In a move reminiscent of that “No flying” announcement we got a while back, Blizzard decided to drop a bombshell via a fan interview again. Today’s bombshell? 6.2 is it! No more raids after this!
What are my thoughts on this? Well, I’m thinking about a couple of things. Firstly I’m thinking don’t be surprised if Blizz drops a sudden mini-raid like they did at the end of Wrath, because Blizzard.txt. Secondly, I’m thinking, um… Blizzard… you guys do know you haven’t announced a new expansion yet, right? Which I’m assuming means it’s not anywhere near alpha or beta yet, right? So uh… what is everyone going to do until the next expac?
I mean, for me personally, I think I have enough to keep me occupied for a little while. This is because I was unsubbed for a long time and I like poking around at old content and leveling alts, so I have a lot to catch up on. So I’m not terribly disappointed myself. Like, I think I’ll be fine.
But, seriously. Blizzard. Maybe throw us a bone here and announce the new expac so we at least know it’s coming? Eh?
As all three (or maybe four?) of you long-time readers left know, I quit playing WoW for several years and thus left this blog to unceremoniously sit for just as long. Sometimes I wonder if I should have kept playing so I could keep blogging, because I do so love blogging. But, ultimately, I’m glad I took that break.
See, recently I’ve been seeing a lot of people both on Twitter and in blogs talking about how they’re growing tired of, or bored with, the game. And then here I am, over here in my corner, having a blast and in general being content with my life in Azeroth.
And you know, I think it’s because I walked away for so long. I walked away and now that I’m back I’m looking at it with fresh eyes.
It’s not the same as it was back when I first started, no. It will never be quite that magical again. But sometimes I think it can get pretty close. (In fairness, I might be biased, because I am very easy to please.)
So yes, I’m glad I took a break. I’ve sort of… recalibrated my own thought process on the whole thing, if you will. It used to be that I thought quitting WoW was sort of a huge deal, but now I treat it like any other game. I can drop it for months – or years – at a time, and then I can come back again later whenever I want. And you know what? That’s okay. Especially now that I can pay for a subscription just by logging in and poking my garrison for twenty minutes a day.
I’ve always been fascinated by things like concept art and early screenshots of my favorite games. These provide a really neat and often rare glimpse under the hood – a look at the humble beginnings of worlds I’d later spend so much time in.
A couple of us on Twitter got a treat earlier when a Blizzard employee decided to share some fantastic behind-the-scene screenshots with us, and they absolutely 100% made my day.
Despite – or perhaps because of – my love for video games, I tend to lag behind a bit in the department of technological trends. I did not get my first smartphone until about two years ago, and I was not using a widescreen monitor until exactly… yesterday.
That’s right. You know how back in the day everyone’s monitor was a square? That was mine. Until about 16 hours ago.
Needless to say my crowded world…
suddenly got a whole lot bigger…
It’s actually kind of difficult to enjoy right now, because for whatever reason, my new monitor is hurting my eyes. I’ve never been one of those people who gets eye strain from staring at monitors (other than from the 3D feature on the Nintendo 3DS), so I’m at a loss as to why this one is giving me fits. Nothing looks fuzzy or anything; everything is crisp and sharp. So who knows. For now I’ve pushed the monitor back (so there’s at least 24 inches between it and me) and also turned down the brightness. We’ll see if it helps!
One of those things is cinematics. Because oh, Blizzard has got a flair for those. Who among us who played Warcraft III doesn’t get chills at Arthas’ betrayal at the end of the Human Campaign?
Next up is music. There have been too many talented composers at Blizzard over the years to name them all here alongside their contributions, but I feel that Blizzard games have some of the best soundtracks you will find in any video game. From the infamous Terran theme in Starcraft to the bouncy and jingoistic Warcraft II music (heard today in pet battles), to all the multitude of melodies that you’ll here in World of Warcraft today – I just love it all.
My favorite music, of course, resides in my favorite raid:
I’ve been thinking recently about how with most video games it doesn’t really matter when you first play it – the experience is similar for everyone. So, for example, you can play Deus Ex or Morrowind today and talk to people who played Deus Ex or Morrowind when they first came out over a decade ago and your experiences with those games will probably have been fairly similar. You can talk about the story, areas of the game, obnoxious bosses and so on and have a lot of common ground.
But World of Warcraft is always changing, oftentimes a lot, and so you don’t always get that ability. Imagine someone who played the game ten years ago talking to someone who is just starting out today. They would have some common ground, of course – but how much?
People who started raiding in Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria have a largely different view on the game than I would – I, as someone who did her raiding in Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. The bosses were different, the mechanics were different, and the memories were different.
Other than WoW I’ve never really been a huge MMO player so this is all a different and new concept to me. Other games are constants, but WoW is more like life, where new generations are constantly rising to play an experience that is similar to – but certainly not the same as – what the older generations experienced.
The last time I had a subscription for an entire WoW expansion, with no breaks, was for The Burning Crusade.
I took one or two short breaks towards the end of WotLK, I took a very long break during Cataclysm, and I only played the first couple of months of MoP. That last break there was the longest, clocking in at two years and some change. In fact, I’d actually convinced myself that I wouldn’t be coming back. The game was different now and I’d moved on to plenty of other games – heck, there were plenty of other games I was pouring hundreds of hours into, just as I had with WoW. My gaming life was good. WoW was a memory.
