The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet


Meanwhile, on "World of Warcraft"

So apparently the rest of Hyjal is a bunch of weird disjointed foolery where you fly off someplace, do three or four quests for a big dead dog, and then fly somewhere else to do three or four quests for like a giant turtle. Then you get a neat cliffhanger about "accidentally" loosing a powerful demon, but… nobody really seems to care about that, and it doesn’t go anywhere.

Here’s the deal. You need to resurrect this ancient dead dog, bird, and turtle because I guess you can’t beat Ragnaros without them. For… some reason. Once you’re done with that, you play a minigame and get a small pet! What is the minigame? Something completely original that I’d never played before in my life. Once you have the small pet, you take a large endless detour into a very brown place and infiltrate the Twilight’s Hammer for what seems like four years. That culminates in another minigame and a cutscene, and then it’s off into the portal to fight Ragnaros!

Fighting Ragnaros seems like it would be awesome, but really you’re mostly watching Cenarius and a cow and Nelfurion Stormrage fight him. Occasionally you’re given the task of getting an add off of Nelfurion so he can keep up the deeps without having to deal with pushback. That’s really about it. I mean, you can go ahead and fight Rag, but here’s an interesting chart:

Recount — report on four targets
Cenarius — 134000 DPS
Nelfurion Stormrage — 86000 DPS
Some cow dude — 86000 DPS
Lysistrate — lol wut

I swear that’s exactly what it said.

Once you beat Ragnaros, you go back out of the portal and then Ysera comes over and is all "Thanks Link! You’re the hero of Hyjal!" and that’s it for that zone.

Because I’m nothing if not a ruthless iconoclast, I liked Deepholm a lot better. Here’s the deal. You go through this portal by completing the quest I may have bitched about last time and it takes you to the Maelstrom where Thrall is standing on a big rock in his bag lady outfit and channeling a spell. Apparently it’s the "make the world not fall apart" spell, because Thrall really needed to be more transparently a Jesus figure. So what would you do if you found yourself suddenly transported to a dude who is single-handedly keeping the world from exploding through the sheer awesomeness of his concentration? Yeah, me too: talk to the fucker. Talking to Thrall triggers a scene where you get on a griffon and fly through the Maelstrom into Deepholm, which is the elemental plane of earth. It’s pretty intense — you get on the bird, and the orc lady who’s taxiing you around because you’re kind of a big deal starts pumping you up for your descent into the giant sparking insane whirlpool by telling you how it’s going to be a really intense trip, and you might not be tough enough to withstand it, but, hey, only one way to find out. Seriously, she warns you for like eleven minutes about how dangerous and exciting this is going to be, and then you dip into the whirlpool, and… oh my god! A loading screen!

When the dangerous, exciting loading screen is over, you’re in Deepholm being congratulated on your stamina. So good job with that. But all is not well in the land of the free and the holm of the deep! Apparently the world pillar was busted into three pieces. What’s the world pillar you ask? Well, it’s the thing that keeps the ceiling from caving in, which I guess would have the odd effect of making the ground fall up. I didn’t really follow this part, because I was too focused on a very interesting fact: all three pieces of the world pillar were recovered by factions with a vested interest in repairing the world pillar. The Earthen Ring has one, the non-ring-related Earthen have one, and Therazane herself has one. And all these three parties, despite the fact that they’re all completely fucked if the ground falls up, have elected to hide their pillar fragments in remote locations and absolutely not, under any circumstances, bring them to the damn temple so the pillar can get rebuilt.

Ground people are fucking stupid.

So then you have to travel around the zone fighting crime to convince these factions to become a teensy bit less suicidal so you can fix the world. The actual quest structure is pretty fun; you solve a spoooooky mystery, then you go swimming in a river of mercury, which, let me tell you, doesn’t seem very intelligent. Then you murder the leaders of the Twilight’s Hammer in this zone, and fight a big scary dragon. Then you save the king of the Earthen from what appears to be a totally uninteresting trogg. Then you go into a cave and get eaten alive by giant hula hoop worms over and over and over and fucking over again. Then you feed petrified bats to a baby rock elemental to prove to the big rock elementals that you’re swell. Then — and it’s gotten pretty stupid by this point — finally there’s a big war and one of the main bad guys gets away, but it’s okay because she’ll be back like two quests later and you get to kill her then. Then some dude dies, and I think it’s supposed to be poignant, but I really wasn’t sure who it was, and this big fat dirt woman was shaking her oddly frightening bodice in my direction and telling me I was welcome to stay as long as I wanted, at which point I got really really scared and left.

