But what good is all that when there are ADVENTURES IN THE WARRING WORLD OF WARCRAFT THAT IS CRAFTING WAR? Thanks to a whole bunch of new free time opening up, we hit up the ol' WoW bottle and installed the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. A few new Postcards from Azeroth have shown up in the filter (and if you're not on the "Spatch Plays MMORPGs To Have Fun His Way" filter but want to be, just ask) but this one is an epic tale of one troll's victory over the evil forces of the Alliance. And choo-choo noises.
THE GREAT ONE-TROLL NAKED INVASION OF 2009
It all started when Hoenikker the level 72 troll hunter found himself wandering around the south Eastern Kingdoms. It is very important to note that this name means "the southern part of the Eastern Kingdoms" and not "The South East Kingdoms" or anything like that. It is also important to note that some dingus thought it'd be a great idea to name an entire continent "The Eastern Kingdoms" which is one of the stupidest names I have ever heard for a continent. I have tried to petition Blizzard to rename it to "Spatchylvania" but they will have none of it. It is most important to note that many GMs don't have a sense of humor. I am not supposed to open support tickets for frivolous things any more.
Many changes have occurred to the Amazing Lands of Azeroth since last we trod its pixelated, uh, shores oh I don't know it's late goddammit. For one, World of Warcraft has instituted an Achievement rewards system, much like Xbox Achievements or PS3 Trophies. If you do enough stupid things, such as eating 25 different kinds of food or using the /love emote on enough small critters such as squirrels or rats, you gain an Achievement. Each Achievement is worth an arbitrary number of points. You cannot do anything with these points other than brag to your friends and neighbors just how awesome you are. The drive to accomplish that which the game has given you is one that is strong within MMORPG players, and it is this appeal that drives continued subscriptions. So it's a very wise and cunning decision for Blizzard to recognize the players who have gone above and beyond the call of poopsocking and reward them with a little Achievement tick in their Achievement ticky box collection.
One of the ways you can earn Achievements is by exploring every last inch of every last game zone. This appeals to those of us who love to put their character on a little horsie or birdie or wolfie and then roam the game world. Tonight I brought Hoenikker out to explore the Eastern Kingdoms lands and catch any areas he hadn't "discovered" before.
And it was in Elwynn Forest where Hoenikker realized he was being followed by the Alliance capital city of Stormwind. Oh, it's dangerous to go in there if you're Horde! They've got guards who'll kill you and everything!
But there's an Achievement lurking within. One of the other ways you can earn Achievements is to complete the game's instanced dungeons, such as the Deadmines or Wailing Caverns or Joe's Bar & Grill. Most of these dungeons are accessible in the open game world, but both the Alliance and the Horde have one dungeon lurking within their capital city. The Horde has Ragefire Chasm, a low-level dungeon for those just learning how to play nicely together in Orgrimmar. The Alliance has the low-level Stockades in Stormwind, where (if you follow the storylines as you play along) they've thrown some pretty nasty customers. Well, nasty if you're under level 30, anyway.
And what do you know, but your To-Do List for achievements tells you to kill bosses in both those in-city dungeons! Hoenikker had easily taken care of the bad guy in Ragefire Chasm back when he was a wee baby troll (the game apparently kept track of all your dungeon kills, thankfully, and gave you retroactive Achievement points for even the ones you did a long long long time ago) but he'd never ventured into the land of the Stupid Humans and Dumb Dwarves in order to have a go at the Stockade. But now at level 72, it seemed perfectly fine to go and run into the city, defying any and all guards and players which may come his way, and have some fun in this dungeon which he could quite easily solo.
That he would die once, twice, perhaps even several times on his way to the Stockades was a given. When you head into a enemy city, you're immediately flagged for PvP, which means any opposing players can take potshots at you as you run by. High-level guards will also appear from out of thin air and cut you down as well. This means the strategy used this evening would take the form of Corpse Jumping -- that is, once you die, run back into the city as an invisible ghost, and resurrect yourself as close to your target as possible (you can resurrect yourself anywhere within a certain radius of where your dead floppy corpse hits the ground, so by getting closer and closer to your goal with each death, you're effectively conducting Trench Warfare behind enemy lines only you're not digging so much.)
In order to reduce wear and tear on his items, Hoenikker decided to invade Stormwind au naturel. That way, every time we die, our regular gear wouldn't take a durability hit. This is a very common thing to do when you know you're making a suicide run just to get somewhere and fighting back won't be an option. It also makes you look ludicrous.
Other precautions were taken as well: The extra dodging may let him run just a little longer before being cut down entirely.
