Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Feeling at home with the rats

Finally I gave in and moved my hearthstone to Dalaran, which doesn’t make sense since I’m a mage and can teleport there anytime I feel like it anyway. It would be more natural to put my stone either in Wyrmrest Temple or Wintergarde Keep, for quick and easy access to the raid instances, or possibly in one of the far away corners of the world where I go to make dailies, such as Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra or Sholazar Basin.

But I followed my heart and put it where I currently feel most at home in the game, which is in Underbelly, the underground city in the sewers of Dalaran.

Cooking quests
When I first visited the place I mostly saw it as a spot where you could pick mushrooms for one of the daily cooking quests. Then I found out that this also was a good spot for another of the dailies, where you’re supposed to collect a piece of cheese and six glasses of wine. This quest is very annoying if you try to complete it on the surface, since there are way more players doing the quest than there are glasses around. But if you go to the inn of Underbelly you’ll get your glasses in no time at all. And there's even a third cooking quest which is supposed to be delivered to the inn keeper in the sewer.

It turned out that I had a reason to visit the sewers more or less every day for the cooking stuff, and little by little I got to know the place better. From being confused and pretty annoyed since I found it hard to orient myself, I started to change. I found myself looking forward to those visits – I was even falling in love with the place.

Those are the things which appeal to me in Underbelly:
  • The lack of lag. Dalaran on the surface will mostly show itself in 10-15 fps to me, which isn’t exactly enjoyable. Down in the sewer it’s more like a normal questing area.
  • All services in one spot. Well there isn’t any AH, but on the other hand there isn’t anyone in the regular Dalaran either. I suspect Blizzard will never ever make another one, since they need to give us a reason to go back to the old world. Or maybe they will, it certainly would brighten up the rather empty and dead Shattrath. But Dalaran won’t get one for sure. But if you count out AH you'll find more facilities in the sewers than you may think of when you first see it. There’s a bank right next to the inn. You may repair and buy any reagent you need, even vials. You may even cook for free by the stove in the nice little bedroom.
  • The atmosphere. In spite of the darkness, the stench and the sewer rats running around, I find the sewers very cosy. There are just enough other players to keep you from feeling alone, but not more than that you can relax and enjoy the tranquillity when you’re in mood for that.

Fishing achievement
So what can you actually do in Underbelly, except for cooking quests, repairing and sorting out your bank? Well, one great thing you can do is fishing. If you’re waiting for a Wintergrasp battle to start, or looking for a PUG, you could as well fish in the sewer on your own as standing in the crowd by the fountain on the surface. The catches aren’t amazing, but at least you can level your fishing, and if you’re addicted to achievements you can try to catch a Giant Sewer Rat.

And one you’re done and want to get out and get some fresh air and sunlight, you don’t have to make your way through Dalaran to the flight point to be able to mount. No, Underbelly has a sweet take off ramp of its own, if you prefer your own mount to the public transportation systems. Just follow one of the pipes downwards, watching your step so you don’t go too far and fall (if you’re a mage you could put on slow fall, just as a precaution). When you reach the end, mount up and enjoy.

The only complaint I have about Underbelly is that it seems as though the Postman is afraid to wet his feet and refuses to go down there to deliver the mail. At least I haven’t been able to find any mail box yet – you have to get to the entrance to find one. But even if it’s a bit annoying, it doesn’t take away the grandness of Underbelly – the hidden jewel of Dalaran where I’ve found my home among sewer rats and shady dealers.


Delbin said...

I just recently set my hearth to underbelly. I did it once I found the bank hiding behind the inn. Who knew it was there?

I also found you can mount up as soon as you get into the tunnel-ramp out of Dalaran so you don't have to worry about falling to your doom :) .

Ixobelle said...

one of the ideas I had for the hearth stone long ago would be having some sort of rep attached to where you set your hearth.

a true "home is where the hearth is" kinda thing.

Like if you chose to make Brill your hearth location (as inconvenient as it may be), it would bestow certain perks. maybe the people of brill discover new cooking recipes that are only available to Brill citizens, etc. If you set your hearth to Tarren Mill, they would send you ore from time to time out of the caves. Something that would ramp up the longer your allegiance held. Like "man, i really should reset my hearth to dalaran, but I've been with brill for over a year now".

They've *kinda* done this with the tabard being used to grind rep, but i think the hearthstone is a really under-used avenue for creating something interesting from a pretty generic (gate) mechanic.

Drazmor said...

I can't wait to head to Dalaran...

David said...

From the 3.0.8 Patch notes:

-A new mailbox is now available at the Crows Tavern in the Dalaran Sewers.

A little belated Merry Christmas!

Gevlon said...

Just as David said, there will be a mailbox there.

While my HS is in the upside inn, I spend most of my time in Tunder Bluff, where the bank, postbox, AH, reagent vendor, repairs, smelting point, trade vendors and such are all in 15 secs away from each other.

There are always a few people there, you have to /ignore only 1 or 2 beggars, and goldspammers are as rare as they can be.

Captain The First said...

Hah, I had my hearth set to that inn for a while now. It loads faster when I first log in, there's no crowds and its still pretty conveniently located near everything in dalaran or indeed a quick way out.

I found the exit from the sewers on my first day... since I didn't have a flyer at the time it wasn't exactly a pleasant surprise as I had to scrape myself off the ground right after hehe

Didn't know there was a bank behind the inn though... and a mailbox will be godsent. I just hope it doesn't become as crowded as the surface... Stupid people and their stupid huge mammoth mounts with their enlargement elixers ...grrrrrr

I drag a stack of baby spices around with me just so I can shrink annoying people that park their oversized rear-ends on top of various places of intrest.

Esdras said...

I am actully considering making the sewers my home, i love it down there.

Larísa said...

@Delbin: you're absolutely right about the mounting. But it's more fun to pretend its a dangerous walk...:)

@Ixobelle: oh that would be so awesome! Dear game designers, implement it NOW!

@Drazmor: welcome to Underbelly whenever you'll arrive!

@David: I had no idea! Hip hip horray! Underbelly is becoming even more awesome.

@Gevlon: I'm still sadly clueless about the horde capitals. I should do something about it one day. Considering to make my DK into a horde char, just to see the other side...

@Captain the first: I have yet to see a mammoth in the sewers. I suspect it's to big to get through the door. Which is a good thing imo.

@Esdras: join the club! You won't regret it.

Bristal said...

I love the underbelly, too (and SO glad to hear that 1/2 full wine glasses can be found there!), but I will continue to HS upstairs because that's where the cooking quest giver is. Have to go there EVERY DAY. Wish they would move those stupid chairs away from the kitchen stairs, though.

Eishen said...

Curious, A mage finds a magocracy and refugees from it in the sewers with the pariah... ;-)

I really like surface dalaran, but as you say the lag is killer specially opening mail and crafting so I tend to use a lot of teleport stones ...to shatrah!!, a big, empty city where you can fly, no one ask you for portals or free meals and heve access to all channels and services (AH excluding of course)...

Its great to be a mage :-)

Anonymous said...

As a fellow Gnome, I dare say I will be comfortable there too.. only 1/3 of a level before I can port in for my 1st look...

Looks like not much leveling this week, just exploring the "ol' home town"