Thursday, August 15, 2019

WoW Classic Is Nearly Here And I Am Not Prepared

In a couple of days my son starts real school for the first time (as opposed to Kindergarten). But more importantly, WoW Classic is released (kidding. My son starting school is of course more momentous. Ahem.).

Considering the first 500 something posts on this blog were pretty much all about WoW and I played it religiously for 8 years between 2005-2013, I'm a bit surprised at myself that I haven't even mentioned anything about WoW Classic yet. I am in this weird in-between state of "extremely hyped" and "not really thinking about it". It's possible to combine the two, especially when you're a mom to two little kids. As long as they're awake I don't really have time or brain power to think about anything other than making sure they're not unhappy. As soon as they're sleeping though… I am usually still to brain fatigued to think about anything except how much rest and sleep I might hope to squeeze out of my way too short "free" time. On occasion however, the reminder that WoW Classic is a thing pops into my head and I am immediately extremely hyped.

Me in 2006.

There is no way to overstate the (overall positive) impact WoW has had on my life. In that sense WoW is by far the best game I have ever played. In that sense also I would say that WoW transcends being "just a game" to me. I won't shy away from calling it just short of a way of life. While it never interfered with my life must-do's (study and work, eat and sleep as it happened), for a non-inconsequential amount of time in my life I played WoW a lot. Both my children exist because of it since I met my SO through it. And as mentioned, the vast majority of that time was very enjoyable.

Of course I had my fair share of drama. There is just no way to spend that much time with such a vast variety of people and not have drama. I also may or may not be considered argumentative and maybe even aggressive at times. I definitely have trouble letting doodoo just slide, even when not letting it slide means conjuring more doodoo.

The reason I stopped playing however was wholly undramatic, maybe that was even partly the main issue. At the time I was expecting my first child and had also started working a lot more. None of those were main contributors, but that coupled with the fact that I had to move server because most people I used to play with had already quit or moved on to other things meant I was feeling quite lonely. WoW, at least to me, is all about the community. It's probably a decent game on its own, but I don't think it's comparable to what you get when you have the whole package. The guildies and whatever crazy stuff that went on in guild chat. The chats you had with the random people you encountered doing quests and dungeons. The scheduled hang-outs with friends to do raids/pvp/quests/dungeons/whacky achievements/farming/you name it. To me the game was a (albeit great) framework for the social aspect. When that aspect was gone, the game part just couldn't fill that hole.

I used to love to experiment with my healing output.

This became even more clear to me when I tried to play for a while in what might have been Warlords of Draenor and I still just felt lonely. Even more so since I played without a guild and no one seemed to talk to anyone anymore anywhere, not in any chats nor any dungeons I did. I didn't have time to invest in raiding so a huge chunk of what motivated me game-wise was gone. I never minded grinding or levelling alts, but that was because I could either talk to people I knew and enjoyed spending time with or knew that it was going to go into end game efforts. Having neither of those motivations left me having not much fun.

But up until I didn't have fun I had so much fun. I don't recall WoW ever feeling like a chore or a slog (there were parts within WoW that weren't 100% fun obviously, but in general). I don't recall logging on to raid and thinking "you know what, I'd rather do something else right now". While I don't long for those days to be back, I live a different life now, I am definitely sentimental about them. There are few days even now when some WoW memory doesn't pop into my head at the most random times. I could be building with Lego with my son and suddenly think about running around in Stranglethorn Vale. I can be playing in the sandbox with my daughter and suddenly think about fighting The Lich King. I'll cook food and think about when that BoE epic dropped in Hinterlands.

Me in 2010.

I've understood every change that Blizzard has decided to make to WoW and I don't recall raging too much about any of them. But the honest truth is that I miss the old world, the way it was before the Cataclysm. I believe the Cataclysm was a necessary change, if not exactly like that then probably something like that. In fact I even think it's a bit of a stroke of genius to think of remaking the old world into something new and fresh. It's just an inevitable fact that as soon as something is gone, people (namely me) will be pining for what has been and remembering it with rose-tinted goggles. People don't want what they want and they don't know what they want. If that statement makes no sense, neither do the wishes of WoW-players since the roll-out of the game.

Personally I found that a lot of things were made a bit too easy and too streamlined. I often opted out of using Heirloom gear, because I didn't want to level my alts too fast. I never used the "instantly max level character"-option because I always found that levelling a class and spec was by far the best way to learn it. But as mentioned, they were just that - optional, so they didn't bother me. Then they started changing things like how the skill tree looked and worked, they removed what I considered key features of certain classes like catching your own pet as a hunter and crafting poisons as a rogue. I understood these changes and maybe, probably, they were necessary. But I wanted to be able to experience things the way they used to be.

