New year, new(ish) start

Well that was an extended holiday. After spending a week at my in-laws place, I then managed to skip work and stay at home for the next two weeks due to Christmas and end of year holidays. So what was I doing?

Mean and green

Yeah I’ve been bitten by the WoW bug again and resubscribed for Cataclysm, despite all my earlier attempts to convince myself not to. I had started getting the urge to resubscribe before going on my trip, but decided to hold off until after to make the decision. No point paying Blizzard for 1 week when I’m not going to have internet access. But I discovered that I could make a trial account and play through the starter areas for free for 10 days, which is a pretty good deal since the revamped starter areas and lowbie zones in Azeroth were one of the big features in the expansion. No Burning Crusade or Cataclysm races though, just the plain old classic characters. Of course first I had to go through a few days of IT hell trying to get Blizzard’s new streaming client to work, but eventually discovered that the problem was due to my still using Windows XP Service Pack 2 instead of the 3. After upgrading, everything was good to go and some other applications that weren’t working before are now ok too, which was an added bonus. So after getting everything set up, I puttered around with a gnome warlock and human hunter for a few days to see if I still enjoyed WoW enough to resubscribe.

Turns out I did. The new starting areas are a blast, and the quests are hilarious. I am convinced that the main target of this expansion is not new players, but actually ex-WoW players. There must have been a very sizable number of people that cancelled their accounts in Wrath of the Lich King, judging by the feedback from developers about how they tried to improve Cataclysm. The various changes in the lowbie areas would make much more sense to returning players who would know what it was like before the Shattering. I think a really new player would be quite puzzled at being told by the quest giver that “this area that used to have lots of trolls has now been taken over by troggs, which were forced out of their underground lairs by Deathwing!” To them it would be like… “um ok so this place has troggs… that was a lot of extra information that meant nothing…”

I was also particularly tickled by one quest in Dun Morogh in which you have to protect a ram farm from being raided… and the rewards were a bunch of white gear called Robes of the Endless Raider and Boots of the Nightly Raid 🙂 Really reminded me of my old raiding days haha, and again something that would be totally lost on a real new player.

Anyways after finding myself enjoying the trial, I was kinda still twibbling about it until my wife told me to just go resubscribe 😛 The monthly sub isn’t a big deal since she was going back to work, and I think she was getting tired of me wuffling around and would rather me just be happy. She’s such a sweetie when it comes to me. So with the permission of the Chief Financial Officer, I paid for the Cataclysm digital download and resubscribed for 1 month since I wasn’t that sure how long I was going to play. With the current low USD exchange rate, it’s not that much although I later found that I could buy the box version cheaper. So that was my Christmas present of sorts.

Since I had decided to start afresh on a new server, we picked Thaurissian since one of our friends was playing there and he said there were a ton of Singaporeans on the Horde side. Fits all my criteria, since I wanted to play Horde having never gotten past 60 with a Horde character, and I wanted to try a PvP server just to see how it was. Turns out that the Alliance side on Thaurissian has been thoroughly beaten into submission though, the server is just totally Horde dominated and to date I think I’ve only ever seen 2 Alliance players so there wasn’t even much PvP.

The economy on Thaurissian is totally insane though, or maybe I’m just not used to the gold inflation that has been going on since I stopped. Thaurissian is also one of the older Oceanic servers, so maybe there’s a lot of excess gold floating around. A single goldthorn herb can sell for 20 gold, and simple peacebloom and silverleaf sell for about 70 silver per herb. Prices fluctuate insanely, with stuff selling for 1 gold in the morning that can be resold for 5 gold in the evening. This is really surprising since the server population is high, and all the players are concentrated on the Horde side. I’d have thought that money-minded Singaporeans would dominate the economy, but it turns out that all the usual money making tricks still work and there’s plenty of room for arbitrage. My wife has taken over the trading activities again and in the short span of one week has gone from 0 to 3750 gold. Ok fine many people make thousands of gold per day, but we’re starting out with absolutely nothing here. At least we don’t have to worry about gold for training and mounts.

I say we because my wife has actually been playing just as much as me. I created a goblin shaman, to play through the goblin starter zone and because I love shamans. The plan is to eventually go resto with elemental dual spec, so I can concentrate on caster gear. But for levelling, enhancement still seems faster with no downtime so we are currently enhancement with elemental dual spec. I had thought that she was sick of WoW and hadn’t shown any inclination of wanting to play, but surprisingly she seems to be enjoying herself a lot levelling the shaman and running through instances with the new (to us) dungeon finder. Which has actually been a great surprise too, queue times as DPS are still quite fast and most of the instances have been great, if a bit rushed. Of course there were quite a few failures and assholes but it’s much less than I was expecting. It’d be perfect if she decided to resubscribe too, then we could play together on a few nights. She won’t be able to play as much once she starts working though, so I doubt Scrooge McDuck will be willing to spend the money on herself even though she’s happy to let me spend it, despite it actually being quite insignificant compared to the money we easily shell out for our son’s toys. In the meantime, with the holidays and both of us being at home, the shaman has made it to level 55 in a single week. Wow, seems pretty fast… flying mounts in 5 more levels!

Another of our friends has decided to resubscribe and start a goblin shaman on Thaurissian too, so I also made a new Tauren pally to play together and tank through instances. I’ve never played a prot pally before, so it’s something totally new to me. Guess it’s a good time to learn since I don’t have any preconceptions about the class and thus won’t be confused by the huge changes to paladins. The plan is to get to 15 and start doing random dungeons together, me being the tank, our original friend creating a goblin priest to heal and the goblin shaman will be one of the damage dealers. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some instance runs in at night without being too interrupted by our son, who at least seems to be sleeping a bit better now.

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