I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my hunter sometimes.
I love to RP with her, and I hope to have more writing about her up soon (once I finish these two Aely stories) – but at the same time, playing her reminds me of all of the things that I’ve done in game. The days where training at level 40 meant a mount OR mail armor, but not both (after which I had to /ride/ that mount to Stranglethorn because I couldn’t afford the flight fee). Of learning how to raid, and picking up new pets, and learning to PVP.
And, oddly enough, though I have trouble with leveling because I don’t like Northrend – I find myself playing her quite a bit more lately, even than Annorah (though she does still see a bit of raiding) and wishing I had her at 80 so that I could take part in playing with friends.
But on the other hand – there’s an element of epic that I just haven’t found since Burning Crusade. Maybe I’ve just “grown out of” that sense of awe that I had, fighting these “big bads” like Archimonde and Nefarian (whom I saw killed once as a sub raider, but never got to with my own raid). Even the “little bads” (if you can call Lady Vashj and Kael’Thas “little”) in BC had a sense of history and awe to go along with the wiping. Maybe it’s the same disconnect that I’m feeling with Northrend in general, and Ulduar in particular. Ulduar is pretty cool – but it doesn’t have the same sense of “holy sh*t we’re doing this” that previous raids have had for me.
Yakra, over at Mirror Shield, had an interesting take on the varying differences between the three “end games” so far experienced. And I think he’s right about a lot of it. The leveling changes, the change from 40 to 25, the addition of badges and “armor tokens” for more than one class – all things that made raiding much more accessible.
And most of those changes are /great/ – don’t get me wrong. They allow a lot more people to see the content that the WoW development team is creating, and they help eliminate some of the stagnation that happened at level 60 (at least before Zul’Gurub and AQ20 were released).
But one of the sacrifices made in the name of accessible content is the loss of that feeling of “epic”. Raiding – especially Naxxramas – is MUCH more accessible now. The one time I set my little hunter feet in Naxxramas-40 at level 60? I was scared out of my shoes. Naxx was HARD. Naxx was a guildbreaker, and C’thun wasn’t exactly chocolate cake with sprinkles either.
And maybe that’s a sign that I suck less as a raider, that I have a stronger raid group. That I’m a better paladin or shaman than I ever have been hunter (which I’ll accept – healing is what I’m best at, by far). Maybe it’s a tribute to the overabundance of great information at places like EJ and PlusHeal and Tankspot Videos and Bosskillers and StratFU and all the other incredible blogs and websites dedicated to helping out the raiding progression. While there’s always been a “well, this is the basic idea, let’s go wipe a few times and figure it out” trend – especially among the people I raid with, which I love because it makes us think as a team – by and large if you want to experience the unknown edge of content, you do that on the PTR, or if you’re lucky in the first two weeks of raiding before the nerfs roll in.
One of the reasons I’ve been playing my hunter again is that we’ve been taking weekly trips into Blackwing Lair. BWL. The instance where I first learned what it meant to really wipe on something for weeks and then get it down (Vaelestrasz). And when I walk in there with our little 10-15 man group, it’s different. It’s not 40 people, it’s not an epic feat of coordination in relatively poor gear with often poorly itemized upgrades.
But it’s still Blackwing Lair – creepy, eerie, dangerous. Get the hell out of here before you end up dragon-snacks.
Naxx got that right too. Standing around in the wings of Naxxramas or BWL, you realize that this place is just messed-up creepy (Thaddius’ yelling doesn’t hurt). The centerfuges of dragon’s blood, the reminders that this place exists as Nefarian’s personal lair to take over Azeroth. The dessicated dragons hanging from the ceiling. The bones everywhere. The epic architecture (ok, Ulduar’s got that going for it as well. Check out the ceiling sometime!).
But raiding these days doesn’t feel the same as it did, doesn’t hold my attention or get me excited like it did. I guess I have to hold out for Icecrown. Call it Nostalgia, I guess.
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