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.
Let’s talk about this game. Who’s been around for a long time? Raise your hand. Ah yes, I see you, and you there in the back. When did you all start playing?
Barring a couple of stints messing around in Vanilla Beta, I started really playing in Patch 2.0.3. Burning Crusade was still shiny and new and a few weeks or so into my entry into Azeroth Patch 2.1.0 happened and it was a big deal. Take a look at some of this stuff:
“Replaced the current Mend Pet channel spell with an instant cast heal over time. ” Yes. Channeled Mend Pet was a thing at one point.
Millions of raids and heroics getting nerfed. And BC raids and heroics were not terribly easy.
Black Temple introduced! Netherwing Dailies introduced! Druid Flight Form introduced!
“Bonus healing gear will no longer effect Mend Pet.” – This is because hunters were decking themselves out in shaman gear and solo’ing everything, which was hilarious, by the way.
“Lightsworn Vindicators outside the Black Temple will no longer attack players who are Hostile with the Aldor. ” – Okay, this is just funny.
Weird to go back in time, isn’t it? There’s a lot of stuff that I think we forget about old WoW. We get all nostalgic for the stuff that we liked and then forget about the stuff that we didn’t. Remember when hunters had three– THREE– stable slots? Remember when you had to go out and tame new pets in order to learn new abilities to teach your pets? Remember when mounts and companion pets took up bag space?
Often times when I find myself missing an old expansion pack, what I really miss is the playstyle of a particular class. I miss the careful manual shot-weaving of Burning Crusade, back before Blizz unhooked shots from auto shots. And when it came to Druid healing, Wrath of the Lich King was my personal favorite. And so forth.
I can see why Blizzard doesn’t want to introduce legacy servers and such. Accessibility wise, the game has done little but improve. Blizzard doesn’t want to “rewind” and reverse those improvements. But when you get attached to a certain class or spec’s playstyle and it gets all changed up– that’s what I miss.
Well, and doing Karazhan at 70. That was pretty great.
What sorts of things were around in WoW when you started?
Been a while, hasn’t it? The WoW blogosphere has changed a lot in my absence. I had to wipe my entire blogroll clean because 95% of the blogs listed there didn’t exist anymore or hadn’t updated since 2010. I feel rather like an outsider; I don’t know anyone in the blog scene anymore, and when it comes to World of Warcraft, I don’t know anything about the Cataclysm raids or heroics.
But perhaps that’s good. It lets me start from scratch.
I poke my head into the dusty room that was once Hunter Kindergarten and I don’t really know where to begin. At one point, I was probably one of the most well-known hunter bloggers on the internet. I don’t say that to brag, I say that because it’s pretty damn accurate. I prided myself in teaching people how to play their class; teaching them about shot rotations and chain trapping and pets and all that good stuff. But these days I’m all washed up. My beloved hunters are wearing greens and probably couldn’t DPS their way out of a paper bag. Rotations are different. Trapping is different. Pets are different.
So what’s the same? Well, my desire to write and write and write is still there.
I resubbed about a week ago after the bug started biting me and wouldn’t let go. I assumed that it would be a passing phase, and maybe it is, but now that the WoW bug is satiated I’ve got the blog bug to deal with. Sure, I could dump it all over at The Android’s Closet, but I didn’t want to saturate that blog with WoW rambles when I’ve already got a WoW blog sitting over here, unused and waiting.
I asked my dearest Mister Adequate what he thought of the situation. Should I try to make a return to AotH? What if I burn out on WoW next week? What if I burn out on blogging in general?
And he said “Don’t worry, just put your WoW posts on AotH and your non-WoW posts on TAC and it will all be okay. If you stop playing, you stop playing. If you stop posting, you stop posting. No big deal.”
He made it all sound so simple and easy. So, for better or for worse, here I am.
I don’t know what I’ll be blogging about; I don’t know if I’ll go back to “huntering” like the good ol’ days and I certainly don’t know if anyone reads this anymore. But I’m back in the building, at least, and that’s got to count for something. Right?
