Category Archives: Joy the Nerfed Hunter

The Auschwitz of Azeroth

I wanted Joy go to Hillsbrad Foothills for one reason only. I wanted to know what was up with the Sludge Fields and I knew this could only be done by someone of the Horde faction.

I’ve marked the place that I would call an Azerothian Auschwitz on the map below.

I had passed by this point a few months earlier on my draenei shaman and what I saw truly freaked me out. I’m sure we all remember this place as a Horde quest area in the old world, but the town, a human settlement previously known as Hillbrad Fields, has now been turned into an internment camp for the captured human prisoners.

It’s not just that, it’s also a horrific experimental lab for … I don’t know – judge for yourself.

The journal of Clerk Horrace Whitesteed, a prisoner of war held at this camp, can be read here and it gives a chilling picture of what happened to this place. I’ve included some of the passages below:

Whitesteed before Hillsbrad Fields was taken over

Day 20
The Hillsbrad Fields are no more. Those that did not flee were captured. The Forsaken have declared us as prisoners of war. We are to be laborers at their new plantation.

Day 25
They incinerated our farms and made us watch. Construction begins tomorrow.

Day 40
Construction of their plantation is nearly complete. This place resembles no farm or plantation that I’ve ever seen.

Day 45
We’ve started laboring in the sludge fields. They grow poisonous mushrooms in fetid water and muck.

Day 50
I hear screams coming from the Warden’s manor. People are starting to disappear.

Day 52
I overheard that some guards talking about the farmers, Ray, Getz and Kalaba. Something terrible has happened to them – of this I am certain.

Day 60
Those of us that remain are scared for our lives. Some of the farmers claim to have seen ghouls running amok at night.

I wrote my article on what I thought were the 10 most creepy things in WoW before Cataclysm was released. Had I written it today, I would have put this place at the same level of creepyness as Thaddius or even Karazhan Crypt. If the Crypt didn’t have the Upside Downs Sinners, which admittedly is the main reason the crypt is so nightmarish, this place could easily have topped it.

Speaking of Upside Down Sinners, the Sludge Fields did in fact have one more sample for the horror hungering: hanging corpses of the same model as the ones in Karazhan Crypt.

Poor Joy, she didn’t enJoy this place although it had moments of sillyness too. What she did like was the opportunity to “do the right thing”.

The quest is given by a shovel – the shovel of mercy. Notice how save is wrapped in inverted commas … fishy. It turns out this quest can be solved in two different ways.

Use the shovel to smash in the human seedling’s heads.
OR
[Right Click] the human seedlings to free them from the dirt.
Do the right thing.

Aha! Interresting. How often do you as a Horde figure get to act on your own accord and not as a tool of the Horde war machine? (this goes for Alliance too) When I made Joy I imagined she was barely loyal to the Horde, rather she’d go her own way, but of course this is not something I often got the chance to see relfected in her questing, except now.

I didn’t know about this choice when I completed the quest, but I’m happy that Joy at the time saved the human seedlings instead of “saving” them and so Joy did do the right thing, at least what was right for her.

I want to be a part of the WoW Ironman Challenge too!

This is what I found when I googled "Ironman Challenge". Look at that proud man standing at the foot of this monstrosity of a bouncy castle.

Joy was created before I read about The WoW Ironman Challenge. She was heavily inspired by Thriftee, but I never made a guideline for myself on how I wanted to level her. I’m pretty close to the Ironman Challenge rule set, primarily on the points of exclusively using crappy gear, not using xp enhancers and avoid grouping/LFD.

Joy’s only role was to be a fun character to play – whatever it took. She’s currently lvl 32 and I felt she was leveling too quickly, so I’ve paused her xp gain for a while. I was originally considering going for the Loremaster achievement, completing the zones while at the right level bracket, but now I have a new plan!

I want to be a part of the WoW Ironman Challenge too!

I don’t feel like I can revert Joy to fit the rules, she already broke them and starting her over is not a very appealing choice either. I’ve therefore decided to make a new character who will follow the rules strictly, a character who is less of a hippie than Joy is, in fact yuppie is probably a better description of him. When I say “him”, it’s because playing a male character is also part of the challenge for me. For unknown reasons, I’m less likely to gender-bend my characters (in any game), probably because I tend to identify quite heavily. As a personal test, I will see how I feel about playing a dude.

This will also meet my need to level slower as I can level two characters at once and more importantly, I get to cover more quest zones and both factions. It means I can now safely take Joy’s xp block away and won’t have to worry about her blasting through content, I have a second character to cover what I want to see now.

I’m not a fast leveler, never have been, so I’m not playing along as a race, this also means my updates on Joy and dude will not tick in like daily news, especially because I will be dividing my time between the two.

