This morning began at 3:00 am for me. The days of getting up at any random old time and staying up for 24 hours straight are way behind me now; even though I napped this afternoon I still feel groggy and terrible. On the other hand, I woke up to a new expansion for WOW and got to crush some dreams, which puts me in a good mood. I was expecting Mists of Pandaria to be a smooth launch since Blizzard had a big beta test and has immense experience and resources available; sadly, it was not as smooth as I would have hoped.
The initial quest series where you fly a helicopter around to begin the quest chain in Pandaria was a gigantic pain in the ass. I got glitched in the same place as hundreds of others when I was trying to bomb the boats and spent a number of minutes only able to view masses of twisting polygons. My guildmates and I figured that since the quests were borked that we could just go and do some dungeons but sadly the second boss of the dungeon was bugged too and we couldn't proceed through the event. It is certainly a bad sign when your players can neither do dungeons nor do quests because both are bugged beyond recovery. Eventually of course we managed to get through the quest bug and get going but it certainly left a sour taste in my mouth that Blizzard couldn't even get a simple introductory quest to function on launch day. If doing this quest wasn't *mandatory* to unlock any other quest in Pandaria it would have been fine but the current questing on rails system means that any bug like cannot be circumvented.
Thankfully I wasn't banking on questing much in the early going. Initially I had been aiming to collect both the Alchemy and Jewelcrafting Realm First achievements solely on the basis of being extremely rich but I decided to go for First Aid too so I could buy overpriced goods of nearly all types at once! I had no collection skills available to me so my only avenue to victory was outbidding everyone else on the server. Thankfully the competition seemed to be pretty much nonexistent and I handily cleaned up Jewelcrafting and First Aid in the first three hours by wandering around the starter zone buying stuff from people. Unfortunately Alchemy requires some high level materials and I couldn't buy them for any price; the Alchemy achievement got snagged before a single stack of high level materials hit the Auction House. I bought stacks of goods ranging in price from 250g / stack to 1500g / stack and ended up dropping about 23,000g in total; I will recover some of that gold by selling gems and potions but the great majority is completely gone of course.
I consider two Realm Firsts to be a great result. I didn't get everything I wanted but I also didn't spend nearly as much money as I feared I would have to; I was preparing to drop 100,000g or more if the bidding got fierce. My guild OGT actually did gangbusters on firsts; we had four people online during the night at launch and scored up five Realm First achievements with everybody getting at least one and we defended our Jewelcrafting and Blacksmithing titles from last expansion. Unfortunately I am not particularly impressed with the questing in Mists so far. The quests are very much like Cataclysm where everything is on rails and you have essentially zero choice in what you do. I want to have more to exploration and levelling than being led around by the nose. Perhaps the later zones are better but I think I will just end up slogging through the forcefed quest system until I get to max level and start having some real fun.