WoW continues to be my computer game of choice, with total hours spent compared to other commercial games running at about a ratio of 100:1 or so. Really. I rarely play anything else, although I did have spate of playing Quake 4 a few months ago. I even tried out Spore and got bored pretty fast, and I never got past The Sims 1 and have no interest in trying out the later versions. I did try a few PC games when I got the Mac Pro and installed a separate hard drive just to run XP, but I found Age of Conan to be bland and uninteresting after the first 20 levels and City of Heroes simply never captured my interest either. I think that you need to really enjoy playing a particular character to get very far with one in an MMO, and I was very fortunate to have made a good choice with both of my mains, a gnomish rogue HVAC engineer and a Tauren feral druidess leatherworker.
I should note that while I do pick up console games to some degree, it's rare that they keep my attention. It's no surprise that I own about 1/2 the titles for the Wii that I did for the Gamecube, mostly because it's been so difficult for Wii developers to come up with a system that works well with the Wiimote. Given that they needed a better motion sensor, as evidenced by the new Resort Sports game, that's no surprise. I'm hopeful that new development will ensue now that there's something useful in place. My point being that aside from a few console games that capture my attention (Metroid, Lego Indy) there's nothing I play regularly. Except WoW.
It's been a few months since I've played my Tauren druid, although she's clearly my second favorite character. At first, my motivation was to play a few zones in Northrend with each of my toons, then switch over, but it became clear after the two entry zones that while there is some differentiation, at the same time the 72+ level progression is pretty similar in both factions. As such, I decided to just run to level 80 with my original toon, Leonadril, which I accomplished a couple of months back. I was also pretty involved with trying to complete the quest achievements in each zone, although I seemed to run into trouble with finishing both the Troll Ruins area (all those Zul'Blahblah names sound alike to me) as well as Icecrown, which requires a lot of grouping which I don't seem to do much of. I did manage to get my Explorer title from going pretty much everywhere in the world, though!
Leonadril was an excellent choice for me for a lot of reasons. Being a rogue meant I could slip in and out of a lot of places without a lot of muss and fuss, good for both finishing quests and also being able to grab ore. It also meant I could take on two or three equally leveled mobs through sapping and blinding, so a lot of things were soloable for me that might not have been for other characters. Choosing an engineer was the best choice, though, as I love the crazy gnomish stuff I get to build. At this point, my mount of choice is my Turbo-charged Flying Machine and my Mechanostrider, both of which I've posted screenshots of on this blog. Now, though, the cool thing to build is the Mechanohog (or whatever the Alliance calls it), a motorcycle that allows you to bring a rider along in the sidecar.
Unfortunately, getting a mechanohog is a bit of a trick. First, you need to become Exalted status with the Alliance Vanguard, an amalgam of four different groups in Northrend. One of these wasn't hard because they involve so many quests, but the other three are more difficult. The Frostborn have only one daily you can do, and it's kind of worthless unless you're in Storm Peaks. The only real choice I had was to take part in the Argent Tournament, where you get to joust and have a lot of options to go through various Champion levels for the different races. Once you get Champion status with one race, you can more or less double up the daily quests to some degree by going for Champion status with the next. The jousting itself is interesting to a point, but fortunately gets a lot easier once you figure out how the AI works. I managed to get to Exalted status with the Vanguard after gaining champion status with three of the five races, and am about halfway to finishing up with the Night Elves. As a bonus, I've gotten Exalted status with those races too, which allows purchasing mounts from them. If, of course, I wanted something that wasn't mechanically oriented.
So now I've got the status and can buy the plans and parts. And hooray! they only cost about 12,500 gold. After all of this grinding, I'm only at about 6000 gp, so I've got some distance to go. Fortunately, I can now spend time doing other quests than the ones for the Argent Tournament, which while I can burn through in about an hour going solo (30 minutes if I group), it does get a little old after a while. I went through the same grind with Consortium Rep back when I wanted to get my flying machine, so I guess it's not such a big deal. Something to look forward to, I guess.
As I'm typing, the 3.2 patch is out, which includes some new content and a lot of changes to the pricing and level acquisition of mounts. Apparently you can now get a mount at level 20, when back in the day I was able to get one at level 40 (and couldn't afford the training until level 48). While the relative cost for that level is about the same, I can't stress how nice it would have been to have had that extra 1000 gold lying around at level 40 and forward. At this point, you can dual-spec your talents for that much, something I haven't done.
As for my guild, they're a nice enough bunch, but I haven't done much grouping or instancing with them. They usually want to run off and run Naxx at Heroic level, something I'm not quite specced to do just yet (although one nice side effect of the Tournament has been to get some nice Blue gear, particularly much more effective daggers). I may make a point of looking for PUGs to do the handful of group quests that I need to get over the top for my Icecrown and Zul'Whatever quests (about 8 in each zone to get the achievement). I'll probably also look into what other factions it would be smart to gain rep in for extra trade potential.
I think I'm also pretty close to putting down Leonadril for a few months to get Amahiah up to level 80. She's currently right at the end of the Grizzly Hills quests, so it's time for TrollLand and Storm Peaks. There's a lot of opportunity for skinning in Storm Peaks with all of those Ice Rhinos dying near that big pit thats the endgame area for one of the big quest lines in that region, and that's always handy. On the plus side, a well-played feral druid can take on quite a bit more than a solo assassin rogue, and it will be nice to see these zones from the Horde side.
The updater is telling me that I'm ready to go explore 3.2 now, so off I go.
How long until we get another major update? ;-)