Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gnomore: You really shouldn't be here

Gnomore pictorial 31

Now you may wonder why only one - the same as before - level in this update. The reason is simply that Blizzard really doesn't want to reward exploration and to be even more precise, those who do not take the beaten path but trek their own winding paths around the world. In short, it's Blizzard's way of saying what the guy said to me in Rift beta: You shouldn't even be here at that level.

Let us begin, so you can tell yourself. It all began in Ironforge, by the bank, where Gnomore was checking his mail. Money as usual, nothing more.

All sales, no challenge. (sidenote: Gnomore broke 4k the other day, but that's on the next update)

So, off we went. The first thought: go to Gnomeregan to finish a quest. Naturally the quest was inside the Gnomeregan instance, even though the minimap showed the question mark outside it. But hey, who doesn't like to enter the shining whirly-thingies from time to time?!

Too bad the continuing mission was to kill ten something, so off we went. As Dun Morogh was still not totally 'explored', Gnomore took the dark passage to the Dwarven starter area - Coldridge Valley - to get things done.

Oh those nasties. Or as Brann Bronzebeard says: "Troggs... Why does it have to be Troggs..." in Halls of Origination.

Do you know what the frustrating part of this exploration was? To notice that the only place needed for the achievement is off bounds till Gnomore gains wings, as it is the Ironforge Airfield. Yes, it would be reachable if Gnomore would kill some nasties and took the plane to continue the quest chain, but as you know it's quite impossible at the moment.

On the way, though, there were some nicer quests available in the Quarry, though, and it was the first place Gnomore felt he was doing something good for the people.

And the exit was quite typical for Gnomore, too.

Disappointed by the game mechanics yet again, I decided to take on a challenge. As the game is more or less ruined for us off the beaten path types by the phasing (you do know they took the Undercity part away from the Wrathgate quest chain, now did you?), we decided to go and see how far we really could go...

Does that ring a bell? Of course, the gathering skills at Gnomore's level - even though they have already outlevelled the actual character levels - are useless out there.

First it was the easy one.

As usual, the door was open, but Gnomore was not let in. How rude can the game get? How obnoxiously elitistic the system really is? Why not open all the instances to all character levels and just let the mobs do the darn selection of the fittest?

Just think of it: how cool would it be to rampage in a vastly over levelled instance with 20 similarly levelled toons? Of course there should be safeguards to keep the boosting at minimum, but still. That's only technicality.

But what I really loved was...

Even though the mobs just needed to look at my general direction to get Gnomore killed. Really put my fancy stealth skills to new perspective!

The other thing is the fact that when Gnomore finally (?!) reached the first settlement on the road, the Flight Master coldly informed him that there are no flightpoints to connect with this particular point!

That was the only sensible conclusion, and after that it was easy to make the decision. It was either to hearth out, or continue trekking down the path which wasn't there.

Guess what Gnomore chose?


After which it was time to take drastic measures (ok, he died twice before that, after the last photo) and to change area. After hearthing out, there was a lovely sight in Darnassus waiting for Gnomore.

As customary with Gnomore, it would have been too easy to just fly there. Instead, he went through Ashenvale

Stonetalon Peaks (where another pair of rares were showed on his face!)

 until he finally reached his destination in Southern Barrens.

This is where the story rests, and as you can see, this part was done before patch 4.1. came in. There are a few things which occurred to me on my next session which came in with the patch, making life easier but less interesting if you want to view it that way.

Conlusion: exploration itself doesn't pay in the game. Gnomore went through pain and desperation and didn't even gain a level over the four-six hours of play due to the fact that he went on exploring in an area which is vastly above his level. That is a shame, as it lowers the levelling by gathering and exploration to a mining node-herbalism node-archeology-grind in the end. We'll see when the boredom overcomes the excitement of bare evasions.