And getting on a fast mount will make the initial sprint into the city a little bit easier. When engaging in this kind of stupidity you'll probably only get a chance to use a mount once and that's on your first charge in. You won't have time to re-summon a horsie every time you bring yourself back to life while corpse jumping. And as Hoenikker has clearly discovered, it's damn uncomfortable to boot.
We also make a Very Special Macro and attach it to an action button. /train makes your character, well, holler choo-choo train sounds and wave their arms around like an idiot. I figure if I'm going to be running naked into a city full of hostiles, I might as well holler CHOO CHOOOOOOOOO CHUGGA CHUGGA CHUGGA CHUGGA CHOO CHOOOOOOOOO while I'm at it. It just makes things more fun.
And fun it is! We charge headlong into Stormwind on wolfback, whaling the heck out of the /train hotkey like it owes us money, and we get as far as the inside gate before we're cut down by about 7 guards in hot pursuit. I maintain I could have gotten farther on my first shot, but the computer suddenly realized OH HEY I'VE LIKE A ZILLION NEW TEXTURES TO LOAD and the resulting lag caused the guards to catch up with me and there you have it. But not before Hoenikker's enthusiastic CHOO CHOOOOOOOOOOs had attracted some new friends.
We wake up at the spirit healer and have to run back into the city as a ghost. While a ghost, as you can see, you can't CHOO CHOOOOOOO. This is a complete and utter travesty, but unfortunately I am unable to complain to Blizzard about this without probably being told to stop it once more.
In order to ensure that city invasions aren't too easy, the graveyard I've found myself in is on the opposite side of the Elwynn Forest map as the city of Stormwind. I had not counted on this. It makes running back to the city every time I die a little boring.
I forgot to take a screenshot of my second death, but once I'd made it to my first corpse and come back to life, I was able to round the corner and run pell-mell right into the place where a lot of players like to hang out when they're hanging out in Stormwind trading Chuck Norris jokes. Still, I took great pride in knowing that the killing blow was handed to me by an NPC guard and not a player.
Death #3 came about after I'd crossed the canal and could see the Stockades up in the distance. There's the keep. I'm homeward bound! After I run alllllllll the way back from the other side of Elwynn, at least.
Upon arriving back in Stormwind, we notice one enterprising enemy player camping the corpse. He's waiting all patient-like for me to resurrect again, at which point he'll take advantage of the fact that a player resurrects with half their hit points and mana. The fact that he's 8 levels above me doesn't enter into it; he don't care none. This is because he is Sincerely Stupid and would most likely love the chance to Totally Pwn a lower-level player with half their regular hp and mana. He'd be so proud of his awesomeness that he'd burst! He'd be the cleverest boy in all of Cleverland!
NOT TODAY, PAL!
What he fails to realize is that I'm heading for the Stockades, which is to the right of our view. When I resurrect, I'll be behind him and to his left. He won't see me pop up until it's too late and I'm happily CHOO CHOOING well on my way! SUCKER! CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR IMMENSELY SUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO CORPSE CAMP OL' HOENIKKER!
The two guards who stand watch at the doorway to the keep, however, are more than happy to kill me once they see me.
At least I can proudly say, once more, that it was the computer game what done me in, and not someone with a name like "Artourious". I barely make it inside the keep and am within tantalizing reach of the zone-in door to the Stockades.
There is the door! It's a big swirly thing that's not really much of a door, but it's the way to get in to the Stockades. And once I enter, I'm in an instanced zone that I'll have all to myself. Nobody can chase after me there, and I'll be safe as a bug. We'll just happily jump over the seated Alliance player and in we go.
We made it! Yay!
Oh, wait, that's just incredibly disturbing. Let's try that again.
Here is our own Family Circus map detailing the route
And what's inside the Stockades, you ask? I'm glad I pretended you did! For there are many fine sights, such as:
Very Disturbing Dwarven Iron Maidens!
Awesome prison loot! I'll never need to use such a low-level item, but you can bet I'll keep it in my bank and treasure it forever.
And the moment we've all been waiting for: Bazil Thredd goes down like a sack of lumpy potatoes, and we get TEN WHOLE ACHIEVEMENT POINTS. Oh frabjous day! Truly this is the most wonderful adventure ever! Let us remember the 19th of January as the momentous day it was.
Amazingly, this took under a half hour, ghost-running included. But the memories will last a lifetime.
Dare we leave the Stockades the way we came in and run the gauntlet of guards and corpse camping players again?
Hell, no. We're hearthing the hell out of there, full in the knowledge that we PUSHED ADVENTURE TO THE VERY LIMITS OF EXCITEMENT and got away with it.
Next time: We encounter wandering chickens and go BOCK BOCK at them a lot.