You dive into the clear, cool water and paddle around a bit, getting your bearings. But all of a sudden you’re surrounded by terrible creatures! They pummel and bite you, and then this message pops up – “You are defeated. Revive at a waypoint.”
This was my experience the first few times I tried underwater combat. Needless to say, it takes some getting used to. You have to be more aware when you’re in the water, because not only are there monsters on all four sides of you, they’re also above and below you. Monitoring your elevation is key, because it could be the difference between you swimming away victoriously or floating along looking like you decided to take a nap in the middle of a lake. I can’t tell you how many times I was happily dog paddling, and then ended up dead because two krait planned a surprise party for me.
Over-aggroing can mean death in any aspect of the game, but it’s especially evident underwater. With a pet, it’s even harder not to over-aggro. More often than not I found myself inching forward, only fighting what I had to in order to reach whatever my current goal was. And nine times out of ten I found myself staying away from any body of water bigger than a fish pond, just to avoid the unpleasantness of the combat. But in order to bring to you the joys and woes from the deep, I sucked it up and dove in.
There wasn’t much water in my starting area (Queensdale), so I had to wander into Kessex Hills before I could really get a taste of underwater gameplay. In Viathan Lake, I found my beloved shark, and my spirits were lifted for a time. Well, until I got mobbed by krait for the umpteenth time. I seem to have developed a personal vendetta against those foul creatures, and was therefore pleasantly surprised to find an event where I could seek revenge – the krait broodmother. Thankfully by the time I got around to it they had already fixed the bug, so the group didn’t have to stay up near the roof of the cave trying to kill her. However, it was still difficult, especially with her babies attacking us with unbridled fury, probably for disturbing their nap time. The lake also had some hidden gems, including the underwater tunnel to get to the Tagotl Grounds.
Gendarran Fields had a bigger playground, with two lakes and a river. There were many events, resources, and challenges to face, and there’s another absolutely beautiful tunnel leading from Lake Gendarr to Witherflank River, not to mention the quaggan. I’m sure many of you share my feelings on this one. There are no words to describe how adorable the quaggan are, and the only way you could normally get me in the water was to help out those poor little creatures.
But the mother of all bodies of water that I’ve come across (so far) is Bloodtide Coast. Roughly 75% of the zone is water, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. The scenery is beautiful, and the enemies are very diverse. An underwater Inquest lab? Sure, why not. Undead? Pirates? Come at me, bro. From throwing frog pheromones at poachers (which is way more difficult than it sounds) to teaching quaggan how to raise crabs (there’s not enough aww’s in the world for this one), Bloodtide Coast proved to be one of my favorite zones, not just for underwater play, but as a whole.
At the end of it all, I don’t despise underwater gameplay anymore. In fact, I’m even starting to like it. I’m learning to maneuver better, and fight smarter. And while I still tend to over-aggro (I blame this entirely on my pet, I’m completely innocent in this matter), it’s more manageable. I no longer find myself taking a detour just to avoid going in the water, and that’s a good thing. I would have hated to miss all of the wonderful sights, events, and exciting combat this other world has to offer. And yes, I wouldn’t even want to miss those terrible krait.