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.