The Return: The Trek Back2Azeroth

Greetings, friends.

After an extended hiatus from WoW, Raenes and Vitalit are excited to say they are returning to Azeroth.

It was such a satisfying and pleasurable experience watching these guys ding 85 during the Christmas season; Raenes and I were enjoying the time off work to relax back in our hometown here in Texas and Vitalit was embedded in his final winter break as an undergrad college student, and it was a great way to bond over steaming cups of coffee, good music and cheap jokes. Fittingly, Raenes and I were having a conversation recently over cups of espresso, and we both agreed it was time to go back to Azeroth, and Vitalit instantaneously agreed without any lobbying efforts on our side.

We were able to make great progress over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, where we exceeded preliminary projections and the guys were able to ding 85, but we are far from our goal of 110. Raenes is estimating at least 50 hours of gameplay will be required to meet that objective.

With Vitalit’s college graduation approaching, coupled with the fact of Raenes and myself receiving notes from our HR reps asking for our summer vacation timetables, now is the perfect opportunity to target dates to continue our quest. We want to let you guys know that we are aggressively looking into times for Raenes, Vitalit, and I, Noob in Chief, to congregate again to continue this endeavor into the next phase of completion we that we embarked upon months ago!

We will make sure to supply a wide-distribution update when we finalize a date we decide to game next. Timing has unfortunately not been on our side of late. Raenes and I have been super busy in our corporate jobs and Vitilit is undergoing the stressful epoch of undergrad senioritis; However, the light at the end of the tunnel is finally coming into gaze.

Keep up to date on fresh 2017 B2A updates on our Twitter, and relive our progress and previous good times right here on the B2A blog. We promise to get back on the sticks and enter the B2A “war room” soon, I am for one getting antsy.

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Cheers,

Noob in Chief, B2A.

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First Impressions: WoW Reflections from Noob In Chief

Last week was my official onboarding with Raenes and Vitalit into the world of WoW, and what an introduction it was!

I was not given a proper welcome binder, formal orientation meeting, or preface discussion; I was forced to make my decent into World of Warcraft rapidly and promptly, but luckily I had assistance from the greats, Raenes and Vitalit.

As I grabbed my freshly-brewed hot black coffee and entered the “war room,” which was a simple and small study turned into diminutive WoW community, it was not difficult to transition into WARCRAFT MODE. Raenes and Vitalit were already buzzing, but I could not depict if their stimulation was from their recent defeat of King Ymiron in Utgarde Pinnacle or from the half-full steaming Folgers coffee cups I noticed in front of both of them. Gut feeling it was a hybrid of both. I set up shop adjacent to Vitalit and took my first satisfying sip, and it was all downhill from there.

I was immediately bombarded with an influx of information, and it was difficult to keep up. Do not forget this was my VERY FIRST time playing, interacting or engaging with WoW, so saying my warcraft knowledge is marginalized is an extreme understatement. Vitalit, if you are reading this, I apologize for my noob behavior and distractions from your raids.

Right of the bat, I was particularly impressed in the amazing and wondrous landscapes of the zones and areas Raenes and Vitalit were journeying through. The sense of adventure and boundless excursions these two Dwarves were embarking on were truly awe-inspiring. My personal favorite area was Icecrown Citadel, which provided sentiments both dazzling and Game of Thrones-y, yet spooky, which was a great balance in my opinion. It made me want to activate Noob in Chief and #GoGnoming alongside Raenes and Vitalit (even though I would be more of a distraction and liability than a companion and comrade).

Another standout for me were the bosses. So cool. I remember making Vitalit pause his quest to have him expound about the huge rhino, Akali, in Zul’Drak. “Dude, get a pic with that guy,” were among the demands I made when I initially spotted the gigantic NPC.

The Prophet of Quetzlun, King Ymiron and Loken were some of the the characters I saw accept defeat at the large Dwarf hands of Raenes and Vitalit. It was fun watching the teamwork and collaboration that was occurring before my noobish eyes; There was so much action going on I could not keep up. Clearly, these two WoW-veteran brothers were not phased.

Unsurprising, the selfie feature is killer. It was hilarious on my end watching Raenes and Vitalit commence on numerous selfie expeditions up soaring mountain peaks and immense castle tops, and hearing Raenes in real life across from me demanding, “Vitalit, get in my selfie and flex.” Naturally, I enjoyed the new add-on very much (see Vitalit’s thoughts on the new selfie camera feature here). Ultimately, the numerous selfies and photo opps did not distract the Dwarf brothers from their core mission and goals, as I was alongside when they dinged 80 and completed the Wrath of the Lich King, which was a nostalgic moment for them, and a commendable occasion for myself.

