Tuesday, April 6, 2010

May the winds guide you...

I've played a lot on my lower level alts lately, and by doing so realized one of the greatest reasons for my departure from WoW. Reliving all of the original content made me nostalgic for the days of the 60 level cap and every ability we had access to then. Imbalanced and imperfect, they were not well thought out in the long run, but they were intricate and detailed. The thought of reliving the old world with all of our new spells and attacks, buffs and balance, just doesn't seem fair to the original Azeroth. Call me old fashioned and selfish, but I just can't do it over again. The part of me that celebrates the recycling of new material just doesn't outweigh the part of me that loves the way it was, so instead of continuing to play something I dislike, I will take my leave instead. I want my last memories of the game to be one I enjoyed, not one unrecognizable. I wish everyone who has come this far still eager to adventure on every bit of luck, and may you draw from the game as much pleasure as I did.

It does seem that I am leaving rather randomly, with no particular cause of departure. It was just time - there's not much else I can say. I have a wedding to plan, summer research to prepare for, grad school to languish in, and undergrads to torment. I've been out of college for near a year now, and the world is calling.

I didn't get to see the Lich King fall as I had planned, but strangely, I don't feel cheated of it. I reached a level of gear that satisfies me, and really, I think that's all the matters for this raider. There was a lot I did feel cheated about with this expansion, but I think I've already ranted about that enough about that in the past, so I'll spare it in this good-bye. However, since the account cancellation page wouldn't let me post my full 'additional' comments on why I quit the game, I shall list them here (chock-full of the anger and sarcasm that you all love so much):

Directly regarding “The game got too popular/overcrowded”:
The lore and direction of the game reflected the overpopulation. Too much emphasis on the Light, and the dumb-ification of game play. Quest helper? Please, don’t encourage people to read and make simple deductions...

The marginalization of mid-level progressive raiders, where all rare rewards are either made common (the Ulduar drakes, still in existence with 3.3 and a complete joke to acquire at that point) or improbable of attaining (the ToC mounts). The mid-level raiders were grouped with the casual players in terms of rewards, and only the most elite of the elite received any aesthetic glorification.

It took 40 people to kill Kel’thuzud, but only 10 to kill Arthas.

More esoterically:
Two expansion later, I still, as a Tauren, cannot enter or exit the UC elevators on any mount larger than a wolf.

Undead Hunters. I mean, really? You are willing to bend the rules to allow Tauren their first cloth class and introduce a plethora of Holy Cow jokes, but you can’t give Undead the one class that makes sense considering you are aligning Human and Undead classes: Paladins. I suppose you are more willing to ignore the rules you’ve established with regard to Life/Earth Mother, but not with Holy/The Light. Not a fan.

Aspect of the Dragonhawk never got an original animation or sound file.

Abomination’s Might overwrites Trueshot Aura, which particularly obvious now that Abomination's Might has become an aura. How demeaning. My ability has been in the game since it was at the bottom of my talent tree, and I don’t even get to see it as my buff because this “hero class” introduced with the most recent expansion has to spend two talent points on it compared to my one.

Evidently all the races in Northrend can be represented by a male, since every time my Deathbringer's Will procs, I suddenly lose my 'Matron' title and earn 'Patron'. Noooo, that doesn't get old *fast*.

Yeah, most are silly, dumb, and just plain bitchy, they are all just little nagging bits that have affected my love of the game. There is probably more to it than just what I listed above, but I think it would be reaching even more that the blatant points I already stretched. It's obvious I don't like the whole 'Light' concept - I think it is a cop-out to call all "good" one thing and all "bad" another; making them into embodied magicks simplifies things that shouldn't be simplified. It's probably a coincidence that they ran with these themes in the third expansion when the player base was the larger than it had ever been before, but I don't think they had to be as predominant as they played them up to be. There was so much potential in all the lore to be had, but in the end, everything was dumbed down. No doubt I want the impossible.

I'm going to miss the intricacies, the complications. It seems silly to think that one can actually feel nostalgia for days of non-stop grinding, but I remember being happy spending so many hours in the Burning Steppes, killing black dragonkin for gold and scales. I remember being excited about raiding Molten Core, and worrying about getting lost in Blackrock Depths or Lower Blackrock Spire. I recall wondering about Ahn'Qiraj and freaking about the event that sent strange elite mobs all over the map. What fraction of hunters actually know that the Zod in their bow's name came from a mob that spawned during that event?

In the end, I became happiest not while I was raiding, but when I was farming. Raiding didn't become a challenge any more. That's not to say that all the fights were easy, but they just didn't have the same intensity. My attempts at the Lich King showed me the most annoying fight since Archimonde. The last boss of all Warcraft lore, and he's left in the dust by the end boss of the first tier (or second, I suppose, if you classify by the loot he drops) 40man raid instance. Few bosses can hold a candle to Rangaros, and it's quite disappointing that we never got to see anything to rival the experience two expansions later. But then again, I suppose you just can't have that effect in a 10man. Farming, on the other hand, brought back that feeling of nostalgia for the days when spending hours of tedious activity - killing, looting, running, mining, herbing, wiping, rezzing - was required in order to get something done. Whether it meant getting gold for consumables, farming to gear a raid in shadow resistance, or spending hours in raid, learning a tricky boss strategy, it was those that dedicated time towards an end goal that received the pay off. Now, we just have farming, and I don't want to play this game just to farm.

Most of all, I'm going to miss Neg. What a character she was, what a history she had. She was one of those people that I would have done anything to see come to life, to tower over her companions, stoic and watchful. I can honestly say I put my heart into Neg, and I hate to think this form of her will be done and over. We enjoyed a weekend together in Warsong Gulch one last time - it was a fitting good-bye. She's in Feralas forever now, bow in hand, and Tinea at her side. Her sisters are in spots that mean the most to them, Ranrele in Moonglade and Zinaida in Dragonblight. Greatmother Chasle is in Thunder Bluff, ever vigilant for her clan. Their days ended with contentment.

Like a true recluse, I gave away all my gold and mats to friends old and new. People that will play will get more use out of such things than someone who will never play again. Most of my old friends are gone, but I scattered my raiding consumables to those that still are, including the three hunters I raided with for years. The trio of guys that brought me into their group received gifts and thanks as well. I valued every friendship I gained in the over four years of playing and wouldn't exchange the experience for the world.

Which brings us to you, my gentle readers. I thank you for your responses, your patience, and your interested minds. I doubt I would have kept this up if I didn't think people could use what I wrote in some fashion. I will miss writing more than you will miss reading. I have no plans as of now to start anew - personal blogs are more like diaries than anything else, and I don't particularly like that. I have tentative plans to try Final Fantasy XIV when it comes out, and perhaps I'll blog about that. I have other writing projects, some years old, that can keep me occupied. Negathle and her family will live on, just not in Tauren form.

I will miss you all and hope that where ever you wander, the winds will be sweet and bring with them adventure and happiness.