I went to Vashj’ir, but I forgot to do anything while I was there. Mainly I spent four years trying to figure out if I was doing something wrong, since I turned in the breadcrumb, and the guy was all "yeah, go get on the boat," but there was no boat to get on. Turns out I wasn’t doing anything wrong; it just takes about forever for the boat to show up. You can pass the time listening to the flavour text the guards blurt out (which has lousy voiceovers, thank god) if you want, but it’s not interesting. You get on the boat, and then Budd jumps off the boat for some reason I really can’t figure out, and then you all get eaten by a squid and die.

Once you’re done being dead, you learn to breathe underwater, and then, if you’re anything like me, you head straight up to the surface and start flying because there are naga down there and you risk slipping into a coma and never coming back out. About halfway to the Earthen Ring quartermaster is a random rock jutting out of the ocean with a flight master on it. That man has what must be the worst job in the world. "Here, stand on this rock in the middle of the ocean and just like wait for people to come by who might need a ride. And clean up after the griffons."

So that’s my experience so far. Tune in next time and I’ll complain about Uldum!

January 27th, 2011 Posted by | World of Warcraft | no comments


So finally my fancy-pants rogue has finished level 80, and I’ve decided to drag her ass into the brand-new Cataclysm content. Now I’m going to bitch about it. This post should be considered one giant fat spoiler, so if, just to take a random example, your priest is level 75, and you haven’t done any of this stuff yet, because, as I say, your priest — say, just for the sake of argument, your gnome priest — is still only level 75, you might want to put off reading this post until you’ve gotten your gnome priest called Allegretta to level 80 and actually done this content. But all of that is purely hypothetical.

So the first thing I did was head back to Ironforge to pick up the breadcrumb for Hyjal from the big goofy breadcrumb board they added to get around actually having to make proper linking quests between the zones. Actually, that’s a lie; the first thing I did was decide that I was going to Hyjal and not Vashj’ir. Those of you who are Hamirack might be of the opinion that something you said once or twice may have impacted this decision; I say not so! It certainly reinforced my decision, but this decision was made in the first place because the name "Vashj" is a name that is known to me. Naga put me to sleep, and zones full of nothing but naga have the curious effect of putting me to sleep and simultaneously instilling a murderous rage into me, such that I might kill some people while I’m sleeping and be totally unaware that I did it. So, just like Ken Parks did, I’ll save Vashj’ir for when my in-laws are in town.

So I pick up the breadcrumb off the breadboard, and it tells me to talk to Cenarion Emissary Jademoon and she’ll nelf me to Hyjal. Sweet! She’s right down the hall — she’s the old Silithus breadcrumb mob they added in 1.12, right by the flight master. Only, since Blizzard hates all things that are good and decent, they decided to randomly relocate her. All the way to goddamn Stormwind.

Which I guess was okay, since I had to go there anyhow to train Master Riding so I can go faster than a speeding bullet. I fly in there, and the instant I cross the zone border, one of those OMG A MOB HAS BEAMED YOU A QUEST FROM MAGIC popups happens. Turns out there’s this broken over in the weird new lake who has a quest he wants me to do! Sure thing, man, I can get over to you really fast now! So I get here and he’s like, whoa, wait, talk to this orb. It’s sweet. So I talk to the orb, and a big dumb cutscene starts playing!

But not right away. First — for some reason, and hell if I know why — it has to teleport me to the Maelstrom. So I have to wait through a zone loading screen, and then I see me standing on a featureless purple plane for just a second — which is probably a normally-inaccessible location they added specifically to teleport people to while they watch this cutscene, and it wasn’t actually supposed to be visible to the end-user. But I vis-ed it nonetheless. Then the cutscene starts up, and some dude is ranting at me in a macho voice about some shit; I think he was talking about shutting down the Mako reactors before Weapon comes to kill us. All I know for sure is that he mentioned a bigger threat even than Deathwing on the horizon; how much you want to bet it’s retuned level 85 C’Thun?

