Friday, October 24, 2008

A pubround in Azeroth

Dear guests, to begin with I apologize for not having any candy to treat you with. I’ve only got the usual supply of lagers, ales and stout and some cakes and pies to go with it. But the chairs are comfortable, the fire is cosy and we’ve got the special PPI atmosphere, so I hope you won’t feel too disappointed.

If you look at my inn colleagues in Azeroth they seem all have gone crazy, giving away candybuffs, toys, XP or even real gold to get people to come visit them. Market competition is hard these days, especially since rumours say that most of the inhabitants of our kingdom soon expect to emigrate to the distant Northrend. What’s a poor innkeeper expected to do? Will we end up serving murlocs and gnolls when decent people have moved on?

Going for a pubround
Anyway I decided that this was the right time to re-visit the other inns and see how they stand in the competition. Larísa, my mage, is a bit lazy. A reward of 3 gold coins per visit isn’t enough to get her out of her armchair. When she’s not raiding she prefers to relax these days, saving her energy for the levelling task that lies ahead of her.

Her younger sister Arisal on the other hand - this careless, foolish little rogue who loves to put herself into trouble - immediately volunteered for a world tour. She saw the opportunity to at least get some 5.5 k free xp per visited inn (at level 65), uncounted the other quests around you can do and the xp reward that comes with exploring new areas.

Of course she got an appropriate hangover after trying the beer of the house at some 25 inns (assuming that half of the visited inns serve drinks with alcohol), but she assured it was well worth it.

Here are a few impressions from the pub round:

1. Tradition rocks!
You come a long way with tradition. I may be a bit conservative but I prefer the original style. I want my inn to have a real fireplace, plenty of chairs places in nice groups, perhaps a chef dwelling in the background and an upper floor with comfortable beds where you can rest. And of course they should have beer on their menu! There are several inns that meet those requirements. I’d like to give a special mentioning to two traditional styled inns.

The first one is The Scarlet Raven Tavern in Darkshire. The spooky setting with wolves and ghosts sneaking around the corner adds to the atmosphere.

The second mentioning goes to Salty Sailor Tavern in Booty Bay. This inn with entrances at several floor and several ramps hidden in the very dark interior may be a bit confusing at the first look, but it’s a pure winner. This is a place where you really want to spend a few nights, listening to the tales of adventures from other far away travellers stopping bye.

2. The inns that are spas
I can’t help but getting a little disappointed at some inns. Most of them are run by draenei or nightelfs. What’s wrong with those people? Are they all absolutists? There’s nothing to buy there but fruit, bread, milk and such. That’s fine to bring in the bag for an outing, but if you want to relax after a day at work, slaughtering dragons and orcs, most of us would prefer something stronger.

The nightelfs are crazy about fresh air and I must say I feel sorry for their guests when the autumn storms are bout to arrive soon. And the draenei mostly seem to think that beds are an unnecessary luxury, at least if you look at the inn at Azuremyst island. What do they expect us to do in those inns? Should we sit on the floor, meditating and drinking fruit cocktails? When I think closely about it the draenei and nightelf premises aren’t really inns in any normal sense. They should rather be called spas and are only recommended to people who’re looking for some kind of purifying treatment.

By the way goblins seem to dislike alcoholic brews as well. I would have expected them to be a bit more market oriented.

3. Other inns worth special mentioning
While most inns choose to target either the publovers – like me – or spa and health freaks, there are a few inns that compete by their uniqueness. They stick out from the crowd so you sure won’t forget about them, even though their services may be a bit substandard. An extreme example of this is the inn in Westfall, situated in an old barn. Cosy is the last thing you would call it. But it’s got a niche of its own and it somehow fits pretty well into the military camp.

The worst service whatsoever you get at the inn of Telredor in Zangarmarsh. There are no food vendors there! According to Wowwiki, this is for a lore-based reason:
Many of the quests relate to food gathering, and because they are close to starving, food is shared among their own people and they would not sell it to outsiders.
The smallest in must be the new one in Mudsprocket, Theramore. It’s not much bigger than a tent and most of the room is occupied by a gigantic ogre standing in the middle of it. OK, I like inns to be somewhat crowded, but that was too much for me.