Me in 2011.

Just imagine if you could return to some of your happiest memories and relive them? Blizzard has essentially offered me exactly that. That doesn't mean I expect my re-visit to Azeroth to be exactly the same. But just like smelling a certain smell or hearing a certain song can bring you to the brink of being "there again", I expect myself to reinvigorate some of all those amazing memories I've made through that game.

I'm not entirely sure how I want to play WoW Classic. Do I want to recreate myself from 2005? I'm leaning towards not going for that approach, for several reasons. Firstly, it's impossible to entirely go back to what I did in 2005. I simply am not that person anymore and more than 8 years of playing WoW means I can't go back to being someone who is seeing things for the first time. Secondly, I don't want to tread on my old memories. I want them to be intact and untouched. This time, I want it to be what it has to be - an older me revisiting an old playground, both to remember but also to create new memories.

One of my most popular posts was about a floating cat head. The internet just loves cats.

Not too long ago I replayed Pokémon Red, some 20 years after I had first played it. I had the expectation that while I would still enjoy it, some of the QoL changes made to later games would sour the experience to me somewhat. But I was wrong. The game was still fun as hell and nothing about it annoyed me. It is difficult to go backwards in gaming I find, unless you are specifically after those differences. And I think I am when it comes to WoW. I am specifically after gold being damn hard to come by. I am specifically after being forced to talk to people, talk a lot, to get through dungeons and some times even quests. I am specifically after my caster having to drink after every single mob. Farming Souls Shards on my warlock. Farming lockboxes on my rogue. Levelling and feeding my pet on my hunter. Having to pay through my nose every time I need new ranks on my skills. Having to get rage at the beginning of a fight as a warrior tank, and hope people hold off long enough for you to keep aggro. Almost all of the little "annoyances" that I can think of, that they've slowly changed throughout the years of WoW, are things that I am looking forward to doing again.

My first real character in WoW was a holy priest named Zinn, and I stuck to her, keeping her as my main throughout all the years. This time however, I think I am going to go with a warrior tank, as I found that I really enjoy tanking somewhere in the middle of Burning Crusade (though initially it scared the hell out of me). We'll see, I've still got a few days to think it through. But I am definitely extremely hyped. Hope to see you there.


  1. I think that I noticed the more lonely aspect of Warlords, too. We're a big guild in membership, but rarely are there more than five or six people on at a time. But then they did that "Garrisons" thing and that more or less ENFORCED the isolation. It's a good argument against player housing, or at least a good argument against making player housing even remotely interesting, that's for sure.

    Good luck if you go the Warrior route. Warrior was my first ever toon, who I killed off at level 53 out of frustration. I was, I think, Fury, not understanding the dynamics of the class AT ALL. When I "grew up" on my Hunter and started raiding with the guild, I grew to understand and appreciate the role of Tank. And as a result, I am terrified of going there. That's by way of saying, hat's off to you for giving it a go.

    1. Yes exactly. Garrisons were my issue. There was just never any need to communicate with anyone so I didn't. I remember choosing to run around all on my own in silence back in the day, and then it could have quite a nice "walking alone in the forest" kind of feeling. But now instead it just felt empty.

      Hah thanks, I think I am going to need those good lucks. I remember the experience being quite frustrating and extremely stressful until I thought I had gotten the hang of it. I wrote several blog posts about it (of course) and the key take away for me as a tank was that it's about controlling the dungeon group rather than controlling any mobs.

    2. Yep, agreed - this is why I don't feel right running as a tank. I always figure the tank has to know things better than anyone else and keep them under control and I KNOW I don't have that going on :)

  2. I think you have the right idea, and I hope you have fun! :) When I played on private servers for a while, I also found that re-creating my old characters exactly as they were just made me kinda sad because obviously I didn't have my friends from back then to play with me and so on and so forth. But if you veer off to something slightly different (maybe a character similar to an alt you never played all that much, though you liked them) it can be fantastic! I enjoyed my private server pally enough to get her all the way to 60, but I'm way more stoked about actually playing on official servers soon.

    1. I'm almost worried I will have too much fun! The only issue I ever had with my WoW-playing back in the day was that it took up all my gaming time, meaning I didn't spend time playing anything else. I don't want to end up there again, but like I mentioned life is different now so it'll probably be ok.