I ask myself sometimes what it is about World of Warcraft that sunk it’s teeth so firmly into my butt and won’t let go.
What is it, that one thing you think of when you play the association game.
Sure, there may be a hundred different things something means to you, but what is that one thing you smell, the picture you see, when you first call World of Warcraft to mind.
For me, World of Warcraft has nothing to do with guilds, gear, raids, leveling or even quests as a ‘dude had an exclamation point over his head’ thing.
It’s all about the adventure.
The image, the feelings that come to my mind are the sensations I had as a young Night Elf Druid, in cat form, prowling over the mountain trail from Desolace into the northern jungles of Feralas.
In that first year of World of Warcraft, all of my first impressions were formed. Alone in the game, no real guild, rarely any friends on, just me, a Druid, and an entire unknown world of vast size to explore.
Adventure lay around every corner. New things to see, new lands, new peoples, new enemies to fight. Ruins and caverns and ancient temples. The worshippers of old gods to thwart, the vitality of the Horde to face down, cultures at war and a new experience at hand every time I logged in.
In those early days where Thottbot gave hints on where to find the solution to your quest, you were mostly on your own. You never knew what you were going to run into around the next corner, you didn’t even know who controlled the land you were prowling into next. An Alliance fortress? A lost Tauren stronghold? Pirates, Ogres, an island of serpent people assaulting Night Elves, who could possibly guess?
That is what World of Warcraft truly means to me. When I think of the game, I still flash back to that Night Elf Druid boldly exploring a world where anything could lie around the next corner, and it’s nameplate could be red for “OMG RUN RUN RUN AWAY AAAAHHHHHH, dead, one shot, that bastard, who the hell put a 56 elite there and holy shit look at how close they spawn to each other, gack.”
It has been a very long time since those days, right? Now there are a thousand voices screaming to be heard, all desperate to tell you all about what lies around that corner, what rare will spawn there, what the frequency is, what is in it’s loot list and how you can map it in TomTom so you can farm them as efficiently as possible.
For me, those long lost days of exploration are about to come around once again.
I have managed, mostly through withdrawing from all media, to avoid all spoilers about the new Timeless Isle.
I know where it will appear, and I know there will be rares, and bosses, and Celestials, and coins to collect, and a Celestial Tournament for pet battling, and all sorts of events.
Yeah, that sentence about sums up my total knowledge of the Timeless Isle. Oh yeah, and Ordos the legendary locked boss.
It sometimes feels as though the Lets Play group has taken over, and people aren’t interested in playing a game themselves, experiencing things for the first time on their own. They want to watch someone else have fun on a Twitch streaming channel.
I just don’t understand that, and it’s okay. I don’t get the point of passively watching other people have fun playing sports, either. I can either play and have fun, or go do something else. I don’t get the point of watching someone else have fun playing a game. But other people do, and that’s cool. For them, there are plenty of streaming channels where you can watch other people have fun playing video games.
Me, I’m about to step foot into the Timeless Isle tonight. I will be striking out, exploring, no idea what lies around the next bend.
I don’t give a shit if someone wrote a guide, I don’t need a guide, I’m a badass and I WILL explore this new land and pry it’s secrets from the charred, skeletal hands of it’s soon-to-be-dead masters.
I will not be following in anyones footsteps. I will be the one forging a trail in search of the lost temple of gold, the fountain of eternal youth, or the altar of the timeless gods. Which will I find? All, some, none of the above? Will I be destroyed for my foolishness in meddling with forces beyond my mortal ken?
I will not be the most efficient. I will not obtain the most coins or potential drops or rare kills in the least amount of time. I will not be dinging Celestial boss kills as fast as they can spawn. And I’m okay with that.
For the first time in years, something is being unleashed that I can take the time to enjoy for myself, at my own pace, and really not give a shit if there is loot to be found that will make me more powerful for raids. I suck in raids anyway, another piece of loot ain’t gonna change that.
I can already feel that tension, just thinking about logging in. What will I find? What will be there, around the next corner?
My only fear is simple. Will the Timeless Isle be so small that it feels not like I am an adventurous explorer, but more like I am just one more body lost amidst the ravening horde?
I look forward to seeing what happens. I want to be alone, lost amidst the teeming forest, pushing aside the fronds with my machete in search of something no man or woman has set eyes on in a thousand years.
There will be time enough for people when the Flex Raid comes around.