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WoWApr 19, 2024 10:00 am CT

The hater’s guide to Plunderstorm

Everyone in Plunderstorm is a bad person but you.

When I say bad, I don’t mean “bad” in the sense of drug smugglers or catalytic converter thieves. In life’s moral spectrum, there’s some chance (however distant) of atonement for these people. But in Plunderstorm? No. As you circle the Arathi Highlands, you need to prepare yourself for something much worse. This is an HOA board meeting after Peggy won the election on a campaign to standardize mailboxes. This is a convention of south Florida real estate agents whose most anticipated panel is “Bringing AI to Your Business.”

There’s no evil, inconvenience, or petty malice you can visit on these people that will ever remove them from the legion of the damned. However, Plunderstorm has one crucial difference: You get a free sword and a total lack of legal accountability. Imagine what you could accomplish if that were an option elsewhere.

If this were a serious article about strategy in battle royales, it would be necessary to lean heavily into the kill-or-be-killed trope. Luckily, I’m not serious, and neither are you, so let’s dive into this, the hater’s guide to winning Plunderstorm.

Use the lobby to play mind games

Be encouraging in the pregame. Cheer the people who only need a few more levels for max renown. Shout “Good luck!” as the countdown clock begins. Do what you can to reassure your fellow players that you are a happy, well-adjusted person, and not a vessel of concentrated hate.

If a good person has, by some terrible accident, stumbled into this match, they are more likely to leave you alone. For everyone else, the most you can really hope for is to give them a vague sense of unease over killing you.

Does it work? No.

The bird is a mixed bag

Your entry is on the back of a minimally helpful parrot. It has the handling characteristics of the ’88 Volvo your parents made you learn on because it did zero to 60 in two weeks. Unlike the Volvo, the parrot isn’t immune to terminal velocity. However, it’s difficult to steer once it’s entered a dive, which means you have limited scope to abort once you’ve picked a drop site.

The parrot will one-shot anything it lands on, with the disappointing exception of another player. The best play is to hit at least one non-elite, grab the guaranteed spell, and use that to kill a nearby elite. This will net you two quick spells, a nice chunk of experience, and (crucially) a buffer against early attack. There’s a fine line between being good at Plunderstorm and just being really irritating to kill.

Luck plays an unfortunate role

The map has great, good, and not-so-good places to start. Landing in Hammerfall alone is like being born into a wealthy family with a brace of whippets and a chalet in Gstaad. Landing in Stromgarde with 5+ other players like being born into a family that runs marathons on holidays.

It’s entirely possible that you’ll land behind one or two other players without any hope of grabbing a spell — or really, any hope at all. This is okay. Every life has a beginning and an end. Sometimes the end is quick and dumb.

Cowardice is an acceptable, even laudable choice

Company is never welcome. Any other player should be treated like Peggy coming up the driveway with a clipboard. Because locking the door and turning off the lights isn’t an option here, you need to attack or run. The first is more satisfying: The second is quicker and more effective. You may feel like there’s no dignity in running away, but there’s even less dignity getting into a slapfight with a level two Gnome named Poopsock.

Because PVP isn’t an efficient way to level in the early game, good players will typically spar over nodes but return to farming. Nitwits will chase you halfway across the map, losing irreplaceable leveling time on revenge against an imagined wrong. If you pick up gold piles as you run, it’s possible to level up, turn around, and murder your pursuer. But you are a good person, so you will probably not do this.

(But you could.)

Focus on what matters most: Money

The midgame is a bit like an established, prosperous career: Capital accumulation and boredom in some safe corner of the economy. If your priority is farming with minimal conflict, you can easily clear 700-900 plunder per match just hanging around the edge of the map, farming mobs, and being a distant, unappealing target. If you catch anyone’s eye, try to look poor. Failing that, ducking into the storm for a few seconds is usually enough to shake them.

Dead players are valuable resources

Dead players are always picked clean of plunder, but will leave behind any spells or items that the killer rejected. They’re often the best — and past a certain point, only — source of advancement for your own abilities. Better yet, other players tend to avoid areas with lots of corpses; they already know there won’t be much in the way of mobs or chests there. Still better, they may mistake you for the killer.

Does scavenging someone’s corpse seem morally problematic? It is.

Embrace it. Stare into the abyss until the abyss gets uncomfortable and starts looking for the exit.

The storm is your friend

As Plunderstorm transitions to the endgame, the best way to farm plunder is to go on an old-fashioned killing spree. However, you may object to this on the grounds that it exposes you to unnecessary risk. If an enemy player gets you, you’ll have to live with the knowledge that you’ve contributed to the spread of evil in the world. This is bad.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative option — running into the game’s ever-advancing storm. There’s a visceral satisfaction in denying your essence to the bloodsucking parasites around you. And being able to die on your own terms while retaining use of all accrued capital? Marvelous.

Keep at it

You’re virtually guaranteed to advance at least a little each game, absent the occasional stroke of bad luck. I suggest turning off the ingame sound and cranking some tunes for the grind. From personal experience, My Way on an endless loop is good for a few renown levels at a time.

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