I’ve been having just the most incredibly fun time on Azuremyst with my new alts.

Wait, how is that possible? I’ve been playing WoW for years and years and years. How can it still be fun? No, scratch that, how could it possibly be awesome?

Haven’t I heard? All the cool kids are sneering at WoW and going off to play other games that are newer and cooler and better and stuffs!

I had heard a bit of that going around, but I do strongly believe that attitude matters. If you walk around looking for an excuse to feel pissed off, seems to me it doesn’t take long to accomplish that goal.

I’ve never been what you could call pissed off at WoW. I’ve just been adrift, trying to find my center. My happy thought.

I can’t fly if I don’t have my happy thought, damn it.

Well, I’m flying now, baby. Figuratively.

The first thing I’m finding is that I really missed the challenge of being broke. Of being on my own without a big sugar daddy supporting my low level adventures.

I made a Death Knight on Azuremyst, but I got so into my Druid that I never leveled him to 60 to get flying. Just having too much fun, you know? I’m sure glad I didn’t now!

Having only the money that I make myself on low level characters by playing the auction house and gathering has added a degree of challenge that has been long missing, and I’m loving it.

Selling that stack of copper ore for 19 gold 24 silver really feels like I scored! It’s the little things.

The second thing I’m loving is I finally have a clear set of goals.

On my normal server, I’ve got 10 characters, and half the time when I log in, I’d be staring at the list, trying to figure out who to play. Too many characters, too many levels, too much damn history.

On Azuremyst, I’ve got a Fury Warrior that I retired as being too bloody easy to level (sorry, but he is), I’ve got my Feral Druid that is just a gas, and I’ve got this up and coming Hunter that I’m really rocking the place with.

Two characters I’m enjoying… and almost as though it’s a second chance to play the game for the very first time, I’m playing them… but I’m doing it up right this time.

My Druid was the first one to go down the road of “Hey, why don’t I…”.

They added this new (to me) kitty mount to Darnassus Rep a while back; the Striped Dawnsaber. I love that mount. I’ve lusted after it for a low level character ever since Cassie bought one for her Night Elf Druid when we started playing Mage/Druid together.

I never had a chance at that mount for any of MY Night Elf characters when leveling. By the time it was added, my Hunter had the Mammoth and my Druid had the chicken mount from Sethekk Halls.

Now, I can finally have that chance. Even better, mounts scale with your Riding skill, so I can have that land mount I love, and keep using it all the way to 85!

Adding to the fun, neither my Druid nor my Hunter are Night Elves. To get that mount… I need to get my Darnassus rep to Exalted. So if I really want that mount early enough to be fun… I gotta work for it.

What’s that, a challenge? Well, aw shucks.

Having that goal made the game even more interesting for the last week. After all, I have to find two different ways to get that rep, or I’ll burn out doing the same zone quests twice in a row.

I’ve almost nailed that challenge on BOTH.

What I did was, I went back to Teldrassil on my Worgen Druid, and played through all of the quests. I’m in the early stages of Ashenvale, and I’m already halfway through Revered with Darnassus. No problem.

Once I got to that point and knew that my Druid was right in the bullseye, I switched over to my Hunter.

My Human Hunter, having the advantage of Human rep bonuses, didn’t go to Teldrassil right away. Instead, after I got the Darnassus tabard, I started doing Stormwind related zones to get my Stormwind rep to Exalted.

I kept at it until I hit Exalted with Stormwind doing quests… and along the way, the shared rep with the Alliance factions got me 1 point away from Honored with everyone else. I also ran some random instances in PUGs, getting rep from the tabard.

By the time I entered Teldrassil on my Hunter, I was well on my way to Revered, and this evening I had barely set foot in Ashenvale when I dinged Exalted. I got it on my third quest in the zone.

Isn’t she pretty?

I really love the looks of that kitty.

Having this extra challenge I set for myself has really been great. It’s been so exciting to see what it would take to get there, without ruining the quests my Druid is doing.

Speaking of kitties, there was that other thing about my Hunter…

Cassie came through. Well, of course she did.

After one hellaciously long run at level 16 through Stranglethorn getting flight points along the way to Booty Bay and the boat to Ratchet, I made my way over land to that infamous den of mindless PvP, Crossroads.

There, Cassie summoned me a pet that I’ve been proud to have by my side ever since.

Say hello to… Moonshine. :)

It feels very rewarding to play the game this way. I’m not just questing through the zones, I’m using my knowledge of the game, of the zones, of how reputation works, of what rewards are available and what pets are where, to do what I would have loved to do when I first started playing the game years and years ago.