As the clock banged 4 a.m., it was time for us to cease gameplay for the night.

We capped off the night with a late (or early) run to our local Whataburger, where we also have very fond memories as it was THE late night spot we would frequent the most in our younger days. It was great discussing the night’s gameplay highlights, top jokes, and upcoming blog content while devouring breakfast taquitos. It was the perfect conclusion to my inaugural exposure to World of Warcraft.

Special shout-out to everyone who tuned in to Back2Azeroth’s first live tweet event. It was awesome engaging with everyone and reading all the feedback, and it far exceeded our expectations. Due to the night’s success, we are looking forward to executing our next live tweet event soon, as Raenes and Vitalit inch closer toward their level 110 goal.

Be sure to stay abreast with updates from both Back2Azeroth’s  Twitter page and blog. We are currently working on the next blog post, so stay tuned!

Cheers,

Noob in Chief, B2A

Back2Azeroth Holiday Season Update!

Aye, festive friends!

Raenes and myself are excited to update all of you on our recent adventures in Azeroth. As you can see below or from our numerous updates on Twitter, we have been having a blast experiencing and chronicling all of our majestic journeys.

So here’s the moment you all have been waiting for. Let’s go ahead and jump into the holiday update!

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Two “Murlocs” walk into a bar…

Journey Thus Far:
Playtime: 64 hours
Current Level: 80
Zones quested (order visited and most recent bolded):

  • Dun Morogh
  • Westfall
  • Ashenvale
  • Northern Stranglehorn
  • Cape of Stranglehorn
  • Feralas
  • Eastern Plaguelands
  • Tanaris
  • Searing Gorge
  • Winterspring
  • Silithus
  • Blasted Lands
  • Hellfire Peninsula 
  • Zangarmarsh
  • Nagrand
  • Shadowmoon Valley
  • Borean Tundra
  • Zul’ Drak
  • Icecrown Citadel

Dungeons Run:

  • The Deadmines (Vanilla)
  • BlackFathom Deeps (Vanilla)
  • Scarlet Monastary (Vanilla)
  • Razorfen Kraul (Vanilla)
  • Uldaman (Vanilla)
  • Zul’Farrak (Vanilla)
  • Blackrock Depths (Vanilla)
  • Sunken Temple (Vanilla)
  • Lower Blackrock Spire (Vanilla)
  • Hellfire Ramparts (Burning Crusade)
  • The Blood Furnace (Burning Crusade)
  • The Slave Pens (Burning Crusade)
  • Underbog (Burning Crusade)
  • Mana-Tombs (Burning Crusade)
  • Auchenai Crypts (Burning Crusade)
  • The Escape from Durnholde (Burning Crusade)
  • Sethekk Halls (Burning Crusade)
  • The Steamvault (Burning Crusade)
  • The Shattered Halls (Burning Crusade)
  • The Mechanar (Burning Crusade)
  • Utgarde Keep (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • The Nexus (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Azjol-Nerub (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • The Violet Hold (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Drak’Tharon Keep (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Gundrak (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Halls of Stone (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Utgarde Pinnacle (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • Halls of Lightning (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • The Oculus (Wrath of the Lich King)
  • The Culling of Stratholme (Wrath of the Lich King)

Quests completed: 1021
Whataburger runs: 5
Hazelnut Coffee Creamers expended: Lost count after 3…
Highlights:

