The final countdown has begun. I have less than 24 hours remaining before my paid World of Warcraft subscription goes dark.
Cassie frankly doesn’t think it’s going to happen, and I’m kind of curious if I can manage it myself.
A little voice in the back of my head tells me, “You know, you KNOW that a week after your account closes, Blizzard will announce new in-game rewards based on continuous subscription time… and you’ll have gone from ten years to zero. Don’t do it.”
Last night, I decided to log into each of my characters to find that one special place, mount and pet to pose with and take pictures of before logging out for what might be the last time.
For every character I have leveled to max over the years, I have some special place that springs immediately to mind with images of great battles, raids or fun with friends and family. At least I did until I reached my last character, Chainblade, my poor abandoned Death Knight.
Poor Chainblade. I created my Death Knight to play with my son, and we spent a good bit of time together in Cataclysm on the long march to 85. When Mists of Pandaria came out, many of my other characters traveled on, but Chainblade was left behind. He never took the magic airboat ride.
As my son’s Death Knight Hailsword adventured deep into the mist-shrouded pandaland, Chainblade became a pet battle alt. His duty orders sent him to spend a long, LONG time standing next to Major Payne, where he would briefly appear each day to engage the good Major in pet battle before returning to his tent for the rest of the afternoon.
Chainblade was the character that joined my son in completing the daily missions to gain a Winterspring Frostsaber, so that mount is the one that Chainblade shall always be riding for me. I was happy to see that he still carries with him a photograph of his cub’s first toy. That brought a smile to my face.
But what location resonated with the Death Knight? I could certainly log out next to Major Payne, that would feel proper considering the length of time spent there, but it doesn’t half speak of adventure, now does it?
In fact, Chainblade spent so many months in brief daily battle with Major Payne that I didn’t create a story for him so much as had the head canon build up for me.
You see, once the Lich King was finally defeated, the great wars of Chainblade’s time were over. He had battled valiently and been true to his cause, but once the grand threat was removed, what place could there be for the dead in the lands of the hot blooded and quick?
With his days of glory behind him, Chainblade the worgen Death Knight retired to the Argent Tournament in Icecrown, near to the scenes of his past glories, and there he spends his days lost in his memories of friends and fallen foes from the past, and continuing on from day to day in a kind of timeless, changeless rhythm amidst the comfortable trappings of his life on the front lines.
Chainblade has his tent pitched near to Major Payne’s tower at the Tournament, where he has been for several years now. He’s a familiar sight to the vendors there as he goes about the same time-worn ritual, each day the same as the last.
At midday when the pale sun is at it’s zenith he will emerge from his tent, vigorously sniff the air, and then light one of his foul-smelling Nerubian cigars. Once he has it going well, he pulls out his old campaign chair and sits beside his fire to enjoy the feel of the weak sun on his fur.
As the light slowly begins to move, tracing stark patterns across the face of the Storm Peak mountains, he relaxes in his chair and sips his kungaloosh. He drinks to forget, even as the taste of the kungaloosh mixed with a dash of quinidine bark reminds him of the times he drank it in the hot jungles of Sholozar Valley to keep his undead heart moving slow and sluggish in the quickening hot climate.
When night finally descends in full and the lights of the Tournament are aglow, he gets up and wanders his way over to visit with Major Payne, and watch as a fresh crop of hopeful challengers bring their pets, eager to show off their skills to the master trainer.
He sips his drink and watches through the dusk hours while the natural drama of victory or defeat goes on around him, untouched by it all but still feeling something, some small sense that he could have been any of them, with a bright future ahead, and with a life where such a small thing as a lone pet battle victory or defeat could seem like the most important thing in his entire young life.
Then the day has finally ended, and the youthful challengers all run off to celebrate or drink away their disappointment and tell stories of the grand adventure they have had, and their hopes for more excitement in the days and weeks to come.
Chainblade sets down his drink and cigar upon the steps of the old, cold tower and faces off with the good Major for the last battle of the night, two old warhorses replaying an old and familiar game. He takes his victory with the ease of long practice, using the same tactics as has worked each month and even year that has slipped on by.
Picking up his drink and cigar once more, he gives the Major a long-toothed grin, and retires to his tent, letting the moments of the day slip away to blend into the long line of unchanging and forgotten fallen dawns behind him.
Kind of sad, really. He’s a Death Knight, he shouldn’t be sitting around molding away by a campfire, he should have one last, bright charge against a valiant foe left in him!
I decided to resurrect Chainblade, call him up out of his retirement and make him shake loose the cobwebs from the rut he was in, give him one last hellride through mystery and adventure.
Chainblade had always been Unholy, so it was really time for a change. The tired old wardog needed to learn everything all over again, and what better way than to take a lesson from the new World of Warcraft Crash Course video on Death Knights, and try Frost? Dual Wielding Frost at that, really shake things up!
I watched the video, and I enjoyed it. Then I read the guide for Frost Death Knights at Icy Veins, and thought, “Holy crap, that is a lot more complicated than the Crash Course made it sound!”
Then I read the small section on simplified Frost DPS, and saw that it was about the same as the Crash Course, only you know, Icy Veins talks about things like Army of the Dead and glyphs and what kind of Runeforging enchants to put on weapons and all that stuff. Whew! A ton of stuff to take in.
Chainblade finally took his first steps into Stormwind in years, and was summoned to a visit with the King. He was directed to take a magic airship ride to discover what had happened to the fleet and the White Pawn, and stepped once more into adventure.
Two words: Holy shit!
I have played through the starting Jade Forest Alliance zone as every character class now.
I can say, without reservation, that I have NEVER before blown through that zone like an unstoppable juggernaut the way the Frost Death Knight did.
Just, holy shit!
I know I should be popping some of my short duration cooldowns, but I didn’t have time, because even when swarmed by adds like Hozen I just destroyed them. I never even bothered with Obliterate, I never had to.
I will say that the combination of summoning my pet on a 2 minute cooldown, and then using the talent that takes half of my pet’s health away to heal ME for half of MY health on a 2 minute cooldown was awesome. If I got swarmed by more than four or five things, I’d wait until I was finally below half health (and most of the mobs were dead anyway), then pop my pet and my healing Talent and boom! Back at full health AND with a pet to help finish them all off.
Felt overpowered while leveling, and that’s no lie. I never died, and I took on swarms of Hozen. I pulled the Hozen camp where Admiral Taylor is found right before you rescue him and take him to the fishie people, and it was nothing but a thing. Just pull the camp, kill them all and loot enough keys in one go to finish it all up. And then get the skulls easy because everything’s dead.
Never, ever felt anything like the god-like power of the Frost DK in that area.
I think I only ever summoned Army of the Dead once, and that was when I started feeling guilty killing swarms of adds without it, like I was being a fail DK. Army, damnit! I’m supposed to use that.
One last night to go. Tonight will be the last one.
Chainblade is level 86 already, and he’s remembering why he had to drink that kungaloosh to make it through a hot forest full of things that wanted to eat him in the first place.
Even if he finds himself retiring there among the fish people, he’ll at least have had the pleasure of one last hurrah, and the knowledge that yes, even in this modern age, an old wardog can learn one more trick, and be a total badass while doing it.