I have a level 31 Human Hunter riding a Darnassus cat with Echeyakee for a pet. It doesn’t get more gigglicious than that.

Yes, that’s a word now. Shush.

What I’m really looking forward to now are the quest zones I have yet to see.

My Hunter and Druid are both poised to quest in zones I’ve never set foot in since the Cataclysm.

Mu Hunter is heading to Hinterlands, and will do the Hinterlands – Western Plaguelands – Eastern Plaguelands – Badlands sequence. I understand that Badlands, in particular, rocks.

My Druid is going to finish out Ashenvale and move further on down Kalimdor, seeing how the land was sundered. I hope there is lots of fun for Alliance to have in Thousand Needles. South Barrens looks crazy!

Honestly, it’s a brave new world. I’ve limited my character options, removed the safety net of lots of max level characters, no longer have Cassie there to “run me through” something on her main if I just want to knock out a quick instance for quests, and have to earn every silver piece I get, for a given WoW value of “earn”.

It’s just like playing a brand new game… fresh and exciting. Except I, like… already know all the secrets and tricks and where everything can be found, and where resources are on the web.

As a side note, and I know this will seem very sudden to some people, but I can no longer be found in the guild Eff the Ineffable.

The folks there are wonderful folks who went out of their way to try and make me feel right at home, and I am very grateful to them for the invitation that brought me out of my Kael’thas shell to try something new. Please don’t believe that I have anything aganst them in any way. I don’t.

But a guild has to be a good fit for both the guild and the people in it, and while the people are great, their goals and mine within the game just aren’t the same.

I hadn’t realized going into it that they had formed the guild as a new place to make a solid go of raiding, and that there had been a lot of worry and sadness recently over what to do to get a guild of people focused on raiding. They are working very hard to get everything right, and from everything I’ve seen a re doing great.

I had been invited by nice folks I knew through Twitter, and I was very glad to go and spend time with friendly people, but in the end, the fact is I’m not a raider. That’s not my focus in the game. It’s not where my cheese is to be found.

I had lots of fun lurking in the guild chat channel… but I wasn’t a contributor to the success of the guild, and I knew that I never would be. I’d be that guy that dings 85, and then moves on to a new alt. Just when I could finally start pulling my weight in the guild and help them do what they want to be doing, I’d be moving on to another alt.  

I know that I could have stayed and been very welcome, and I’m sure nobody would have ever said anything to me about it… but I have to feel that if I am part of something, I am actually a contributing part of it. I have to feel I’m pulling my weight. 

It just wasn’t going to happen. That was, honestly, the single biggest reason I knew it wasn’t going to work out. I’d been thinking about it all week. I did have some minor issues with one person earlier in the day, but it had nothing whatsoever to do with my decision to leave. I’d been thinking about what I should do from the moment I read up about the guild and how it was formed, and realized they were a raiding guild, and meant it.

So, I said my goodbyes and left.

I’ve got some other friends on the server, I’ve been around long enough that I think I know someone on darn near every server in the US at this point. Hedwig and Matheo have invited me to hang out with Band of Misfits, a more casually-oriented guild on the server. They still raid, a LOT, word is they’ve got three raiding teams, and do so very well from what I understand… but from everything I’ve been told, it’s very casual friendly. I’ll be able to contribute to the guild by running light content in 5 person instances, and questing together with folks, or by being an occasional fill-in if someone needs a hand. That’s something I think I can handle. Plus, I won’t have that feeling that if I’m not raiding and helping the guild push through new content, that I’m not doing my part.

There are a lot of very, very nice people in Eff the Ineffable. They’re going to be pretty big stars on the raiding scene, because they have everything they need; a great GM, wonderful guild members, a mature, adult attitude and a determination to succeed. If raiding with good people is what you’re looking for, people who will actually come prepared, looking to succeed or get a punch to the crotch, then Effs’ the guild for you.

I owe the people of Eff the Ineffable a huge debt of gratitude. I may not be a raider at heart, but they brought me in and put me in a situation where I was able to rediscover all the things I love about WoW, and get my gaming groove back on.

When I get home from work now, I’m really looking forward to what I’m going to do when I log in. I’m thinking of the challenges ahead, and of what kind of neat stuff I can get up to in the world of Azeroth. That’s something that was missing for a while, and I knew I had to get an attitude adjustment to find it. I’m glad I’m back in the game.

If you’ve read this far, thank you all very much for your patience, and have a great week.

