Happenings and Storytelling
It’s been a good few days. The best parts are that my wife finally got home (after an unforeseen delay) from Las Vegas and we had our 8 year anniversary. Everything beyond that – all the WoW stuff – is just gravy.
It’s good gravy, though, and as this is a gravy website, not a personal journal, we’ll mostly be focusing on those aforementioned gravy particulates. First and foremost, I finally got to run a heroic scenario with one of the commentators here, Balkoth, the eponymous author of Balkoth’s Word. He contacted me in game suggesting that he could fill a third spot for an H Scen if I ever had one, but I informed him that the reality was I didn’t know anyone else in game any more, so it was more likely that I’d be his third.
He made that happen a day or two later, and we successfully ran a heroic scenario, finishing it very quickly and getting the bonus (a boss timer) even though we ended up 2 manning the boss. I was actually impressed that we could 2 man the boss, so it wasn’t even really an inconvenience. It gave me confidence to try some more in the future and maybe even go into a – gasp – Heroic LFD.
It also taught me that if anything has really changed in my play, it’s that I’ve become a lot better about my cooldown usage. Shamans have so many different cooldowns that it can feel overwhelming at times, not to mention that there’s so many it’s easy to just flat forget some of them. I had to blow everything to survive that fight, though, but we both did.
I’ve noticed that a lot, in fact. I’m very self-sufficient as an ele shaman. When people are dying left and right to raid bosses, trash pulls, barrens weekly commanders, or rares, I’m still plugging away. I like having that kind of a wide toolbox, but it certainly took some getting used to.
I wish I could be more impressive with my dps numbers, but I’m still hovering around 60k on individual fights. Trash pulls are a joke – 200k easily now – but boss fights are more challenging. I’m a long-term proponent of less dps for more survivability, but that doesn’t seem to be the flavor of the day anymore. Instead, it’s MORE dps and MORE survivability. Well, I’m getting there.
I also heard just a few minutes ago from the GM of the guild I apped to, and I’ve been accepted. I didn’t really think there was much doubt, honestly; it’s a part-core guild from it’s description so the entry bar isn’t terribly high, but I was happy to see that he had checked me out and was worried about me getting my ilevel up before raiding, which I’m perfectly fine with! I’d be more worried if it was like so many of my previous guilds who had a come one, come all philosophy that left everyone else struggling as a result. I’ve only got 2 really weak pieces at this point, too, which I’ll likely replace by the end of this week: wrists and trinket, and I know which bosses might drop them and can buy one with valor, so here’s hoping!
Now that this post is nearly over, let me get to my main point. I think that the storytelling in this expansion is the best it’s been since vanilla. Balkoth and I debated this a bit, him saying BC was the best, but I don’t think so. BC was extremely lore heavy; I didn’t know what the hell was going on a majority of the time (except for Karazhan, which still is my favorite raid, probably as a result of its lore insularity), but the big lore quests in vanilla were pretty self-contained and thematic. Ony’s manipulation and the jailbreak are straight from typical epics like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Rags and C’thun, too, were right out of literature. They were easy to understand without any previous knowledge, which was perfect for me.
Looking back, BC was awesome, and the progression of the story there was very interesting, particularly the idea that evil begets evil, so you end up with KT and Illidan in a triangular power struggle with the good guys. That was much harder for me to comprehend as a novice, though, so I couldn’t appreciate it. That unintentional entry bar to comprehension is why I rank vanilla higher; it’s more intellectually accessible, which as a writing instructor is very important to me.
Pandaria has really returned to the excellent storytelling that has always been present in Wow but not always well presented in WoW. The Shieldwall storyline particularly gripped me in the past few days. The finalé (spoiler alert: the ship sinks at the end of Titanic) where Garrosh and Anduin are conversing, and that you can first-hand witness Garrosh’s slipping into madness, made for very compelling viewing. While it’s short, the siege of Orgrimmar startup was also great, too. Meeting and working with Vol’jin and the conversations you have about loyalty, family, and trust really flesh out the characters. Nothing makes for good storytelling like uneasy alliances, and that’s certainly what we’ve built there.
So overall, it’s been another great few days, and I look forward to letting you know more about my new guild as I get transferred and assimilated (hopefully).
Stubborn (and excited)