Shhh, no one tell Mooglegem that I stole her name. This is Mooglie, my monk for Diablo 3 season 2. I’m still fairly low level, but she’s been fun so far.
A group of my friends have started playing WoW together casually on Friday nights. They invited me to join. It’s been years since I’d done anything group content like that – dungeons and the like. It’s a different feeling to play as a group while leveling compared to endgame where the goal is to plow through content for valor points. They had already started, so I decided to catch up. They play Alliance, and I’ve never spent much time on that side of the game. I was looking forward to seeing the Alliance story.
I decided to roll a pandaren monk. His name is Sleepypaw. You can see him sleeping with his bear cub watching him.
The starting experience on the Wandering Isle was pretty fun, but nothing too amazing really. I enjoyed it, but the worgen starting experience was so much better. I did like getting the chance to talk to Shen-zin Su, the turtle known as the Wandering Isle. I also particularly liked Ji Firepaw, a Huojin follower, Aysa Cloudsinger, a Tushui follower, and their relationship. It was interesting to see them get close and then see that relationship strained. Of course, I chose to follow Aysa into the Alliance.
After fighting Varian at his request, I became a full member of the Alliance! Stormwind itself is a beautiful city, and I enjoyed running around it. While Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff have natural beauty, and I do particularly like the view of Orgrimmar from above mostly because I think of it as my city, Stormwind and Ironforge have a really heroic and powerful feel. I spent a couple hours one evening just running around Stormwind. I ignored the map so I could try to learn the city, looking around and using Stormwind Keep as a point of reference.
After questing through Elwynn Forest, I headed into Westfall, which had a really interesting story. It did a good job of showing me how different the Alliance is. First, I helped a detective who was looking for clues to solve a murder. He even had little alarmbots circling the crime scene. I can’t imagine the Horde taking such a modern approach to murder. Yet on the other hand, I can’t fathom the idea of homeless members of the Horde – orcs unable to afford to live in Orgrimmar, starving and begging for food. That’s what we see in Westfall though. Well, homeless humans, not orcs. We learn that while the Alliance spent time and money winning the war in Northrend, they neglected things at home. Guards are posted to keep them out of cities, with signs warning transients to stay out of the area.
This is probably one of my favorite screenshots now. It wasn’t a rare angle or anything like that, but it was a powerful moment in the story.
After Westfall, I moved into the Redridge Mountains, where I joined Bravo Company and defended Lakeshire against Blackrock orcs. The most important thing that happened was meeting this girl who loves rabbits. I love rabbits too!
The zone was quite idyllic when there wasn’t killing or war. Here’s a nice screenshot. I suppose the skeleton undermines my position on the zone though.
The Bravo Company storyline was fun mostly because they tag along with you and say funny things. There’s a paladin who complains about the Light, saying that one day he feels like all his abilities are weaker.
Also, yes, Rambo references.
I’ve now made it to Duskwood and am level 30. I have full heirlooms for all three spec, so if my friends need me to tank or heal, I’ll have the gear for it (even if I don’t know how to play those specs). They might be a little higher than 30 now, but I think I’ve matched them approximately! I’ve had a lot of fun experiencing the Alliance side of things and am looking forward to more.
After about 28 hours of play time, gem and I completed Diablo 3 normal mode. I played a demon hunter, and she played a monk. Demon hunter was very enjoyable throughout the game even as the skills changed. For my next go, I think I’ll try the monk, although trying something else might be nice because I saw gem play the monk. A barbarian might also be fun, but I’m under the impression that it’s a very simple class. Perhaps I’m just stereotyping, but I don’t want to play something that’s not complex enough to be fun. There must be some complexity to them though, right?
Here’s our fight against Diablo. It’s low quality; I wasn’t really showing anything in particular and wasn’t planning on posting it when I recorded it.
On Saturday, gem and I started playing Diablo III. She was going to create a witch doctor but ended up rolling a monk. I played a demon hunter in the beta, planned on playing a demon hunter, and, well, did play a demon hunter. So far we’re really enjoying the game. The story is much more intricate, and the skill system is different than both Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft. Currently we’re maybe halfway (or so?) through Act I. For those of you playing, we’ve fought the spider queen boss. The screenshot above was taken right after killing King Leoric.
I think the most important thing to consider is whether or not the game is fun, and it has been. I enjoy the visual style, which has a hand-painted look to it. Although different, it reminds me of the background of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Giving Town Portal as a spell that can be cast as often as needed is very cool change. Being able to identify items at will without using a scroll of identification (or something similar) is a cool change, but it makes me wonder why some items need to be identified at all. Is it because unidentified items can be sold (providing a sort of gamble)? I have no idea.
