Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vanilla Fun

As in "Vanilla World of Warcraft" no, not like . . .in the bedroom, although that is where my computer is . . . not for that, specifically . . .
But on to Wow.
As most of us know, on Tuesday Sep. 25th, The one race EVERYONE thought should have been in WoW, whether they wanted it or not FINALLY came to Azzeroth, after four expansions. I was on "the wows" that day and was delighted to discover SO MUCH of the content was available without the expansion proper, such as being able to roll Panderan (not as a monk though, that required the Xpac), and the new Pet Battle system.

So, of course, having never seriously played or owned a copy of Pokemon, or Digimon, Or Monster Rancher, I was instantly addicted to the Pet Battle system. (I also weakly justified it because of the vague potential to acquire a geode pet which, T1nk expressed that she wanted. although now I think you can't trade that one so I will have to farm it off Elementium, but, anyway). My buddy Moose was also on and was chatting with me a bit about the PokeWow, as I realized I had dinged the "Big City Pet Brawlin' - Horde" I saw the Alliance Version as well as the "Multicity" version and knew I had to do them!
So I told Moose to meet me and we flew off to Darnassus on our Horde Toons, ready for sneaky cross faction Capitol Poke-WoW. It was a blast, flying up into Darnassus, forgetting how to get to Exodar and then dying repeatedly because all the guards are 90 now, escaping a hunter in The Deeprun Tram by just hopping on the Tram even though I guess he thought he could take a raid spec'ed Tank & a PvP geared Frost Mage by himself, corpse dropping through IF where we REALIZED the guards had been buffed, and then corpse dropping through SW, avoiding ALL THE WARLOCKS ON THE SERVER (Ally side) and watching allies who DEFINITLY COULD(crazy, most recent season PvPgear) take me and moose not even realize we were only a few miles above them, waiting for the boat to Darn, then Exodar.
 It wasn't until the next day till Moose texted me while I was at work "Dude, we could have just done the battles on Alliance toons and gotten the achievement." To which I replied along the lines of, "yeah, that sounds right, but FUCK THAT! That would have been cheating"
Wich reminds me of a anecdote I often recite:
"Back in my day, we used to grind 15 hours in Winterspring, Uphill! With a 40% speed mount and a .05% drop rate. And we were happy for it! None of your silly cross-realm auto Queues. We had to WAIT for BG's & FIND PUG's and then you had to LIVE with the consequences of your actions and those of the idiots you grouped with CAUSE THEY WERE THERE! EVERYDAY, in Orgrimmar, on top of the bank, yelling about how they were the savior of the Horde and would lead us into victory against the disgusting alliance with their more attractive females, even though they weren't even max level and never really left the capitol city, nor was part of a Guild."
(For more, "ol' Man Ribeye" Rants . . . Hang out with me.)
Ol' RibeyeJack has hunted above his weight class on numerous occasions . . . Back when hunters had mana.
It was shortly after that text I realized a certain TYPE or feel of fun had left WoW, or had to be found, instead of an integral part of it. I have lamented certain changes in the past HERE, and there are a number of posts discussing other aspects of the game. Funny enough, I read a couple old posts and realized some of the information was no longer relevant due to many changes with different patches & expansions.
But here I talk about the power slip and the drop of the challenge curve.

Neutering of pets, where you don't have to go train others and then learn their abilities, no feeding, normalization where all pets are created equal, even more so NOW that you can spec whatevr pet you like the way you like. WHich I think is cool, but I like the idea of "hunting" and "tameing" and THEN if you like "re-training." Having played a hunter with a LOT of RP during Vanilla, and even on into today, these are small things I miss.
Bigger things it seems really began with what I've heard dubbed, and what I call, EZ-Patch, a few months before Lich King came out, when many things in Wow changed numerically. NPC's and mobs were nerfed and the amount of XP to get to 60 (cap was 70 at the time) was reduced at each level. At the time, the raiding guild I was with, was having serious issues pushing past certain content in a couple different Raids, but as soon as that patch hit, I was able to see a LARGE amount of content I thought we would spend a month or so on. And although it was very cool, it felt a bit cheapened, because I had hard won 2 peices of raiding gear and then with a couple nights of  rushed wipes, I had half a dozen more pieces of various tiers.
More recently with the achievements, titles, pets & mounts going cross-account. Once again, I like it in so far that certain things I want to be able to access no matter what toon I'm on, like ultra rare pets & mounts such as the Lil' T.K. & my Blizzard Blizzcon Bear mount. But with OTHER super-rare items, like Time-Lost Proto Drakes & Emerald Whelplings, a player puts in serious time and energy on one character, I think that's sort of a unique vanity that the character you accomplished it on should be able to sport, not just having a level 12 run around with a critter who's the same level as him.
We came out of the sea and strode through town, desolation in our wake. They killed one of our own attempting a quest that came too near their border, there mightiest(read: lvl 70's) then ran raids into our settlement. Our retribution was swift and sure.
It sort of feels like WoW evolved a lot like consoles did. I mean like how, when some of us were younger we played games on the NES or Sega, I'll even include PS1, and at those tween/adolescent years, those games were HARD. Then you go back to them almost a decade later, and realize, yeah! they were difficult. That's why there were cheats & bugs & game genies. But now, as consoles & the games have evolved, they are still hard, but it's no more "you need a lantern to get through there or you die because that should make sense to you. There is no sign post or multiple ways to light up the area" now the challenge is the AI, other players, more complex styles of play than just the inherent game itself in the form of achievements & awards.
The traditional way to do huge things in WoW was to get a 40 person raid together, and if you didn't have a massive guild, you had to find alternate ways to do things. Sometimes just for the shiggles of having done it. For example, I STILL need to get a 5 man together of level 20 somethings, corpse drop through SW and do Stockades, cause that's not cheating.
"Back in my day, Tarren Mill didn't even have ground! And we were thankful for that lack of floor!" Yay rendering bugs!
Well, I think I've made my point, but then again, I am really looking forward to this expansion because of the story promised by devs & designers, maybe some of that old flavor will creep back in. Time will tell.

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