Rediscovering World of Warcraft

Rockin' Out
This is going to sound completely crazy.  Ready for it?

I had forgotten what ‘fun’ was in WoW.

Yup, really.  Recently, I have become so focused on making the most of my WoW time, prioritizing, and getting stuff done.  WoW became almost like a chore.  Ok, first I gotta go my Ordos and Celestial runs on all my 90.  Next I need to run the LFRs for the legendary quest on my priest and then my druid.  Ok, now I need to level my professions on my druid.  Oops, I forgot to post my auctions, better head out to the AH.  It was tedious, it was time-consuming, and honestly, it wasn’t fun.

I was slowly burning out on WoW.  It’s not that I didn’t want to play, but when I was, I’d spent more time reading or listening to music than actually playing.  WoW became a checklist, a job, and that’s not why I love this game.  Until, everything changed one fateful night.

In order to get my last couple of sigils for my druid, I was running back to back LFR.  I was barely paying attention to the raids (you can heal the older LFRs with your eyes closed it seems), and really would rather be doing something else.  So, I turned to guild chat.

For the next couple of LFRs, I chatted with my guildies.  We talked about absolutely nothing, but it was relaxing.  And at times, funny.  There was no pressure to do anything (it’s not like we were in an instance together or something), and time passed really quickly for me.

I finished with my LFRs, getting my last couple of sigils.  But instead of feeling accomplished or even remotely satisfied, I just felt resigned.  First step down, eighty million to go.  Why was I even doing this again?

Some of the guildies that I had been talking to decided to run a heroic dungeon for giggles and chuckles.  There was no gear or anything I needed from a heroic, so I almost decided to pass (like I usually do).  I needed to get working on the legendary questline, right?

That’s when I stopped.  And thought.  And realized that I was being ridiculous.  I play video games for one reason- to have fun.  Not to get the best gear, not to be the most skilled, but to entertain myself.  And was I really entertaining myself by forcing myself to slog through this legendary questline for the 4th time? Not at all.

So I asked to come along on the dungeon run.  My guildies quickly invited me (I was to be the healer) and we were off.

We zoned into Shado Pan Monastery, us guildies and an unknown tank.  Someone joked in guild chat that we should give the tank a hard time, since we were all from the same guild.  Then, rather out of the blue, the tank announced he was ‘baked’.  And what followed was the craziest, most hilarious heroic I have ever run.

We started off with a bunch of potato jokes (because baked, geddit?) which then turned into hilarious ‘don’t do drugs’ facts (Four out of every three people who do drugs die).  All the while, we were speeding through the dungeon, recklessly pulling packs of adds that we probably could have avoided.  At one point, one of my guildies switched on pack, which started a ‘flame war’ between him and another guildie.  It was crazy and hilarious.

I was really doing nothing as a healer, as everyone out geared the content.  So, I switched to my feral spec, and that’s when things got really insane.  Suddenly, one of our guild members started to die during every trash pull (I’m not sure if this was purposeful or not), and this started another ‘flame war’ about who should be taking the blame.  We were still pulling relatively fast, and our tank was starting to joke around with us guildies.

All of a sudden, we found ourselves at the end of the dungeon.  Instead of me going back to resto, we decided to burn the boss, and pop literally every cooldown we had (some of which were not spell cooldowns, but toy cooldowns too).  The boss’s health plummeted, and then we were done! The heroic was complete, and the run ended!

Everyone said their goodbyes, and we parted ways with the tank (I never did write down his name).  I had to log out, as it was getting late for me.  But even after the run was done, I found myself thinking about it.

The heroic was awesome.  It was totally insane, completely out of control, and absolutely hilarious.  That is why I transferred to this realm to play with this guild.  That is why I came with my guildies that night.  That is why I play WoW.

Recently, I reflected, I had forgotten this.  I became so worried about maxing out my characters, about utilizing my time, about only doing the things in the game that will improve my gear somehow, that WoW had stopped being fun.  I was so intent on the legendary questline, and my ilvl, and my auctions, that I didn’t do anything besides that.  I was so focused on my goals that I didn’t even hang out with my guildies anymore.  WoW had become a job.

But my guildies reminded me what WoW was all about.

I don’t play WoW to have the best gear.  I don’t play WoW as a chore or job.  I don’t play WoW to be the best player.  I play WoW because it is fun.  Because the people playing are fun.  Because the experiences I’ve had, and will continue to have, are fun.  I play WoW to have fun.

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To Beta or not to Beta part 2

world-of-warcraft-warlords-of-draenor-logo-1920x1080
A couple of months ago, Yotaan wrote  an article about whether or not he was going to participate in the WoD beta.  Originally I had agreed with all the points he made, and was not going to try the beta.

Then the beta was actually released.  And I’m having second thoughts.

