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Signature Abilities

There are certain things in the game that scream: “THIS IS WORLD OF WARCRAFT!” Each class has their own special thing that people think of when they picture the class in their head. Some have changed over time, being iconic when the game came out and all but vanished now. Some have emerged over time, starting as a thought and finally being realized.

One good thing is that I couldn’t think of one specific ability that is recognizable for the entire game. There are a few front-runners, but there are many that define each class. Blizzard has done a great job of making each class very individual (with a few exceptions), and you know who you are playing by what you can do.

Shamans get two picks from me: Frost Shock and Bloodlust. Sorry Alliance, but it will always be Bloodlust and not Heroism. In Vanilla PvP, Frost Shock was one of the biggest abilities that the Horde had in their arsenal, as it was a good snare on a short cooldown that did a decent amount of damage. There used to be an addon that would have an audio file of “FROST SHOOOOOCK!” when it was used. Bloodlust, including the roaring-murloc-style sound, is such a great feeling. The very first time it was used in game for my character gave me goosebumps.

(The above is my son being a good PvP Shaman in training)

Druids are pretty straight forward, being that their forms truly define who they are. Not as much as previously, with the removal of a permanent Tree Form, but I believe that Bear Form & Cat Form are truly iconic (and of course the laser chicken). There’s no mistaking what you’re fighting when you have a cat tearing up your face. Being able to be a warrior, rogue, mage, and priest all in one is a nice feeling.

To me, the Warrior’s signature ability was mainly visible in Vanilla as it was before big nerfs. Mortal Strike was a high damage move that also caused the target to receive 50% less healing as a debuff. This was in place for a very long time until it was nerfed to be only 10% less healing, as it was very overpowered for PvP. Many tanks were Arms spec in Vanilla mainly for this ability, so mobs that healed themselves could be mitigated. Close second is Titan’s Grip – being able to wield two two-handed weapons is just awesome.

Rogues are mainly known for one thing: their stuns. They have close to fifty thousand of them (or so it would seem at time in PvP), and used well they can completely lock out someone for a good period of time. By the time the stuns wear off, the target’s health is low enough that they’re as good as dead.

Warlocks also have two great abilities to cause grief to people: Fear and Death Coil. Both mainly in Vanilla again, but the combination of the two spells were great to keep a player or a mob out of the way for a good period of time. The only problem with PvE use of them is that they have a very good chance to pull approximately one thousand other mobs who are close by.

Mages have two things that I believe is their signature, which is Polymorph and the ability to blow stuff up. Polymorph’s history goes back to the early RTS games, and thankfully stays in the game today as a great crowd control device. Being able to have different animals other than sheep is nice for groups or raids with multiple mages, but the sheep is still awesome. Plus, mages can blow stuff up, including Living Bomb. How can you go wrong?

Hunters are definitely known for having their pets and their traps. The removal of Eyes of the Beast, allowing direct control over the pet, is definitely a big loss – it was also the way our guild pulled Baron Geddon in Molten Core back in Vanilla. When pets had their happiness system or needing to tame specific pets to learn specific abilities, or basically how pets were before they were all made generic are what truly defined hunters for a very long time. The traps have become a lot better, as rather than having to place them where the character is, they are now able to be launched to a location without having to sacrifice yourself. Coming close behind is feign death, which is also useful in real life.

I had a difficult time coming up with a specific priest signature ability. Eventually I decided on Shadowform and the ability to be a very flexible healer. Unfortunately with all the specific heals that a priest has, there are too many to narrow down to one signature one, apart from Greater Heal. Bread and butter healing. Shadowform is very different in the fact that it gave priests a way to do very good damage and still be a priest at heart.

Death Knights are pretty easy, as Death Grip is one of the first things that a player uses after rolling one. Being able to yank someone right to you, also acting as a taunt, is a tank’s best friend. Plus, a lot of fun in PvP. Army of the Dead is a close contender, as there are few things more awesome than an army of ghouls rampaging on your behalf.

