It was the best of times – A Blog Azeroth Shared Topic

The Shared Blog topic over at Blog Azeroth this week is as follows:

I know we heard the word “Throwback” many times around the net, but as part of World of warcraft expansions. I want to know what is the best expansion in game that really highlights a lot of your accomplishments in game especially that the new upcoming expansion is coming its nice to look back it could be the one when you started playing with your main character, getting a cool mount, being in a great guild, or your very first screenshot in game if you still have it or being in PvP battlegrounds or Arenas, even your raiding experiences back in BC or PRE-BC, Cataclysm, etc. You can be creative how you want to do this it could be storyline, poem, screenshots up to you it is pretty much a throwback experiences you can share to everyone.

Suggested by Amerence.

For me this has to be a toss up between the original game and Wrath.

When I first started playing, it wasn’t long before I found myself in a hardcore guild fighting for and indeed winning server firsts on everything from Vael onwards all the way to Naxxramas mark 1. Despite there being over 40 of us, despite there being a fair number of giant egos and quite a few times when I would have liked to kill at least one person in the guild, there was also a sense of pride in our guildtag. We played on a PvP server and it was more often than not a case of attack one and get swarmed by the rest of the guild.

Also of course there was the newness factor, I’d never ever played anything multi player besides first person shooters across a LAN with friends so suddenly raiding with 39 other people from across Europe including Russians from Vladivostok who would get up early to raid before work felt amazing.

Getting my Benediction as the second Priest on our then server and of course getting the only C’thun kill  (no one else killed him until the Burning Crusade) naturally rank high on my list of things achieved in the days before “achievements” but it was the silly things which stand out more. The long drawn out fights between Southshore and Tarren Mill, getting rank on my little Warlock before she was level 60 when the pvp system first came out and of course later on, same server Alterac valleys. The conversations in Priest chat, like the one which put me off eating seaweed for a very long time and doing things like drunken LBRS runs with 3 dpsers all desperately trying to beat each other by pulling as much as possible and no tank these are the things which stand out.

Selling the clothes off my back to buy my first mini pet because I hadn’t found the auction house and 40 silver was a lot of money back then, to me at least. Not to mention many of my favourite outfits are based around gear which has been available since the start, the Devout set, the Wildheart set and the Robes of the Guardian Saint are three examples which quickly spring to mind.

Wrath didn’t have the newness factor but it had several elements I enjoyed. First up a proper end boss, demons really aren’t my thing and the Sunwell didn’t exactly have the happiest of memories for me. Then there was Ulduar, quite possibly my favourite raiding instance of the entire game. As with the original game I was raiding at a fairly high end level and enjoyed completing for things like server firsts and also ticking off what were then hard achievements. When we got A Tribute to Insanityit felt like killing C’thun all over again especially given that we usually wiped to stupid on something. It also brought me my favorite 5 man of all time, the Halls of Reflection. Call me weird if you want, but I rather like being chased through frozen halls by a man with a very large sword (and based on what I found when I went and read WoW fan fiction with the  mature filter turned off) I’m apparently not alone.

There was the nakedness bug

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and Gnomes in the fish feasts. I got my one and only legendary, although I have to admit the lack of RP was slightly disappointing even though some of my guild kindly tried to improvise for me. There were flying carpets and real story telling. The Wrathgate chain for example still makes me teary eyed.

Ultimately though, there has been one constant to my journey across Azeroth.

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Mr Harpy and given that he’s currently in the process of leveling warrior number 3, this shot of us snuggling on a beach in Silverpine way back when our adventure was just starting seemed appropriate. I’ve enjoyed the vast majority of my time spent exploring this strange new world and am looking forward to everything that this new expansion brings.

Afraid of the Dark

To celebrate the fact that it’s almost All Halllows Eve, I thought I’d write about the things which chill my blood and raise my heartbeat in-game. This list is by no means exclusive and perhaps my choices are a little strange at points but then think how boring life would be if we were all scared by the same things.

The Battle for Darrowshire.

I fully admit that this quest chain has always made me cry but at points it also has me looking over my shoulder. Turning on those you love, forced to slaughter those you swore to protect must be one of the cruelest fates ever devised and whilst the quest chain has changed since it’s epic vanilla proportions, it’s still a must do for all my leveling characters. The Cataclysm revamp also added an even creepier touch by allowing you to pick up a doll from the caravan once you’ve completed the Darrowshire quest chain. This gives you a buff whilst you’re in the Eastern Plaguelands which asks “Is somebody following you?”. The answer to that always sinister question is a yes, as every so often a small figure with plaits will slide into being beside you, follow for a while and then vanish into thin air.

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Old Gods

The first time C’thun whispered me, I stopped healing (almost killing our GM in the process) and generally panicked. I knew it happened, I just wasn’t expecting it to happen to me. Madness runs through my family like contour lines across a map and thus any form of insanity, even when in a video game sends chills down my spine. Too many of my relatives have heard voices (with mixed results) for me to be comfortable receiving the WoW equivalent.

