconned now or something...)

Also, where the human heritage quest line basically has people throwing a little parade for you at the end, the night elf chain finishes with Maiev handing you your reward behind a bush at the Stormwind embassy, which is a pretty funny contrast. I mean, night elf heritage was always going to be tricky to handle what with several of their most iconic zones having been razed throughout the years, but it feels like Blizzard could've done better than that.

The ultimate joke was that when I unwrapped the cosmetic rewards, I realised that one of them was a glaive transmog and that actually, I could have just done this whole chain on my demon hunter without reviving my old priest. For some reason that thought hadn't even crossed my mind, as I just tend to forget that she's a night elf because the identity of "demon hunter" kind of overpowers everything else in my mind (and it's not like they can be any other races). Kind of funny, but I have no regrets in that regard. I just wish the quest chain had been better.


BlizzCon 2023: Do or Die for WoW?

BlizzCon is less than a month away and I'm actually somewhat excited about it. I've never cared too much about the event itself, but I do like the buzz it generates, and it's always interesting to watch the newest WoW expansion cinematic. (I used to check that out even while I wasn't playing WoW.) My favourite was probably BlizzCon 2018, when we got more news about the impending release of Classic, as well as an early playable demo that people could access even from home.

Maybe it's because I'm feeling more invested in WoW again recently, but I can't help but feel that this BlizzCon is going to be a big one for Blizzard, after a four-year break thanks to the pandemic, the company's reputation seemingly hitting rock-bottom, and a lot of general player discontent after Shadowlands.

I was quite surprised when I got a pop-up on Battle.net the other day that invited me to buy BlizzCon tickets, because I thought those things always sold out within minutes - as it turns out, they usually do and the first two waves did as well, but then they added what was supposed to be a third "wave" and demand simply wasn't there, meaning the wave just turned into a placid sea of unsold tickets, much to the consternation of the BlizzCon subreddit. There are other factors involved in this that may not have anything to do with a general lack of interest, such as the chosen venue apparently having more space than before and ticket prices having increased substantially, but... it does make you think.

Specifically, the thing I keep thinking about is that even if they manage to avoid any outright PR disasters this time, there's still a lot of room to simply put on a disappointing show. Like I said in my "What's Next for WoW Classic?" post from February, Wrath Classic transitioning into Cataclysm seems pretty likely, but while I'm sure that there are plenty of people who'll play that, I really struggle to picture its announcement being something that crowds of fans would cheer for and get excited about. Meanwhile, I've seen the Classic community get increasingly hyped up about the idea of "Classic+" again - something I still don't expect to happen, but all that hopium would make a plain old Cata Classic announcement an even bigger disappointment in comparison.

The retail community has a similar dilemma in my opinion. About a month ago, Wilhelm made a post about what the next retail WoW expansion could be, and in it he expressed surprise at how vehemently some people were opposed to the idea of a pirate theme, something that seemed like a "perfectly cromulent suggestion" to him (and which also taught me a new word - thanks!) However, Dragonflight is also a perfectly good - I would even say much better than expected - expansion... yet the lack of grand announcements about its success seems to indicate that in a post-Shadowlands world, simply making another "perfectly acceptable" expansion isn't enough anymore to excite the legions of current and former WoW players.

Instead I've seen a lot of speculation about another "world revamp" - never mind that Blizzard seems unlikely to ever want to do another Cataclysm - plus I'm not even sure the majority of players would actually love to see one all that much, considering how many people flat out ignored the revamped old world in Cata. Either way, my point is that people aren't simply longing for another trip to a newly discovered land mass where we gain a few levels via questing and then tackle a new raid. They want something extraordinary that will excite them in a way that Dragonflight apparently hasn't.

Another factor that has been fuelling all this hype has been the return of Chris Metzen - something that is completely going over my head, as I had played no other Blizzard game before World of Warcraft, and I think the first time his name came to my attention was in the context of people talking about characters in WoW being modelled after him - such as one of the Christmas quests centring on Metzen the reindeer, or how he was supposedly treating Thrall as his personal self-insert - things that are neither here nor there in terms of his skill as a storyteller. Not to mention that I was starting to have issues with WoW's storytelling long before he originally left Blizzard, and have actually been enjoying it more again recently...

Ultimately I foresee one of two different outcomes for this year's BlizzCon. In one, Blizzard mostly remains tone-deaf to the hopes of the dedicated fans and announces a very generic new WoW expansion alongside Classic Cata. The Metzen project might turn out to be something wholly unrelated to WoW itself, such as a Warcraft TV show or a Warcraft 4 RTS. All of these would be of interest to some people, but wouldn't bring players back to WoW en masse.

The other option is that they actually do something unexpected with retail WoW, Classic or both. Now, the problem here is that Blizzard has historically been rather conservative with these things, espousing an attitude of "we know what works so we'll just keep doing that". Even in their better days, they were known for refining things, not being innovators. That's precisely why we thought WoW Classic was never going to become a reality... but then it did, so they're capable of defying expectations sometimes.

In a similar vein, I feel like Dragonflight has been rather revolutionary in terms of just how much Blizzard has been willing to deviate from old design mantras with it. I mean, they put an auction house in Valdrakken, for Christ's sake! Plus I love that they're clearly treating Dragonriding as a feature that's here to stay and have been working on integrating it into the rest of the game, which would make it the most "permanent" addition to the game since Mist of Pandaria's pet battles. (I mean, Garrisons are technically still in the game, but clearly not intended to be used anymore.) With that in mind, I wouldn't totally put it beyond them to come up with something out of left field, like a housing expansion, something that's long been on the "nah, never gonna do that" pile. I do remember hearing Ian say in an interview a few years ago that they were aware that this was something players want, but that it would be a bigger project that would take a lot of time... could that time be now?

