Saturday, July 16, 2011

You no take key!

I remember back when 4.1 was released, sifting through the general whine thoughts regarding nerfs and buffs that had been made and what the new za/zg instances would bring, a lot of concern was vented regarding the fact that they decided to implement the Bear-run mount reward in the revamped version of ZA. It ranged between the bear-huggers who didn't want to see people run around with this fake-bear, to people who thought it was their turn to have a shot at a cool bear mount. And eventhough the raid version was more difficult to get, the current version actually requires a pretty good setup and skills to get. It's not like you can just waltz in there and grab it, like some people feared. I remember our guild really struggled to get that mount, but we usually got our asses handed to us by those pesty scouts before the official third boss, quite like nowadays actually. I wasn't lucky enough to get one, and I was quite awed at those who had it. Envious? Not sure. My guild wasn't good enough obviously, and whoever had got it must have busted their asses off and definitely deserved it. So when it was announced that they'd re-implement it, in a version that basically looked the same but with a slightly more pinkish hue (making the original look better imo) I decided to stand inbetween these two stand points.

On the one hand I thought that the bear mount was a relic, a thing of the past and whoever had it should consider themselves lucky.  I don't necessarily think everything in the game has to be available to everyone at some point. I think this game needs some exclusivity. I think the dude with the Scarab Lord title is the coolest guy around, but that doesn't mean I think I should have a chance to get that title. If everyone had a shot at it, it wouldn't be as cool. Even if it means I can't be that cool, so be it. On the other hand I do understand, and to some point agree, that you should make "old" stuff accessible to new people. And so many things still are without it being a problem. Anyone who likes can go and build their own Thunderfury with some patience (and luck). It's still cool. It might not be as cool as back in Vanilla, but not far from. It still stands for dedication and hard work. I'd argue that some items are cooler to get now than when they were current, like Val'anyr or Shadowmourne. Imagine what you have to do to get the mats and kills for Shadowmourne without a raid group backing you up? That's not even possible right now. Getting these things now doesn't tarnish the glow of the item or those who managed to get it when it was current eventhough it's the exact same item.

Why is the bear mount such forbidden grounds? One reason I can see to it is that the bear mount is a lot more visible than say, a legendary weapon. It might hold more bragging possibilities, that would vanish when everyone can sport a bear mount (although they don't look exactly the same and I personally think they're quite easy to tell apart). But to a bigger part, I think, it's because the bear mount was made unaccessible for a long period of time. All through Wrath, having the Bear Mount meant the equivalent of saying "I was there", pretty much like having an old pvp-title or tier 3. Because you've been able to get Thunderfury all through Vanilla, BC, Wrath and now Cataclysm, it has never been part of those items that mostly symbolized some sort of "veteran" status. Having these veteran items was the same as being able to say "I saw [insert random no longer living artist here] live" as many parents do or like my mom said "I saw Star Wars when it was first released, before it was remastered". Young me became awed and envious and thought she was totally cool. There is just something special about being able to say, or show, that you were there. That's why we take pictures of ourselves with celebrities or cool stuff, to prove we were there and to remember what it was like to experience it. Re-implementing a revamped version does tarnish some of that memory and worst of all, removes the possibility to brag about having been there when it was current. I myself usually run around with my Senior Sergeant title, not because it's a cool title (because it aint) but because it shows everyone that my char has been around for some time. And it matters to me, for some reason. Deep inside we're all small hipsters who want to be able to tell people that we had it when it was still underground/current/cool.

But it's not just about bragging. We care equally much about the stuff no one else can see, like special quest items and the thing that have made many people sad in 4.2 - the keys. Eventhough you might never have opened that key chain and looked at your keys, you knew they were there. They meant something to you, they were your photo album over all the time you spent collecting them and everything around it. Those keys usually stood for hard work and loads of memories are attached to them. Eventhough I never was a key collector myself, I actually felt a sting in my heart when I read that they were going to remove so many of them. I felt an equal sting in my heart when they said that they were going to revamp the za/zg instances, but figured that those revamps could just as easily be seen as a homage of the old instances, which I've already written about. But items often mean more to us since they're personal. They're keep sakes and bragging rights at once and we need them. This game has been around for 6 years now and many of us have been around just as long. That's a big chunk of our lives that I've spent more hours than I'd like to count with. I'll gladly admit that I am proud of having been around that long, and eventhough I don't think that necessarily makes me a better player than a Wrath-baby it makes me feel special to be able to say that I was around when enhancement shamans weren't a viable raid spec (along with a tons of other specs), when any class that could heal only healed and when warriors were meant to tank. That I fought that boss when it was still difficult, that I managed to get epics when that was still epic and that I got the bear mount the first time around (although in my case, that isn't true). We don't even have achievements to help us remember all the cool stuff we did back in Vanilla, to many of us keys, and things like them, are all that we have left (and I've kept my Benediction/Anathema of course).

Now that they've removed the key chain, I need some other bag to keep my useless most important stuff. I know they removed the key chain to save up space, and I have no idea what they intend to do with this precious space, but what could be more needed than some sort of scrap book where I can keep things, perhaps with a little note and attached screenshot of the place I got it. Or would that make WoW too much like real life?


  1. I am one of those wish there were more exclusive things to get but then again I also realize I would often not be able to get them since my raiding team and I just aren't at that heroic level that usually is required for such exclusive things.

    But then I thought to myself, what did we gain in WotLK (my first expansion) that remains exclusive to those who earned it at the time?

    - Naxxramas Black/Plagued Proto-Drakes (from the meta achievement before Ulduar patch).
    - Herald of the Titans title (from deefating Algalon in appropriate ilvl gear in 10-man Ulduar)
    - Then there are several feat of strengths from achievements that ended up being unobtainable in Cataclysm. Such as for those who did "The Insane" there's the extra feat of strength for getting exalted with Shen'dralar which is now unobtainable. Or the Trial of the Crusader Insanity runs. Neither of these have any title or other way of being displayed though which makes them kind of lackluster.

    There are probably more examples but I can't think of any atm. My point is, there were still some of these exclusive "I was there"-rewards in the game during WotLK and we might see some again. At least I hope we do! :)

    Also, I'd really love it if they changed the achievement panel so it displays what I want to display rather than just recently earned (Starcraft 2 style). So that I could show off all these exclusive feats I have ;)

    P.S: I see you've taken me off the blogroll - which is fair. I've gotten far too lazy recently with it and I shall blame my heltidsjobb for this. :D


  2. I ran ZA with two guildies and two puggers yesterday, was the only person who didn't have the Bear-ly achievement yet when we started, and won the bear at the end. >.> I wonder if it's going to end up like the Bronze Drake from heroic Culling of Stratholme, which pretty much everyone got once people started to overgear the place.

    And yet... it was still an exciting experience. I might write about it at some point.

    Also, you do realise that Senior Sergeant lost its veteran status some time ago, right? Anyone can get that title from doing rated battlegrounds now.

  3. @Gav
    yeah fortunately there will always be some exclusive items left out there, and I think that is good!
    Damn the heltidsjobb ;) You're welcome back on my blogroll as soon as you find some time to write them nice posts you used to! Not that I don't enjoy your blog still, it's in my reader and I read every post (I admit I read the hunter updates a little less thoroughly though ;))

    With better and better gear it wouldn't surprise me at all if the bear became the new Bronze Drake. I don't think it's that easy to get yet, but it probably soon will be.

    I had read that they would implement the old titles, some time long ago. It had slipped my mind to be honest, but it's the perfect example of something I cherished as veteran, but alas. I will have to run around with my Anathema/Benediction instead then.