Friday, November 26, 2010

Shattered thoughts on the Shattering

Dwism did a brief post, linking to a Calvin & Hobbs cartoon, which also nails my current feelings for WoW.

It's as if I've woken up one morning and now I'm looking out at the world with an unbroken coat of recently fallen snow. (Actually I am in real life as well; winter came early to Sweden this year.) It's a clean start, full of possibilities.

I probably look most of all like an overenergized puppy, running around in circles, back and forward, too happy and excited to settle for a certain activity. I want it all - now, at the same time!

My reaction is actually somewhat expected. As far back as in May 2008, I did some test of gamer personalities and came to the conclusion that I was an ESAK, 73,33 percent Explorer, an average Socializer and Achiever but only 13.33 percent Killer. No wonder I've felt a bit imprisoned after spending one year in Icecrown citadel, alternated with jumping in and out of various portals in Dalaran.

It's such a freaking good feeling to let out the explorer in me!

The sheer joy I feel is only shaded by the fact that it's "this time of the year" when my game time is about as abundant as my wallet will be after Christmas. The timing for this patch and expansion is simply horrible, but I talk to myself with my wisest, most parental voice, saying that the game isn't going anywhere and that there will be plenty of time for me to explore every corner of the new old world.

A changed world
I can't quite settle for what's best about Azeroth post Shattering.

Take all those brand new quests for instance. I've never been that much into questing and I've got some big parts of Northrend only half done. But just bringing up a gnome priest a few levels in the new starting area raised my appetite and I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up making an army of alts for the first time ever, just for the fun of it.

I also love all those details, the changes to the world - small as big. It was a bit of a pain not to be in the beta; especially since everyone else seemed to be there. But I resisted the impulse to watch TB:s videos, regardless of their quality And now it's harvest time for me! I'm having a blast as I'm riding around, picking up new flight paths and just taking in everything I see.

Sometimes the changes are subtle and I'm not entirely sure of what it is. "Hm... something's different about this inn. The fireplace, isn't it? And the music isn't exactly the same?" It's like one of those "find five errors games" where you compare two pictures and are supposed to find what's been changed from one to the other. Other times it's pretty obvious what has changed, like that huge chasm suddenly appearing in Westfall, cyclones roaming about.

But what I think I love most is the general freshness of the world. It's the same feeling as after a summer rain, the ground and the air cleaned from dust. Suddenly the colors are vibrant, the grass is emerald green, the pavement in Stormwind is shining, the trees have come alive and there's a depth and intensity to the world that wasn't there before. I can almost sense the after-rain smell in my nostrils.

My jaws dropped a little the first night after the shattering as I noticed the announcements in the trade chat. "LFM ICC, link ach for first 4 bosses or no invite".

"Are you serious?" I thought. We've been stuck in that freaking castle for a year and now there's a shiny new world and thousands of quests and this is what you want to do?

But on second thought, why should I blame them and what do I know? They might have been in the Beta for months and just don't care? Or maybe they've returned after a long hiatus and want to catch up on some bosses before it's too late and literally no one will care about ICC?
Or maybe they just don't give a damn about the world at any time, because they're only in the game for the raids, period. They surely have their reasons, and they're just as entitled to their way of playing the game as anyone else - even if it looks a bit mind boggling through the eyes of an enthusiastic explorer like me.

Returning players
In the spirit of the season I suggest that we also show some tolerance and acceptance all those bitter ex-WoW players who reluctantly are returning to the game. I find them slightly amusing as they stress that they're only here temporarily for a month or two at the most and that they no doubt will be bored out of their mind after that, since WoW sucks so badly. They have NOT changed their mind about WoW, but it's just expected that they want to have a look at the revamped world, right?

I'm not sure what it reminds me most of. Is it a "no, I'm not a real smoker; I just do it at parties?" Or is it the teenager who makes very clear that she's too old to see THAT childish TV-series, but yet somehow hangs around to see it "since you're forcing me"? Or is it the guy who buys Playboy, "just because of this article you see, I don't read that kind of crappy magazines"?

Anyway - regardless of their motives - be nice to them! If anything they deserve our pity, forever locked out from the wonderland as they are.

And this will end the Friday night post for this week. For being a shattered world Azeroth looks pretty awesome right now. The first half of the expansion has been released and here's to the hope that the second half of it will be just as good.



azerothapple said...