Best named inn: World’s Ends Tavern (with references to Douglas Adams as well the Sandman graphic novels.) I like that name. And I like the mixture of creatures in there. It makes me think about Star Wars. It feels like a nice place for adventurers of all sorts to gather and share experiences before heading out for their next heroic task. I miss a fireplace though. The bluish braziers really aren’t the same thing.

4. A request for renovation
Finally I saw a couple of inns that would deserve some more love from Blizzard. I’m thinking about the two inns that are probably the most frequented ones in the whole game: The Gilded Rose in Stormwind and Stonefire Tavern in Ironforge.

I can’t understand why they’re both built in such a small and minimalist style. There are no fireplaces for instance. How come? Is it because the land price is too high at those central places of the major cities? It may be realistic, but I really wouldn’t have minded a little bit of unrealism in this area. After a busy afternoon doing errands in the city you wish for something little more comfortable.

What about Northrend?
It was nice to get those reports from Arisal and I received a lot of greetings from the other innkeepers, which warmed my heart. But one question will remain unanswered for a few more weeks: what are the inns like in Northrend? Not being in the Beta, I haven’t got a clue. But considering the climate I certainly hope that they haven’t put the nightelfs in charge of the architecture this time.


Indigo said...

I made a point of taking my level 67 to every inn I could get so I could soak up the xp. I think by the end of my "world tour" I'd got about 160,000. Not bad for just flying from one spot to another.

Anonymous said...

Spare a thought for the Hordies.

Most Alliance Inns you can practically jump off the bird as it comes in to land and end up in a comfy bed with a brew in your hand.

Hordies arrive travel staind and stinking of bat guano, then have to trudge through the mud, snow, dust etc... to find their nearest hospitality.

Their town planners need s swift kick up their Tauren backsides

Anonymous said...

Love the post, well done!

You've got me thinking of the various inn's I've rested in and trying to put some context to them.

The inn in Ratchet for instance. A rooming house more than an inn and yet it fits in quite well with the surroundings and the come and go nature of a port town.

I'll be looking at inns in a different way now ;-)

Eishen said...

Agree with your two top elections!

Salty Sailor is an original goblin approach and all Darkshire in general is one of my favourite places .. a pity that the waiters doesn´t speak my language and my visits tending to finish as quite violent brawls...

Anyway, I wish I could guide you gnomes to Silverymoon´s stilish and spacious inns, even Gnomeaggedom would be quite comfortable… definitely not Guano over there ;-)

Karine said...

Interesting! I hadn't ever thought about inns in such a way. (Not in such an in-depth fashion, anyway.) You're right about those Night Elves though, it must get AWFULLY chilly come wintertime.

Wouldn't it be nice if in Northrend there would be furs and whatnot on the beds, instead of a little coverlet? That would be more fitting, I think.

Gevlon said...

The horde inns are also awsome. The Thunder Bluff inn has a very nice innkeeper, who is often dancing. The Breckenwall village inn is an Ogre lair, the Sepulcher inn is a tomb and from the Hinterlands inn you can always hear the drummings of the nearby trolls.

Esdras said...

I did all the quests with my priest, only for the achievments though.

I spent 2 nights of just flying hahaha

krizzlybear said...

Does anyone notice that the "inn" in the Isle of Q'D lets you stay on your mount? Talk about cleanliness management!

Larísa said...

@Indigo: no, it isn't bad. I only regretted there were so many fps at Kalimdor I didn't have yet. On the other hand it felt good to get them eventually.

@Gnomeaggedon: I didn't have a clue about that. It's really a shame I've never played a hordie.

@Anonymous: oh, I love the one in Theramore as well... there's something about that place that gives it a nice atmosphere.

@Eishen: oh you're tempting me to come to the dark side... I'm really missing something out!

@Karine: furs! Yay! That sounds wonderful. Considering how many bears we'll probably kill it wouldn't be to ask too much to get furs from some of them.

@Gevlon: another hordie making me curious... Drums! That would be soomething.

@Esdras: more or less boycotting achievements I didn't think about that. But ofc I got it either I wanted it or not... The important thing to me was the xp. But it was fun to see the inns again with slightly different eyes.

@Krizzlybear: interesting. I must check that out. I like the service in Darnassus where you can stay on your mount for instance when you queue for BGs (in opposition to in IF and Stormwind).