Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Return through the Mists

Return to a new World of Warcraft

After a 1 year hiatus from World of Warcraft, I have returned but not with Serebihm. I spent 1 year trying to find a game that is better than World of Warcraft. Many games I played were hailed as WoW beaters- SWToR and GW2 in particular – but none lived up to their hype. SWToR had decent raid content, but unfortunately it had crippling bugs, a horridly basic and uninteresting crafting system, and just not enough other things to spend your time with – things I like to call “Fluff” , like collecting Mounts or minipets, etc. GW2 on the other hand had a great crafting system and lots of “Fluff”...and a severely lacking endgame.

After a year of trying to find the better MMO, we had come to the conclusion, this is the best MMO and it will probably remain so until Blizzard’s next effort. I was part of a group of 9 players who tested these new waters, but every time we tried something we would find something we weren’t happy with and WoW comparisons would emerge. So about two weeks ago, as we were again discussing the shortcomings of another failure, I had had enough. It had become clear to me, that for us there was only one game that could cater to our needs.
But I set new stipulations for our return, we would not be allowed to return to our mains, we would approach it as a completely new game, And so we did, well, most of us anyway.

Most of us rolled a Pandaren of some kind, for me only one choice of course – the hunter – Laoshan would be his name. He would soon be joined by three monks – Onka, Brewtzlee and Mingzhu – as well as a mage, Xingfei, a Shadowpriest named Solah, and a Death Knight named Moort. It was a glorious return! The world had changed in many ways: my character had access to all my mounts and minipets, Pet battles had joined the fray, Talent trees had become a lot simpler and less cookie-cutter, Stat-sticks had disappeared, it almost felt like a new game.

Our approach this time round would have to change, however, for us to last long in this “new” MMO. We realize that it’s WoWs age that makes it so compelling. If SWToR and GW2 had the scope of an 8 year old game we may not have come back. We all agreed, it was the fact that WoW spoiled us, that we became to take things for granted, that drove us away. So we decided to play with the priority of fun in mind. No longer would we be forced into playing a certain spec because it has the highest DPS output. No longer would we force a player to play a different class because it has more benefit to the group. Our new rule of play was simple – play what you want to play and how you want to play it.

Raiding has always been one of the most like aspects of MMOs for our group. We like to raid and each one of us has had different experiences. But it was our SWToR raid experience that really showed us what we were looking for. All of us had come from 25 man guilds. Most of the others had been in the same guild, a guild I had been part of for a short time, where progression was a struggle – the shortcomings of a few hampered the progress of the many. I had a similar experience, hence my move to a new server and a new guild. I experienced the other end of the scale, I joined and raided with a guild that was Top 3 on its server. There, progression was swift almost trivializing content in the process.
It was those contrasting raid groups that showed us what we were really after – the middle ground. We didn’t want to struggle through progression, beating our head against a wall in the process, but neither did we want to fly through, trivializing content as we went. Both were perfect recipes for boredom.

But now that we are back we will look to apply our new mentality here. First signs are very encouraging, and all of us are waiting for our first raid with high anticipation. Laoshan is currently level 87 with 2 of our group at 90 and the rest around 10 levels behind. Plenty of time for me then to explore this new world and discover its secrets.

Pandaria awaits!

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