The skill system is odd. As you level, you unlock new skills and runes, which modify skills. Basically, talents and glyphs from World of Warcraft. However, you don’t really make permanent choices. You can make changes at any time with a short cooldown to prevent, I’m guessing, changing choices during combat. You have a maximum of six skills in use at a time once all slots are unlocked. I have some mixed feelings on the skill system, which I’ll talk about in another post.
There were some big improvements to the general social system. Achievements are a cool addition to the Diablo series. While a lot of them are boring, there are some fun ones. I haven’t actually counted or anything, but I hope there are a decent number of ones that are actually achievements. I like achievements that task you with performing a task a certain way as opposed to ones like “Reach Level 10.” Having achievements be account-based rather than character-based seems to work well. I’m sure it’ll be similar in Mists of Pandaria, so I’m glad to find that I’m happy with them. I do kind of wish that we’ll eventually be able to see achievements across games though. I’ve been meaning to post about achievements in general, which, who knows, maybe I’ll get around to doing. Battle Tags are an improvement over the Real ID system but are still fundamentally flawed. I actually have a post on this already written, and it’ll get posted soon. I like that in addition to large toasts acknowledging earned achievements for a player, there are now smaller toasts above the chat window for achievements earned by party members. Achievements are also broadcast to your friends now I believe, which is a cool addition.
While we’ve only played a rather small chunk of the game, I’ve enjoyed it so far. It’s interesting to see Blizzard’s knowledge from World of Warcraft added to the mix and bits and pieces of things to expect in Mists of Pandaria. I’m anxious to try hardcore mode, and I can’t wait to try PVP when they release it!
This post is sort of obligatory now, right?
Mists of Pandaria, the next expansion, features a new continent, a new playable race – the Pandaren, a new class – monk, a pet battle system, revamped talents, a new battleground, more ways to earn VP, PVE scenarios, and challenge mode heroics. I have to say, I’m pretty happy with everything announced. There was nothing they did that disappointed me, and multiple announced things were pretty close to exactly what I wanted.
Going somewhere new is good. From the shots I saw, Pandaria’s asian-inspired look is gorgeous. And there’s a giant turtle that’s a zone. Come on. You sold me on the expansion right there, Blizzard! When our characters finally reach this new land, they’ll find a bunch of breweries! That’s another pro.
The Pandaren seem like a very interesting race to me. I like having another old, wise race in the game. Both factions could use a little more wisdom, and the Pandaren will hopefully bring that.
I want to play this right now. The lack of an auto-attack is interesting for a melee class and should make for fun mechanics. I’m particularly interested in healing with a monk. I haven’t had a good track record with playing alts, but I’d love to get a monk going.
Pet Battle System
I’ve been asking for this for a long time! Granted, I wasn’t asking for it in WoW, but what Pokemon fan hasn’t wanted a Pokemon MMO? We knew Nintendo wouldn’t do it, but here it is thanks to Blizzard. On the other hand, I’m not too keen on pets being tradeable. Some pets won’t be, and I’m hoping Blizzard will make it so that the only pets that can be traded are the ones that, in the current system, are able to be traded before being learned. I don’t want achievement-related pets to be tradeable.
Talent trees are a thing of the past. People might use the word “tree” in the future, but they’re not trees in 5.0. Every 15 levels you’ll be given a choice between three talents. From what I saw, every talent was fairly interesting and will actually make some differences. Obviously, reducing the number of talents increases the importance of each choice, and that’s pretty cool. Also, those polymorph talents. Mmmm.
Payload. Please. I want to participate right now.
More VP Choices
I always appreciate choices as to what content I complete. I like to try to see everything, but I don’t want to grind the same content repeatedly. Right now, I don’t have a problem with VP because I’m actively raiding. We’re 6/7 weekly, and after I do Baradin Hold, I’m only one heroic’s worth of VP short (which I skip because I’ve done those to death and they’re boring). However, for a while I wasn’t part of the main raiding team, and I can tell you, doing those Zandalari heroics seven times each week is tough. Sometimes I feel like Blizzard forgets that part of some of the players’ lists of dailies are “go to work,” “perform chores at home,” and “run errands.” Getting Valor Points from more places mean we won’t get burned out as easily.
Battleground-like experiences that are PVE? I am so excited about this. Admittedly, they might not end up as fun as I hope; however, I love Battlegrounds and think this could provide an amazing and fresh way of playing the game.
Challenge Mode in Heroics
This is actually something pretty similar to what I was asking for in a previous post. While not exactly the same, this can provide more fun from the same content. Already done grinding a heroic? See if you can complete it faster! Now in that same post, I called for the end of gear upgrades so that skill could play the important role. And in challenge mode, gear will scale down. Sweet.
So yes, I’m excited.