Eventually, while I was listening to this talky man, I realised that he was Thrall in what appeared to be a goofy burlap sack with a hood. What gives with that terrible getup, Thrall? And why won’t the camera stop spinning around? If it would sit still, it wouldn’t have taken me six minutes to nail your nameplate and figure out who you are. But anyhow, I guess it was a hokay hook as these things go, and I was kind of interested in heading down to back Thrall up. Then the cutscene ends and I turn in the intro and the broken is like "oh we need a hero just like you thank god you’re here you’re so famous and perfect and exactly what we need" and then he puts up a goddamn silver exclamation mark. So, hey, they were hoping I would get there soon, because I’m the only one who can help them! But I’m not high enough level. Great. That’s inspirational. Dear Blizz: maybe raise the level on the goofy cutscene quest too, because that’s kind of a huge ripoff the way you have it now.

So fine. I go find Jademoon — who is in some goofy open-topped room in the castle, which I guess is designed to facilitate flying mounts and too bad for you if it ever rains, Jademoon — and she nelfs me to Moonglade, where they tell me to jump on this green dragon who will fly me up to Hyjal. But what really happens is I jump on the green dragon, he starts flying for a few seconds, and then he kind of stops, and — poof! Suddenly we’re in Hyjal! Returning to the tournament grounds after doing Edge of Winter really really makes me wish my mount could do that. So we fly into Hyjal and he starts ranting about how he can’t believe the camp they built right on the edge of a giant lake of lava got destroyed by the evil lava elementals, which makes me think right off the bat that maybe my allies ain’t the very sharpest cheese on the block. Then we fly over to the evil lava fort, which looks as much like Barad-dûr as to make no difference, complete with giant goofy flaming eye on top. Then suddenly Ragnaros busts out of the lava and yells "BY FIRE BE PURGED!," which made me spit cognac out my nose. So here’s me, on a tiny little green drake, sitting right in front of Ragnaros, and then Deathwing pops in to say hi too. And so we start flapping away — I guess the dragon’s magic teleport button is on cooldown — and I’m thinking, hey stupid, if we get out of melee range of Ragnaros he’ll start spamming Magma Blast on us, and I ain’t wearing my FR gear! But I guess the two giant raid bosses were just dicking with us, since neither of them lifted a finger to stop us from getting away.

So we fly across the whole zone to Nordrassil, which looks really different from how it did before. Also, I’ve been all around the Nordrassil area, and I don’t see the old Onyxia’s Lair copy that used to be right there. Bummer!

Apparently Nordrassil’s a druid-y quest hub now, and contains Ysera. This seems very odd to me, since, last I checked, Ysera was trapped in the Emerald Dream. When did she get out? To be fair, I missed the entire 3.3.x cycle — did it happen then? Or in a damn comic book, maybe? Other big changes that happened since I left: St. Faghelm became a bad guy. Well, I mean, he was always a complete prick, but I guess sometime in between Wrath and Cataclysm he became an actual villain. This relatively major plot point did happen entirely in a comic book. Am I the only one who thinks it would be nice if things like this were handled — or at least, like, cursorily alluded to — in-game for the benefit of those of us who primarily play the game via playing the damn game? For those keeping score: no, I am not as upset about this as I am about HEY THE KING’S BACK.

So about how the zone actually plays. First off: it’s way, way fucking hard. I mean, sure, for a character who’d actually played the full Lich King cycle and had like ilvl 250 gear or whatever, probably not that big a jump. But for somebody leveling from scratch, it’s rough. The two initial quests — to kill dang-blasted rock elementals and also some invisible mans — kicked my ass quite handily. But I toughed through them, and now I’m starting to accumulate actual gear, and the curve is leveling off. The actual structure of the zone so far I don’t care for; not only is it super-crowded because everybody’s stupid worgen and goblin goth knights have just gotten there (seriously, I think I was the only player in the zone who wasn’t a goth knight), it’s also jam-packed with friendly mobs interfering with my questing too. I miss the days when the mobs I had to kill were just, like, out in the field, not being attacked by ten thousand good-guy mobs.

So of course Nelfurion Stormrage is here. I cannot stand when this guy lectures me about the importance of preserving balance in nature and saving the whales and where he scored some really great weed the other day; dude, you are the only person I can think of offhand who has blown up the world not once but twice. Not to mention you are also responsible for the destruction of the World Tree, the end of your race’s blessing of immortality, and basically everything the scourge has ever done, since, if you’ll recall, you’re the guy who stopped Illidan from destroying the Lich King and then went to take a big damn nap. So maybe don’t get your sanctimonious ass up in my face about how I need to do what’s best for the world.