The Paladin signature ability was the easiest one to come up with. Divine Shield, or the infamous “Bubble”. Unfortunately not being able to last long enough for a full bubble-hearth, it still has the reputation that it definitely deserves.

In conclusion, each class has things that truly make them feel unique. Even the Druid, which “borrows” the styles of other classes, still makes the playstyle their own. Even though they use rage like a warrior, they are not warriors (parrying with their faces takes skill).

As a signature ability for the game? I don’t think there needs to be one. The closest “iconic” one that I can think of would have to be Bloodlust. It is synonymous with the Orc culture, and every time I hear the sound effect I can’t help but think of the Warcraft series.

Screenshot of the Week – August 6

Click for full size

My hunter just finished leveling through Nagrand again, and I can never get enough of the zone. It truly is absolutely beautiful – I could have a post full of the many different areas of it. Not only that, but after reading Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden, I can appreciate the history of Orcs that is throughout the zone.

Memorable Quests

The Cataclysm wrought huge changes to the face of Azeroth, as well as what the inhabitants are doing. For the first time in six years, the story progressed forward and we see new things that are happening across the whole world. Mankrik isn’t just wallowing in Crossroads anymore, he’s plotting his revenge at the Grol’dom Farm (and other places later on). Along with him, there’s plenty of new things to experience.

Right now I’m leveling up a new hunter, and have just recently gone through part of Badlands and got to experience one of the best quests in the game so far. It made me think of some of the best quests and quest lines through the game so far, and why I’ve enjoyed them.

Welcome To The Machine

This is a quest at the border of Silverpine Forest and Hillsbrad Foothills, where you get to do something never thought of before: become a quest giver. Rather than just moving through the quest hubs, collecting the quests and moving on, you get to see the story from the other side.

Three characters come by, and you get to see the different stereotypes of questers that are out there. It also sets the stage for part of the zone, as you get to meet up with two of the characters later on, who play a major part of questing areas.

I enjoyed this quest as it’s almost breaking the fourth wall, and gives the character an idea of what it’s like to sit around all day and hand out quests. Very entertaining, and makes you think a bit.

The Day Deathwing Came

If you’ve ever seen the TV show “How I Met Your Mother”, this is similar to it. In the show the main character is telling his kids a long story about how he eventually met their mother, and at times he tries to censor himself or what they were doing, so the story is embellished or changed. For example, in college they loved “sandwiches”, and not something else which isn’t completely legal.

This quest line is made up of three quests from three NPCs sitting around in the Badlands and saying what “happened” the day that Deathwing came through and messed things up. You get to live out each of the stories, ranging from punching Deathwing in the face to having a flying motorcycle.

Once again, it’s just very entertaining and funny seeing Blizzard’s imagination at work. I can totally see three people hanging out saying how things happened, and that it was THEIR version that was the truth.

Waptor Twapping

Looney Tunes meets World of Warcraft. Elmer Fudd has been reincarnated in the NPC Kala’ma in Northern Barrens, just north of Ratchet. He is upset that the “waptors” have stolen all his stuff, and wants you to “twap” them. All of his dialogue is along this style of Elmer Fudd or the priest from The Princess Bride.

Blizzard puts thought into even these small quests, as the action that you take is “twapping waptor”. It’s things like this that show the amount work that goes into quest design, and I sure appreciate it.

These are but three quests out of many thousand that are in the game, and were just off the top of my head.  There are many memorable ones out there, but these were ones that I thought were fun and entertaining.  Feel free to add your favourite quests in the comments.

Screenshot of the Week – March 19

The weekend is upon us, and for once the weather here in Edmonton isn’t bad!  Works for me!

Click for full size

This week’s screenshot comes from the new Forsaken starting zone.  At one point, you get a deathguard wannabe named Darnell to join you to collect corpses.  I just found it entertaining seeing all the corpses piled on top of another, and feeling a little bad for poor Darnell.

 

So close you can taste it

Five more sleeps until Cataclysm.  Only a few more days until on December 7th, a box will arrive at our door that contains two smaller boxes inside.  Unfortunately they’ll likely arrive while I’m at work, but I’m thinking that there will be lights, fireworks, and other spectacular things when the boxes are opened.

