Tip: You're much less likely to encounter wandering monsters when you travel along a road.
ok. and Belegorad would beg to differ.
funny old story.
at level 11ish? 12ish? Belegorad was offered a run through of Deadmines back in the days when this was our first dungeon and we had never DONE a dungeon run. he was our tank and a number of guildies offered to run with us so we'd learn how it goes.
a group of us waited patiently outside the entrance killing things and killing time waiting for Belegorad who started out IN OUR ZONE and suddenly vanished.
a look at the guild pane explained he'd gone to Stranglethorn from Westfall.
I was a newb. I didn't know what this meant. Belegorad was a newb. He wasn't sure what this meant and knew enough from previous explorations to know that it might not be good and he'd still have a lot of fun things to do getting back.
"Alex, are you coming?" I yell across the house. "We're waiting. Whatever you're doing can wait."
"Mom, I fell off a mountain and I'm stuck here... gimme... OH SHIT!"
Belegorad was dead.
Julienne says: What happened to you?
Belegorad says: Snake and trolls. One sec.
and so it begins...
Julienne says: Are you coming? What are you doing? That's the wrong way!
Belegorad says: Mike said there's a neutral auction house in Booty Bay. It's not really very far, I think I can run there.
Julienne says: But we're waiting.
Belegorad says: wwaassss333222114433
Julienne says: Alex?
Belegorad says: One damn minute please!
Belegorad is dead. Again.
I yell across the house, "Alex, just let it go and we'll go there later!"
Alex's angry voice back at me across the house. "I CAN'T mother, give me a sec. I'm stuck!"
more time waiting and with people whispering asking what's taking so long.
Julienne says: Should we just try to go without him?
Explanation that a tank is very important in a 5 man dungeon at level.
Across the house again, "Alex? What the hell?"
Belegorad has died again.
I leave my desk and cross the house to his room where I can see his draenei paladin booking ass down a road with light popping out of him and potions ticking down around him and from nowhere a murlock leaps out of the bushes and he's dead again.
I stand there transfixed as he runs in spirit form back to his body and then down the road to the point where the ability to resurrect stops showing on his screen. He backs up two steps, clicks the button and races onwards through the exotic trees and lush folliage popping spells on himself while he runs. A black gorilla leaps out and smashes Belegorad dead in a single hit.
Belegorad says: And I'm dead again. I hate this place.
I continue to watch for awhile and then head back to my own room and the relative safety of Julienne's surroundings in Westfall. I kill a mage and we wait.
Someone else suggests again that we could just summon him.
Belegorad dies again.
Belegorad says: Go without me. I'm making it to Booty Bay, damnit.
Julienne says: No, go ahead. We can wait.
Fifteen minutes later he is finally in Booty Bay and it takes him another few minutes to set his hearth there, wander around and then go outside to smoke. Deadmines can wait.
Flash forward three years.
"Alex, I just got a cool quest to go find out what's up with the trolls in Stranglethorn from a troll at the docks. Do you want to do the chain together?" I turn and look at him over my shoulder.
Calm. Resolute. Typically Alex in tone and facial expression that lends no insight to the thoughts and emotions behind his carefully guarded face. "I've told you before, I don't go to Stranglethorn. Not for Nessingwary. Not for books and not for trolls. I have not done Zul'Gurub for a reason. I do not go there."
"Awww... Alex, you can pwn the monkeys there now, you know. They can't hope to kill you."
"I don't go to Stranglethorn Vale." He says and turns back to slaughtering masses of mobs in the caves under Deepholm. "Let me know when you're ready to start leveling again. I'm mining."
I don't know if Belegorad ever went back to Stranglethorn Vale. I recall that he did eventually go get the exploration dings there and might have spent some time lurking in the shadows of trees hunting murlocks and gorillas. I thought Belegohunt had one of those monkeys, but perhaps it was from another zone?
Looking back on the experiences of first beginning to play WoW I'm reminded of many such funny stories that are made funnier by our sense of forgetfulness about it all now.
How easy it is to forget the wonder of first stepping up over a hill and seeing a whole new town, unexplored and fresh and a little threatening stretch out in front of you as your computer resolves the image.
How difficult it is to recall how confusing the menus and buttons and options and deeply complex specialization trees and professions were when you first started playing.
Belegorad taught me a lot more than either of us knew and I got to experience it again when I started leveling the new Julienne and started exploring the new Azeroth decimated by the Cataclysm and changed from the familiar hillsides and forests and known quests and chains. I learned to anticipate and desire the feeling of the unknown and totally winnable challenges ahead of me. I learned to seek them out. And then I forgot. What a terrible shame!
Happy hunting... I'm on a mission to find each new vista before Mists of Pandaria presents me with a whole new group of them all pretty and fancy and is delivered to my door on release day wrapped up with a brown paper box instead of gift wrap.
I haven't fallen into Stranglethorn from Westfall... or clicked on a fire because it had a scroll wheel only to find out it was a world event and everyone in the camp was going to chase me off the world map and into a bit of unresolved world that will one day be Northrend and is now just dead code so that it takes a GM's ticket to get me back out. Those were Belegorad's stories and as I recall them I'll try to do them justice and tell them in his absence.
Belegorad's Travels never really happened. I think perhaps they should have.
With them will also be Puris' Travels and Julienne's Travels and other funny stories along the way.
peace... and if not peaceful then go find something to do that still makes your mind focus and your breathing steady as you prepare for something you've never done and that you're not sure you can beat but you're gonna damned well die trying.