22 Responses to “WoW is just so damn awesome!”
  1. Elladrion says:

    In 3.3 I was in a similar boat, looking for somehitng to do, not wanting to play any of my 5 mains and getting really sick of all the mages named Freezeyoazz and rogues named Stabugood and druids named cow-whatever. So I started an escapist alt paladin on an RP server just for kicks. I shortly realized that RP servers are no differant from normal servers, all the people that care about RP never make it past level 30 and few followed the “required” naming conventions, so I decided to try somehting differant: see how hard/easy it would be to hit level cap with no help from friends (since i didn’t have any on that server) and no guild, but with all the knowlege of a veteran player on the way up. I got mining and sold ore as I went, bought ports from strangers when needed, played the AH like I’ve never played it before, buying and reselling whatever I thought I could make a gold on. Worked too, I bought dual spec at 40 (it still cost 1k gold at the time), bought all my own training and AH gear and riding skills and mounts right as I needd them, although epic flying was a little late, wasn’t till level 77 I had enough for it. Got to 80, bought all my training and cold weather flying and got some badge gear for him.

    Had an absolute blast doing it! Never did much with him after, eventually transfered to an oceanic server just to play with people late at night when it’s their prime time and all the US servers are dead quiet but I’m wide awake. Made some good friends in Oz from it, and had a heck of a lot of fun on the way to level cap. I highly suggest anyone looking for a change to try their hand at it!

  2. John says:

    I’ve also tried playing other games (Rift, Aion, EQ2). And honestly, WoW just has a level of polish that I don’t really see in the others. I’ve certainly played WoW the most, so there is going to be some bias. But it really does seem clear that Cataclysm is just so much more polished and balanced, etc, than just about anything else I’ve tried.

  3. Apple says:

    Aw, I’ll miss seein’ your big butt around!

    I’m very alt-happy, but despite my slow levelling and my constant alt-rolling, I actually DO want to raid, eventually, on either Mollie or Hadewig. I’m just taking my time and enjoying the journey to get there, and doing what I can (like fishing my butt off during Fishapalooza) to help in the meantime. And these people are very dear to me, and are more likely to be a good raiding fit than Apotheosis, love them though I may.

    But if the shoe don’t fit, there’s no use cutting off your heel to try to make it fit, as Cinderella’s stepsisters could tell you. I’m glad we could help you find your cheese, and I hope to see you around. :)

  4. […] more amazingly, jaded old Vanilla Veterans can still find joy in the game, new, real, fresh […]

  5. Elegantdeath says:

    I have happily been playing Rift for a few weeks now. Without a doubt, WoW is better in most any attribute. This is just my break (I suppose from having leveled too many toons to 85, etc. recently). Good to see your enthusiasm!

  6. Ama says:

    It’s refreshing to hear another veteran piping up amidst all the negativity with something positive. I’m glad you’re flying again!

  7. Zel says:

    Sorry to see you go, but it’s totally understandable. We are open to casuals, but it can be frustrating if you’re a casual trying to find people to hang out with, and we’re in a SRS BZNS raid and gchat is silent. If you ever need a buddy to do an instance with, do a /who eff!

    • Alas says:

      This!

      It was great getting a chance to meet you and I did enjoy the few discussions we had in guild chat. Please feel free to hit the Effers up any time. :D

  8. Tesh says:

    Wait, happy thoughts, flying and Druid flight form? Have you been reading my stuff again? Didn’t they *warn* you about that?

    I’ve been pondering WoW design (again), and almost wrote a post on “Guildless and Godfatherless” as being the only way to really see the game as designed. OK, and without addons (gasp!). Even then, though, my Druid has been spoiled by Auction House gold fairies. It’s one (good) thing to play without a sugar daddy, but when the AH endgame gold barons will pay 20G for a stack of copper ore, you’re still seeing a very distorted economy. (Let us not discuss the travesty that is crafting professions, and how their dysfunction makes them only useful in the endgame… thereby exacerbating the economic disconnect between gatherers and crafters…) And guilds, well… I’m all for finding a group of friends to play through the game with (or raid, if that’s your thing), but the wonky problems with grouping (that you’ve noted before), from phasing to simple level/gear disparity, often mean that guilds only function as raid engines. It makes sense, as that’s the best place to play together with minimal interference… and I can’t help but think that’s somewhat dysfunctional.

    Still, exploration, experimentation, flight form, cat mount and Echeyakee! There really are simple joys in WoW still, even for vets. You just have to go find them instead of hoping for them to come to you.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I ALWAYS read your stuff, my friend. You have long been one of my unshakeable eternals on my feedreader.