On one hand, I want to avoid spoilers for story from WoD as much as possible.  I have this bad habit of reading the ends of books before I get to them just to read all the twists, and I don’t want to know the plot twists of WoD.  I try not to look at the new lore, new characters, or new zones too much as well, because I want the experience to be brand new when the game launches.

If I were to join the beta, it would be like me flipping to the back of the book but not reading the plot twists, just the other narrative stuff.  It would be very very hard not to spoil parts of the story for myself.

However, on the other hand I have been eagerly reading up on all the quality of life and mechanic changes.  Things such as the change to banks, reagent stacking, and especially character models interest me incredibly.

So lets say for a second that I’ve gotten into the beta.  My plan would be to test out the new models, and check out how said models have been implemented around Azeroth (not Draenor).  I would test the class changes and provide feedback.  I would write about the changes I experience in this blog. But the one thing I wouldn’t do, is actually go to Draenor.  Is that a good use of beta privileges?  Would that be a waste of testing? And most importantly, would I be spoiling WoD for myself?

This is my current conundrum, and so I turn to you, the readers.  What should I do? Opt into beta and play it, or let someone else use that pass?

 

Addendum: As you can see, we are back!  We should be updating the blog regularly now, so about 1-2 posts a week.  Also, you may notice some slight changes in the appearance of the blog.  What do you all think?

Rose Colored Reality

Fussypants on Mine Roof

Oldest screenshot I have (read: not that old)

Alright, raise your hand if you have joined into that LFG group where everyone is reminiscing about the ‘good ole days’ of WoW.  Raise your hand if you have started such conversations yourself before.  The runs where things such as vanilla shaman, talent trees, and BC raiding are spoken about with reverence.  This, my good friends, is called nostalgia.

With the approaching of the Warlords expansion, it seems nostalgia has become more prevalent.  Perhaps this is because WoD is made with the intent to remind players of the days of Burning Crusade.  Or perhaps this is because players are bored with nothing better to do.  Either way, we at Growing up in Azeroth have seen an increase in nostalgic conversations in the WoW community.

Fussypants – I’ve been running a ton of instances of both PvE and PvP at many different levels. I’ve been reading a variety of WoW related sites on the Internet.  And I have been talking with a bunch of other WoW players. Throughout all of this interaction, I have witnessed a ton of nostalgia in the Warcraft community.  Most of the times, it’s just a simple little ‘remember how this was in Wrath?’ but sometimes it’s an active ripping on the game as it currently is.

And I don’t get it.

By all accounts, I should be one of the more nostalgic players out there.  I started WoW in BC, the so-called ‘golden age’ of WoW.  I’ve played through all the changes and iterations of the game.  I grew up in this game, for heaven’s sake!  But I’m really, really not nostalgic.

The explanation I have in my head for this is I was pretty little when I started playing (all things being relative).  I frankly don’t remember much of what the game was like in BC and Wrath. But what I do remember wasn’t all that amazing.

I remember having to constantly buy arrows for my hunter.  I remember having engineering, and crafting over 200 bullets only to have to destroy them because I couldn’t sell or use them.  I remember melee as a hunter because I didn’t have the food to feed my pet and I was broke so I couldn’t buy arrows.  I remember the first time I got 1g, which was around level fifteen.  I remember spending hours to try to find where I needed to go for one quest.

The ‘golden old days’ weren’t all that golden.  For a noob such as me, they were downright painful.  Some of my favorite parts of the game from that time, fishing (I was little, ok??), creating and naming a character, and actually exploring the world haven’t changed at all.  But the parts that made the game frustrating have been streamlined or removed completely.  The game in infinitely better than it was back then.

The thing people really miss is being a noob to the game.  When even common things seemed cool, and when the entire world was new and unexplored.

But what’s ridiculous about that, is that when the game is changed making it new all over again, the players freak out.  ‘These changes are ruining the game! I miss how it was before!’ No, no you don’t.  Because you complained about those things when they were reality.  No one still wants to wait till level 40 and a crud-ton of gold for a basic mount.  No one wants to spam trade chat for hours, trying to get a group together to run dungeons.  It was only fun then because it was new.

And once it wasn’t new, it got annoying and tedious.  So it was changed, but the players wanted it back.  In my mind, nostalgia is a wicked catch 22.  Players want to be a noob again, but when their game is changed (thus making parts of it new again), they want it back the original way.  Never mind that the changes could make them a noob again for a short while. You can’t want the game to be entirely new all the time without changing it.  It’s impossible!

Maybe I’m missing the point.  Maybe, because I can’t remember much of my early years of WoW playing, I’m not getting this whole nostalgia thing.  Feel free to tell me if this is the case.  But I truly believe that the game is better now than it has ever been before, and that ultimately the game needs to continue radically changing.