I have some future updates on Joy waiting, including laying out her rule set. I will also be introducing the dude soon, the at-the-moment-anonymous character I will be playing the real Ironman way.

And I thought I was being Pranked!

Yesterday I received a suspicious whisper on my hunter named Joy:

“Joy!”

“The Tribe has found you at last”

I didn’t know this person, so the first thing that popped into my mind was that someone was pranking me. It didn’t make it less suspicious that the name of this person’s guild was “Joy Tribe” and they were only two levels above me. That was a lot of coincidences, so many that I couldn’t make sense of it. Who were these people and why were they setting all this up, or was all of this just a really obscure chance of events?

I was then invited to a group with a few of them and asked where I had been and that the Tribe had been missing me. Still being utterly confused with my mind racing trying to figure it out, I started to wonder if it was someone who had read my blog who was now teasing me, or one of my study mates.

This person (I’m calling them V here*), who was being really nice, proceeded to ask me if I wanted “to return home“.

And I accepted… I don’t know why, I guess I was just too damn curious, so I went with the flow of the situation, this despite my plans for Joy isn’t raiding nor anything big, but rather relaxation and random unobligated playtime.

But now I was a member of Joy Tribe and was even promised a special rank, as I was “the essense of the guild“. It felt like being caught around a flash mob, your ability to read the situation is challenged for a while, as you slowly start to realize that everything was a set-up, actors in a real time Truman Show.

So was this a set-up?

When I joined the guild, V enthusiastically told me about the other members and we joked around a little. He then stated that this was just a small social guild with a “predilection for exploring dungeons in a joyful manner” and that they were very selective with picking their members. He had himself tried to make a character named Joy, only to find out it was unavailable (cause lucky me took it!). He didn’t say it, but I assume this made him curious to whom Joy was, put the name on his friendslist and then whispered me when I came online.

Here's my first meeting with the guild master "F".

I’m both thrilled and in doubt. See, Joy was meant to be a solo character, a character for me alone, where I can just log on and off without any consideration, no hi’s and bye’s – just me, Joy and Azeroth. I’m not shy of guilds and do in fact enjoy membership, but guilds don’t have a “show as offline” button or any way to seamlessly be invisible without a neon DND (“do not disturb”). Sometimes it’s nice to play WoW not as a social game, but as a solo game.

My old main, a night elf shadowpriest, was initially conceived as a secret character. I played low-level Warsong Gulch with her without any of my online friends knowing, later I brought her out into the open. Secret characters don’t have to be secret forever. Joy is not secret per se, but it does put me in a dilemma.

What’s worse is that the dilemma is double edged. With so few members in this guild, it’s likely that I can easily continue my solo adventure without too much guild chat attention, and maybe this is the kind of guild I should stay in, just because they seem like really nice people, basically the kind of guild you’d never find your way to, unless they approached you. BUT! I have consciously avoided all types of level enhancers, all heirlooms. This guild is still level 1, but the level 2 perk is “Fast Track”, that’s 5% extra xp, a boost I very much want to avoid.

So on one hand the solo issue might solve itself. When the guild hits level 2, I could leave it. On the other hand, is this an adventure I should explore more, see what fun opportunities come out it? It was a curious and entertaining beginning, the kind of beginning that predicts well for the future perhaps?



* As I don’t have a permission from them to use what is actually a private conversation, including guild chat, which is also a sort of closed venue, I’m blanking names out. Even though the content is not harmful in any way, I’m doing it out of principle.

Self-Nerfing for the Sake of Joy

What do you do when the challenge is gone and everything is too easy?

That’s how leveling feels right now, and even though I’m playing a hunter, a class that I’ve struggled with in the past, killing mobs can be done by pressing a few buttons – random buttons that is. I hadn’t been playing my hunter Joy for a while, and now when I turned back to her, she couldn’t live up to her name.

It wasn’t because of the hunter class, in fact she could have been any class as it is right now, things drop by the evil glance of my kitty. Joy’s pet Froy can easily solo anything, actually I think Froy would be able to carry Joy, given she was lazy enough and didn’t want any loot.

I also accumulate experience too fast. I’ve purchased one heirloom, the dagger “Balanced Heartseeker”, but nothing increases my xp gain, as I didn’t want to be level 85 in a week. I want to finish off a zone before going to the next one, I want the whole story of the place and I want to see all the quest-lines. I have just been in in Azshara and I outleveled and outgeared the zone completely when I left. Where’s my challenge?

Yesterday I aquired my first chestpiece of rare quality (blue) “YEE….eesss…. meh”. Under normal circumstances I would have been thrilled, equipped the gear and headed out to enjoy the increase in dps and survivability. Times are different now, random buttons kill mobs, I’m overpowered in my quest-greens and this way I will never learn how to play a hunter.