Hah, I already had an army of alts, but it gained five new members as I rolled new toons to explore the various stories - I'm a huge fan of Questing, you see, and it had frustrated me that I got so used to the old world questing (at least at lower levels, since most of my alts are level 20 or under, lol) that it wasn't interesting.

This gives me a chance to push some alts out of that range while I'm enjoying the changes. :) And c'mon, ALL THE NEW STORIES! :D

Klepsacovic said...

Maybe the ICC people had returned for the Shattering, thinking this was the new talent patch, so they want to try out all the new stuff on their mains. Or they really, really are not leveling types: zero explorer.

sam said...

explorer has nothing to do with leveling.

If you know where everthing is it's not exploring. WOWHEAD AND all the other online databases killed the game for explorer only types long ago.

KiwiRed said...

@sam that's not necessarily the case, especially now. While it was true for some of us in the old-world azeroth (where some of us didn't really come into our explorer personas until after we'd been through the treadmill once, as was certainly the case with me), this azeroth is all new (and with the multiple threads, has the potential to remain new for two or three new characters).

I'm leveling a gnome priest, and while I did look up the general questing flow post-shattering, the changes in each zone are mostly new to me (thanks to some successful efforts to avoid the worst of the spoilers. And sure exploring doesn't necessarily require a new character, but for me doing it while it's level-appropriate does add something to the experience.

Gevlon said...

Have you noticed the Gilneas-related worgen appeared everywhere as quest-givers? During exploring I did their quests and already friendly with Gilneas, despite the faction is officially not even here.

You can also go to Gilneas peninsula, there are no NPCs there yet, but the scenery is there!

SolidState said...

"the pavement in Stormwind is shining"

@Larisa, that's not a feeling you're having, the SW pavement really *was* changed, and much for the better. I'm getting a real kick out of riding around SW and seeing how beautiful everything looks now. The grass is now covering the entire mage quarter and it really is greener! :)

@Gevlon, you can also buy the Gilneas tabard from the faction vendor in Darnassus. This currently awards Gilneas rep from doing WotLK heroics - my priest is already up to friendly that way.

35yards said...

@Larísa: Then there are the returning players who never reached 80 and still have a wealth of catching up to do in Northrend. If I return, I don't think I will be getting Cataclysm until I catch up on what I missed.

@Sam: Using sites such as Wowhead is a matter of choice. When WotLK first came out, I elected to forgo using it (with the exception of searching for items or checking bugs) so that I would have a more rewarding time questing. It definitely improved my gaming experience.

Imak said...

On the other hand, we're going to leave the castle (I don't consider it damned, I never had more fun in WoW outside of ICC raiding with my guild) in 10 days forever but the quests are staying here for years. :-)
I never realized I was an achiever too until I started raiding - I understand that other people have different opinions but the progression on most of the ICC bosses has been quite challenging and quite fun for me.

Snail said...

I have been in a near constant state of SQUEE since Tuesday afternoon. I've added 3 alts to my growing roster, and I am loving every second it.

Having assiduously avoided spoilers for months, I am overjoyed in discovering the changes and new additions to Azeroth. For the first time I am completing avoiding Wowheading anything.

I am completely and totally in love with WoW all over again.

Gevlon said...

Also check CoT entrance. The dragons that were once a gank target for bored players, are now friendly and flying around.

Larísa said...

: I'm afraid I'm likely to leave my army in the dust as soon as Cataclysm goes live and I can level my main. But they're not going anywhere. I've always enjoyed starter zone playing and now it's ten times better than before, so I won't skip this, only postpone it a bit.

: Yeah. Zero explorer I think. Or already explored it on the beta. Whatever. It's just a bit strange to me. It's as if you have an entire table filled with fresh delicious food, but you're heading straight for the one single bowl with the heated leftovers from last week.

@Sam: It's not mandatory to look deeply into those and besides my memory is like a sift, nothing sticks. So exploring is very much possible for me at least.

@Kiwired: Oh yes, doing it at level definitely adds something. I went to Gnomeregan with my main first, curious to see what it looked like after the conquering, but I couldn't really grasp what it was like. Then I rolled a gnome priest and that was an entirely different experience.

@Gevlon: Nope, I haven't noticed that. I've bought a tabard though and since I ran through the revamped Gnomeregan and Deadmines wearing it, I've already started to gather some rep.
Also, I need to go to Gilneas! And the entrance of GoT! My exploration has only begun.

