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.
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.
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.