Lord of the Clans By Christie Golden

Christie Golden needs no introduction.  She has written tons of books for major fantasy franchises.  I reckon she is one of Blizzard’s favorites.  I may not be agreeable to her writing style, especially her over reliance of the word ‘had’ (who am I to comment about English grammar anyway, though this habit of hers has been highlighted by other online reviewers as well).  But every book of her so far managed to move me to tears.  If you need someone to thoroughly develop a character and to strike the emotional core of the readers, Christie Golden is the one you shall look for.

Lord of the Clan, in summary, is a story of Thrall.  It is the second book from the Warcraft: Archive series.  The demonic power that corrupted the orcs seems to have receded, leaving the blood eyed orcs docile, incapable to return to their former glory.  For most orcs, their way of life is lost.  The warlocks’ abuse of demonic power has driven the shamanic spirit away.  In this era, orcs who were previously addicted to the demonic power are now willingly imprisoned by the human.  The war is lost.  It is a dark day for the orcs.

Infant orc Thrall, son of Frostwolf Clan’s Chieftain, is left in the wild when his parents are brutally assassinated by their fellow Horde.  During a hunting trip, Thrall is found by a human called Lord Blackmoore who is in command of the encampments where orcs are imprisoned.  Instead of killing the orc baby, Blackmoore has decided to enslave Thrall and train him as a gladiator for his personal gain.  He commands his people to teach Thrall how to read and to fight.  He wants Thrall to learn the human language and master the war strategies.  Life as a gladiator is never easy.  However, Thrall is also blessed with a few friends.  One of them is a human girl called Taretha, who treats Thrall as her little brother.

However comfortable life seems to be as a slave, Thrall’s true destiny is not to be a gladiator.  He must join force with Grom Hellscream of the Warsong Clan.  He must unit with the Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer.  Together, the New Horde must rise.

Lord of the Clan is the first book that is written from the Horde’s perspective.  While the Old Horde that fell under the demonic influence is traditionally viewed as villain and the Alliance is seen as hero, with the rise of the New Horde, the line is no longer black and white.  Orcs can be honorable.  Orcs can be merciful.  And human can also be corrupted by political power too.

Thrall has become a center figure in recent lore development.  Lord of the Clans has shed much insight onto Thrall’s childhood and adulthood.  With Thrall’s unique background – born as an orc and taught by the human – it is no doubt he is where he is today.  The question to all whom indulge in the World of Warcraft is: after Cataclysm and at the end of Mists of Pandaria, will Thrall return as Horde’s Warchief?

Day of the Dragon By Richard A. Knaak

Richard Knaak is one of the few resident Warcraft series writers.  His storytelling style is visibly different from others, more so towards the traditional fantasy genre.  Written in 2001, Day of the Dragon is considered as the first book of the Warcraft series.  It is also the first book of the Warcraft: Archive four-book series.  Warcraft is a fantasy universe I am fond of, dearly.  Hence, I read Day of the Dragon with a high anticipation over my holiday in Bandung, devouring every bit of the lore within.

For those who are familiar with the recent lore development, reading Day of the Dragon is real treat.  Never have we been so close to some of the key figures in recent days.  Imagine reading Deathwing in human form, the Old Horde corrupted by demonic power, and the general mistrust of the use of magic – just to name a few.

Back to the era whereby the day of the dragon has passed, dragonqueen Alexstrasza – one of the five great Aspects of the dragon flights – is captured by the orcs from the Dragonmaw clan and is imprisoned within the caves of Khaz Modan.  Deeply weakened by an artifact called Demon Soul, she resigns to her fate of birthing red dragons only to be trained by the orcs to do evil deeds.

Her consort, Korialstrasz also known as Krasus in his human form, must find a way to free his beloved queen.  And it is no easy task.  Uniting the rest of the weakened dragon Aspects seems impossible.  Malygos has gone mad; Nozdormu is obsessed with collecting artifacts throughout the timeline; and Ysera is lost in her dream world.  Only Deathwing the Destroyer – the black dragon flight Aspect – is not weakened by the Demon Soul.  And he is plotting his sinister moves in bringing the world to an end (you could say again, but this event happens before Cataclysm).

