Nostalgia – That Bittersweet Pill

Nostalgia is a funny thing. In someways those first few years playing WoW were my happiest, playing with a stable group of people, raiding high end content and generally enjoying myself.Yet when I unpick those memories most of them aren’t hugely happy ones. I’ve certainly been left wary of trusting others, of fully engaging with my current guild because of things which have gone before.

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I’ve just spent the afternoon running UBRS remembering how much I loathed the place when it was current content, when the General only dropped one blood and therefore you had to run it over and over again to get your whole raid attuned for Blackwing Lair. I remember having to solo heal it one day in a raid of 15 because the other Priest took offense when someone linked the healing meter (not me) and set out to smite the rest of the run. The wipes because people adored hugging the whelps or being knocked off various ledges and edges. The fights we would have to convince the rest of the group that they’d should do Solakar Flamewreath because Priests deserved a shot at their dungeon set shoulders just like everyone else. Then there was the night we had to go and rescue a guildmate who joined an UBRS raid three or four hours before hand so that he could raid with us the following night and when he finally asked for help, they’d only made it as far as the Rookery… I think I still have nightmares about that PuG.

As we approach the 10th anniversary of WoW, I find myself questioning why I’m still here, why I haven’t learnt from past mistakes and run away as fast as my legs would carry me.  There are plenty of decisions the Developers have made which have left me rolling my eyes but the flip side of that is they’ve also done things I love, Hallows End and Ulduar being prime examples. Besides if they always got it right for me, they would be no doubt a fairly large subsection of people criticizing that because they just don’t like or enjoy the same things as me. Yes it’s a balancing act but it’s not as simple as say deciding not to read a book because either things contained within the text revolt you or you just think a five year old could produce more literary merit. Take Fifty Shades of Grey for example, a friend gave me the first one stating I’d love it. I read the first few chapters in a mix of disgust and horror, imagining Thomas Hardy rolling in his grave and made a conscious decision not to purchase any of her books. WoW on the other hand is more than just a game, it’s a community, something which inspires and pushes me. Do the pluses out way the negatives, I’d argue yes they do at least in my current circumstances as I sit here trying to figure out a way of coping with ante-natal depression and what comes after. Besides, I think there is hope for WoW. People can and do change their minds and their perspectives, it’s just about keeping the dialogue going in such a way that everyone can engage with it. After all, when someone creates something and pushes it out into the Public view then they have to expect criticism. I read English Literature at University and that’s pretty much all we did, unpick other people’s words trying to get inside their heads. Art History contains a fairly hefty criticism component. We have book reviews, Food critics and people who write about the Theatre so why should the Gaming Industry expect to be any different?

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9 Responses

  1. I always get nostalgic at the end of an expansion. This morning flying over Hellfire fondly remembering something that on second thought had been a giant pain in the ass, lol. But distance seems to make me forget that part.

  2. UBRS reminds me of all the times I had to kite the big guy all the way to the beasts room. Freaked me out every time. I try to focus on more of the good memories but some things are hard to forget (and let go of).

  3. I don’t have nostalgia for the desire to see old content when it was current, but instead I have it for some of my first experiences in WoW back in Cataclysm. I remember I used to play Alliance, and at that time I didn’t even know what a raid was – but my guild still ran me through Blackwing Lair. Every time I go back there and kill Nefarian, I remember it as my first guild event I ever took part in, and I absolutely love it.

    It’s just a shame that the guild began to fall apart soon after :L

    • I think that’s one of the great things about the game, remembering the people good and bad who have crossed our paths.
      Also I know for me, my first 40 man raid was just amazing, not because we were good (we were terrible) but because of the sheer scale of Molten Core.

  4. I do remember those times when we ran UBRS as 60s. But nostalgia to me is coloured by a lot of things… kinda like how people say how wonderful it was having a baby because they forgot all the backache, labour pain, tears in your unspeakable region, snatches of sleep 2 hours at a time…. so I wonder if my memories of those days are the same.

    Things ARE different now. This game is different. Is it better or worse? I don’t know, it’s just different. Do I still like it? I do. Garrosh said it – times change. The game in vanilla would probably not last in the 2014 climate.. or maybe it would. But Darwin says that things must evolve or they will go extinct, and I think WoW is evolving in an interesting direction.

    • As someone who is currently 4 months pregnant I “love” your choice of example :p

      I suspect we’d have got bored by now if the game hadn’t evolved.

      • LOL Erinys! I should have talked about the baby’s first breath and the tiny fingers curled into a fist and the joy of watching them sleep in your arms…

        and did I say congrats? I might have already but I’ll say it again!

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