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.
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.