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…And so Wintersong arrived at the Cenarion Expedition in Zangarmarsh, and there was much rejoicing. Druids, both tauren and night elf, were there, her people! It may not be home but it’s close enough.

But stood atop a mushroom by the inn was a level 40 human priest, no familiar exclamation mark above her head but greeting her with a hearty hello and she gave the quest.

“Will you escort me to Honor Hold?”

Sure okay, sounds like a fun challenge. Unlike your regular escort quests, the protagonist of this one can pull aggro in a mile radius around her and she’s not really equipped to help you fight although she can heal a little bit. Also, when game AI becomes advanced enough that you can have a conversation with the person you’re escorting, that will be a good time.

The ravagers that guard the path leading from Hellfire Peninsula to Zangarmarsh caused some problems, as did the boars and Fel Orcs halfway to our goal but, all in all, it was a fun ‘quest’. No XP was awarded other than the kills en route, but I was rewarded with 20g when we arrived at “Teh Hold”, a pretty good price even at level 70 standards. To be honest, the financial reward was gilding the lily, it was a lot of fun just doing it and the warm feeling of helping someone out was reward enough.

A search for the question raised by this, just exactly how far apart are Azeroth and Outland, came up with this pretty cool image, taken from around the Black Temple.

See, it’s stuff like this that makes the game so unbelievably cool. There’s a whole bunch of lore-speculation about it at this US WoW forums topic, but on it’s own it’s a wonderful image.

One other thing. Martin Martini and The Bone Palace Orchestra. That is all.

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For a little while over the weekend there, as happens every so often, I got sick of being killed by completely underhand methods by Horde players (and, Horde people, I’m not even going to begin to suggest that Alliance don’t do this too). In a sense it could be considered bad form to complain about being killed when on a PvP server – it happens, you just have to deal with it – but there’s ways and means, people!

Is any fight ever truly fair in WoW? Certain classes have advantages over other classes, gear becomes an important factor when a hardened raider with numerous runs of Gruul’s Lair under her belt comes face-to-face with a fresh level 70, all excited and full of vigour at the new world of opportunity laid out before them, it’s always going to be pretty hard to see the top of the food chain. These are part of the PvP realm life, they’re never going to stop and any amount of protesting here isn’t going to help at all.

Regardless of level, gear, skill or latency however, I have noticed that the kills where the opposing player knows for a fact contain little to no chance of retaliation rank probably the highest in frequency, as if landing at a neutral town flightmaster with <AFK> above your head actually stands for A Free Kill, and don’t even get me started at the people who I swear earn hundreds of honour points per day just by hanging around a meeting stone.

General kills while going about my day are acceptable, whether I win or lose although it’s more lose than win. Maybe the psychology from the other players is one of “Hey, we’re sharing this area and I can’t guarantee that you’re not going to kill me so, to stop that from happening, I’m going to kill you first”. It’s the great lesson that Bush and Blair gave us. Strike first and clumsily answer any questions about morality or legality in a press conference later, maybe. Yeah, right on.

And so, every now and then, I go a little psycho and do exactly that which I hate happening to me, but to be honest it never lasts. I attacked and neatly kited a warrior to death in Nagrand, scooping up a keen 20 honour points for my minimal troubles. Almost the same situation with a shaman but came off a little less successful. Yeah, I’m not that great at PvP, but the feeling I get from being ambushed and being the one left alive is far greater than the same result coming from my first move, and to make the first move and still lose well… That’s just disheartening. To look at it in a positive light, at least these kills are giving me the chance to sharpen up my skills, get better and win a few. Here is the possible core of my problem, while levelling I saw invitations to duel as an annoyance rather than basic training.

That said, this morning I saw a level 62 blood elf priest frantically running away from an elite naga in Zangarmarsh. He was at about 5% health and, as has happened to me, I could have finished it so easily. There would have been honour in the kill as far as the game is concerned (granted, not much, but see how it all stacks up) what about my own sense of honour? Would it make me feel better about myself in any way? Would I strut away with that inflated self-worth and the swagger of the “Hey! Check me out, I’m imba!”? Nope. Instead, after he’d healed himself to full health I waved at him and, in the rudimentary way of communicating though simple emotes, pointed to the mob he was attempting to kill and let him take the first shot, then helped him with the kill. He thanked me, I curtsied, went on my merry way and, care-bear that I am, felt pretty good about it.

And you know what? With the little pinch of “R” I put in with my “P” it’s all part of my heavily-self-based character. Anj doesn’t like the war we’re in so much but it’s n unfortunate necessity, all this petty squabbling between the two factions is wasted energy when we both share a common enemy outside of each other. Yeah, she’s Azeroth’s Martin Luther-King. She has a dream! She’s been to the mountain-top!

A little note of thanks, while I’m on the subject, to the forsaken player last week who, when I beat him to the Skyguard Prisoner in Skettis, rather than killing me during a solo fight with three mobs, helped clear the way. He didn’t even get too mad when clicking on him to pass on a /thanks accidentally right-clicked and fired an autoshot before I had chance to hurriedly stab the escape key about twenty times to stop it before dispensing a /sorry and then the /thanks. Another memorable Horde care-bear was back in the early 60’s, having accepted an escort quest in Firewing Point that I was way out of my depth for, helped clear a path to the exit, hearthed and I never saw him again.

It don’t harm to be nice every once in a while, but I still need to work on those PvP skills because nice equals okay, doormat equals nope.

(photograph by swanksalot and shared under a Creative Commons license).
December 2017
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