Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It’s time to shake the kaleidoscope

Even Larísa has had her share of the expansion blues. I’ve been struggling for a while to handle the fact that the game is about to change, no matter what I think about it or what I do.

For a long time I simply denied what was about to happen. I refused to admit that the game as I knew it was coming to an end. While some players have been counting the seconds until they may enter Northrend, I did the opposite. I didn’t want to leave. I wasn’t ready.

Why denial?
I think one of the reasons for my denial that I’ve finally managed to climb a bit higher on the learning curve. Since I started playing in the beginning of 2007, it has been very steep and seemingly endless. It’s taken me hard work to reach, if not the highest tops, at least the middle high hills of raiding:

  • I’ve found a spec that I understand and like to play
  • I have gear that is good enough to raid any kind of content I could wish for and there’s no need for another grind for reputation or mats to enchant or gem it. It’s OK for now.
  • I have a decent knowledge about the tactics for the encounters we’re up to.
  • My interface is, if not perfect, at least OK, with a setup of appropriate addons, macros and keybindings.
  • I don’t see myself as a stranger who accidentally ended up Azeroth. Most of the time I know what I’m doing and I enjoy the feeling of confidence.

Maybe it’s no wonder that I want to clinch to this state of the art as long as possible.

Fear of constant dying
Within a little more than a month I’ll step into the coldness and darkness in Northrend, into the unknown, where I once more will have to hesitate about what gear and stats to strive for, what strategic choices to make, where to go, what to do.

Larísa fears it, no doubt. But she’s wrong and I’ll tell you why.

I think that I’m unconsciously picturing that levelling in Northrend will resemble to my levelling in Outlands in the spring 2007.

I remember the beginning of it as a non-stop corpse run. When Larísa entered it at level 58 she was utterly badly geared, squishy and as good as powerless. The boars used me as a tooth picker and the first quest mobs I was supposed to take down (some elements and demons if I remember it right) resisted my fireballs. It was utterly depressing and I seriously doubted my ability to play this game at all. Maybe it wasn’t for me.

It certainly wouldn’t be fun to endure those hardships again in Northrend. The thing is though, that those pictures I have in my head are utterly nonsense. I will enter Northrend in full epic gear. Of course it will be replaced further on, but not for the first levels. And since they tune the place so that players can level 1-80, without gearing up at 70, at least the beginning should be smooth.

And there’s another huge difference: I’ve played the game for another year now. I’m not half as noobish as I was then. I’m surrounded by awesome fellow players in my guild who surely can give me advice if I’m looking for it. And I have access to a wealth of knowledge through forums and blogs, things I didn’t know existed a year ago.

This time I AM prepared.

Fear of being left behind
Another of then mental hang-ups I’m suffering from is that I’m afraid to be left behind when the race towards 80 starts. I can’t devote as much time to the game as some of my guildies, and I definitely won’t be able to take a week off to play 24/7 a week in November. I want to reach endgame as bad as any other raider, but it may take me a little longer than others.
Will there be a raid spot for me once I reach 80?

Of course this is nonsense too. There will be plenty of time for me to raid in WotLK. This time I’ll start from 70 in good gear, knowing the game. When I started to play in TBC I became from scratch at level 1. And still I could end up making T6 raids!

So I tell you Larísa: have no fear! There will be a place for you. You will raid again.

Moving forward
Now the 3.0 patch is approaching quickly, and I’m still clueless about what talent build to pick. But I think I’ve come to terms with it. I’ve left the phase of denial, moving into chaos. And I know I’ll come out pretty soon in a state of acceptance and new orientation. It’s no different to how I would deal with any kind of major change or crises.

One of the toys that fascinated me most as a child was the kaleidoscope – you know that tube with mirrors and little plastic pieces that you look through and whenever you give it a shake you get new patterns.

That’s how we should look upon the expansion. The kaleidoscope wouldn’t be any fun if the pieces were glued and couldn’t move. The whole point of it is the changes. Now Blizzard is giving us a great shake-up; they may even put in a few coloured bits into the tube. We will recognize the game, no doubt. It will still be World of Warcraft. But with a twist.

