WOW! Ok, I think that sums it up :>) (that and death knights, as far as the eye can see)
I feel like a kid in a candy store, just running around looking at everything, taming every new pet I see. But also like a kid, I’m a bit lost in this big new world, I don’t know where anything is, I have no map (and no cartographer and lightheaded addons for easy mode).
Currently, I haven’t installed any addons, I’ve written a couple of my simple macros like pet attack and assist pet, but I’m on a vanilla UI. However, people on the beta sever do say that some of the addons work, so I might look into installing recount to see if I can get an idea of the damage my different pets are doing, plus quartz and some kind of cooldown timers so I can see how shots thread with auto shot, and see when my pet is using its special skills.
But back to first impressions. It took an age to download everything, and when I finally got it, the first thing it asked me to do was change my name. Not sure if this is standard, or if there was another Tinuviel on the beta server (well it’s not exactly unique, it is). I tried Luthien, but that was also unavailable, so you will see me as Tinn in all the screenshots. My guild call me Tin, anyway (just a case of adding the extra letter as Tin was also unavailable).
I appeared in Shatt in my hearthstone location. No talents, and all my pets in the stable. First thing to note, Beren my level 59 Winterspring bear, I trained just yesterday, was still level 59. He did not level up to 65 automatically. I have heard a Blue saying that they are trying to fix this issue.
I grabbed Gwind out of the stable. As I did so, I noticed the stable master offered to retrieve my Spirit Darter vanity pet for me, who I had released into the wilderness when short on bank slots. It seems they will give you rare quest items like this one back, but not necessarily every day pets that you got bored of.
I also purchased my 4th and 5th stable slots (woot) 50G and 150G.
TIP: If you get a beta key – transfer some money to your character before you do the character copy – and take it out of the mail. You will need some start up capital and its no good in the mail as all your mail disappears and doesn’t get copied over.
Vanity pets like the spirit dater go into slots on your char info (c) pane – there is also another sub-tab for mounts, and a tab for tokens. When I clicked on the spirit darter to put him in there, I got an achievement pop up to show I had attained a vanity pet.
TIP: Before you mount or transfer your mounts to a stable slot, apply any riding crop or carrot you have to your mount when it is in your inventory (like applying an armor kit). Currently, there is a bug that you can do it now, but once you put the mount in the stable window it doesn’t work. I’m sure they will fix this.
I set my talents to a deep beastmaster build 51/10/0 – with the end point talent allowing me to train exotic pets. I was disappointed to see, I still seem to have the talent build with the 5 point talent for aspect mastery at the top of the tree, instead of a 1 point talent further down. I also played around with by cat, wolf and bears talents, giving their full set of skills. Each has more active skills than fit on the toolbar, I am not quite sure (without my addons monitoring cooldowns) how he is using them all if they are not on the toolbar, or if he is. I need to read up on this, and test it out some more. May have to get better at micro managing my pet skills instead of relying on the pet to use them, for the most part.
Before setting off for Northrend, I decided to get myself a new haircut. Unfortunately, the barber shop in Stormwind (which is located in the lane behind the ah) wasn’t working. I couldn’t see the hairstyles on my character, and could only see one choice on my char info screen – that of a girly blood elf – so I gave that a miss. A side note on this, I later created a NE death knight (though I haven’t logged in with her yet), here I had a wider range of hair options than usual, but they were obviously selected from the models designed for other races. There were some I recognized from blood elves and 2 dwarf styles. Frankly, they did not suit my night elf, and I hope that they improve the range and design of hair styles, rather than just sticking dwarf hair on an elf. The death knight, btw, had a wider choice of hair colors, not available to the other classes of night elf.
OK, back to Tinuviel and her journey to Northrend. There are two ways to get their, either from SW Harbor to the Borean Tundra starting area or from Menethil to the Howling Fjord starting area. WOTLK has two starting areas, and you can begin in either. You might have seen the construction work going on on SW harbor near the cathedral in game at the moment. Well, wow those dwarves worked some major over-time. The harbor is massive and has a huge wow factor. The ship designs are new too – fierce looking steam paddle ships. Very cool.
