Start Me Up

So I’ve been playing WoW again for a little over a week, and it’s been a lot of fun!

For one thing, I hooked up with my old guild and old friends, some of whom were all like, “Huh? Who the hell are you?” — oh, the ego! — and most of whom are entirely unknown to me. Still, they’re a good bunch. Even those that aren’t old enough to be smart aren’t annoying (at least not in the guild chat I’ve seen), which is saying something.

My old huntard main, Eloise, has become my new main, and is levelling like a byatch! Even if it hasn’t been 5 levels in 2 days the way it was a weekend ago. She is now some ways into 67, soloing her way around the various Outland zones, taming whatever looks interesting and usually releasing it about 5 minutes later.

I’d played Outlands before in winter 2008-2009 when I briefly came back to WoW and played on Rexxar (and here’s a rant I found while looking for those links that made me laugh. Damn, this blog was SO much better 2 years ago! Post titles from the White Album? Dude! Uh – where was I?). The experience isn’t all that different this time around, even though it was with a Death Knight back then.

Hellfire Peninsula is B R O W N. And omgwtfbbqBORING after seven thousand quests. Zangarmarsh is bluey-greeney-purple. And omgwtfbbqBORING after seven thousand quests. Terokkar Forest is greyish-blueish. And omgwtf — you get the picture.

In all fairness this isn’t entirely WoW’s fault or a design flaw. The zones are very distinctive from each other, sometimes almost too much so, but that’s always been the case with WoW. And I’m the one who gets into Terminator Questing mode – nobody’s forcing me. For the faint of memory and despite the vanity inherent in the process, I shall quote myself:

Terminator-questing mode is basically where you mentally figure out what the shortest, most efficient circuit is that you can run, killing everything you need and speaking to everyone you need (including new quest-givers) to get the most bang for your questing buck.

It’s just so insanely easy to hit that mode in Outlands — and okay, maybe we do have to blame the designers just a little bit, because I think Outlands was designed to be that way. Remember that WoW isn’t about enjoying the difficult journey, it’s about being marginally entertained while you level as fast as possible so you can hit that mythical End Game Content (TM). Well, I dunno about the EGC, I have less than zero interest in it, but I will admit that the “marginally entertained” criterion is certainly well-fulfilled in WoW these days. I’m more than marginally entertained — I’ve been having a blast, to the exclusion of work I’m supposed to be doing (thank god it’s Xmas and the workload is light!), pew-pewing the crap out of everything that moves, pew-pewing elites with the help of my omgwtfbbqleet pets (ok, and level 80+ leet friends now and then), and pew-pewing myself closer to 68 so I can buy cold weather flying and finally move on to Northrend where the lewt is even phatter!

Oh yeah, and by the end of a gaming session I’m like a wrung-out sponge, I’ve had so much intense Terminator-questing fun.

Probably time to dial the Roboquesting down a little, hit the Winterveil Crush in Stormwind, have some eggnog, and unwind a bit.

Actually that’s one of the things that still bothers me from time to time about evolved-MMOs compared to the oldschool-MMOs. I really, really miss just hanging out in the same (virtual) physical space with other people and shooting the breeze. These days everyone is Terminator-questing or harvesting or doing heroics or preparing to do heroics or cybering on the Deeprun Tram, and you just can’t get the quiet facetime anymore. It’s a bit of a shame and it makes me feel just a little disconnected from everyone else.

Part of the fault for that lies in my playstyle, of course. I’m an introvert soloing huntard no-social-skills reject (apparently) — if I were grouping, I’d be getting facetime. Face-to-the-floor time maybe — because see, my definition of face-time doesn’t include doing everything I do when solo except with 4 other people. That’s just… doing everything I do when solo except with 4 other people.

I know the halcyon days of having so much fucking time on my hands I can afford to spend 2 hours in the equivalent of a virtual pub with a bunch of my friends are gone. They belonged to a younger me and younger MMOs and even if they come back in some form or other when the design wheel turns full circle, it’ll never be the same thing because I’m having a Proustian moment and wishing for a time that by definition (unless you’re a really smart physicist) can’t come back. Oh well. I’ll just be all nostalgic for a while then and have another pastry.

And then I’ll go back to levelling my ass off.