Hope is now placed upon a human mage Rhonin from Kirin Tor of Dalaran.  Krasus sends Rhonin on an observatory mission to Khaz Modan escorted by an elvan ranger Vereesa Windrunner.  During their journey, they have recruited the help of the human paladins as well as the dwarves and their quest has changed.  But is it enough to face the adversities of the orcs, trolls, and goblins?  With the Horde losing ground and the Alliance gathering its forces under a mysterious character called Lord Prestor, how would this ultimate battle play out?

Day of the Dragon answers a lot of questions I used to have.  Locations and characters such as island kingdom of Tol Barad, Gemm Greymane, and Gilneas are not featured in World of Warcraft until 2011.  It appears to me that Day of the Dragon was well ahead of time.  Lore development these days are tightly coupled with the game development.  Deep inside, I am wishing that Blizzard would release new lore that will not be seen in the game till, say, a decade later.  This will give the fans something to look forward to, something beyond what we have anticipated today.

Diablo III – First 80 Hours

What a blast!  20 days into Diablo III and I have clocked in 80 played hours.  On top of that, Ihave finally defeated the ultimate evil for one of my five characters.  One down.  Four more characters to go.  And then onto the next difficulty level.

Note: Did you know the Diablo III runs in both PC and Mac platform?  Once you purchase a game key, you can download and install the game to either platform as many times as you wish.  Do check minimal system requirement though.  To purchase the game, click here to create an account and head to Blizzard Store.  If you are a Android or iPhone user, don’t forget to download the free  Battle.net Mobile Authenticator app (or you can purchase a physical one online at Blizzard Store).  Also, you may wish to turn on the SMS verification feature in your account management for extra security.

“You dare to judge me?!”

Games are certainly more fun played with friends.  In general, that is true – physical and virtual world alike.  So I have played with Cynthia mostly, when she is online.  Sanctuary seems less lonely that way, and less scary for sure.  She can go head-to-head with the mobs at the frontline while I, well, I heroically shoot the enemies from a safe distance.  Now you know who wear the pants at our home.  We have played with our real life friends too.  It is mindless zerging, destroying all things that move, all things that don’t.  It is an insane fun, in a therapeutic kind of way.  Though at times I wonder if we are holding our friends up by too obsessively exploring every corner of the map and smashing every jar we see (there is an achievement for 1,000 jars destroyed for the OCD ones, like me).  At times, we join the public games just to repeat some of the memorable boss fights.  Getting a random group is super fast compares to, say, World of Warcraft.  In that online game, we could end up waiting for up to half an hour or more for a group to be assembled.  In Diablo III, it is instant.  As our party size increases (up to four), so is the strength of our foes.  When one is leaving, no problem.  Our foes will scale down accordingly.  I like this dynamic aspect.  It keeps the encounters challenging and from the social interaction point of view, the more the merrier.  Almost always.

The game in Normal setting does not require 30 hours to beat, which we eventually did.  Typically, it can be done in 20 hours, or even less.  Cynthia and I are the thorough ones.  We enjoy opening up unexplored areas to hunt for treasure and face the seemingly formidable foes.  I take one step further that drives Cynthia nuts.  I listen to all the dialog, again and again.  My only complain with the public games is that most random players would choose to skip the cut scenes and dialog.  That is totally understandable.  But as for me, I am in for the full experience.  Discovering the little stories my in-game companions have to tell, pieces of lore, trivial dialog that keeps the game alive, and more.  To that end, I solo the contents as well.

Scoundrel (my rogue companion in-game when I have no one to group with): Sometimes I wish that when we’d met, you’d taken one look at me and fallen desperately in love.  But then I think of all the gold I’ve gotten with you.

Kasumi (my demon huntress): You know that that it won’t end that way, right?

Scoundrel: Right.

Upon completion of Normal difficulty setting, characters are typically around level 30.  After which, the entire game play can be repeated in a higher difficulty setting called Nightmare.  That boosts character level from 30 to 50.  To reach the level cap of 60, Hell difficulty awaits.  Beyond that is Inferno setting that is tailored for those who demand the ultimate challenge.  If you are seeking for a deeper thrill and a sense of purpose, Diablo III offers a Hardcore mode whereby all deaths are permanent.  That is pretty hardcore.  It is like play Tetris with one life and you want to see how far you can go before getting beaten.  My goal is to reach the level cap for all my 5 characters covering all 5 different classes.  Inferno is likely not my cup of tea.  If and when I reach there, I would love to take a holiday for a well deserved break.  Hawaii would be nice.  How many times must we save Heavens and Sanctuary?  As many times as we defend Azeroth from Deathwing I suppose.