The second wow factor is coming into the Borean Tundra – there are icebergs floating in the sea. (Actually, later I went to the Howling Fjord from Menethil – and that one is even more visually impressive to sail into).
Valiance Keep in the Borean Tundra is a half built Theramore, being attacked by spidery things and flying bat monsters. Just outside on the hill are more quests at Farshire – for Farshire think evil Westfall with plaguespreaders.
The early quests here are very simple. The one worry was how it will be on the first days of Wrath, with the intensive competition to kill quest mobs. As it was, there didn’t seem to be enough Harvest Collectors for me to kill.
The gear reset looks to be about right. I’m mostly in T4/5 gear (full Merc glad gear, Wolf Snipers Rifle – everything purple). So far, no quest reward is close to being an upgrade. Although a lot of it has haste on it, which I don’t have, which is interesting. People on the server suggested T4 can expect to upgrade their gear about level 75, T6 should already be at the 80 greens level. This was backed up by the ammo on sale. I usually use the epic mysterious ammo (which requires revered rep with the violet eye), level 75 vendor ammo had the same dps as this.
After running round doing some of the early quests, it was time to go pet crazy. Nothing to tempt me directly around Valiance, so back to the old world. First stop Devilsaur’s of Un’goro. For some time I was the only person in the whole zone, until another hunter turned up to also tame a Devilsaur. I grabbed the black backed one. He’s huge, with stompy feet. he jumped to level 65 in level when tamed. He’s great fun, and I think could prove one of the highest dps pets, but I also decided since Silithus was next-door, I would go grab a bug. So, I few across to Silithus, stabled the devilsaur and tamed a Hive’ashi Sandstalker. These are the silithid that walk on 4 legs, and look rather like the mounts fro AQ. I have to say I was surprised how much I warmed to this pet. He’s really cute, I love his animations, he has this little hop and wiggle, and seems happy. As a cunning pet, he also has some interesting talents for soloing and BGs, that I want to play with a bit more. So I found myself keeping him out much longer than the devilsaur.
I decided though, what I really needed was a level 70 pet, preferably a tenacity pet, for soloing. So back to Northrend to look for a level 70 bear. I decided to go via Menethil this time and check out the Howling Fjord. The boat is another paddle steamer, but leaves from the same dock as the Auberdine boat. The journey up the fjord is hugely impressive, the art work is beautiful. I have to say I like this starting zone and its quests better on first viewing. Although, they are possibly a little more challenging (but that’s good in my opinion).
Having done a couple of the initial quests, I set off exploring, riding around the zone and into the Grizzly Hills. Lots of interesting sights, snowy area, tall forests, cliffs and lots of changes in landscape. No bears though, although I did grab a scrawny white wolf. I think he was a Winterworn Worg (see Petopia). And he was certainly ‘worn’ – I killed his previous owner – well it was easier than finding the local Humane Society to report him.
The wolf didn’t stay long though, later I found a quest that involved diving into an icy lake and attacking reeds to shake out bait fish. Either a fish or a level 69-70 red crab spawned, which had to be killed (similar to the fishing traps off the coast in Desolace). Well, wolf got set free, and the crab got nabbed and trained. No sooner was he trained though, than he rolled over and died, his legs in the air. What? lol. As a spawned animal, he died when his spawn timer was up (this also happens with Ghostsabers in Darkshore). The simple solution was to use the Revive skill to get him back.
Wandering around, I came across several other quests, including some for the cute walrus looking people, whose village you get to down a gondola type lift. All in all a good first day, very exciting. I was impressed at how finished the game looks, there are still some bugs, but I can imagine that it could be ready in time for Christmas.
Turkeys! There are turkeys in Northrend. What’s more when you kill one, its body turns into a cooked turkey icon, lol.
Storm Giant = Northrend’s tourism welcome officer (a la Hellfire’s Fel Reaver)
There are orca whales and huge hammer head sharks in the waters. Very cool.
Groan. Servers go down.
Groan. When I try and log on again a couple of hours later, there is a major patch, which took me 6 hours to download.
Groan. When I finally did log on at 11pm, I got to play for 5mins, before there was a warning that the server was being taken down in 15mins. Went to bed. I think this is a sign of how it might be playing on the beta.