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Living in the moment

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers reminiscing these days, about WotLK, about TBC, about Vanilla WoW and all sorts of other things. Others have been looking towards the future that is Cataclysm, with thoughts and opinions that range all over the map. Now don’t get me wrong, I like to look back on my own memories and how things were. And I’m excited/nervous for Cataclysm just like everyone else. But right now, I’m happy with the game at this exact moment.

Being a TBC baby, I’m certain that I see things differently than those who have been around since Vanilla, or those who only started playing in WotLK. If I wanted to wave my old lady cane around, I could talk about the times when us hunters didn’t have Aspect of the Viper as we leveled. Or how paladins would have to reapply their blessings every 10 seconds because they’d lose them whenever they used a judgement. Or how about even much more recently, in the time before they nerfed Halls of Reflection, when me tanking on Saraku and Kazi healing were one of the few tank/healer combos that could actually get past the first two bosses on heroic? /flex

Does this mean that I grumble about how they’ve made things easier for all of those newbies that have since joined the game. Of course not, because what right do I have to steal their fun away? If they had kept paladins the same, I probably would have never rolled Saraku. In fact, I did roll a blood elf paladin back in TBC and abandoned her at level 14 when I grew sick of having to rebuff myself after every judgement. Why shouldn’t hunters get Aspect of the Viper early on when they’re just going to have to learn how to use it down the road? And thank god they made HoR easier because it took weeks before I was able to bring Niqo in there; we just couldn’t find other tanks/healers that could do it.

Dungeons Galore

The LFD system also seems to have people reminiscing about the good old days, where it took you time to get a group together and you bonded during the whole experience, wipes and all. I remember those times a lot differently. I remember being terrified to go into a dungeon because I was worried that I’d make some huge mistake and everyone would be mad at me. I would be scorned as “that huntard” for accidentally pulling a pack of mobs. So I never really grouped with anyone. Before Niqo reached level 70 in TBC, she had maybe been to 3 dungeons in her entire career. And I’m fairly certain that for at least two of those, I had to be persuaded by my friends. Even once at level 70, I believe I stepped into another 3 dungeons at the requests of my guildmates in Bloodriver.

It wasn’t until WotLK came out and I felt well-protected by Bloodriver that I began to venture more into dungeons. I despised pugs back then, almost only running instances with an all-guild group. I remember there being a core of us 5 officers tentatively toeing our way into heroics in our quest greens and blues. We eventually got our piece-mail epics, almost none of them tier gear until we started raiding Naxx about the time Ulduar came out. I recall guild members scheduling “badge runs” where they would spend all day running as many heroics as they could (because of flight times back then).

Then the LFD system came out and with it the opportunity to run dungeons faster, thereby acquiring badges faster. Kazi and I paired up and threw ourselves into random after random. Our Naxx gear was replaced with tier 9 in a matter of about 3 days. Strangely enough, these randoms were the beginning of my confidence boost. I was having to play with people I didn’t even know and…I wasn’t screwing up. The strategies for each dungeon were becoming second nature by now; I could actually make my own way through them without getting hopelessly lost. And for half of them, I wasn’t some faceless DPS in the back, I was the freaking tank! I, who would have huddled in a corner and cries if someone asked me to run a dungeon two years before, was now leading a group of complete strangers through a dungeon and deftly keeping the attention of packs of mobs on myself so the rest of the group lived. You have no idea how much of a change this has been for me.

Now I find myself being more drawn to the LFD system than ever. I have two characters, a warrior tank and a disc priest, who I am leveling up solely through random dungeons. You may think that I’m completely nuts but I am now getting to see all the dungeons I missed, either by being right there in the middle of all the chaos or standing back and observing the quirks of different mobs and bosses as I toss my bubbles around. When the rest of the group is silent, I can take the opportunity to note the music and the beauty of the surroundings. And when they are chatting, I have the chance to joke around with them and meet some interesting people. If there’s someone I don’t like and never want to group with again, it’s a simple matter of putting them on ignore and not giving them a second thought. There is no requirement to be nice to an arsehole simply because they’re on the same server as me and I don’t want to accidentally piss the wrong person off.

Quite a few bloggers have also been dismayed at the fast pace of the dungeons. Me, I revel in it. If I wanted to do something slower, I’d casually quest or go herb picking. A quick dungeon is more exciting to me and provides a little bit of variety. Will I get Zul’Farrak this time, which is quickly turning into one of my favorite instances? Or will it be another Maraudon where those damn oozes will burst my priesty bubbles in a matter of seconds? The speed always keeps me on my toes and teaches me to actually use more of my cooldowns. Yet it doesn’t have the randomness and utter chaos of PvP so I can take a second or two to plan ahead for the next pack of trash mobs. And those particular mobs will always operate the same way so I can hold their strategies in my head for the next time. I’m also better able at gauging the limit of the tank or healer that I’m with, and what classes need breaks for mana here or a little extra help on a particular boss there.

All in all, I think that the LFD system has made me a better player. It’s given me the opportunity to expand my horizons. Before I would only play hunters because they were some of the best at questing solo and that’s what I mostly did. But now I can try out different tanking and healer classes and by queuing for randoms over and over again, I actually am able to practice and learn that particular role. So say what you want about it (and I won’t deny that it could stand to use some improvements) but I am one person that’s enjoying the LFD system as it is. 🙂

How they were and are and could be

Years back, I was going to be heading off to a camp for a couple weeks in the summer and my mom asked me what I thought it would be like and if I was excited to go. I simply looked at her and said “I’m not assuming anything about it, I’m just going to see if I like it or not when it happens.” This may seem a little unemotional and cold but I keep trying to view things that way. Like I said before, I’m perfectly content with the way WoW is now. And I was perfectly content with it back in TBC too. Things change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst, but I make my best attempt to just go with it. With all these changes happening in Cata, I’m perfectly fine with just waiting to see how they turn out. I’m sure I’ll like some and hate others. I’ll adapt to them as I did before, or I’ll join the other bloggers who talk about the good old days…or maybe I’ll even quit WoW and move onto something else. Change is simply change, folks, whether it’s good or bad is a matter of opinion. I personally am going to keep on trucking until Cata hits and a whole new world of opportunities opens to us. I have too many things I want to do now that there’s barely any room to think of Cata stuff!

And when that time comes, when Azeroth as we know it is torn asunder…I’ll just be living in that moment instead.