“Cartoon-ish? Perhaps. But the level of detail is astonishing.”

Some asked me if this game is any good.  It is an incredibly easy game to pick up.  In the initial stage of the game, you can simply hack and slash your way using the two mouse buttons.  As you progress, you can use the four extended skills that are mapped to the numeric keys 1 to 4.  6 buttons are all you need to master this game.  You get to choose 6 active skills from a total of 22 at any time of your game play.  Each skill can be augmented with one of the 5 different runes (6 if you count the no rune option).  That in turn changes how the skill works.  On top of that, you get to pick 3 passive skills from an array of 15.  You can do the mathematics and work out the potential number of combinations.  It is rare to see two players picking up the same configuration.  Individual build shapes one’s play style.  Coupled that with the individual’s gear stats preference, there is much depth in Diablo III.  Now, while I cannot vouch for what happens in the Inferno setting, I am pretty sure that it is Blizzard’s interest to avoid cookie-cutting builds that make everyone alike.

If you are into or open to hack-and-slash role playing games, Diablo III is the benchmark.  The game play is fluid.  The artwork and soundtrack is beautiful.  Each time you level, you feel more powerful as more skill options are available at your disposal.  Within the virtual world of Diablo III, you are always gold hungry, loot hungry.  All items’ stats are randomly generated making it unlikely that two gears are identical.  Blizzard, unlike other developers, continues to improve the game based on community feedback.  Other developers more often than not de-prioritize the fixing of their games after they have taken your money.  Instead, their first priority is to build new DLC (downloadable contents) and new expansions.  Not Blizzard.

In this new era, no man is an island.  Collaboration and trading for mutual benefits trump working on your own.  You may hate the concept of the in-game Auction House that facilitates the trading of game items using either in-game currency or real currency.  But it is a good way to help each other in order to fasten the pace and overcome challenges.  Items that you no longer need can be offloaded into the Auction House so that someone else may find a use of it.  Or you may pick up an item from the Auction House that others do not need.  If you are not the type who spends real currency to acquire virtual items, you can stick with the in-game currency.  If you do, Blizzard provides a safe environment for real money trading to occur.  Is Blizzard charging too much as a middle man?  I do not have a benchmark for comparison.  Besides, I hope Blizzard can continue to make money somewhere so that the servers can be funded – free of charge for us folks – for many months or even years to come.

Any downside?  Sure.  It is called weekly scheduled maintenance that happens during our prime evening hours.  Something some of us have been bearing since the launch of World of Warcraft.  It is worse than Error 37 if you were to ask me.

To continue reading my adventure of 140 hours with the game, click here.

“You still haunt my sleep.”

Evil Is Back: Nine Things To Get You Ready For Diablo III

Update: You can start to install the digital download on May 14 11.01pm GMT+8 and the server live date is May 15 3.01pm GMT+8.

For some, this has been a wait more than a decade long.  It gets more excruciating as we approach May 15.  Diablo III is featured on our local paper today.  One couple has postponed their honeymoon to next year in anticipation of the game’s release.  That is some kind of commitment!  I am unsure if I would love Diablo III that much.  Not even sure if Cynthia who gets the game free thanks to WoW annual pass would enjoy playing this game with me.  I have faith in Blizzard.  They make good games.  And to my readers, here are nine things you should consider doing in getting yourself ready for this upcoming epic gaming journey.

1. Watch the Cinematic Trailer

Here is a little crash course for you.  Mortals have been using Soulstones to trap the three Prime Evils from Hell.  The bad guy you see in the video below is Azmodan, the Lord of Sin, who is also one of the four Lesser Evils.  According to Book of Cain (which I will cover later), the Lord of Sin is a clever manipulator who trades in vice and coruption.  He is passionate and plotting – both to very dangerous degrees.  He is by far the most charismatic and seductive of all the Evils.

Little has been revealed about Azmodan, yet it is hinted that he is looking for a promotion to be a Prime.  I suppose Diablo III may tell a deeper story on this Lesser Evil, who is by no means less evil.

2. Read Book of Cain

When I played Diablo II eons ago, I did not really get into the story.  In fact, I did not complete the game.  I have participated in the closed beta.  It was a pleasant experience, with voice acting and etc.  Still, I could not quite get the story.  What I missed was the lore.

