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Cloudy with a Chance of Deathwing

April 18, 2011
by

While leveling a (druid, ahem) alt in Zul’Drak the other day, a funny thing happened: it started to snow.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful ...

Zul’Drak’s bizarre sky and unpredictable weather patterns got me thinking about the first time I experienced weather in WoW.

A long time ago on a server far, far away, a young druid first stepped off the boat from Rut’theran Village to Auberdine and discovered that there was a sizable storm rolling in off the coast.  She looked around, astounded, then quickly whispered a friend who had encouraged her to try out the game.  “It’s raining in Auberdine!” she hastily typed.  “I didn’t realize there’d be places where it would always be raining.”

“It’s not always raining there,” her friend replied with a chuckle.  “Sometimes it rains in Darkshore, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

“Oh!” she said, slowly catching on.  “So you mean, like, some days of the week it will rain here?  Or only in the mornings?  Something like that?”

Her friend laughed again.  “No,” he said.  “Not certain days or certain times, or even certain zones, really.  It’s just … random.  Sometimes it rains or snows in some places, and some times it doesn’t do anything at all.”

“You mean …” she hesitantly responded, “you mean it’s like … real rain?”

“I guess you could say that,” her friend typed back, obviously a little confused as to what all the fuss was about.

Real rain!  Real weather!

This was one of my first real “wow” moments in WoW.  (Sheesh, excuse the awful pun.)  The idea that sometimes it might be raining in one zone while being completely clear in another, and that it wasn’t just a matter of “it will always rain in Darkshore from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays” completely blew my mind.

A few days later, that same friend and I hopped on to a pair of low-level Horde alts to take a look at how the other half lived.  We made our way to Orgrimmar, and in the days before the zeppelin with a direct flight to Thunder Bluff, we began our slow trek on foot through the Barrens.  Somewhere between the Crossroads and … anything else in that old zone, I stopped in my tracks as a pack of gazelles ran across the road in front of us.

“Those gazelles … the just run around like that, all the time?” asked the Forsaken warlock.

“Um, yeah I think so,” the Blood Elf responded.  “Oh, and sometimes wolves or lions or something will run out and attack them,” he finished with an evil grin.

Dumbfounded, the Forsaken stared at her friend.  “You’re kidding.”

Animals that act like real animals!  Crazy!

Most recently, the changes to the water engine since Cataclysm launched have led to me losing quite a few minutes every day to splashing around the lakes in Stormwind.  One of my favorite things to do is log on to my shaman, and jump up above the water while casting Water Walking on myself.  I’ll land on top of the water, but a perfect ring of ripples will spread out from where I land.  What, I ask you, is more fun than that?

What “wowed” you the first time you experienced Azeroth?  Or, what new experiences since Cataclysm have made you take a moment to stop and enjoy the scenery around you?

On nights when Cho’gall refuses to renounce his corrupted ways, and Nefarian just plain won’t die, it’s nice to have moments like these to take my mind off of things.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2011 8:11 am

    I just love moments like these and simularly, it was probably the rain that first got to me way back. Although I didn’t care for when it really got to storm level and the latency jumped! Even new views of old things are eye-catching. Such as being able to fly in Azeroth. Even seeing an old familure sunset in a zone long past leveled from a different vantage point is great.

    • April 19, 2011 8:41 am

      I really agree with you about flying in Azeroth. There are so many nooks and crannies that either we couldn’t reach before or that have been added in to the game. So much new stuff to explore!

  2. April 20, 2011 1:15 am

    I love the weather effects! The rain has always attracted me because it’s my favorite type of weather and feels very peaceful in game. It took me ages to realize that some zones in Northrend snowed, but now I get excited about that too. I’ve also noticed that there are sandstorms in Tanaris on occasion!

    • April 20, 2011 7:31 pm

      Oh, I forgot all about the sandstorms! Those are always neat because they actually make it kind of difficult to see.

  3. April 20, 2011 7:38 am

    Back when I was in an RP-ish guild, Squelchy would always grouse whenever a gryphon would fly through a rainy area. He did not like being a small wet gnome.

  4. April 20, 2011 12:04 pm

    The weather has always been a big one for me – rain definitely, but then when I realised (like a year after I first started) that it SNOWS in cold areas instead of rains…I stood and watched the snow in Dun Morogh for who knows how long! I have screenshots of those gazelles, too, after chasing them around on my baby troll just to watch them run, and also of the flocks of crows in the worgen starting area that scatter from under your feet when you walk by. And just the fact that it goes from day to night, complete with changing clouds and sunrises/sunsets is always good for plenty of time wasting for me.

    One of my other favourites is that characters swimming leave a wake on the surface of the water…and the belltower in Stormwind that chimes the hour (and the other cities’ clocks too). And – and! I saw a full moon rising the other day while I was flying north over Searing Gorge, and then I crossed into the next zone/area and it was still full and still in the same place on the horizon. Maybe I’m just easily delighted (well, no maybe), but I like that level of ‘realism’. We’re lucky to have such a pretty place to explore 🙂

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