Impaled Orcs

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After I terrified myself reading “The Vampire of Croglin Grange” whilst around seven years old, my Grandmamma told me all about Vlad the Impaler and his hobbies. Now whilst she managed to stop me waking screaming about long talons tapping on my bedroom window in the middle of the night, ever since then, I’ve looked at sharpened sticks in a whole new light.

The Whole of Hillsbrad Foothills

From the fauna

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to the flora

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Hillsbrad has scares aplenty. Whenever I’ve quested through there since Cataclysm, I can’t properly look at those bears whilst killing them. The whole idea of something using another living creature as a nursery has me fighting the urge to stand on a chair screaming my head off.

One touch I think is particularly nice (or nasty) is this crate of scourge grain left to rot in the middle of a little lake, it’s work already done.

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The Jade Witch

There is something about living flesh being turned into unfeeling stone which leaves chills down my spine. That coupled with the fact that I love the darkness behind fairy stories draws me to this particular quest chain whenever I level through the Jade Forest.

Chased

Who doesn’t love the chase, being chased on the other hand.. well that’s a different story. There are two stand out moments for me where I am the hunted, not the hunter.

The first is perhaps one of my favourite quests in the entire game. One which when I encountered it the first time, I panicked, not expecting to be pursued across country by a pack of what are essentially werewolves. With hindsight it’s charm increases as you see the breadcrumbs leading up to this point for what they really are, proper signposts yelling “run away now!”. Every time I complete it though, my heart is in my mouth, expected that once.. just once, those worgen might be faster than the horse.

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The other is the Halls of Reflection, where I find myself secretly half wishing that Arthas would catch us. My dark imagination playing all sorts of tricks in the half light.

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Maybe it’s just me but doesn’t this read like a bad romance? I can just see the cover now, a half naked Arthas, wielding his sword (of course), clutching Jaina to his “manly” chest. I suspect all the ice she’s been throwing about would have melted, leaving her dress clinging to her and possibly some artistic beads of water would be dripping down her cleavage. That said, despite this “cheese” factor, it’s still one of my favourite scary dungeons.

Stitches (and the rest of Duskwood)

Duskwood has it all, betrayal, murdered families and things no longer whole brought back from the dead. From the eyes gleaming in the darkness to the sheer number of tombstones, everything in the zone is geared up to make you glance over your shoulder.

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Rona Greenteeth

The shadow which lies behind the Faire. Another creature of fairy tale, like her name sake “Jenny Greenteeth” she pitches her camp not too far from open water and her goods… well, further proof that we should all be careful what we eat.

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Queen Aszhara’s puppetry
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Puppets like dolls are inherently creepy and being turned into one, even if it’s by  the “Light of a thousand Moons”, is not a pleasant prospect. Killing your group can be fun though.

The shadows of Gilneas

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I love wandering around Gilneas which is why I tolerate making Worgen characters but every so often you’ll catch a flicker of movement out of the corner of your eye. These two screenshots are of the same house taken mere seconds apart so what with casement windows opening and closing, curtains fluttering in an invisible breeze and the ghosts of Gilneas watching from the window, how can you not feel a chill in the air.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the game though, is the fact that it highlights the darkness inside ourselves. We slaughter with impunity, we turn a blind eye to torture and mass murder. Genocide is embraced and we fight to the death for sport. Perhaps this is Sprout’s real face.

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Sometimes Vanilla is the flavour you want

I’ve been having a lot of fun revisiting old content this past week.

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Especially AQ40 which I hadn’t revisited properly since those halcyon days of raiding it back in the summer of 2006. There was definite sadness in the reflection as we cut a swathe through everything, remembering how once it was an achievement for our guild to manage the corehounds properly or the pain that the trash en route to C’thun caused us, but mostly it was enjoyable.

The Gods of RNG smiled reasonably favorably on me too, racking up 4 out of 12 pets on my way to Mr Bigglesworth.

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One from each instance to be specific. Naturally though, the two I want the most, the mini-Gluth that I asked for back in June and the other baby Dog haven’t chosen to make an appearance yet.

I’m glad Blizzard have added another layer of reasons beyond transmogrification and achievements to push people back into visiting old content because a lot of the mechanics are interesting and whilst at first glance the decor might seem a little dull, sometimes beauty can be found glittering like fireflies in the strangest of places. Given that they seem to be diversifying quite a bit, I find myself wishing that they would add current level versions of each of these old classics so that everyone has the opportunity to experience say C’thun as a proper raid experience, not something you wander in and poke in the eye until he gives you shiny things. The old versions would still remain for adventurers wanting a moment’s solace reliving past glories alone or for the ease of pet farming, pet taming or transmogrification runs but it would a bit of extra spice especially in those dark gaps between patches. I’m not arguing for this instead of new content but to run along side it in parallel to flesh out any missing spaces. Think of the opportunities to add new and interesting things, perhaps a mount who looks like Princess Huhuran* for example along side more pets, more clothes and definitely more vanity items.

*Yep I just want to fly around on a giant angry Wasp.

 

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