To fully enjoy Diablo III, you have to read the lore.  There is one such book that fits the bill.  It is Diablo III: Book of Cain.  148 pages only, with tons of artistic illustrations.  The book tells the story of the beginning of time, before Heaven and Hell were created.  It is a book of mythology that defines the universe of Diablo.  In this realm, mortals as products of angels and demons are not powerless.  That’s why we get to trap the Evils inside the Soulstones in previous episodes.

Evil is back in this third episode.  Get acquainted with the lore today!

3. Pre-order the Game

Unlike Starcraft II, there will be no price difference between getting a local physical copy or downloading the game online via Battle.net.  Either way, after online registration, you will be able to download the game client to any machine – PC or Mac – in the future.  Getting a physical copy saves you the hassle of spending 6 to 12 hours downloading the game.  Getting a virtual copy saves the environment (sort of), with one less packaging, and you get to download the game client in this very moment.  The choice is yours.

Local copy of the game is marketed and distributed by Asiasoft here in Singapore.  For pre-order information and more, visit this link.

4. Attend the Launch Party

Like all Blizzard games, there will be a launch party at Funan DigitaLife Mall and it is held on May 15, 2012 from 9am to 9pm.  For those who have pre-ordered the game, you may collect it from 3pm onwards.  Marc Messenger, the lead developer of this game will be there.  There will be cosplays, hourly giveaways, and lucky draw.

I wonder if the local cosplays standard will be as close as Tasha and Miyuko who are featured in the official Diablo site (see picture below).  What do you think?

5. Create a Battle Tag

You will need a Battle Tag in order to play Diablo III.  It is a name that represent you in Battle.net.  So, choose wisely.  Since it may take time for you to dream of a handle, start dreaming now.

From my experience, a short Battle Tag is much desired.  You may wish to call yourself Iamawesome1337.  Unfortunately there is a space constraint in the game interface.  To others (and even to you), your portrait may show Iamawe… instead.  This may frustrate you.  Think of something short.  It doesn’t have to be unique.  Because Blizzard will tag a 4-digit random code behind your tag.

Diablo III is meant to be played with your friends online.  It is built that way.  Enemies scale up as more join the party.  So, start socializing with your friends and sharing your Battle Tag.  Mine is Lace#1115.  See you in the game!

To create a Battle Tag, you will need to first create a Battle.net account.  Head to http://battle.net for more information.

6. Pick a Class

At launch, there are five classes to choose from: barbarian, wizard, demon hunter, witch doctor, and monk.  You will need to pick one to start your journey.  The question is: Which one will you pick?

I have participated in the closed beta.  I enjoy all five classes.  With ten character slots and a shared stash for you to pass the items around, you are free to experiment what works for you.

Barbarian and monk are melee classes.  You get to face the enemies up close.  Barbarian is the traditional warrior class.  You jump into the battle faster than any other classes.  And you hack and slash your foes away, right to their faces.

Monk on the other hand is a nimble melee class.  You get to jump in and out of the scene and to think how to deal damage without taking too much of it.

Witch doctor, demon hunter, and wizard destroy enemies from a distance.  Witch doctor summon pets to assist you.  Damage over time is the key strategy.  Contrast to wizard, wizard deals direct damage.  Initially I thought wizard would be boring to play, but it is not.  As for demon hunter, first, know that this class does not come with a pet (somehow WoW players associate the word ‘hunter’ with pets).  Second, this class gets to carry two bows that do some really funky stuffs.  It is probably the most interesting class in this genre.

In short, pick your first based on your play style or even artistic preference.  However, I suspect you will get to play all eventually, in different difficulty settings.

Still need more inspiration on which class is for you?  Head to PC Gamer site and read how game developers may pick as their first.

Oh, when you first start the game, make sure you pick the correct geographical region.  You are allowed to switch between the three regions.  The game is not region locked like Starcraft II.  However, characters created in different regions are not connected.

7. Know Your Resources

This may sound obvious.  Official forum is the best place to get up-to-date information, contributed by the community as well as the developers.  There will be discussion and sharing on how to play your classes better.

Character profiles will be available for the tracking of your and your friends’ progress.  There is a skill calculator for those who enjoy fine tuning their characters’ abilities based on play style.  Have you ever wondered what Diablo III is?  The video below will have the answers for you.

