Requisite /played output:
I've spent too much time going back and forth between Hyjal and Vashj'ir trying to decide where to level. Waaaay too much time. I like the story in Hyjal better, but thought I enjoyed the visuals with Vashj'ir. But after the quest line named after Stones songs (and perhaps they're covers of someone else? -- and note that I love the Stones; it's just the lack of imagination), I finally quit Vashj'ir and decided I'd run Hyjal to its finish. The seahorse combined with the stupid air cave and tired quests was too much.
A MacBook 2.26 GHz is approximately equal in hardware performance as my new tower with the old GeForce 8500 GT.
/timetest from SW to IF on Fair with the tower gave me:
I'll post MacBook numbers later, but for now it's hosting the trial account for Recruit a Friend. Not sure if that'd be apples to apples.
Right now, I'm gaming with Fair settings on the tower with draw distance (the only thing that really affects gameplay -- Can I see the mobs/sparkly collectable?) set to Ultra. I think that's a fair enough compromise. Man, I'm tired of seeing GeForce GTS 450 give-aways on WoW Insider. I want a better card.
Ah yes, two links to share on the hardware front.
- Great review of all cards at each price "point" (I hate that term, price point. I understand it, but isn't "point" enough for casual use?)
- Great guest post on WoW Insider talking about upgrading your box to get ready to play. Heck, it even covers if your computer is stuck on AGP.
- Compare that super-useful post to this commercial for Nvidia masquerading as a hardware post at WoW Insider. ;^)
If I was buying today, I think I'm down to either the...
MSI R5770 Hawk Radeon HD 5770 1GB ($150 after rebate)
MSI N460GTX CYCLONE 1GD5/OC GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB for $210
... depending on how serious I want to get about graphics. Honestly, the 5770 feels a little like a tide-me-over card, so I think I'll keep using my 8500 GT until I puke and then hit the GTX 460 (or whatever's the best deal with those specs when I finally give in). Still, $50 is a lot of Steam games on sale!
Back to notes:
Recruit-a-Friend levels you much too quickly. It's also crappy if you immediately quest together. The intro-to-your-class quests in Shadowglen, at least, cannot be accessed by a non-elf. I tried making a warrior gnome, thinking I would have access to the elven warrior trainer quests. No luck. You get two early, then no more quests until you take the road south out of Shadowglen, leaving the elf at level 7 and me at 5. Stuff's picked back up now that we're out of Shadowglen, though. Minor complaint.
Also annoyed with the inability to trade with a trial account. I completely understand why, but we've got one well geared twink with as much gold as she can carry and one poor gnome sap who barely has cash to train, much less overgear himself. Would it really have killed Blizzard to allow you to carry, oh, 20s from some benefactor, with your trial? We're already leveling like it's going out of style. I don't know that a few pieces of level-appropriate gear would be a serious issue.
I think that's about it. I feel like I'm leveling too quickly in Cat as well. I haven't had much time to play, especially with the new recruit a friend diversion, but when I do, I'm leveling pretty quickly, especially considering that I'm still running dailies and taking time to run /timetest, etc.