The Face of Azeroth: To the Center of the Earth
[The Face of Azeroth is a column of varying lengths detailing interesting news, happenings and other tidbits about World of Warcraft in general and, more specifically, my adventures in the world of Azeroth and beyond.]
This place is awesome. From the very moment I was whisked away to the large underground cavern I was amazed. I loved the whole ambiance of the zone, the quests were interesting and unique, as well as full of cool stories and by completing the zone, you get access to the first set of dailies available in Cataclysm.
The faction here is Therazane, which are the earth elementals who rule over Deepholm. Throughout the course of events there, you ingratiate yourself with them to the point that they give you a set of daily quests to do. These quests go quick, are located in two spots practically right next to Therazane’s Throne and serve to get you into that “daily quest” mode before you get to Twilight Highlands and Tol Barad.
If there is one issue I have with the zone, it’s that one of those rotating daily quests targets a specific NPC to kill, and this battle will mimic one you did as a regular quest as you made your way through the zone. Each of these battles has a gimmick of some sort, which causes the fight to last longer than your typical “target NPC, kill NPC, turn in quest” daily (such as in Tol Barad, for example).
This results in practically a line of players waiting for the quest, because each NPC takes several minutes to kill. The Glop, Son of Glop daily seems to be the worse of these, since it is inherently buggy. The NPC you are to speak to to help you defeat the elite baddie for the quest has had respawn issues since Cataclysm went live, and it hasn’t been fixed yet. (Note: I believe this quest was hotfixed to alleviate this issue just yesterday, but it still remains with the other quests that rotate with this one.)
If these daily quests are fixed to be more line-proof and the bugs are cleared up, these would be enjoyable, because the mechanics make them that way. For example, one quest sees you hopping between stone platforms up in the air to kill a dragon, while avoiding her fire breath. This was great fun the first time I did it, but now each time that daily comes up, I tend to drop it because there’s a line of 5-10 players waiting to have their shot at the daily. That’s no fun for anyone.
Huge, scripted battles at the end of all the previous zones aside, Uldum has been my favorite zone so far. It does seem less dramatic overall than the previous three zones, however it basically lets you play out a full-scale Indiana Joes-style movie throughout the course of the zone – iconic scenes and all. Following the not-too-subtle Harrison Jones around the zone, activating the three ancient ruins to foil Deathwing’s plans is pretty sweet, as are the few surprises that await players if they’ve remained unspoiled beforehand.
Plus, I enjoyed the whole “Egyptian” aesthetic to the zone. One of my guilty pleasures is ancient Egyptian mythology and history, so I felt right at home there. On top of that, it also reminded me a lot of Stargate: SG-1 for some reason. Isn’t that odd? Anyway, it was great fun. I really enjoyed the zone design here, too. The green areas – both the river valley and the oasis up in the north – provide a stark contrast from the arid, unforgiving desert that fills most of the zone.
The problem here, is that there is only one daily that allows you to build rep with the Ramakhen, the faction you help throughout the zone. Actually, helping them “throughout the zone” might be a bit of an exaggeration. There’s only one, fairly lengthy quest chain (with a few quest branches here and there) that focus on them, the rest of the zone revolves around Harrison Jones and the Temple of Uldum. So, you don’t really get the chance to build rep with them, and then are left with one daily quest and a tabard to run dungeons.
I’m the sort of person who doesn’t usually have a lot of time to run dungeons, so this is a bit painful for me to take in. I’d much rather there be a slew of daily quests available to do. This way the player has the choice of ways to build up their rep. Unfortunately, this is also a failing of both The Earthen Ring and Guardians of Hyjal factions. I would have assumed by this point in time, Blizzard would realize this and cater to the needs of both types of players.
This really leads right into the next topic I wanted to discuss, but it shall wait for my next article! So, in a few days we’ll get in to discussing Tol Barad – the pros, cons and “WTF were they thinking!” moments. Stay tuned!