8. Watch the Wrath Animation

For those who enjoy watching animation, this close to 7 minutes video clip depicting the conflict of High Heavens and Burning Hells is not to be missed.  It is created by Blizzard Entertainment teamed up with renowned director Peter Chung and acclaimed animation studio Titmouse.  This video does make more sense if you have read Book of Cain as recommended earlier.

9. What’s Your Excuse?

Come this May 15, you may find your colleagues disappear, your loved one disappear.  Try to think of the annual Great Singapore Sale, or the upcoming Euro Cup.  People do disappear for various reasons.  Be sympathetic.  Chances are, your friends are busy fighting demons in the Burning Hells.

If you are finding it hard to come up an excuse for your colleagues, or your loved ones, here is a fan-made website http://www.sorryformay15.com that may just do the job for you!

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Beta Test – First Impression

Hooray!  Blizzard has sent me a beta invite for the testing of their upcoming expansion Mists of Pandaria.  Not that it was a huge surprise, really.  Because I have signed up for their annual pass deal and I know, eventually I will get an invite.  Still, it is good to get a rather early invite as I have been a loyal subscriber since its 2004 launch (OK, my payment lapsed for a couple of months because my credit card has expired but they really should have follow-up).  One of the first 200,000 lucky ones, I am.

“Oh my, guess what I saw when I first logged into the beta test server.  So many pandas!  I think I am getting panda phobia!  Note: Each panda you see in this picture represents one online player.”

I enjoy beta testing.  The last one I did was for the upcoming Diablo III.  I get to see an evolving product, based on testers’ feedback.  That gives me more insight on Blizzard’s design strategy (like how they value UI friendliness in Diablo III looking at the tweaks they do).  If you do get a WoW beta invite, here are some friendly reminders to make your journey more rewarding:

  • Beta means that it is an unfinished product, although Blizzard does reveal beta at its finest quality.  You get to see its beauty at its rawer form.  But you also get to see some rough edges.
  • The server is going to lag like crazy, regardless of your network performance.  It could be frustrating.  Hey, look at the bright side.  How often do you get to see hundreds of online players crowded in one place?  Nightmare no doubt.  But you would cherish this insane moment looking back.

“So I created a female pandaren.  Character customization seems to give me 14 face options.  Unlike the male pandaren, there is no customization option for the female face shape.  Just different color patches. Is it because we are at the beta stage?”

Female Pandaren

I don’t think I would try out the 85-90 high level zones in this beta testing.  Because I want to save the experience for my 10 characters.  Moreover, I don’t want to be sick of it by the time Mists is released.  What I do not mind is to try out the new pandaren starting area a couple of times since at most, I would only experience it once when this expansion is live.

The new pandaren race – silly as some may say – is down right adorable, especially the female pandaren.  I must say though, the female race looks a bit plastic to me, almost like a robot in her god forbid cuteness.  Maybe just a matter of getting used to.  Also, I observe that not all customization features are opened as of now.  The male version’s face customization varies the shape of the face.  The female version seems to vary the color pattern only.  I am not sure if it will be the case for the live version.

You can have a black and white pandaren that looks more like a panda.  Or you can have an orange version that in Cynthia’s words, looks more like a fox.  Female orange pandaren comes with a big orange tail too.  Alternatively, if you wish, you could have a hybrid look.  Black and white face with an orange body and in the case of a female pandaren, a fat orange tail instead of a tiny stub.

Female pandaren, in my opinion, is a bit short and plump.  I think I may roll a male pandaren when the time comes to save me some money to do a sex change later.

“Stop humping that scroll you silly pandas!  How are we supposed to click it when there are so many pandas crowded at it?!  Note: The trick is to pan the camera as show and keep spamming right click on the top right corner of the scroll.  You will get it eventually.  Also, if too many pandas are standing on top of the quest giver, press SHIFT-V and interact with the NPC’s green name plate instead.”

New Monk Class

It has been a while since Blizzard releases a new class for World of Warcraft.  So I rolled a monk class.  This new class is quite possibly what I look forward to most when Mists is live.

Some online reviewers describe the new monk class plays like an arcade game, combo-like button meshing and all.  I was a bit weary when I first heard about.  After experienced 11 levels of playing a monk, it is not as dramatic.

