You Go El!

One other thing I wanted to share with you guys that I found in the Beta forums (yes I skulk around there in case something interesting pops up :P).  Someone started a discussion about the tuning of quests in the starting zones.  Of course this went on for three pages with bickering back and forth about whether they were too easy or reasonably challenging. What I loved about this is the original poster characterizing his gear saying it “isn’t amazing (Hyjal/Badge stuff mostly)”.  Huh?  If you got Hyjal gear bub, you’re doing better than 75% of us other slobs who play the game.  My guild didn’t even make it into SSC before WotLK apathy killed our 25-man runs, so you’ll get no sympathy from me!

So anyways…. the final post as of this writing (at the bottom of page 3) is from fellow tradeskills fanatic “El” of El’s Extreme Angling.  He actually takes the suggestion from Wryxian (Blizzard poster) and kits himself out in green gear to approximate the noobs who would be entering WotLK ‘fresh off the cart’.  After doing some 200 quests in both zones, he writes a nicely detailed comparison of Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra from the perspective of someone who isn’t wearing raid level gear.  I thought this post might be helpful to those of you who are pondering which zone to start with (or will be pondering between now and release).  I for one appreciate El’s methodical and thorough approach to the situation, instead of the usual slanted ravings that most people spew when they contribute to the forums.


7 Responses to “You Go El!”

  1. Tsark Says:

    I won’t dispute El’s comparison in terms of quest rewards/challenge level. I can however say that the quests in Borean Tundra did engage me a LOT more than the ones in Howling Fjord. From a simple lore perspective, you get a lot more in Tundra (dragons vs vyrkuls, basically). Tundra also gives you a sight of Kel’Thuzad (the first final raid boss in Wrath), and simply much more atmospheric zones and ideas (you get your first vehicle quest earlier, and the village-in-the-mist was awesome to me). Now, remember however that my characters ARE decked out (my priest is in T6, my mage in T6/badge), and that I am playing in the off hours of the server – so two of the main concerns he highlights are gone. Still, I know which side I will start from, once Wrath hits the shelves…..

  2. kaliope Says:

    Thanks for the additional info Tsark :) I’ve read that Alliance in general gets a better dose of lore from the starting zones than Horde. Just another thing that might help folks decide where to go. Since I have 5 toons, I’ll probably end up doing both myself.

  3. El Says:


    I’m not the only one doing this by any means. For example, the new Death Knights are hitting Northrend content under-geared. But there is a tendency toward what I call the “Amani War Bear problem” on Coldarra beta realm (and probably on the US realms too) : It’s the most common mount you’ll see, yet it instantly signifies a highly experienced player, piloting an over-geared character. It’s not really a surprise that those players are sailing through the new content.

    Tsark: Interesting comments. From your note about vehicle combat, I guess you are playing Horde-side. I think that could be a very important difference. I suspect the quest lines don’t mirror one another quite as obviously as they did in Outland. I don’t recall any Alliance vehicle quests in Borean Tundra, but in Howling Fjord we get to play with fighter planes… And lore-wise there are several notable Alliance events in the Howling Fjord; while Borean Tundra has a bit of gnome lore (I suppose), the event above the Temple City of En’kilah (which is great, but is also a group quest, which I wasn’t focusing on), and not much else that really stands out.

  4. Tsark Says:

    Wow, El replied to a post of mine – I have to curb the temptation to just reply “First!” ;-P You’re right, I do play Horde – and one of the first Borean quests is a “vehicle” quest where you jump on kodos to save them from being eaten alive. I tend to forget that some people play Alliance instead ;-P

    As to the War Bear problem – I noticed the same thing (and I’m on Northrend), which scares me a bit: Blizz very often said that they want a wide range of people to test stuff on beta, and yet, if most testers have a Bear, are we really getting this cross-representation of players? And if we don’t, is this going to bias the testing (and thus the content) in some way? Note that I have a bear myself, so I’m part of the problem – but I’m still a bit worried. For example: I’ve done three dungeon runs so far, and wiped a total of ONE time. I carefully avoid asking Blizz to make things more challenging, because I realise I may not be representative of the average gear – but what if most testers are not as considerate, and Blizz ends up believing them? (Sorry, threadjack….)

  5. kaliope Says:

    No worries Tsark, I think this is a perfectly reasonable issue to bring up with regard to testing content and tuning quests. If the bulk of players in the beta are power-gamers, this could be a problem. Hopefully the Devs are aware of the imbalance and will work to get more casuals in the mix. It’s possible that the majority are alpha rollovers (presumably more hardcore types) and some of the big guilds they usually bring in to test the end-game stuff. Not that there is any end-game content yet, but those guys might be getting in just as a matter of course.

    I’d like to think that as the waves of invites go out, more casuals will be included in the mix. Of course the more time goes on, the less likely the Devs are to make sweeping changes. So… I don’t know. It certainly appears from your experience that the beta server is chock full of A-game players. Three pugs and only 1 wipe? That’s not normal. If nothing else I hope they check someone’s gear when they get feedback about a quest being too easy.

  6. Tlo Says:

    The thing is, casuals aren’t going to spend that much time in the beta anyways. Some casuals don’t have a level 68-70 character (yes it’s true). Others just don’t play that much. Still others will find out that whatever they do in the beta doesn’t count “for real” and will go back to the live realms after poking around a bit.

  7. kaliope Says:

    Tlo: You have a valid point about some casuals… the 70+ content won’t be relevant to them, etc. The Death Knight should be an option for most players though, and I think anyone who gets a beta key will at least try that. And I do think some casuals play more than you think. I have two teenagers who I would absolutely label casual (only half-way thru Kara in terms of gear, able to attend only 1-2 raids per month) who are online most nights and would love to get into the beta and try out the new abilities, etc. Casuals aren’t necessarily less active, sometimes they just don’t have 4+ hours to devote to a raid and perhaps weren’t lucky enough to find a good raiding guild that fits their schedule.

    That said, I think casuals are less likely to do the heavy testing that hard-core folks do, which I’m sure Blizzard finds valuable. But they can still contribute feedback on quest tuning and such, which is also important. Casuals are more likely to have hodge-podge gear and to have a playstyle which may not be optimal for their class. Devs need this sort of oddball tester just as much as they need the semi-pro viewpoint. So in that sense, I think casuals are important. If they want to factor in a lower time investment, they should just invite higher numbers of them to the party to even things out :)

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