Sunday's Tournament Test Realm stress test was, in my opinion, a huge success. Despite the lag, the occasional crash or kick, and a one-hour maintenance downtime, the server held up quite well considering just how many people were bombing around on it. After maintenance, the lag improved quite a bit, and I'm guessing that Blizzard learned a fair amount that will help them to design the arena tournament realm.
Of course, interaction with the GMs, fighting spawned bosses dropping orange epics, being polymorphed into all sorts of things, receiving rare mounts, and reading through /general, /say, and /yell, not to mention tells, were the real highlights from yesterday. While Alex has already given a fairly detailed account of our adventures, I have some stories of my own to tell.
If you kept up with us on Sunday via our live blogging coverage, you'll know by now that I had some issues with screenshots. During server downtime, I realized they were not saving. I could have /cried, but I couldn't log in to do it. Long story short, I recovered them after everything wrapped up, so I do indeed have visuals of my exploits away from the guys.
We logged in around 2:00 p.m. EST, an hour before everything was supposed to begin. Alex was running around trying to gear and enchant his warrior, while Adam and I had done that ahead of time. I don't envy him either, because the "that object is busy" messages were almost impossible to get through at that point.
As you are allowed three characters on the test realm, I was logged in with my holy paladin, under the incognito name of Vehn, rather than my affliction warlock, which I hadn't gotten geared, named Insidermanda. Unfortunately, I might have been too undercover, because few people recognized me.
At any rate, with nothing to do, I hopped on over to Undercity using the teleportation goblin, and marveled at its complete and utter emptiness. Despite the darkness and the pouring rain, the landscape was eerily beautiful, and I couldn't resist taking some shots.
Seeing no one, I decided to head for the undead starter area of Deathknell. Just as I arrived, GMs started to spawn. Hordus, Hortus' giant chicken Horde alt appeared, along with Captiva, Pinkberry, Vaneck and Timbal. There was a sweet twenty minutes before it felt like half the server figured out where we were!
Then there was a female blood elf character named Ysondre. All of a sudden, Ysondre was riding a [Swift Spectral Tiger], and was larger, although not as large as the GMs. This of course started a begging frenzy. Mojo popped up (possibly Ysondre's), and even Dealer Rashaad was there. I tried to purchase one of his exotic pets, but the objects were impossibly busy. He should show up to more events; I bet he pulled in more cash than he does in a year working at the Stormspire!
Another character was given a [Swift Zulian Tiger], and the crowd went wild. Unfortunately, Hordus didn't give me anything, but he did start spawning bosses. First was Lord Kazzak, and then came "The Foot", or as most people call him, Doomwalker. There was also a handful of less interesting bosses, and indeed, orange loot was dropping.
Then the server crashed. I noticed that my group fancied itself the cause; spawn a boss, down it, and down goes the whole server. It was kind of funny, until the notification that it would be approximately an hour. Then, the swearing and token threats to quit WoW for good began. When the realms came back up, Hordus was more than slightly deflated.
Soon after, the team reunited for some arena battles. Our adventures with three trees was my favorite, mostly because of our chat going over Vent. Every strategy we tried was fruitless, although the same could be said for them. Really, both teams excelled at staying at near full health. When the server crashed, that settled our little debate as to how to get out of the darned thing.
Eventually, we went and milled around in Orgrimmar, as Sarasota turned people into chickens and gnomes, spawned a load of Hoggers and troggs, and handed out some more mounts. Adam tried to trade a GM his pants, and ended up with an [Amani War Bear].
We never did get to play against Nethaera's arena team, "Blue Team Go", mostly because of how busy everything was. We ended up just outside of Sen'jin, watching Clearwater shift into different forms, throw people through the air, and generally have fun with the crowd. Adam and Alex decided to port over to Everglade, but I stayed in case Clearwater was going to do anything we'd miss.
I ended up with my own spectral tiger mount, after Clearwater tried to get several hundred players into an organized line, promising that if we managed it, we'd all get mounts. I'd like to extend my thanks to Clearwater, and express my disappointment at the lack of a screenshot of that lineup (I thought they weren't saving at this point). It was somewhat surreal.
Just as I was about to head over to hang with Adam and Alex, who were chatting with Nethaera (I'm so disappointed I didn't get to chat with her), I was teleported to... Dalaran? Over Vent, the boys went wild. Then I realized we were standing next to Englewood, for a private encounter. After some screenies and a chorus of "thank-yous" he yelled, "Now be gone!" and threw us through the air in all directions. I died, but it was worth it.
After posing for one last shot of the team, we parted ways, and wrapped up the coverage. To quote Alex, "I really just wanted to talk about how cool Blizzard was throughout this thing." Also, I would like to suggest that I be hired as a GM.
Stay tuned for more stories, opinions and analysis, as well as TTR news. Also, don't forget to check out our awesome gallery, as we haven't finished putting everything up yet!