Baron Geddon’s here, too! Sweet! It’s been a long damn time since I’ve been killed by that guy. Back in the day, I always got killed by Baron Geddon because somebody in the raid was nub and staring at his damage meters instead of paying any attention, and blew us all up. These days, apparently I get killed by Baron Geddon because I’m nub and landed right next to him to use the quest gizmo, but flew in just too late to catch the bit where the mouthy mob standing near him announced that everybody should get away, and ended up eating the thick end of a 5000 DPS Hellfire.

It’s good to see that they’ve added garbage voice acting to the quest text. I don’t think the game experience is complete without some terrible ham enunciating every word meticulously and something like one-ninth as quickly as I could just read it. Also amusing is that you can tell which quests are "important" and which quests are "padding," because only the important quests get garbage voice-overs.

So there you are: a Large Blue Sack of old moaning. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

January 15th, 2011 Posted by | World of Warcraft | one comment

Happy Gote Jump Day!

It’s that time again: Gote Jump Day! Join in the celebration, all ye people! Here’s what you do:

• Get completely fucking plastered
• Climb up to the top of something really tall
• Get even more plastered
• Get on your goat
Jump right the fuck off
• Keep drinking on the way down, and see how long you can stay airborne!

If you’re far too lame to have a goat of your own, you may if necessary substitute some other type of mount, but come on. Go get yourself a damn goat. Have fun and take lots of pictures, and then post the best ones so we can all laugh at them and look back on the goofiness that was 2010!

December 31st, 2010 Posted by | World of Warcraft | no comments

It’s the end of the world as we knew it

You guys still big into REM? Yeah, me too. Love those ironic 90s hipster glasses.

So I quit World of Warcraft about a year ago, but now I find I’ve unquit. And it turns out that some giant robot dragon blasted holes in the world while I was gone, so now everything’s not the same as it was. For example: pretty much all of my characters, when I logged them for the first time, were just like chillin’ somewhere out in Khaz Modan, and I’m pretty positive I didn’t park them out there. I guess, in the geography shuffle that took place when a dragon robot put holes in the world, the coordinates they had been standing at moved over a little bit, and were now just like out in the damn mountains. I just consider myself lucky that they were actually in playable territory, unlike what happened last time.

So the cataclysm’s basically an excuse for Blizzard to revisit the old-world content and revitalise it in light of the shit that’s happened over the last six years. So it’s all been overhauled — the play structure is entirely different, and all the quests reflect the developments in the storyline. So, for instance, there’s no more Defias Brotherhood — which means, among other things, that not only will Missing Diplomat never be finished, but also they’ve removed the bits that made it in-game in the first place.

All this leads to some interesting musings about permanence and nostalgia. People have said to me that in some ways it sucks that the old content is gone — they really liked this or that quest, or such-and-such a zone was always a highlight of the leveling experience, and now it’s gone. To my mind, that just gives the cataclysm itself more dramatic force; it’s not just a back story in a cutscene at the beginning of a game — ooo, there was a huge cataclysm! And a robot dragon! And the world was forever changed! Now, brave hero, go slay rats in yonder sewers to uncover the truth behind history (hint: a wizard did it)! Instead of that, it’s something significant that happened to a world we knew, and that we were attached to. We’ve actually lost something we cared about as a result of Deathwing’s actions, and that’s pretty unusual in a video game. Sort of a breaking out of the hierarchy; actions taken by actors within a video game have changed the relationship we have to the game.

And, of course, Blizzard didn’t just cut a whole bunch of old content and leave new players to try to grind lv58 Hellboars in Hellfire Peninsula — there’s a whole crop of new content, also. So along with the pain of loss, there’s also the discovery of a whole new set of experiences. It’s an interesting design idea, and so far I think it’s good, but I haven’t thrown enough hours into it to be sure yet.

Though I will say that I think leveling is way too fast right now. I can understand it from the perspective of leveling your seventeenth alt and you’ve fucking done this already, but that’s not quite the situation here. The whole world has changed, and I, for one, kind of wish I had more time just to explore and interact with the zones, but I’m leveling past them too quickly.

