Hello again everyone, and welcome to the 5th instalment of my beta journal. This instalment covers the continued adventures of my dwarven Paladin through the lands of Azeroth. The main two adventures I will be talking about today are the Stonewatch keep quests in the Redridge Mountains and the Test of Righteousness Paladin quest found in Ironforge.
As my character reaches higher levels the multiplayer aspect of the game keeps reinforcing its importance. Quests become much more difficult if not impossible to complete on your own as you get to higher levels. I now spend at least 5 minutes or so at the beginning of each gaming session searching for a group working on the same quests as I am so that I can adventure with them and complete the quests in a reasonable time.
I started off this week in the Redridge Mountains killing Gnolls for a minor quest. While it was difficult, I worked my way through the quest without dying and moved on to the Stonewatch Keep quest tree.
NOTE: In World of Warcraft many of the quests are not really just a single quest but multiple ones that interlink and depend on each other. I refer to these as quest trees. As you complete one quest in the tree it opens up other more difficult quests in an evolving storyline that gives you a real sense of progression through the game.
The Stonewatch Keep quest tree is only 3 quests (Tharilizun, Ahadowmagic, and wanted: Gath'llzogg) but overlaps or involves at least 2 other quests as well. All the quests center on Stonewatch Keep and the fact that it has been overrun by Orcs.
I joined a group heading to the keep and we worked our way through it in about 4 hours, including all the travel time running back and forth to town for the next leg in the quests. The quests and rewards themselves were once again very appropriate for the level. The Orcs were very difficult for our level, however we managed with my paladin and a priest performing resurrection duty frequently. The experience bonuses for completing the quests were very large and all of the party leveled at least once at some point in the quests.
We did find a very annoying thing happening during the quests though. One of the quests was a gather type quest (collect a specific item from a specific enemy) and there were two other groups in the area working on the same quest. This led to a much longer time to collect items since the groups were waiting on respawns for the item drops. This is only the second time I have seen this effect in the game, but when it does happen it becomes old very quickly! It is absolutely horrible to have to sit around waiting for a respawn and then having to rush in to get the first hit and claim the enemy.
It would be really cool if Blizzard could build in some sort of threat level calculation into their respawn system. If done properly mobs could respawn more frequently based on the number of players in the area. If a low number of players are in the area, normal respawn timers would be in effect. If a large number of players are in the area, respawns happen 2 or 3 times faster. It would be nice to see, but Im not sure of the overall practicality. If anyone has any thoughts on this they may want to direct them to the WoW beta forums over on Blizzard.
The next day, once I was done in the Redridge Mountains, I headed back to Ironforge to deliver a message as part of a minor quest. When I was there I picked up a new paladin-only quest that seemed very cool. The quest was to collect four very rare items and return them to the blacksmith just outside of Ironforge. Once collected, he would make an enchanted paladin hammer for me. The quest looked extremely difficult though, as it had me traveling to several areas I had not been to yet, including the other continent Kalimdor.
I started with the simplest quest, to collect some lumber from the goblins in the Deadmines. Since I had been there already I figured no big deal, and headed off to join a group and secure the lumber. It took only about an hour to get the item, but I stuck around and helped the group clear the Deadmines and kill Van Cleef. It was a lot easier this time around being a few levels higher!
The next part of the quest had me headed over to the Loch Modan to get a shipment of ore that had been stolen by some ogres. After once again hooking up with a group it took about an hour or two to find the item and get out. In the mean time though I had picked up several other quests and got sidetracked on them with the group. One day down and only halfway to completing the quest.
On the other continent for the first time, I was exposed to some wonderful new graphics and areas. The Dark Elf area is amazing and really suits the race. I once again picked up a few minor quests and completed them for experience while looking for a party to go and collect the Kor gem from an underground dungeon. Once I got a party together the quest itself was no problem, in fact the first creature inside the dungeon dropped the gem I needed. I stuck around and completed two other quest before heading back to the wetlands though. Another night of adventuring and I was still not done the quest for a new weapon!
On the third night of adventuring and trying to complete the quest, I had to travel to the far north to Shadowfang Keep. Once I found the keep where the smithing hammer was, I found out it was an instance. I tried to get the hammer but the instance was WAY over my head with all the creatures being my level or grater and elite! I headed back to Southshore to see if I could collect a party. No one in the area was working on the same quest and after about 30 minutes I had almost given up, when 2 higher level characters offered a hand. It was much appreciated and we completed the quest in about 30 minutes!! I thanked them and returned to Ironforge to collect my reward.
Once back at the blacksmith I handed over the items and he set to work. I got to watch him making the hammer right there. When he was done I collected the hammer and was amazed at how good it was! I had the best hammer I could buy at that level and it maxed at roughly 49 damage or 15 dps (damage per second). The new hammer did up to 89 damage and 23 dps!!! Better yet it had a ton of stat bonuses that upped the damage even more. In the end my damage output had almost doubled! Talk about great quest rewards, this was the best yet!
After wandering around beating on enemies to test out my new hammer I decided to call it quits for the night, as it was now after 2 am. I had finally completed what I felt was a major quest in the game. I had traveled to many areas that I had never seen before and made many new friends over the course of the week. Now that was an adventure!
Thanks to everyone for coming and checking out the latest instalment in my beta journal, I will be taking a break from the beta journal next week so that Ratboy can let you know how everything is going for him in the beta. I hope to see you all back in a week or two for another adventure. In the mean time check out the following on our site:
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