And yet, like a loyal dog, WoW waited for me to come back. And like a sap, I did.
I think I’m starting to accept now that I’ll never quite go away entirely. And you know what? That’s fine. I’ve reached a comfortable equilibrium knowing that I can play for as long as I want and then drop it for as long as I want, and it’ll still be there. Different, perhaps – probably a lot different, in fact – but there.
So brace yourselves, Internet – cause this dumb blog is probably never quite going away. >:D
Wow! I got a fantastic response on my last post. All sorts of people came out of the woodwork to comment on the post or talk to me on Twitter about their own gaming anxieties. Some people even went through it all at the same time or with the same expacs I did.
Frankly, I had no idea that something like this was so widespread. Oh, I figured a couple of people here and there would know what I was talking about, but the lot of you? It really took me by surprise.
Since this seems to be a fairly common problem I think I’m going to do more writing about it. I also think I’ll blog about my efforts to get over my own gaming anxieties. I know some people are happy with playing solo, and if that’s the case then that’s awesome and keep on doing that. As for myself, though… I want to tackle the big bad boss at the end of the anxiety raid. So I think that’s what I’m going to try to do, and anyone else who is trying to do likewise can come commiserate and maybe learn with me!
That Pike who threw herself into any dungeon or raid PUG that came her way during TBC?
That Pike who leveled a druid to max almost entirely through dungeons, mostly before Dungeon Finder even existed?
That Pike who would happily spend three hours in ToC on her hunter and then another three hours healing Ulduar with her druid immediately afterward?
Yes. That Pike.
I think it started with Cataclysm. Blizzard did two major things that affected the game for me: They made substantial changes to the way hunters work, and they also decided to make dungeons “hard”. I think that I probably could have dealt with either of these on their own, but when they were together, it planted a little worm of doubt into my brain.
What if I’m not good at hunters or dungeons anymore? What if I let everyone down?
I did ultimately do some dungeons, but that little thought didn’t go away, so because endgame was now scary (and also because I wasn’t keen on Cataclysm), I unsubbed.
I gave it all another try for Mists of Pandaria. After greatly enjoying the leveling process, I told myself that this time I’m going to do it. I’m going to get back into endgame. And I’m going to love it, just like before.
Unfortunately a couple of bad groups and douchecanoes had me convinced I was terrible at hunters and at dungeons, and because the only other real thing that MoP had to offer at the time was an endless stream of dailies I quietly left the game. Again.
And so here we are. In WoD. The itch, of course, is back, like it always is. Oh, how I secretly long to spend the day in LFG doing endless heroics, or spend hours butting heads against a tough boss in a (real live!) raid. But instead, I’m tip-toeing into normals maybe once a week when I summon up the courage, despite being overgeared and having a Gold in Proving Grounds and all that stuff.
“Why don’t you find nice people to play with, Pike? A really nice guild or something?” I’m sure you’re asking. And, you know, I’ve thought about it. But because of my work schedule I’m tucking myself into bed right about when the rest of the United States is getting home from work and logging in. I don’t think it would be impossible to find a nice guild that raids at 1:00pm. But it might be a bit of a serious hunt.
So now what?
Well, right now I’m determined not to let this beat me three expacs in a row. How? Well, uh, I’m not sure yet. You see, there will be people involved. And the possibility of failure. And instances that I haven’t done before. This is all very scary to me. But you’ve gotta confront your fears head on, right?
So yeah. That’s my confession for the day. Embarrassing? Maybe a little. I’ve struggled with anxiety most of my life, and seeing it creep into video games – my favorite hobby – is never fun for me. But maybe this post can help others who feel similarly – at least to know that they’re not alone!
I hope you’ll all excuse me and pardon our dust as I start this blog anew. You see, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to blog about. Any of you long-time readers who were here in the early days (all four or five of you still reading) know that I used to pride myself on teaching what I called “Hunter Kindergarten” (for lower levels) and “Hunter 101″ (for freshly dinged max level hunters). This is because I loved sharing what I knew about the class with others, so they could enjoy playing it as much as I did. Plus, then I’d feel set to recommend the graduating students head on to other hunter blogs that focused more on raiding. (A moment of silence to The Hunter’s Mark, BRK, Stabilized Effort Scope, and all the others.)
Now it’s hard for me to feel that much of this is necessary anymore. Many of the nuances of the class have been streamlined or changed to the point that I actually find it difficult to play a hunter wrong. Oh sure, in the early days when your first ten levels were spent sans pet and you had a dagger or axe thrust in your hand, then you bet there were all sorts of bad habits I wanted to help new hunters grow out of. But now there’s no minimum range, you only have a ranged weapon, and you’ve got a pet right from the start. Similarly, there’s really no need to learn how to chain trap, due to how long traps last. And modern shot rotations are, for the most part, simple and intuitive, especially compared to a few of the ones from back in the day.
So what is a Pike to do?
A few people have expressed interest that I try writing about hunters anyway, because why not. Perhaps I do bring a unique spin to things. Maybe people would rather hear me talk than read a more “sanitized” Icy-Veins or WoWHead guide. I have no idea why, but hey, who am I to argue with that idea?
TLDR: I’m still not 100% sure what I’m doing with the blog yet, so please bear with me. And if there’s something you’d like me to write about, do let me know! I’m desperate for ideas.