December 15th, 2010 Posted by | World of Warcraft | no comments

The Ashbringer…

The Ashbringer hardcover is out, and I’ve read it. It’s decent. Seems a bit rushed; I think they had a lot of story they were trying to tell in a sharply limited number of pages. And there are a few action scenes where, even having gone over them several times, I still can’t tell you what the hell happened. But it’s decent. Also, I appreciate that Blizzard named the main character after me; that was a nice touch. Thanks, guys!

One thing that bugs me, though, is his appearance. I’ve made some scans of it:

Darion Darion

You see what I mean? There’s just something about him. Like I’ve seen that somewhere before. But I can’t seem to place… Oh. Right. Well, shit.

June 12th, 2009 Posted by | World of Warcraft | one comment


Some of my guild-mates went on a PUG of heroic Naxx the other day. I wisely sat out; I was at work anyhow, but you can be damn sure I’d have had a cold or a dentist’s appointment or been hit by a car or some damn thing so I could skip that. I’ve done my share of PUGs, and they are not fun. So I figured this would be hours of pure human misery and probably not get much accomplished anyhow.

Actually, it didn’t go as well as I expected. They wiped a few times on Grand Widow Faerlina, since their brilliant plan was to kill all the adds first and then focus on Faerlina, thereby eliminating their ability to use Widow’s Embrace to negate the frenzy and poison bolts, and gaining them… well, not actually a goddamn thing in return. But the best was yet to come!

Their strategy for Patchwerk involved all the DPS standing in the slime and not getting healed so their health would stay low and they wouldn’t take Hateful Strikes. Here are a few problems with that:

1) The slime reduces all stats — not just health, but all stats — by 75%. Patchwerk is a big dumb DPS race, and there’s no goddamn way you can get him down in six minutes with your DPS completely gimped by the slime debuff.

2) That, of course, presupposes that you’ll have any living DPS at all, and since the slime also puts up a meaningful DOT, you’re not likely to. Remember that bit about not healing the DPS? Yeah. That meant they were all dead a few seconds into the fight.

3) There’s no fucking reason in creation to put people in the slime anyhow. That’s so stupid and so senseless that I knew it was wrong without actually knowing anything about the mechanics of the fight, and it’s so pervasive that the Wowwiki article includes specific mention of it and what idiots people who think that are.

They wiped on Patchwerk many, many times and could not figure out the problem.

If this is too nerdy for you and you have no idea what any of this is about, feel free to pretend it was a bunch of dick jokes about Gary Sheffield, and they were really funny.

June 1st, 2009 Posted by | World of Warcraft | one comment

Ladies love my massive OPness

So I’m back to World of Warcraft after six months of vacation, and I’m getting to grips with what’s changed in the interim. Turns out that protection paladins have become extremely, hilariously overpowered as regards soloing group content. I just wrapped up Grizzly Hills, and there’s a 200k HP bear god to deal with. It took me eight minutes or so to chew through all that health, but I sure did finish the fight at full health and mana. Then there’s the evil wizard on the island, who gave me a small amount more trouble, but also had fewer HP and thus died faster.

Turns out it’s not very hard to solo all kinds of stuff when you’re completely indestructable and never run out of mana. It’s to the point where I’m seriously wondering if I can solo dungeons on-level.

April 25th, 2009 Posted by | World of Warcraft | no comments

Assume the Stance

On my way to the symphony tonight, the train passed a sign marked "passenger assistance" from which someone had cunningly removed the I. This left a large white sign reading PASSENGER ASS STANCE.

What level do warriors get that at? Since it sounds like the exact right stance for at least one warrior I can think of offhand.

November 30th, 2008 Posted by | World of Warcraft | no comments

Happy Wottleock day

The day is finally here — Wrath of the Lich King has arrived. My Collector’s Edition hit this afternoon right as I was getting ready for work, so I haven’t had time to play with it yet; I started the install and left. I did rat through the box, though, and I played with all the contents, and some of it’s pretty groovy. I dig the artbook, and the mousepad is keen, albeit useless. I’ve played the card game before and didn’t find it particularly compelling; it’s pretty much a Magic ripoff with an added sheen of complexity and a WoW theme. No doubt I’ll give it another stab now that I have a bunch of new cards.

What’s everybody else think? Have any interesting experiences getting your copy?

November 13th, 2008 Posted by | World of Warcraft | no comments

Small Man Comics: A Penny Saved

Small Man Comics

April 9th, 2008 Posted by | Small Man Comics, World of Warcraft | no comments