As I noted in the July month in review, I did it. I pulled the trigger. I resubscribed to World of Warcraft.
But I did not do so on what I would call a swell of enthusiasm. I mean, yes, I am warming up to the return of the Lich King in September.
It was more of a sense of inevitability, the knowledge that yes, our group was almost certainly going to reform for Wrath of the Lich King Classic, an expansion that looms large for so many.
Maybe I am overstating the tepidness of my commitment. I am keen to see the place live and active and full of people running through the content together… at least until they do something that makes them phase out of site due to a story update. There are some good things and some bad things.
But I compare this to how I felt just three years ago, when we had played in some of the WoW Classic beta and I wrote a post about how all I wanted to do was just play WoW Classic. It was going to be less than a two week wait and yet seemed like forever at the time… though that was admittedly before April 2020 taught us all what forever really felt like.
And the payoff was there once it arrived. I look back at my ManicTime play numbers and I spent a lot of time in WoW Classic. One third of my recorded play time in 2020 was in old Azeroth.
As I have mentioned before, one of my worries though is that WotLK, having been demonstrably my favorite WoW expansion through several metrics, is that the classic variation will have to live up to those memories… and that is even tougher than living up to reality, because those memories are more than a decade old and my brain has smoothed over or forgotten most of the annoying things I am sure.
Of course, we’re also almost two months away from arriving in Northrend. Still a lot of time to adapt… and come up with a plan. We do need a plan.
Finally, one of my motivations for resubscribing now is that I am really not all that enthused about anything else I am playing, so I am hanging some hope on the idea that easing back into Azeroth will give me some focus.
Fortunately, I was not alone in resubscribing. Technically all my talk of the upcoming Wrath Classic got Potshot to re-up first. But I followed shortly thereafter, and by the weekend the whole group was back in the game.
Of course, the first problem was simply still being in Outland.
If there is once thing I have gotten out of Burning Crusade Classic it has been that my long lingering feeling that Outland wasn’t all that fun has been confirmed. It is not all bad, but the philosophy for overland questing seems to have been, “If killing ten rats was good, then killing 15 must be better.”
Also, they made sure to cram in a lot of mobs to make sure you could get those 15 when the zone was full of other players, but when it is empty… and rare was the other player when we were out there… getting through the mob packs can be a slog.
Not that it is all bad. It was still the era of group quests that actually required a group and gave decent, blue gear rewards. That gave us something to work on. And, when you’re with a group, cutting through the mobs littering the ground is a bit easier.
We are, of course, still trying to formulate a plan. The tentative placeholder is to just drive to level 70 as a group as best we can and then wait for Wrath Classic to land. But even that has a lot of variable. We all managed to get a couple of characters at least to 60 in WoW Classic, so there is a question of group composition.
And I suppose even getting to 70 is a bit of an open question. The Joyous Journey 50% experience buff will speed things along.
The boost is noticeable and we were making progress.
But then we decided to jump past Hellfire Peninsula and Zangarmarsh and head into Terokkar Forest as a group, hoping to reap a bit more experience from higher level quests only to run headlong into the first quest in the zone, the moth killing quest, which requires 10 drops across four people and the drops are infrequent so it started to feel like a slog almost right away.
That started fraying a nerve or two right off the bat.
Fortunately that was a bit of an outlier at the start of the zone. Once we got past that… and it took way to long to do so… things did pick up a bit for us. Further quests that required drops were not so stingy, and other quests required less annoying objectives.
So our first weekend out we made it along a ways. A couple of us hit 64. Decent progress was made.
But probably more importantly, after a bit of a struggle to relearn the controls… Valheim and Minecraft just do things differently… we were able to get back into the groove of things pretty well. One of the things that almost always feels good about returning to WoW is that the controls feel normal and comfortable.
Off we go again. I am not sure any dungeon runs are in the cards, unless we do a couple over level. As a group of four we were struggling in Outland and on our server things are pretty quiet. We shall see.