It’s occurred to me that I haven’t updated this blog in over a month, and as such I should probably say something.
So here is the truth: I have unofficially and unceremoniously quit WoW again. Upon hitting 85 on my main, I looked around and realized that I had no motivation to do what I’d already done several times before in previous expansions. One month later and Tawyn’s still in greens and I’ve hardly touched her.
I did have a brief spurt of motivation when I remembered how much I absolutely LOVED doing Uldum, so I ran over to my Horde-side hunter, powerleveled her to 83 specifically to do Uldum, and went and did Uldum again. It’s just as awesome the second time around. Unfortunately, upon finishing it up, I have, once again, found myself at a loss for what to do.
This is all a very odd feeling for me. I love WoW and always will. In theory, I love Cataclysm, and even in practice I wound up enjoying it a lot more than I originally expected I would. Just a couple of months ago, when working on my worgen mage, I found myself feeling that magical feeling I hadn’t felt since leveling my first character. I really thought that feeling would stick. But… it didn’t.
And so here I am, here to tell you guys that the blog is probably going on indefinite hiatus again. Really, I should have just let it set the way I left it a year ago, because my failed attempt to revive it was just pathetic. But that’s life, I suppose.
To the few of you faithful readers who are still out there (and who really should have quit reading during the Great AotH Quality Decline of 2009, but didn’t), you guys have been absolutely amazing and I have to thank you profoundly for your company, comments, and insights through the years. I could not have asked for a better audience. If you want to keep up with me I’m still blogging (albeit sporadically at the moment) over at Clockwork Hare and I of course am still on Twitter, being a chatterbox over there as always.
And so, I put this poor blog in stasis again. Maybe someday when the time is right, I’ll come back, but I don’t want it to turn into some sort of sad half-baked return like it did last time, so it’ll have to be something big to get me to return.
Until then I’m off to play other games and explore other worlds and write about other things. I’m still working on (more than one) novel, which I will keep everyone updated on over at my other blog, and I’m still drawing commissions for you guys if you have business with me there. Thank you all, and I will see you on the other side. <3
Today’s post is a shoutout to Lanjelin’s Signature Generator. Now, through the years, there have been a lot of WoW signature generators out there. Many of these promised all sorts of shiny things like huge amounts of customization and automatic updating and then failed to deliver. Heck, I have some of these “automatic updating” banners bookmarked that still say I’m level 70 and spec’d 41/20/0.
So I gave up on signatures for a while, figuring they weren’t really worth the trouble of upkeep, but then I stumbled across Lanjelin’s Signature Generator, which is perfect for alt-o-holics or people who just want something simple. Check it out:
Isn’t that cool? It gets right down to business and tells you the race/class/level of my active characters that I want it to display.
The best part is that Lanjelin is active with it; I submitted a bug recently and it was fixed within a couple of hours. In addition, we had a very nice e-mail exchange.
So if you have billions of characters and want a nice compact way to display them, go check it out :3
I got some feedback from Lanjelin on Monday, December 6:
“Thanks for the positive feedback, glad you like my signature generator.
Got some bad news about it though, Blizzard have decided to release a new version of Armory, on a new server/address with everything completely rewritten.
As for now, they haven’t released a way for 3rd-party sites to fetch data from Armory, so my signature generator is currently not able to update/add any characters.
I even made it ready for Cataclysm races, when I get this thrown in my face.
Hope to get it back up & running as soon as possible.”
As usual I have the best readers. I mention offhandedly in a post that I can’t afford Cataclysm and the next thing I know I have enough money to cover it a few times over. So at this point, not only can I snag Cata and some WoW cards, but I can buy WoW time for my younger siblings, too, as their Christmas present. Awesome! <3
So the world went kablooey the other day, as I'm sure we're all aware. I haven't had much of a chance to survey all the damage yet but I did run around and snag a bunch of new pets in an effort to stave off my gnawing desire to roll and level a gnome priest as my way to see the world (I want to give it a few days until the starting areas are a little less congested).
But hey, Fox Mulder is already level 80!
Now taking suggestions on what I should tame for a Scully.