Yotaan – I find it hard to argue with Fussypants.  Unlike her, I do have lots of good memories of earlier expansions.  It was tough to get groups together and you were limited to one spec back in BC.  I really remember an instance in Tanaris that was a lot of fun.  It was one of the troll ones that was outdoors.  After looking in chat for a healer and a tank without success and ending up with 5 DPS,we decided to go for it. So I healed as elemental and a enhancement shaman tanked!  The run great even though we didn’t even finish.  I don’t even think anyone got any decent loot.

But good memories are not nostalgic, they are just fond remembrances.  Just because that was a great run does not mean that we should go back to those times.  They were not “better days.”  In fact, I can tell you more stories of not having fun and frustrating gaming.

We must remember that change is inevitable, and only the foolish want things to stay the same. I say enjoy your memories of fun times, embrace the now, and expect it to be all different down the road.

First Real (I’m for Realz this time) Raid

Before I start this article, I owe you guys the readers an explanation.  Yotaan and I had kind of dropped off of the face of the Earth for the past couple weeks without any warning.  Unfortunately, our internet died for about a week (it was horrible! I had to go… outside….), and the week after that I went away to a camp and was unable to publish anything.  But don’t worry, we aren’t going to stop writing if we can help it.

This being said, we will be taking a quick break next week, as I will be going to another camp.  After that, we should be business as usual.  We thank you for reading, and hope you enjoy!

Ha! I actually got a screenshot from the actual raid!

Ha! I actually got a screenshot from the actual raid!

Ok, ok, I know.  I’ve run two other articles on this, all claiming to be my first real raiding experience.  But this time it’s for reals!  I have official joined a raid group with vent, and set times, and dedicated roles and EVERYTHING!  And I swear, I’ll stop using this title!

As many of you have probably figured out, I have always wanted to raid.  Actual raiding, not an occasional pickup group, or LFR til the end of times.  But due to timezone issues, lack of experience, and an unpredictable life schedule, I have never been able to get onto a raid group.  So, I turned to the twitters.

There is a guild on the twitters called Awkward Moments Guild that would host flex raids, and anyone was invited.  I was able to join a few, but because of the time, I wasn’t able to make many of the flexes.  Some time later, the guild decided to create another raid team, and opened invitations to anyone on the twitters.  I was intrigued.  The times worked for me, I knew the guild to be friendly, and I had a moderately geared horde priest.  So, I signed up.

Thus Team Third Wheel was born, and I became a member.  Our first raids were last Friday and Saturday, making those raid my official first real real REAL raids!  We ran flex up to Dark Shaman on Friday, and Normal Dark Shaman to Spoils on Saturday.

Organized raiding was everything I thought it would be, and at the same time incredibly different.

For starters, I totally pegged the friendly atmosphere with undertones of ‘lets-get-this-done’.  The jovial banter was enjoyable and funny, but we could quickly pull together to get stuff done.  I could tell that I was in a group with legitimately friendly and real people.  We all wanted to be there, and get the bosses, but there was no elitist jerk attitude.

However, the thing I totally did not guess was how successful we would be.  I thought that it would take us about as long as an LFR to get through the bosses.  It was the first time we had ever raided together, and I didn’t expect to get far.  But boy, was I wrong! We knocked out the first wing of flex in under an hour (fastest I have ever run it) and moved on to the second wing.  Then, on running normals (with a slightly different roster) we still knocked the bosses out incredibly fast.

Another thing I did not really think out fully was vent.  I sort of had this idea that people would just chat on vent and stuff, but in reality our vent was almost completely silent.  Most of the conversation went on in-game chat, with only raid leaders speaking.

This also brings me to another point I didn’t expect.  I am terrified of talking on vent.  I don’t know why, but I’m just really scared that I’ll do it wrong, or people will be annoyed with me, or people will make fun of my somewhat youthful voice.  It’s completely illogical, but man!  I don’t know if I will ever talk!

I am one of three healers for our group,  and I have to say, I’m not nearly as bad as I thought I would be.  I’m holding my own against the other healers,  even with lacking flex/normal experience.  My gear is not the best, and I’m missing some enchants (darn you expensive AH prices!), but I think I’m doing pretty good!  I was vaguely worried about being the weak link, but all of our healers are strong together.

To make a long story short, I’m absolutely stoked about this.  I’ve finally joined a real raiding group with people dedicated and friendly people.  We are getting bosses down and working really well as a brand new team!  I’m finally getting to do what I’ve wanted to do since Mists dropped.  I’m finally able to RAID!

(Yotaan is still terrified of raiding though! 😛 )

Addendum: Team Third Wheel is still recruiting!  If you are a horde side dps or tank who can raid Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 to 10 CST, we’d love to have you!  Contact @Kmbrei to sign up or for more details.  And yes, we do cross server raid (that’s what I do!)