True, there is no more auto attack.  It plays like a rogue and shares the same energy pool concept, except that the combo points are not with the enemy but upon the monk herself.  This new resource called Chi can be accumulated up to 4 points.  Chi does not dissipate over time, unless you log out.  Some abilities generate Chi while others consume it.  For example, at level 1, you can consume 40 energy, perform a Clobber, and whack your target with your weapon (in my case, a staff).  Clobber generates one Chi.  You can also consume a Chi and whack your target with your hand – Tiger Palm – while you regenerate energy.  Tiger Palm deals more damage when the target is above 50% health.  So common sense would tell you to whack your enemy with your palm at the beginning of the encounter.  Perhaps even unload your Tiger Palm at that early stage when you have excess Chi.

Once your enemy drops below 35%, you can perform a Blackout Kick that has a 3 second cool down.  Blackout Kick consumes 2 Chi and it refunds 1 Chi if the target is dead by your kick.  So in effect, it would consume 1 Chi if you kick properly.  The so-called combo move is really how you wish to optimize your abilities based on the target’s health.  You cannot spam Clobber because that consumes energy.  You cannot spam Tiger Palm because that consumes Chi.  And you cannot spam Blackout Kick because not only does it consume Chi, it has a cool down.  With a potential to specialize into tank, melee damage, and heal, the new monk class sounds interesting.

All you need to do is pray that you don’t lag.  Because there is no auto-attack to save you.

“The artwork of the new pandaren starting area is colorful and beautiful.”

The Pandaria Artwork and Quests

While I am not overly excited by the oriental theme (strange eh given my background?), the artwork is colorful and beautiful.  A lot of work must have poured into the new starting area.  The oriental music background sounds good too. Unlike the Cataclysm new races’ starting areas, in this upcoming expansion, Blizzard has minimized phasing technology so much so that it does not matter at which stage of the quest line you are at, you can always see your friends.

Truth be told, I am not against phasing technology.  The downside is that the world around you seems a lot emptier than it really is.  Players at a different stage of the quest don’t necessarily see each other’s presence.  Till today, I still think that the goblin’s starting area is the best, out of all.  Tight storytelling, full of colors and insane humor.  Questing in the new pandaren starting area appeared to be a bit bland, initially.

“OK, I need three carrots and three turnips.  Where shall I begin?”

The quests in pandaren staring area can generally be broken down into a few types.

  1. Help someone to kill some unpleasant enemies.
  2. Help someone to collect some useful items.
  3. Take someone to somewhere.
  4. Go somewhere with someone.
  5. Defeat a mini boss.

#1 and #2 often go hand-in-hand.  So in Mists, you can almost predict what your next quests are going to be.  To be honest, I yawned (staying up till wee hours trying to defeat server lag didn’t help).  But I got through them nonetheless.

“What is this creature following my panda?!”

Maybe I am getting too old for this expansion.  Mists seems to have a playful undertone to the entire setup, unlike the previous expansions.  You wake some creatures up.  Play with some creatures.  As a pandaren, you start off as a neutral race.  You get to interact with two pandaren NPCs that are supposed to help you decide if you wish to join the Horde or the Alliance at the end of your journey as an initiate.  Later in your starting area, you get to interact with traditional Horde and Alliance races as well.  I wish Blizzard could work more quests into this part of the journey, to give players a better sense of which fraction their way of life is to be.  As of now, it feels a bit too shallow.

In retrospect, I really enjoyed the blood elf and draenei starting areas.  The quests take you to around level 20 and reward you with some good blue quality items.  For pandaren starting area, provided that everything stays the same as beta, you will get to level 11, and wear a set of white inferior items.

I am quite a sad panda.

“When you roll a panda, you start on top of a giant turtle who has a Chinese name.”

Closing Thoughts

I must admit that I am not overwhelmed with the new race’s starting area.  Maybe because I was not playing with my friends and the server lag was understandingly horrible (no complain on the latter).  The new female pandaren artwork is a bit too cute and plump to my taste.  The overall artwork though, is beautiful.  The quests are still linear, not much innovation I have seen except the one you have to stand on top of a log to dual with other NPC monks.  The entire journey, coupled with the server lag, took me 5 hours to complete.  That includes reading the quest text.  By then I have chosen which side I am on.  When this is live, I would not expect anyone to spend more than 3 to 4 hours on this starting area, which is kind of short.

The new monk class though, sounds promising.  Now, I wish we have tri-spec instead of dual-spec.

“My life is for Horde!  Hellscream took me in with open arms, not without a very scary and lengthy speech (or wall of text).  When will Blizzard give us more voice acting?”