What do I do?

Then I thought about Thriftee, the brave and self-reliant hunter, who never spent a dime while leveling, who never bought skills, nor gear, and never took a flightpath.  Thriftee had himself and Bear to count on and he would have to make it work as well as he could (and he did). So I thought “here’s my answer, I need to nerf myself!”, so I spent some time finding some suitably crappy, but neat gear that would lower my stats and keep me on my toes. It won’t be a challenge similar to Thriftee’s, I’m allowing myself full freedom to twink her in the future, if that’s what I want. Joy’s challenge is simply for me to have a good time, that’s all.

So the rule is, I can upgrade my neck, trinkets and rings. I’m sticking with my heirloom dagger, and I am allowed to upgrade the offhand as well. The rest has to stay the same. I chose the Tattered set, which is common quality (white) cloth clothing with no stats and around 9-21 armor – OH YEAH!

Joy's nerf gear - bad but good looking. Am I being admired from the back there?

I’m wearing:

Chest: Tattered Cloth Vest
Shirt:  White Linen Shirt
Wrists: Tattered Cloth Bracers
Hands: Tattered Cloth Gloves
Waist: Mortar-Slinger Belt (low-level quest reward, I liked the look of it)
Legs: Simple Linen Pants
Feet: Tattered Cloth Boots

A Hunting Bow for a hunter... that'll do!

The bow I’ve stuck with so far, is the “Hunting Bow”. It’s pretty crappy, and depending on how hard it will be later on, I will replace it. However, right now it’s not an issue.

I’m unsure about my cloak, I’m still waiting for a good looking one to come along, one that will match my set, so right now I’m just wearing a low-level quest reward.

OMG I HAVE AN ITEM NAMED AFTER ME!

I also have this cloak, and even though it has a much suitable name, I’m not happy with it’s blue and gritty looks, it’s ugly! What a shame.

I’m not sure about the headpiece either. I’m unlikely to have it displayed, so I’ll probably upgrade that itemslot too.

For the sake of Joy

Some would probably shake their heads in disbelief – “what is she doing?”. I’m still waiting for someone to whisper me that my vendor bought cloth set, is not a very good choice, or perhaps I will just become a notorious huntard on my server without ever knowing.

The thing is, there are different ways of playing the game: some play it to win, to figure out how to be the most efficient and then execute it perfectly, to be top-notch. Others play it with a more process-oriented mindset, it’s not about the result, it’s about the journey. Sometimes we switch between them depending on what plans we have for our character. I don’t really care about gaining levels on this character, it’s the travel, the experiences along the way. Joy is all about the joy, not the speed nor efficiency, I would have named her that then!

The One Class that Attracts Me which I Don’t Play

There’s a class that both scares and fascinates me.

Hunters…

It’s the one class that attracts me but that I don’t play. Night elven hunters are so graceful and the added customization with pets, picking one and naming it, really appeals to me.

But I don’t play a hunter, I’ve tried twice.

First time was back in Vanilla, I used to play a lot of low level PvP and hunters are strong comparatively at the lower level ranges, especially with kiting. Being a rogue, I was well off myself, but the hunters just looked and were so superior and I was sold.

Having three female night elves was a little much, so I went Horde side and created a troll hunter. I did a poor job leveling her and an even worse job playing her well. The whole pet thing, it was so confusing, so much multitasking! I think I was even optimistic enough to bring her into a battleground and of course, I couldn’t kite nor kill anything, so I gave up on her eventually.

Second time was during Wrath of the Lich King. I wanted a good stable Horde character and so made a blood elf hunter this time and started leveling her. This time I didn’t bring her into any battlegrounds, and good choice, I still sucked. I found the whole preparation part clumsy, marking sending in the pet first etc. Playing other characters seemed so straight forward compared to my hunter. She didn’t survive for long, may she rest in peace.

Now here during Cataclysm, I’m on my third try. I found goblins to be adorable, so when I was making the decision about the class, I took the hunter class back up again, maybe I can make it work this time.

You’d think that the older WoW gets, the more unlikely it is to get a good name, but yet sometimes you can be really lucky. Finding a good name is important to me, you’re stuck with it forever, of course unless you want to pay for a namechange, but might as well get it right the first time. I usually go for names that are not conventional western names, they are usually taken anyways, but when I typed in “Joy” almost as a joke, I couldn’t believe my eyes when it actually went through. Total jackpot in my world!

Joy is a real circus artist

Of course it didn’t take long until I was back trying to make the hassle of pets easier by finding good macros as early as level 20! Hunters really are hard work!

Because of my history of complications with hunters, I have a natural admiration and respect for hunter players, I wish I could be that cool. With a promising and optimistic name I’m off to make this lucky third time count.