It’s a new beginning and I’m finally looking forward to it.


Green Armadillo said...

You don't need to be worried about the gear situation. Outland is rough at level 58, especially if you aren't well geared. If you're level 70 and wearing raid gear, you'll be fine in Northrend.

The raiding question is something that could be a tougher problem. The rise in level cap will mean moving your guild from 25-man raid content to a combination of solo and 5-man content, on the way towards 10-man raids. This was a disaster when TBC launched; once you were geared an in a level 60 40-man raiding guild, it didn't really matter how much time you spent online. Suddenly, the level cap went up and players who played more hit the new cap first.

Even if everyone in your guild is planning on heading back to 25-man content, the folks who get to level 80 first may feel inclined to leave and join a guild with players who moved at the same speed as they did. You shouldn't worry about finding somewhere to raid when the dust settles, but things could be difficult between now and then.

Anonymous said...

re: talents changes.. I was hoping these wouldn't come in unti release... now I have to think about what I want to do.. I was hoping to come back from o/s, do some reading and start playing.

Re: levelling & instancing...
I ahve decided I wont rush to 80... which means theoretically i will get to enjoy the journey.. but this also means I wont be joining my mates in instances etc until late April.. but which time they wont want to come back the the "level 27" instances for me...

So I am not looking forward to the expansion for several reasons.

But then... I can't wait either ;-)

Anonymous said...

Good for you! It's awesome to see people who are excited and looking forward to the new stuff. Huzzah!

Gevlon said...

I will definately not rush. I will enjoy the landscape, do the quest in my own pace, Arthas isn't running anywhere! There will be SOME guild that will be at the same position at the same time when I reach lvl 80 and we will start raiding.

Maybe this guild will be server first. Maybe it will be server 22.th. Doesn't matter. We conquer the first raid instance, gear up.

If the guild is capable to move on to the next, I stay with them. If not, I move on to the next guild that is currently working on that instance.

The main point is, that at ANY given time there will be a guild out there that do the raids I want and needs me. And it's same for everyone.

My little advantage is, that I won't have to farm entry level instances forever for gear, since I have LW to make lot of my armor and 75K honor to buy 2-3 PvP items.

Rep grind will be harder, but since we level together with my GF, it will be twice as fast.

Anonymous said...

Wellcome to the pit lane larissa, we are all tuning for the travel. Don’t take it as a race and enjoy

I will take a 24/7 week in november, but with one of my alters or the new DK, my main is to enjoy northend with gildies discovering Northend and exploring the new instances in the appropiate level

A more mundane advice, take a cople of hours one of this days with a low alter (anyway from 20-66) I have realize that I was not prepared to monster aggroing when you are riding near them , time to re-learn using roads and maintaining security distance!

Anonymous said...

@Green Armadillo: just as I got over my fear, you're trying to scare me about my raiding breaking down! I'd better not listen to it, even though you may be right ofc.

@Gnomeaggedon: Yeah, I'm still waiting for some great advice about spec. Come on theorycrafters, work!!!

@Gevlon: yeah I think you're right. I hope that it will be the guild I'm in right now though, but if not it's not a catastrophe. There will be raids even for me.

@Cynre: yep, I'm on the train now too.

@Eishen: I'm currently levelling my rogue when I'm not raiding, hoping to get her to 70 before Nov 13th. So I get some practice in aggroing. A good reminder. (though being a rogue is so much easier to deal with it... vanish ftw)

Anonymous said...

I completely relate to your Outlands story. I play a priest, and had levelled shadow, but I wanted to be a healer at 70 so I thought the best way to be "good" at my job was to level through Outlands holy. Well... THAT was certainly interesting. I died so much in the first few levels I wanted to quit, it was so hard. I wasn't used to doing so little damage and dying so much.

I bet Northrend will be better, not only because my gear going into it will be better, but also because I'm more comfortable in my holy-dps shoes.

I really enjoyed reading this post.