Level 70!

Yay! Go Stormshaper, you’ve reached level 70. Woot!

Stormshaper reached the old, historical landmark level late last night, but she did it in a roundabout way. Basically, I really wanted to stay the Outlands route. I quested and quested moving out of zones only when the achievement was reached. Stormshaper was doing quests in and around Alerian Stronghold in Terokkar Forest, but the experience on offer from the starter quests in Northrend is massive in comparision to those she was doing in Outlands. The conundrum was this: Why quest for an hour in Outlands when you can receive the same amount of experience from doing two quests in Northrend?

I hadn’t realised it at the time, but the WoTLK expansion really did kill Outlands and all those amazing instances stone dead, and that saddens me so much.

Today, I went to Karazhan to start the quests to get the key to that fabled instance. I queued for Setthek Halls, for the first part of the key fragment and two hours later, I logged out, still waiting for a group. Basically there are no players doing Burning Crusade heroics any more. Everyone is frantically farming Emblems of Triumph and Emblems of Frost so that they can get to Ice Crown Citadel and defeat Arthas.

Brilliant.

Except I find the long, drawn-out demise of Arthas to be mind numbingly boring. I farmed ToTC to death on my hunter. In fact, it only took my old guild three visits to clear the place. Before that, we farmed Ulduar to death. Before that, we cleared Naxxramas. Over, and over and over.

When Ice Crown Citadel opened up and Blizzard introduced the Ashen Verdict reputation grind, my heart sank. I was bored beyond belief and for them to throw this out there didn’t inspire me at all, in fact, it made me want to give up. Which is why Stormshaper was created.

Okay, I could go and start on the hardmodes for various instances, but I’ve done them to death. They were fun and enjoyable and new, but I’m not a hardmode player. I don’t have the setup to do myself justice in hardmodes, I play WoW on a laptop that is four years old and I connect via wi-fi, and those two environmental issues are an instant performance inhibitor right off the bat.

Actually saying that about the hard modes, my old guild did Ulduar hardmode and I complained that Flame Leviathan with the towers up and all the crazy-assed AoE shit that was going on was made “hard mode” because of the random number generator. Random events, random missiles, random AoE damage….random, random, random. People who do it, fantastic reflexes, incredible spatial awareness, but throwing out more random stuff isn’t what I like. I already know the lore of the instance, the kind of mobs to face, my role in the raid, the tactics of the fights. I know this because I have researched it and I’ve learned to play it with my raiding party. Changing that by simply throwing out extra random AoE shit to make your progress harder doesn’t interest me.

I can be quite effective in raids. My hunter chucks out 5K-6K DPS, the Death Knight is about the same, perhaps a little more. But in hardmode instances, your DPS output is only part of the story. Faster responses are required. A solid, perferably hard-wired connection, a decent graphics card, a faster CPU. I could perform in the hard modes, certainly, but I don’t think I could do myself ultimate justice. For me, hard modes are like arenas. I know they’re part of the game, but I have zero interest in them. If I win the lottery, my interest may change, as I’d spoil myself with a system to die for, but until then….

So, it seems that my intention to turn off Stormshaper’s experience gain at 70 will be futile. She can remain 70 for a good, long time, but if no-one else is interested in the BC heroics, or Karazhan, Zul’Aman or Serpentshrine Cavern, then she’ll be a very lonely shaman, sat, looking for companions in some inn in Shattrath for a good long time.

With Cataclysm just around the corner, it looks like she’ll be doing the same as every other alt in the game, and staying in Northrend, waiting for someone to finally put Arthas out of his misery.

The one good thing about the Northrend quests – they are very, very difficult for Stormshaper. Each pull requires a bit of thought. Perhaps because she is quite undergeared. Remember she only got as far as Zangermarsh in Outlands, so, to go from there to Northrend is a mighty step up in terms of gear. In fact, that’s the one guarantee I can make, any quest reward item is going to be at least twice as powerful as what Stormshaper currently has equipped.

So far, she’s replaced a mace, her necklace, a cloak and her gemmed and enchanted leggings she won in Hellfire Ramparts with a basic Northrend green item that doubled every stat!

Another thing I have noticed is that as I have replaced her Outlands gear (she’s still in pre-Outlands bracers), her MP5 has dropped like a stone, so after a couple of fights, she’s out of mana completely regardless of mana spring totems or anything else. This, in a perverse way, means that while I’m sad for the demise of Outlands and all that amazing content, there is something for me to try and strategise in terms of questing in Northrend to get her gear that can bring her up to an acceptable performance level.

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