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Who has the longer beard?
  • Three words: Nagrand, Nagrand, and Nagrand – I know I speak for my brother when I say  Nagrand has always been one of our favorite zones in World of Warcraft. Whether it’s completing the Nesingwary’s quest line of hunting big-game animals in the rolling hills of Nagrand (Sorry D.E.H.T.A), or becoming gladiators in the Ring of Blood, we always have memorable experiences leveling here.
  • Escape from Durnholde! (Instance) – This was another dungeon that my brother and I really enjoyed. The adventurer is sent back in time to help Thrall escape from his jail in Durnholde Keep. A pivotal moment in World of Warcraft history, we helped break our boy Thrall out of his cell and escorted him to Tauren Mill. Growing up playing Vanilla WoW, my brother and I loved to level in Hillsbrad Foothills, so it made us very nostalgic to go back in time and learn more about the zone.
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Let’s break for it, Thrall!
  • The Culling of Stratholme (Instance) – This dungeon definitely came as an enjoyable surprise to us. Considering my low involvement with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion originally, I completely forgot this gem was in there! As most learn while questing in Eastern Plaguelands or dungeoning in Vanilla WoW, Stratholme is a nasty city where the scourge run amok, where it is the adventurer’s job to help cleanse the town. This is not the case in The Culling of Stratholme. We entered an ancient Stratholme to see how it once was, before the plight of the scourge. Many prominent characters from WoW lore show up throughout the instance, such as a Arthas (before he became the Lich King), Jaina Proudmoore, and the infamous nathrezim, Mal’ Ganis. As we continue through the dungeon, we learn about how Mal’ Ganis corrupted this city and changed it from a pristine keep to a dark place. As a result of this enriching story line and character appearances, this dungeon holds a top spot in our highlights.
  • Flying Mounts – Being able to fly immediately in Outlands and Northrend made our overall leveling experience very smooth and enjoyable. No longer are the days where you have to spend all of your time running back to turn in quests.
  • Selfie Camera – Pretty self explanatory, but having a selfie camera really helped us cataloging our adventures. With the selfie camera, any mountain or statue becomes a scenic spot to snap a picture (I am looking forward to the Instagram collage after we hit 110, Raenes).
  • Zul’Drak – Playing Vanilla WoW back in the day, some of our fondest memories were raiding Zul’Gurub or completed the troll-like instances such as Zul’Farrak. Now in WotLK, we were able to complete quests in a zone that completely aligned with that theme. While questing in Zul’Drak, we were able to see a rich story line of a corrupted troll trying to complete Arthas’ bidding. As a result of our determination, Raenes and I we were able to stop this crooked troll from injuring Azeroth! We also had a great time completing the Ampitheatre of Anguish, which is an arena type questline where you battle a series of bosses. Since this was a ‘Group Suggested’ quest, my brother and I were able to rise to the challenge and duo these bosses to become victorious.
  • “Vote to Kick” Feature – A hilarious but infuriating feature. One night while we were questing in Burning Crusade content, my brother and I found a group to run the dungeon: the “Slave Pens.” We waited about thirty minutes in the dungeon finder, so we were ecstatic to finally find a group. Upon entering, we saw that one guy in our group happened to be disconnected, so naturally, the party leader instigated a “Vote Kick” to replace this player in our group. Not thinking much of the circumstance, I agreed to “vote kick” this noob who had decided to stand up our group… but little did I know, the party leader mistakenly clicked and it was my brother, Raenes, who we unanimously kicked. Once I had realized what had just happened, I looked at my brother (in real life across the desk from I), and he had the saltiest look on his face. After the initial bitterness dissipated, Raenes and I busted out laughing and realized we had a funny tale to put up on the blog. Moral of the story, always be aware of who you vote to kick ;). Hehe.

Bummers:

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Thanks for taking us to Hellfire Peninsula…
  • Hellfire Peninsula – When we selected this zone, Raenes and I both knew we were in for a grind. Within the first moments we arrived, we were consistently ganked and camped by Horde level 110s for an hour. Because of these circumstances, we decided to enter a few dungeons and head straight to Zangarmarsh, circumventing this zone.
  • Too Many Zones, Not Enough Levels – While we thoroughly enjoyed The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King this time around, we finished feeling as if we did not truly experience all that there was to offer. This is due to how easy leveling is.
  • Not Enough Gold for Artisan Riding- 4,500 gold is a mighty price tag to muster when your only source of income is from questing. Albeit we didn’t have the quickest mounts, we still had a great time leveling through the content.

Final Verdict: WoW’s 60-80 experience was more or less what we expected! While leveling, we were able to tap into our nostalgia by experiencing our favorite zones and instances. Grinding WoW and drinking coffee in the same room as my brother and our good companion, Noob in Chief, really has made my Christmas break something special. It was also great babysitting him in the “war room” when it came to his noob questions, comments and tweets!

Thanks for checking out the blog. Raenes and I are currently celebrating the holidays with our family and wanted to wish everyone reading a very merry season. On the horizon, we will be entering Cataclysm and look forward to keeping all of you updated. Make sure to check out our next LIVE TWEET event Tuesday for fresh content and journey updates (and selfies).

Stay tuned! Cheers 🙂

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS from the B2A TEAM

Editor’s Note: Deep Thoughts from the Sidelines

Hey, guys.