      • Tesh says:

        Aw, shucks. Thanks! Now I need to go out and do some more Hunter…ing. There’s just something awesome about collecting those rare critters. :)

  9. Rhii says:

    Definitely has been a blast having you around, I know I talked with you last night about leaving, so I understand your reasons, but I’m still kind of bummed about it. :P I am glad you’re still enjoying the game and the server though, it’s so refreshing to see people just having fun, I feel like we’ve had a gloomy few months around here and it’s nice to see some blue skies again!

  10. Danny says:

    I didn’t read your whole post. (I rarely read all of a post you make. Sorry, you’re *way* too wordy.) But, from the few paragraphs I did read, I have to agree. I’ve played WoW for six years, and I’m still having as much fun as ever. I don’t let all the disgruntled, tired-of-WoW players get me down. They’ve always been there. Negative players have been ranting for as long as I’ve been playing.

    You rarely hear from the positive players who are having a ball in game. You also rarely hear from all the new players joining WoW for the first time, perhaps playing their very first MMORPG. I know of a few players who are brand new to both the game and the genre. WoW has many successful years ahead of it. Make no doubt about it. For me, no other game has the “soul” that WoW has, and I can’t conceive of any game taking its place for many, many years.

  11. Tinuvieldark says:

    Our guild would be happy to have any variations of your bear butts on Hydraxis. We are an altoholic guild, been around for 4 years now, and we keep it casual and family friendly (some of our member’s 11 year old’s even in the guild). Bunch of friggin goofballs is what they are. Check out my website link if you are looking for some company on Hydraxis!

    Oh..and your enthusiasm is so contagious :) Been loving your blog for years now!

  12. Boocat says:

    I feel the same way. Hubby and I had taken a break from WOW back during LK to play AOC. I was heavy into the raiding scene when I just needed to try something new that wouldn’t seem like a job. Well, along came CATA so we had to come back and check it out and we are both thrilled that we did. It’s a whole new game with so much to do and see now. My raid toon sits idle (not to mention woefully undergeared now) while I’m trying out all the new classes and combos. Exploring all the new areas and changes in landscapes have kept us busy. We’re loving it. Will I get back into serious raiding again? I seriously doubt that I want to get that caught up in that rat race again. We’ve found a casual guild that just wants to have fun and we are just not in a hurry to get to cap. Of course there are always those who will catch the raid bug and move on, but for now I’m just having too much fun on my lowbie alts to even think about it.

  13. flint says:

    I know the feeling, I levelled and geared 3 toons from 80 to 85 and felt a burnout coming on. My main is a Druid Bear/Tree and is called on as soon as I log on to the point where I can’t do anything on my own.
    So a couple of weeks ago I started a nice little Dwarf Pally who is and will remain guildless and is having fun experiencing the new world on his own. Only my closest friends on WoW know of his existance and they let me know if something worthwhile is happening so I can swap over. They know I will help them if needed, but I’m not there too carry them.

  14. Mister K says:

    As one of the casual Effers myself, its sad to see you go, it was fun having you around and I hope we see you around from time to time. Thanks for offering me supplies and items too. You are one of the reasons Wow is as good as it is, not just the game but the people that play it, and you sir play it well. :)

  15. Angelya says:

    Those are some lovely kitties you’ve got there! Oh and best of luck with the new guild – hope to see you around the place on Azuremyst :)

  16. Mama Druid says:

    Wow BBB. Just, wow. I’m doing exactly the same thing! But instead of a new server, I’m closing my 6-year old account and starting a new account. Yes, I’m shelling out the real gold for it as well… but not until I have to. I’ll buy BC when I have a 60, Wrath at 70, and Cata at 80… unless I can’t resist the urge to create a Worgen or Goblin. =D

    There really was some virtual baggage with the characters I’ve been playing for years. Ya logon, look at them and go, “Oh hi, it’s you again. And you. And you. And you. Wait. What was I doing with you again?”

    It’s been fantastic starting all over again! And even some things that became familiar to me are now foreign: getting to Mazzranache on a level 10 Alliance hunter is now more of a challenge than it ever was. By a long shot. And it pleases me to no end. I actually experienced a tinge of frustration. *gasp*

    My pet Pinky is so much more valuable to her owner, Tuscadero, than any of my hunters who have ever tamed Mazzranache. Ever. In my whole life.

    THE CHEESE IS TASTY!!

  17. tkc says:

    Go to 1000 Needles. You get a boat. Your own boat. But you can only use it in that zone. /facepalm
    But still, its a boat.

  18. […] some relive the joy of WoW by tossing aside the guides; the heirlooms; the golden bank vaults, others still over engineer […]

  19. […] recently read a post over at Big Bear Butt where he mentioned that he was once again excited about playing Wo W. He […]

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