Launch days are bumpy rides. At least I think they are. If you were to ask me what I remember about the Burning Crusade launch I’d tell the moment of awe I had stepping through the Dark Portal and seeing Hellfire Peninsula for the first time. My launch day memory of Wrath of the Lich King was taking the boat from Menethil Harbor to Howling Fjord and being amazed at how beautiful the zone was, and how happy I was that I chose to start there instead of Borean Tundra.
Cataclysm? It was the neat phasing they did on the Stormwind docks so that the boat to Vash’jir was on the same platform as the boat to Northrend. I remember really enjoying the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea theme for that zone as well. I know many people did not like the underwater experience, but loved it.
For Mists of Pandaria I remember how cool it was to be thrust right into the action and into the story. Ok, I do remember the helicopters being laggy as Hell, but you get my point.
At the end of the day, I tend to forget the imperfections, and the frustrations, and I remember the excitement of embarking on a new journey that every expansion brings.
It doesn’t hurt that I play on a medium population realm either. Here’s how my Thursday went.
My plan was to get up at 5:00 am and play for couple of hours before heading to work. I did indeed wake up at 5:00 am. Despite my lightning reflexes in slamming the alarm off after only one beep, I promptly fell back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 6:00 am. Instead of two hours, I got one hour of game time, but it was a good hour.
I worked my way through the Tanaan Jungle, which I had done many times in beta. This time was different. For one it was the real deal, and two it was much more polished than any other time that I’d run it. It also wasn’t very crowded for me either.
I had time to the do the introductory quests in Shadowmoon Valley and establish my Garrison and build the barracks. I ended after accepting a quest to get my first follower. I didn’t return to the game until 9:00 pm that night.
I played for three hours that evening and got to level 92. I saw that some people in my guild were as high as 97, and some of my other friends were closing in on level 100. I’m not in that big a rush, and will probably get there early next week. I’m writing this on the road and won’t be able to play again until late Sunday evening.
I didn’t just quest, I spent a fair bit of time setting up my Garrison. I’d return to send followers on missions. My Town Hall is level two, and I’ve got my Engineering and Tannery buildings setup, and I also built the Inn, and cleared out the mine.
Oh, and I showed the Shadowmoon Clan what it means challenge to Command Darkbrew on his home turf. I’m sure they’ll invade again, but they won’t soon forget the lickin’ they got.
I’m enjoying the Garrison much more that I thought I would. I both love and hate that there are tough decisions to make regarding which buildings to choose. The small buildings were no-brainers, and I plan to the add the Salvage Yard as my third small.
For medium buildings I’m having a hard time choosing between the Inn, Trading Post and Barn. I’ve settled on the Inn for now, and I’m leaning towards the Barn, but there’s a lot to like about the Trading Post.
For large buildings I’m contemplating the Dwarven Bunker, Barracks, and Stables. The Barracks came for free, so that’s what’s standing right now. It’s a useful building for establishing your followers. I think in the end I’ll be happier with the Bunker and Stables, so I may just tear down the Barracks when I get back.
Yesterday was fun. A lot of fun. I had one DC that kept me out of game for about 20 minutes, and I had a small 10 minute queue early last night. Other than that it was a smooth experience for me, and I’m sure that when this expansion is over all I’ll’remember is the beauty of Shadowmoon Valley, being called Commander Darkbrew for the first time, and scratching a certain spirit wolf behind the ear.
I hope you had good launch too.