As I mentioned in my last post, I will be chilling with Raenes and Vitalit for the entire duration of this project. And, to reiterate, I have never played one second of WoW. Being given the moniker, ‘Noob,’ is a titanic understatement

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That being said, I do not think I have been this interested and motivated to learn about a video game. I do not think there was a time in the last decade where I would see a friend playing WoW and not walked over to check out his quest (and inevitably crack a lame Leeroy Jenkins joke). For some reason, it’s just appealing to me, and I cannot wait to dive in to the strategy component of the experience with Raenes and Vitalit.

Some things I’d like to get out of this experience:

  • Understand the cooperative strategy players implement playing together (is it comprehensive? How technical can these quests get?)
  • Get a glimpse on how cool these so-called dungeon raids are
  • Percieve why and how this game was and continues to be so popular
  • Witness one of these pet battles

I probably should be doing other things this month while I’m home for the holidays besides tweeting and chilling in a small room, crushing pots of coffee, and eating Oreos with two gamers; spending time with family, reconnecting with old high school friends, staying on track with Spanish lessons, and studying for the GMAT will have to take a back seat this year. One positive element I have noticed being a part of Back2Azeroth thus far is the constant flow of sugar and caffeine (I am not mad about it).

I am making the trek to the “war room” Tuesday to unite with Raenes and Vitalit, where you can expect our first LIVE TWEET event to occur Thursday night. I can already smell and feel the Colombian roast coffee brewing.

What are your thoughts? We look forward to sharing our progress as we journey through Azeroth. Follow our trek on Twitter for up-to-date alerts. For the Gnomes!

 

Cheers.

 

A Look Back: Embarking Through the Dark Portal into The Burning Crusade

Tonight we dive back into WoW and journey through the Dark Portal to tackle Outlands.

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Besides Vanilla, The Burning Crusade is the expansion we spent the most time with as kids; the accessible raiding, arenas, and flying mounts are the things that stuck with us the most. We are excited to revisit places that left strong impressions as well as experience content that we never reached before.

Backstory:

Raenes – The months leading up to the release of BC, Vitalit and I both decided to take a break from WoW. We had played it extensively since it first released, and at that time our guild was disbanding. Personally speaking, raiding burnt me out and I wanted to take time to do other things.

A couple days after BC’s initial release, Vitalit came home with a copy. I was interested, but skeptical, as I didn’t know if it could change the game enough to suck me back in. Vitalit began playing with one of our close friends, and after a week of watching over his shoulder, I knew it was time for me to join. Vitalit had already made the switch to Horde, so I left my Human Rogue behind and rolled an Tauren Druid.

Vitalit – This may sound melodramatic from an outsider’s perspective, but quitting WoW was one of the most emotional and heartbreaking moments for Raenes and myself. We had grown up playing Vanilla WoW, investing many waking hours into the game and it hurt to realize that we felt finished with the game. The path we had used to bond, playing World of Warcraft together, seemed to be coming to an end… but fortunately, we were very wrong.

I remember vividly the moment when one of our dear friends asked me to play the new World of Warcraft expansion with him. It was early 2007 when the Burning Crusade expansion came out and I was hesitant to give it a chance but I did. I logged on my level 60 undead Warlock and picked up where I left off. I am glad that I gave WoW a second shot because once  I took those first steps into the Dark Portal and arrived in the Outlands, I felt that intense rush I had become so fond of while growing up playing the game. Once I felt hooked, I knew all I needed to do was to convince my big brother Raenes… luckily, that was the easiest part.