Either that, or I’ll be able to make my goblin(s) at last.

4.0.3a has given us a great deal of what was promised in Cataclysm, but the more that I read about them and through the previes that I’ve seen, I really can’t wait to make my goblins.  The plan that I’ve had all along was to make a priest, and have it be my main alt for a while.  I made a night elf priest a while back and enjoyed leveling it as discipline through the dungeon finder.  For once, I don’t want to use the LFD tool for the fact that I want to experience as much as possible.

My Forsaken hunter just finished up Silverpine Forest, and I am absolutely amazed with how well it turned out.  My last post had the first impressions up to the beginning parts of the zone and even then it was great.  It just gets better and better the further you go.

Since that was a changed zone, I can’t imagine how awesome the goblin areas are going to be.  I remember hearing about a questline that has some sort of a “Grand Theft Auto” part to it, which I’m quite looking forward to.  For whatever reason, having a short character appeals to me as well.  I’ve tried many times to make a gnome, but I just couldn’t do it.  Now that the Horde has a “short” race, I think it’ll be fun.

The only problem with Cataclysm being so close is that time seems to slow the closer that you get to it.  On top of that, I start a new position at work the day before the game comes out, and I have plans on the evening of the 7th.  I do still have some sick days left…

First Impressions of a New Azeroth

Unfortunately, just as one of the biggest events in World of Warcraft’s history happens, my real life schedule starts to make me busy. Never fails! However, I’ve finally had a bit of time to try out and explore some of the new areas and I’m incredibly happy. Blizzard did an amazing job at 4.0.3a, as it is literally a brand new world (with a few exceptions, of course).

Initially, I went on my Druid and started to explore Kalimdor. I started out in Thunder Bluff, then went on a bit of a trip around to different places getting the new flight paths and seeing the sights. I knew that they said that the Barrens and Stonetalon Mountains would get some of the biggest changes, but I wasn’t prepared for exactly how much different it was. I think I’ll be using the word “amazing” quite often in this post.

Thousand Needles is awe-inspiring. When you went through it before, you were on the bottom looking up to the very high “needles”, working around them or on top of them. The whole zone is flooded now, which gives it a whole new feel. Where there once was the Shimmering Flats now has the Shimmering Deeps, with the goblin/gnome project of a big speedboat. Through a small but incredibly fun questline, you can get your own boat that is usable only in Thousand Needles, with one part that sends you to the bottom of the sea floor to collect debris from the old raceway.

Next, my wife and I made new Taurens to check out the new starting zone there. I was wanting to make a Paladin, and my wife made a Priest. Apart from the fact that there were close to one million new characters starting all at the same time, it went well. I always had a problem with Mulgore because it was quite boring and involved lots of running around – now the quest hubs are consolidated into managable areas which involve objectives close to where you started out. We just started Northern Barrens, which I’m quite looking forward to. I never thought I’d ever say that about the Barrens.

Recently I made a new Forsaken Hunter, since I wanted to have one and I heard that the new Undead zones are (once again) amazing. So far I have not been disappointed in the least. There are so many new features and quests, and also a fair amount which are the same or similar – it’s a good combination of brand new while still keeping things close to what it was before. One thing that is entertaining is that there’s a flight path in Brill, so if you wanted to be extra lazy you could fly to Undercity.

I just moved into Silverpine Forest, and it is incredible. I’ve only just done the quests up to The Sepulcher, but up to now it’s been playing out like a great book or movie. There are a few points when it goes into “movie mode”, basically a mini cutscene that advances the story – it’s happened when the Worgen story is advanced, as well as when you ride to the Sepulcher from Forsaken High Command alongside Sylvanas. I truly can’t say enough about how awesome this zone is turning out to be.

My only suggestion is to NOT wear heirloom shoulders and chest, since you’ll outlevel the zone before you’re done with it. The stories are too great to miss, and I can’t wait to experience more of it.

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