I'm not saying that I'd personally want a housing expansion in specific - I'm not even that much of a housing enthusiast in other games to be honest. But I do like the idea of being surprised, and of Blizzard showing that they aren't completely creatively bankrupt and still willing to try something new every now and then. I'm just not at all convinced that they're up to it.


Dusting off My Original Priest

In reply to a comment on my post about WoW's returning player experience back in August, I noted that almost all the characters I've been playing in retail since picking it up again at the end of BfA were created from scratch, because the notion of going back to an existing character that I last played more than ten years ago was all kinds of terrifying.

Having dabbled in retail for nearly four years now however, the idea didn't seem quite so bad anymore. A big part of my original fear was simply that it would make me feel bad to go back to these characters that I used to love and see them in the context of this new game that I didn't like all that much anymore. Thanks to the existence of Classic, I don't feel the same hostility towards retail anymore though, and there are some aspects of it that I actually quite like (as a separate game to Classic instead of as an replacement for Vanilla).

Why is this relevant? Because I noticed in the info about patch 10.1.7 that it was meant to include a new heritage quest chain for night elves. I wrote about how I really enjoyed the one for humans, and night elves are no less dear to me. The very first character I ever created may have been a human, but the first one I ever really inhabitated was the night elf priest I made a few days later to level with a friend. She was the first character on whom I ever hit the level cap, and while my focus shifted over to Horde side during Burning Crusade, I still came back to at least level her up every expansion and check out the new content from Alliance side. So it was clear to me that I really needed to dust this character off for this occasion.

I had last played her during Cataclysm, where I'd left her at the then-cap of level 85, which in the new, post-level squish world, made her a measly level 32. So my first challenge was going to be to just get her levelled up. (The heritage quest chain requires at least level 50.)

I took the returning player gear boost, but declined to clear out her quest log. I manually sorted out her old possessions, and gave her a transmog featuring the old Primal Mooncloth set, which I fondly remember crafting for her during Burning Crusade (for some reason I have very vivid memories of farming wraiths in Netherstorm for motes of mana in particular).

I found that I was still in my tiny old social guild, along with all my alts and... a couple of characters of my ex-boyfriend's who'd last logged in four years ago and one of whom now held the GM title. I couldn't even remember inviting him to this particular guild! I looked into how to depose and boot him, but apparently my priest had been made the lowest rank in the entire guild and you need to be a higher rank to do that, even if the GM hasn't logged in forever... in the end I just figured "whatever" and ignored that whole situation for the time being.

My priest's quest log indicated that I'd done a fair bit of questing during Cata but had stopped with things partially unfinished in Uldum and Twilight Highlands. I decided to visit the latter first, and I gotta say: after playing Dragonflight in particular, doing Cata quests in a zone like Twlight Highlands is quite a mindfuck. Dragons going from scary monsters to more human-like NPCs that we just kinda hang out with is a process that has been going on since at least Wrath of the Lich King, but even so the contrast between how we interact with the dragons in Dragonflight and some of the quests in Cata is pretty extreme. Being given quests to eradicate the last of the black dragons because they were all corrupted anyway, or slaying a "broodmother" after using her whelps to track her down felt very uncomfortable now. Not to mention that picking up Dragon Flanks reminded me that we also used to cook and eat dragons for buffs. Just awkward.

There was also this five-man group quest chain, "Crucible of Carnage" which made me realise to my annoyance that the custom grouping tool is not available to levelling characters for some reason. As I didn't see a single other player around during my journey, I eventually just tried to solo it and learned that with all the class changes and my overpowered boost gear, I could indeed solo the first three encounters, however the Worgen rogue type still made short work of me and I had to give up for the time being.

I also noticed that I still had the dungeon quest from Grim Batol in my log to kill mobs while riding the red dragons at the start of the instance. I thought I'd queue for a run of that dungeon in specific to get that cleared out. I didn't check the clock, but I must have sat in that queue for something like two hours. When I finally got a pop - quite late at night - I greeted the group happily but nobody responded. They also ran right past the dragons I needed for the quest. I just went along with it and figured I'd try to run back and finish the quest after we had killed the last boss. A mechagnome hunter seemed to have the same idea, as they were the last to drop group and ran back with me... however, it turned out that the red dragons were helpfully set up to not do the mob killing circuit anymore once you passed a certain checkpoint and would just immediately drop you off at the spawn of the first boss. Me and the gnome doing a /cry at each other after that happened was the only interaction I had in that dungeon, and I was no closer to finishing my quest, though at least I'd gotten a bit of XP.

As I was otherwise done with Twilight Highlands by that point, I decided to turn my eyes towards Uldum next. I remember avoiding replaying that zone because the Harrison Jones quests were just so. Stupid. Being confronted with a terrible Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull joke in the first spot where I picked things up again did indeed confirm that age didn't make those quests any better.

Funnily enough though, after writing the first draft of this, I went back to check my original first impressions post about Uldum, and it turns out that back in 2010 I actually thought that the zone was quite funny, and I called out the very same joke I just mentioned as terrible as "my favourite bit". This is why I blog, because past me from ten years ago might as well be a completely different person it seems. It's just fascinating to see.

Anyway, levelling in Uldum continued at quite a brisk pace and I didn't even have to complete the whole zone before hitting level 50. It's mad to remember that when Cata first came out, you pretty much needed to do all five of the new zones in full just to gain five levels.

My thoughts on the night elf heritage quest itself will be a separate post.