  • Streamlining of quests – Vanilla did a poor job directing and conveying which zone you needed to head to next. The addition of breadcrumb quests that lead to the next zone was very important.
  • Arenas – In Vanilla, we did PVP gameplay a good amount, but raiding always was the top priority. With the introduction of arenas, PVP became a focal point for us. The addictive grind to a higher rating kept Vitalit and I returning. Even though our comp in 2s and 3s was not phenomenal (Warlock, Shadowpriest, Druid), we still had a blast. Some of my most vivid memories of WoW in my early days is Vitalit and I playing arenas late at night with our other teammate on our house landline telephone’s speakerphone yelling, “Fear Him, fear Him, fear Him!”
  • PVE – While we had for sure had our fair share of PVP during Vanilla, we wanted to experience PVE this time around in the Burning Crusade. Once we were level 70, we instantly started looking for ways to raid. First stop, Karazhan. It’s hard to fully explain how awesome it was to clear Kara for the first time. Our group of 25 raiders had busted into the huge tower located in the ominous, Deadwind Pass, and took down the maniacal Prince Malchezaar who ran the show. This was just the first look into our raiding experience of Burning Crusade. From there, we were able to take part in raiding some of the best PVE zones World of Warcraft has seen.
  • Best daily hub ever – Isle of Quel’Danas was released toward the end of BC, and they really saved the best for last on this one. The quests were not extremely diverse by today’s standard, but being able to do a bombing run on a flight path was great back then. The Magister’s Terrace was a great PVE instance and the one I (Raenes) spent the most time in. Clearing Kael’thas on heroic is one of my top achievements from the expansion.
  • Two new races – the addition of the Blood Elves and  Draenei were welcomed by some, and scorned by others, particularly by the Horde, as they did not like having a “pretty race.”
  • Jewelcrafting and sockets
  • Flying mounts – This is one of the coolest parts of this expansion. Getting your epic mount in Vanilla was an amazing feeling, but your epic flying was a whole different level. It was a feature we always wanted and we were happy they gave it to us.
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“We are not prepared”

We are particularly looking forward to experiencing the dungeons and quests that we missed when we were younger. It has been such a great experience so far reliving our younger days in WoW, I could not gauge the immense sentimentality and nostalgia this project would bring so far!

Once we complete Burning Crusade, we will supply a recap blog post similar to our Thanksgiving update showcasing the zone highlights and capturing the nostalgic moments of the zone. As an additional bonus, we will be providing behind-the-scenes and live-gameplay updates on our Twitter  page. Make sure to follow our progress to stay up-to-date with our return #back2Azeroth!

Cheers.

Azeroth Update: What’s On The Horizon

Hi, everyone.

We wanted to give a quick update on our upcoming plans for when you can expect us to jump back into WoW.

Vitalit will be wrapping up finals this Wednesday, and I, Raenes, be heading home for the holidays. Now that timetables have been employed and schedules coordinated, we can both dive back into gameplay Friday, December 16th. We want to game pretty hard until December 27th, when I have to unfortunately return to work.

That is a pretty good chunk of time. I would genuinely be lying if I was not optimistic of our ability to gain a decent amount of levels. Regarding projections, we are aiming to complete Cata and end this month’s gameplay at around level 85.

But, for now, Burning Crusade is the next stop on our journey. Outside of Vanilla WoW, BC has the strongest memories for us. We intend to publish small preview blog reminiscing on our favorite parts of the expansion before Friday.

We also want to welcome a new party member who will be joining us on our journey, Noob In Chief. Check out his latest post here expounding further into his background on Back2Azeroth. He will be hanging out with us as we play, while tweeting and blogging about his thoughts and impressions of our gameplay. He will be viewing WoW from the perspective we had back in 2004 when it first launched. I am looking forward to answering questions and helping him graduate from “noob” status.

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Keep your eyes peeled for new content this week, as Friday is the day we step through the Dark Portal on again to re-experience Outlands. Make sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on our journey back to Azeroth!

 

An Op-Ed: From a Noob

Leeeeeeeeeroy Jennnnnkinnnnnnnnnns.

Just kidding.

“What is a Pandaran?” “Who is Red Shirt Guy?” “What is ‘For the Horde?'”: all questions I inevitably  asked when I was summoned to be a part of this particular project, Back2Azeroth. 

At 24-years-old, I have been around peers since middle school who have been avid World of Warcraft players since its creation. Even though I was constantly surrounded and interested by the game, I never succumbed to it’s popularity and did not plunge into the experience: until now.

When two good friends of mine (Raenes and Vitalit) came to me about this project and how they wanted me to help, I was instantly intrigued. No, they did not say they needed my expertise in raiding, or  pet battles; my role was to serve as an apprentice under their wings to not only learn the ins and outs of WoW, but help share their story as they relive their adolescent  years together through the essence of World of Warcraft this holiday season.

I am officially a “Noob,” and I love it.

Here is your boy, Noob in Chief, Back2Azeroth.

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This guy just stole yo’ girl.

As Noob in Chief, I not only want this blog to serve as a testament to World of Warcraft itself, but as encouragement and stimulus to other WoW players to replicate what Raenes and Vitalit are currently undergoing. It is such a great bonding experience, and WoW is the sentimental adhesive holding it together.

We will be running numerous live-tweet events as Raenes and Vitalit embark on their quest from 1 to 110.

Make sure to follow their quest on Twitter, as we document their journey as they go back to Azeroth: @back2azeroth