: You get rep also for low lvl dungeons. And indeed it's shiny. Well apart from the ruins of the park then.

: wohoo, it's been a while. Welcome back to the blogosphere :)

@Imak: Raiding and progressing with your guild is indeed fun, but is a pug with "whisper ach for first four bosses or no inivte" that much of fun?

@Snail: And with all the built-in helps there really isn't any need to go to Wowhead, is there? You're pointed in the right direction and the hubs work logically, knitting quests to each other. All you need to do is follow one of the roads that the game suggests you to do. Which in one way could be considered "dumbing down" but in another way still is better than alt-tabbing out and checking external resources. You get a much more fluent experience this way.

nugget said...

Hee. I *might* be one of those returning people.

Friend is trying to talk me into just looking around at the new place, or rather, 'NUGGEEEEEEEEEEEET! COME PWAY WIF US! NEW SHINEHS! COOOOOOOOOOME!'

So now, I'm kinda torn.

On the one hand there's this:
Do I really want to go back to a materialistic gear-based system with endgame pve raiding and nonstop grind that forces me to depend on others, rather than solely my own skill? Do I want to go back to a game where the real skills that are being fostered aren't based on individual excellence, but rather the ability to follow orders in a herdlike manner? Do I want to go back to a place that cares so little about my time that everytime I want to go somewhere I have to go afk while my character sits motionless on something?In addition, do I want to go back to a system that presses my rat-pellet lever tendencies all too well, despite all I said above?

Do I really?

...and on the other hand, the thought of playing with the gang is very tempting, even if it only is for a month.

So... it's not so much that folks are trying to be snooty, I think, so much as well - they're going through what a nugget is going through.

I have 2 more days to decide if I want to play with the guys enough, even if just for a month, to try it out. -_-

tankforlife said...

I am so glad that I shared how I feel about the New Azeroth using that C+H comic strip. It nails a lot of people's current feelings about WoW.

I am a regular redditor you see, and seeing how the strip influenced me to post it on reddit and how that influenced Dwism to link on his blog and how that influenced you Larissa to write this blog entry, and now that I sit here reading a blog entry that I took part in insipiring, the circle closes.

I love the internet.

Larísa said...

@Nugget: well at least you're not pretending you're not a WoW player... What becomes a little silly is the somewhat von-Oben attitude I see occasionally.

: I'm a huge C&H fan myself and have every album there is as far as I know. There's just one little nagging thought I have in this: copyright. I actually don't think it's OK to publish strips like that without the permission of the creator. And if I remember it correctly he cares about this stuff and is not all that pleased when his work is used as if it was a free resource.

Oh well...this said it's a lovely strip and I recommend everyone to buy those comic albums for real money. It's worth it and they'll never grow old.

Dwism said...

: I just want to thank you for reminding me of that wonderful comic!

tankforlife said...

Larisa to answer that copyright concern: the same thing occured to me and it was because of this very issue that I used (which returns *plenty* other copies of it on the internet) to find the strip posted on imgur (the image sharing host 99% of reddit uses) 8 months ago. I figured if it was up for this long with 165K views there was no real harm in using the already-existing link.

Ale said...

I am on Moon Guard and after the last patch, it went form no queue to a queue of over 800 in the evenings.

There is so much to do with the changed content but have just spent the last week exploring the altered areas and working on getting the singing sunflower and withers pets.

Mark said...

Great post! I too am enjoying it a lot. Actually its a lot more fun with a lowbie, my level 80's are still running around argent crusade and hanging out in dal.

I picked up an old level 42 I had and wandered over to thousand needles and did a bunch of quests floating above the old raceway.. it was an absolute blast!

Mirdini said...


Gilneas as it is currently is a Horde (Forsaken, really) questing zone - pretty cool stuff goes down around there.

Gronthe said...

I am loving all the new stories and the improved questing as well. Not having to run back to the questgiver half a zone away after every quest completion is great. The quest flow is fantastic, imo, the stories follow a course I can follow with my limited brain power too.

And yes, Stormwind is beautiful, much improved. All the trees are older, greener, fuller and mature. And I don't know who said it, but the city tabards grant XP in ANY dungeon, not just wotlk or heroic, just in case anyone cares.

So many things to see, I'm about 11% done, according to my calculations. Soooooo much more to see and do.