Friday, September 12, 2014

Back to WoW

This past weekend was back to football. In gaming, I'm back to WoW. I cancelled my account almost a year ago. I’ve bounced from SWTOR to Wildstar but nothing has really stuck with me like WoW did.

There’s a familiarity I feel with WoW that no other game has been able to match. Every time I would play with my buddies in SWTOR or Wildstar, I would remark on how something reminded me of a mechanic in WoW. It got to the point that we would do a boss fight and one of them would ask, 'so which Boss from WoW did that remind you of'? While I learned what a dagun or a rowsdower was, they didn’t stick with me the same way that murlocs or Naga did. Maybe it was because I was already familiar with them from the Warcraft RTS, I don’t know.

WoW is about to celebrate its 10 th anniversary. The only anniversary I’ve missed in WoW was the 9th. 10th being such a milestone I really want to be there for it. They are also releasing of a Level 90 version of Molten Core and I think it would be great to see that place again at max level, even though I’m sure it won’t be the same the same.

I’m also excited for Warlords. It will be cool to see Draenor before it blew up. The time travel / alternate universe stuff doesn’t both me. It’s a staple of geek stories (comics/sci-fi/fantasy). Garrisions aren't going to compare to housing to Wildstar, but I think they represent some pretty cool gameplay, even if I don't fully understand them yet.

With my subscriptions reactivated I logged in for the first time in nearly a year. But I faced a question, which toon? I had three 90s I could play with: my Paladin, my Hunter and my Shaman. The Hunter and Shaman are both on Tanaris, while the Paladin is on Azuremyst. I would love to get them all together at some point but it’s not a huge deal right now. I also have a level 90 boost.

I'd really like to start playing the toon I'll take to Draenor and start to get established in a guild. I know my old WoW buddies are done with WoW, so socially, I'll be starting over a bit.

I decided not to go with the Hunter. I enjoyed playing him, and while I liked the pets aspect, I find that I prefer support roles to pure DPS. Plus, with gear being adaptive in Warlords, one of the major headaches of playing a hybrid (multiple gear sets) is somewhat mitigated.

That left my Shaman or my Paladin. I know everything is about to change in a couple of weeks with Patch 6.0 so I wasn't focused on mechanics or relative power. It's an MMO. You are always one patch away from FotM or useless.

The decision came down to whether I wanted the option to tank or the option to be ranged DPS. Shamans and Paladins can both heal and both be melee dps. On the surface, this should have been an easy call, I mean it's me, right? But two things weighed on my mind: time and Tortos.

Guilds rely on their tanks to be bedrock members. It's not a casual role. I'm always going to be behind the curve with gear and that's not something a main tank can do. Even more than that, I may simply not have the reflexes anymore to be a tank. Nothing showed that to me more than Tortos. Tortos was the turtle boss in Throne of Thunder, and marked one of my biggest failures in game back before I called it quits. He periodically summons bats. I couldn't seem to ever pick them all up and get them under control. I eventually had to bow out for another tank.

But I wasn't ready to close the door completely.  I love the theme of the Paladin class. I love the animations, the spell names and the lore. The Paladin gives me the option to try tanking again down the road. If it's a total disaster, a respec to Holy is just a portal away.

I logged into Honorshammer.

I’m not sure what was more surprising: what had changed or what hadn't. I read up on wowhead.com’s guides for boosted 90s to see how to play and spent some time on the training dummy. The rotations came back pretty quick as they really hadn't changed much.

I had lost all my addons and settings. When I left WoW the last time, I thought it was for good so I blew away everything except my screenshots.  I was able to get most of the addons back but any customization I had done was gone. I managed to cobble a UI together, but it's going to take a while to get it right again.

I had gotten a new mount from Heartstone called the Heartsteed. I learned it, but then I couldn’t remember how to access my pets/mounts to actually use it . I ended up having to Google where the mount button was (Shift + P).



I had heard about the Timeless Isle but I wasn't ready to go try that yet, so instead of flew over to Halfhill and worked my farm. The varmints gave me a nice reintroduction to combat without any real danger.

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